Travel Guide

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Is it safe to travel alone as a woman in Brazil?

March 18, 2020



March 18, 2020

Is it safe to travel alone as a woman in Brazil?

When I moved to Brazil for a year, people would either talk about beaches and palm trees or ask if my mum was concerned about my safety.

During my year of study in São Paulo, I decided to travel around the country on my own for almost two months. It was spontaneous and I did not plan anything special, had not even picked a particular destination. The only thing I knew in my gut was that I had fallen in love with the country and I wanted a chance to fully immerse myself in Brazilian culture, even if it meant losing myself in the jungle.

solo female travel in brazil

I must say that my decision to travel solo was not reckless because I had already spoken Portuguese quite well and had lived in the country for four months already - meaning that I kind of knew what was true and what was not true about the rumours of danger in Brazil. I had a local insight that helped me get rid of my apprehension and that is why I am writing this today: to share with fellow women what I know about Brazil and to let you know that if you want to, you can definitely travel solo in Brazil.

Brazil is a dangerous country; there is no point in pretending the opposite. There is a high rate of crime and some areas of the country are not safe for anyone, men or women. However, it is definitely possible to visit the country and be safe, just like I did.

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I started my trip by taking a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Salvador da Bahia, a city that has quite a dangerous reputation, so I made sure that the flight arrived during the day. I had booked a bed in a hostel and I took a cab from the airport, knowing that public transportation was messy. The hostel was in the city centre, in a street that I knew was safe, and I had checked the online reviews to be sure that the hostel was okay. I arrived there and was welcomed with open arms, instantly met some people, one thing leading to another, we went to have dinner together.

And that’s how it started.

This trip led me to discover so many places in Northern Brazil: the national park of the Chapada Diamantina, the beachy cities of Jericoacoara, Fortaleza and São Luís, the island Morro de São Paulo where I stayed for a while - but this article is not about the wonders of the country because any tourist guide would let you know everything about it.

What I really want to say is that I took night buses, I stayed in places where I did not know anyone, I wandered around cities by myself, I booked guided tours and sometimes explored the forest on my own, I even went to Carnival in Salvador and I never felt like I was in danger.

Of course, sometimes I might have been in a bad situation and just not realized, but I believe that I managed to reduce the risk by being careful and listening to my gut feeling every time I had a doubt.

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Being careful sometimes meant taking extra measures that I wouldn’t have taken in another country. It sometimes meant not doing something I wanted to do because I did not feel like it, or change my plans at the last minute because I suddenly had the intuition that something was off. I learned very quickly that daring to ask extra questions could spare me a lot of troubles.

A great thing about Brazil is that it is a popular destination, meaning that you always meet other groups of travellers and that finding information is quite easy. The Brazilians are also very welcoming and eager to help you when needed so I met a lot of great people along the way. No one was ever offended when I asked about safety and people were glad to share their recommendations and insights. Feminism in Brazil is also very strong and quite present so I found out that most Brazilian women I met were more than happy to help a fellow woman find her way around, in a spirit of the sorority.

So here is my recommendation for anyone who would worry about their safety while travelling in Brazil solo: get yourself out there. Book that flight and do not hesitate one second. The wonders of Brazil are definitely open to anyone who wants to discover them and if you take care of yourself, Brazil will take care of you.

More about NomadHer :

NomadHer is an app for female globetrotters to encourage solo travelling safely. NomadHer has a vision of empowering women through travelling.

To join the community of female globetrotters, you can download NomadHer App on IOS & Android. Follow NomadHer on Instagram: @nomad_her.

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