MS Risk Blog

Brazil World Cup Travel Advisory: Brasilia, Natal and Sao Paulo

Posted on in 2014 FIFA World Cup - Security Update title_rule


City Description

Brasília is the federal capital of Brazil and the capital of the Federal District. The city is located along the Brazilian Highlands in the country’s central-west region. In 2013, Brasília had an estimated population of 2,789,761, effectively making it the 4th most populous city in Brazil.

The city has a unique status in Brazil as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality, like other cities in the country. The centers of all three branches of Brazil’s federal government are located in Brasília, including Congress, the President and the Supreme Court. The city also hosts 124 foreign embassies.

Brasília International Airport connects the capital to all the major Brazilian cities and to many international destinations.


Brasília has significant crime problems. Reports of residential burglaries continue to occur in the generally affluent residential areas of the city. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report the highest crime rates, however incidents can occur anywhere and at any time.

The “satellite cities,” which surround Brasília have per-capita crime rates that are comparable to much larger cities. Police reports have indicated that over the past two years, rates of all types of crime, including kidnappings, have risen dramatically in Brasília. Brasília’s Central Bus Station, known as “Rodoviaria,” is a particularly dangerous area, especially at night. This location is known to have a large concentration of drug dealers and users.

Illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and “oxi,” which is a derivative of cocaine base that is produced with cheaper chemicals, have become very common in the “Plano Piloto” area and in satellite cities.


International Airport

The Brasília – Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport serves the metropolitan area with major domestic and international flights. It is serviced by domestic and regional airlines, including TAM, GOL, Azul, WebJET, Trip and Avianca, as well as a number of international carriers.

The airport is located about 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) from the central area of Brasília and is outside the metro system. The area located outside the airport’s main gate is lined with taxis as well as with several bus line services that connect the airport to Brasília’s central district.


Metro de Brasília is Brasília’s underground metro system. The subway system in the capital city has twenty-four stations on two lines, the Orange and Green lines, which are distributed along a total network of 42 kilometers (26 miles) that covers some of the metropolitan area. Both lines begin at the Central Station running parallel to the Aguas Claras Station.

High Speed Rail

Although a high-speed railway was initially planned between Brasília and Goiania, which is the capital of the state of Goias. The service will probably be turned into a regional service that will link these capital cities and cities that are located in between, such as Anapolis and Alexania.


The main bus station in Brasília is the Central Bus Station, which is located in the crossing of the Eixo Monumental and the Eixao, about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Three Powers Plaza.


City Description

Natal is the capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte, a northeastern state in Brazil.


While the city of Natal was once safe, recent statistics have indicated that crime is on the rise, however it Natal is safer than other touristic cities in the northeast of Brazil, including Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador.

While pickpocketing is common, violent assaults in the city are rare.

If visiting the Forte dos Reis Magos, MS Risk recommends that you travel by taxi and avoid walking along the Praia Forte. This is due to a recent surge in assaults and robberies that have targeted tourists along the beach. Ponta Negra beach is also not secure, with armed assaults on the beach occurring at any time, including day and night.

MS Risk advises all travellers to the beach to avoid taking any valuable articles with you.


International Airport 

Augusto Severo International Airport in Parnamirim is located 18 kilometers (9 miles) from Natal.


Federal Highway BR-101 is the most important access to Natal, coming from the south of Brazil through the boundary with the municipality of Parnamirim. If travelling from the State of Ceará, the principle access is by the Federal Highway BR-304, through the boundary with the municipality of Macaíba, where you pick up BR-226.

When leaving Natal, an important access to the southern Potiguar coast is the RN-063, which is also known as the “Sun Route” (Rota do Sol). This route takes you to the beaches of Pirangi, Búzios, Tabatinga, and up to the municipality of Nísia Floresta. The North Shore is accessible from the Newton Navarro Bridge, following the Praia do Forte to Genipabu, and the Igapó Bridge, following the district of Igapó by BR-101 to Touros, and by BR-406 to Macau.


Natal is connected to all the 167 municipalities of Rio Grande do Norte, along with dozens of locations and Potiguar districts, through the Passenger Bus Terminal of Natal, which is located in the Eastern zone of the city.


Taxis in Rio de Janeiro are white and have red plates. Fares are the same, regardless of how new and comfortable the car is. Fares are regulated by the government.

São Paulo

City Description

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and is the capital of the state of São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state.


All the greater areas of São Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery, with pedestrians and drivers being targeted at traffic lights and during rush hour traffic.

The “red light districts” of São Paulo, which are located on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area, are especially dangerous as there are regular reports of young women slipping various drugs into men’s drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious.

Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles are a common occurrence in São Paulo. Recently, criminals have begun targeting restaurants throughout the city. Such incidents have especially occurred between the hours of 10PM and 4 AM, at establishments in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardins, Itaim, Bibi, Campo Belo, Morumbi and Moema.

Laptop computers, other electronica and luxury watches are the targets of choice for criminals in São Paulo.

Efforts by incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have in the past resulted in sporadic disruptions throughout the city, with violence being directed at the authorities, and including bus burnings and vandalism at ATM machines, including the use of explosives. MS Risk advises travellers to São Paulo to be aware of your surroundings and to exercise caution at all times. You are also advised to respect police roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.

As in Rio de Janeiro, favela tours have recently become popular amongst foreign tourists in São Paulo. MS Risk advises against travelling to São Paulo’s favelas as neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety.


International Airport

São Paulo has two main airports: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport for international flights and Congonhas- São Paulo Airport for domestic and regional flights. Another airport, the Campo de Marte Airport serves only light aircraft.

São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of the city center in the neighboring city of Guarulhos.


Despite heavy traffic being common in the city’s main avenues, and with traffic jams relatively common its highways, automobiles are still the main means to get into the city.

The city is crossed by ten major highways:


The two major railway stations in São Paulo are Luz and Julio Prestes in the Luz/Campos Eliseos region. Julio Prestes connects southwest São Paulo State and northern Paraná State to São Paulo. Luz Station has an underground station and has east and westbound suburban trains that link São Paulo to the Greater São Paulo region to the East and the Campinas Metropolitan region in Jundiaí in the western part of the State.


São Paulo has three rapid transport systems: the underground rail system has five lines; the suburban rail system, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) has six lines that serve many regions that are not reached by the underground system; and the fast-lane bus system, in which there are many bus lines throughout the city.

The Metro in São Paulo has been affected by a strike which is now threatening the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament. Although late on Monday 9 June, Union leaders suspended a five-day strike that has paralyzed the city, workers indicated that they would vote on Wednesday on whether to resume the walkout.


Bus transport, both government and private, is composed of approximately 17,000 buses. São Paulo Tietê Bus Terminal is the second largest bus terminal in the world and serves localities across the nation, with the exception of the states of Amazona, Roraima and Amapá. Routes to 1,010 cities in five countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile Paraguay and Uruguay) are available.

The Palmeiras-Barra Funda Intermodal Terminal is smaller and is connected to the Palmeiras-Barra Funda metro and the Palmeiras-Barra Funda CPTM stations. It seves the southern cities of Sorocaba, Itapetininga, Itu, Botucatu, Bauru, Marília, Jaú, Avaré, Piraju, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, Ipaussu, Chavantes and Ourinhos (on the border with Paraná State). It also serves São José do Rio Preto, Araçatuba and other small towns located on the northwest of São Paulo State.






















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