Salvador Travel Guide

Health & Safety

Due to high social inequality, Salvador is notorious for street crime, and for a tourist that wanders carelessly in the streets, the likelihood of a mugging or armed robbery is considerably higher than in São Paulo and perhaps even Rio de Janeiro. Salvador recognizes the importance of tourism to the city economy, so most important tourist sites such as Pelourinho and Mercado Modelo, as well as main popular festivals like the Carnaval, are usually heavily guarded.

People with darker complexions will have an advantage over those with pale skin. Blacks are likely to blend in well; other dark-skinned people may be inconspicuous in many places, but others are immediately labelled as either upper class citizens or tourists, and may be specially targeted.

If you are moving on foot, by bicycle, or by bus, it's best to go out during the day. Avoid bringing anything valuable, just enough to enjoy your day. The Flamengo and Stella Maris beaches are among the safest places to go during the day, and they are the best option if you just want to enjoy a good beach without much local culture. In other places, try to stay at areas guarded by police.

As a general rule, be suspicious if people approach you directly in a friendly way as they either want money or to sell you something.

At night, it's better to take a cab to go out. Stay at reasonably crowded places. If you don't see other tourists where you are, then it's probably not a place you should be unless you are feeling particularly adventurous.

Some areas, which are strongly frequented by foreigners, can become dangerous, especially at night, i.e. the Barra harbour area. NEVER go to the beach at night!
The long sloping road leading from the old town to the harbor should be avoided even during the day. ALWAYS take the elevator.
If you are staying in the touristic Barra area, beware of the favela near Shopping Barra, especially at night. The area just to the east toward the beach can be dangerous as well.
Beware of vehicular traffic. Crossing the streets is always dangerous even when using a pedestrian crosswalk with the traffic light red for cars. As one member of Supergrass band once said: "In Brazil green means go, and red means go faster!" Start the crossing ONLY when vehicles have already stopped.
Never agree to share a taxi with other random people, especially if they approach you. Most likely, it's just a trap to rob you!
Watch out for children in Pelourinho, especically on Tuesdays at the Geronimo Concert at the old church - they are reaching out for any low pockets in cargo pants!

When Shopping always check the price first, especially if you are white and have blue or green eyes, many locals will see you complexion and feel they have the right to vharge you double for services and products. Always ask for a Coupon Fiscal it ensures that the company or indivdual you are purchasing from pays the proper tax, and it can usually result in them "suddenly" giving you a 10 - 15% disount if you dont want the Coupon as they have to pay 27% tax what you buy and the Coupon ensures this.

Be particulary aware of Banca and Kiosks on the street as they will undoubtably charge you more for being an estrangeiro (foreginer).

All the little extra money you are charged can seriously eat inti your budget and leave a sour taste in your mouth as nobody likes being ripped off.


source: Wikivoyage

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