There are many misconceptions of what life is like in Rio. CR sponsored athlete Jamie Hughes’s personal views have changed in his relatively short time here. Read his top 3 misconceptions about Rio de Janeiro.
Jamie Hughes is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt under Pedro Bessa, and is currently living and training in Rio De Janeiro for 3 months as part of the Connection Rio sponsored athlete programme. You can read his blog here.
1. Nowhere is safe
A lot of people seem to think that Rio is some kind of lawless place and that running gun battles and crime is rife on every street corner. This is not true at all. Yes like all major cities Rio has its share of crime in certain areas, but in my experiences so far in Barra and Copacabana, I have felt 100% safe, whether it be on my own or with a group of people. Rio is as safe as any other major city in the world. It comes down to doing what you would do walking down the street at home: be vigilant, don’t attract unwarranted attention and generally try to blend in and go with the flow of the city.
2.The locals are out to get you Gringo’s
Another big misconception is that people tend to think that the locals all want to rob you and do you wrong. Again this is utterly untrue, the locals in Barra have all been very welcoming and helpful and enjoy when you try to speak the language. Take for example, I had to make a trip to the bank to receive a money transfer and was unsure where and what to do. Looking lost, a local in Barra kindly helped me to the right place and made sure I was attended to by the correct person in the bank. What I’m getting at is that the locals here are very welcoming to the gringo tourists and help you out as much as they can as you are helping their community by being a tourist and bringing your custom here.
3. You need to speak the language
This is a big one which i was personally guilty of assuming, yes it helps if you know Portuguese but if you just brush up on your minimal basics, like your “hello’s” “please” and “thank you’s” it will go a long way to making your dealing with locals a lot easier. I’ve been here just under two weeks and have already been picking up little bits and I can now order a full meal in Portuguese without much bother, its not fluent but its helping me get by. But even if you come here and don’t know a lick of Portuguese, with enough pointing and smiling you can get most things done pretty painlessly (saving some giggles from the locals).
My biggest tip when travelling to Rio is to forget every bad story you have heard from whatever source. Come, have fun, make up your own mind and try to immerse yourself in the Brazilian lifestyle.