SAFETY TIPS for the lgbt travelerBETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
About Strangers in Your Room
This is the most important tip of all
This is the only piece of advice that you really should follow while in Rio, so let’s deal with it right away. While you are here, your hotel room of flat are home.
You do not take strangers you have just met back home with you. This is where you keep your valuables, documents, clothing, iPhone, so use your good sense.
Hotels do not have the obligation of letting you to take visitors to your room. If they allow it, you must register this guest, and they should leave some I.D. at the reception, to be claimed on the way out. After they check you are OK.
Many properties are not at all guest-friendly and arguing is pointless. They are following management directions, and everything these days is being taped for supervision.
About Cash, Valuables and flip-flops
Things that you do and don't want to do
You don’t need to carry around more cash than you intend to spend, plus some taxi money. There are ATM’s open during the day where you can withdraw extra cash. They close at 10 p.m. for safety reasons. Hotels and shops offer poor exchange rates. If you brought along foreign cash, use the exchange agencies during the day instead.
Rio is not the place to flash your most expensive jewelry. This is a city of social contrasts. Nobody will be impressed by your diamond-studded Rolex. There are many safe places where you can use your state-of-the-art camera, but a portable water-proof digital that fits in your pocket is a nice addition.
Flip-flops are great to walk around, and international visitors tend to parade around in them more than locals do. Do not try to run in them, though, or climb rocks, or anything athletic. These are good for the beach only, and they are not safe for anything other than walking on sand.
Public Transportation Rules
Moving around Rio safely
Walking is number one. Many areas of Rio including Ipanema and Leblon, even Copacabana if you do it by parts, are wonderful to explore on foot. This also applies to the historical areas Downtown, where you have the main museums and colonial churches.
BIKE - A large part of Rio de Janeiro is flat, making it ideal to explore on two wheels. There are bicycles for rent at some shops, and even at the beach. Never leave your bike unlocked, unless your purpose is to say good-bye to it.
Subway in Rio still covers only a small part of the city. But they are exactly the parts of interest to most travelers. Now that it stops in Ipanema you can hop off at the stations along the way, and move on once you are done.
About local buses - we would love to say otherwise, but local city buses sometimes are visited by pickpockets. This doesn't seem to happen as often on the integrated bus-subway express lines that now reach Barra.
Vans are not a completely regulated method of transportation, but they are everywhere. Someone usually yells out the window the final destination. You may get on and get off upon request. Prices are comparable to buses.
Taxis - they are a bright yellow in Rio so they are impossible to miss. The city is served by more than enough taxis. With the recent zero tolerance law against alcohol they became even more popular for night transportation among locals. You can hail them off the streets or call a central. Not all drivers speak English, or other languages.
Radio-Taxis - these you have to call, and hopefully the attendant in the central should understand some English. Their charges are a bit higher than the regular taxis, license plates are red, but color of cars may vary.