Salvador de Bahia is the largest city on the northeastern coast of Brazil, and a tourist destination under a lot of scrutiny. This beautiful city, lined with bright sandy beaches and colorful colonial buildings, is noted as a culturally rich destination with a local theft epidemic.
Let’s not become timid, Salvador de Bahia is a fantastically cultural destination with influences blended from three diverse continents: the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The African influences diverge from the 15th and 16th century when the colonial heart of Bahia, Pelourinho, was a noted stop of the slave trade. Today Bahia and Pelourinho have become popular for its cuisine, architecture, culture, and social scene.
In 1991 Salvador de Bahia was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its colonial architecture. With the declaration bestowed by UNESCO, Salvador de Bahia has begun to restore its renaissance architecture creating more touristic intrigue for the Brazilian destination. Despite its negative connotations, Salvador de Bahia and its colonial heart Pelourinho are must-see destinations in Brazil rich in heritage and culture.
The city is becoming safer, but it still is a little more edgy than most destinations. The local government of Salvador de Bahia understands that tourism is very important to the city’s well-being and therefore several beaches and tourist areas are heavily patrolled by local officials, so you do not need a guide at all times to feel safe.
To visit Salvador de Bahia you must simply travel smart. Below are the three main tips to traveling smart. Make sure to practice these tips in all your travels, and Salvador de Bahia, to make your experiences both memorable and safe.
1) Know what kind of traveler you are
Salvador de Bahia does have a problem with common theft, so you will need to decide where you feel safest. If the city’s negative connotations have you on edge, staying in a hotel slightly out of town and close to the airport’s safer neighborhood is a good option. Keep in mind, staying outside of Salvador de Bahia will inevitably increase your travel time. In contrast, staying within Salvador de Bahia is not an unsafe option but it is best to avoid beaches in the evening and stay close to your hotel as nighttime falls.
2) Forget you are a tourist
The common pick-pocking crimes in Bahia are commonly aimed at tourists because the local assume they have more to take. When exploring the city leave behind your touristy outfits, and instead dress in subdued casual and comfortable clothing that suggests you are foreign but have been in Bahia for awhile. Also make sure to only bring with you what you will need to enjoy your day. Do not bring large sums of money and leave all your accessories safely stored in your hotel room.
3) Act like you know where you are going
Before leaving your hotel room to explore look through local area maps to get a sense of where you are and where you are going. If you do find yourself disorientated while you explore, walk with purpose so that you appear to know where you are going. Appearing confident in your location will deter pick-pockets from approaching you.
The world is large and should be explored. While some destinations will be less safe than others, as long as they are not flat out dangerous they are not inconceivable to visit. Traveling is about relishing in new experiences and taking in your surroundings. Make sure to remain aware of your surroundings and traveling should be a longstanding joy in your life.