Is São Luis do Maranhão Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

São Luis do Maranhão offers a rich authentic Brazilian experience, with its unique culture and UNESCO World Heritage status. However, like in many parts of Brazil, safety can be a cause for concern especially for solo female travelers. Petty crimes like pick-pocketing and purse snatching do occur, particularly in crowded tourist spots. It's advisable to stay vigilant, avoid displaying wealth, and stay in well-traveled areas. After dark, it's a good idea to rely on reputable taxis rather than walking. Always follow local guidance, it's wise to associate with locals or other travelers who understand the area well.

Safety rating

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How safe is São Luis do Maranhão?

Safety at night:

Safety at night:Unsafe

São Luis do Maranhão requires some caution for the solo female traveler, particularly at night. While the city boasts a vibrant culture and beautiful architecture, it is advised not to walk alone after dark. Street crime such as theft can occur, especially in less crowded areas. Public transport is recommended, prefer private taxis or ride-hailing apps instead of walking. Local advice should be followed in terms of which neighborhoods to avoid, particularly after sundown.
Public transportation:

Public transportation:Moderate

Public transportation in São Luis do Maranhao might have a moderate level of safety. As in most parts of Brazil, buses are frequent but can be crowded during peak times, which sometimes can result in petty thefts. Metros and trams are generally considered more secure. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times and avoid traveling alone at night if possible. Also, understanding local language helps to read signs and conversations. It's recommended to use taxis or reputable ride-sharing services which can be a safer and often more convenient option.
Street harassment:

Street harassment:Moderate

São Luis do Maranhão is a vibrant place with a rich culture and history. As with any large city, you may experience some forms of street harassment, including catcalling or unsolicited attention. Keep a confident posture, avoid walking alone late at night, and dress modestly to help minimize risk. However, many locals are welcoming and respectful. It may be beneficial to learn a few basic phrases in Portuguese as a way to show respect and handle any unfavorable situations.
Petty crimes:

Petty crimes:High

São Luis do Maranhão, like many cities in Brazil, has issues with petty crime. Theft and pickpocketing are fairly common, particularly in crowded areas and on public transport. Although less frequently, but still concerning, are occurrences of bag snatching and theft from vehicles. It's important to take precautions, such as not flashing expensive items, being vigilant in public areas, and avoiding isolated areas, especially at night.
Tap water:

Tap water:Unsafe

In São Luis do Maranhão, like many other parts of Brazil, the tap water may not always be safe to drink. While it's usually treated and it's generally safe for locals who are used to it, foreigners might be susceptible to local bacteria. To avoid any health risks, it's recommended to either purchase bottled water or use a trusted water purifier for drinking.

Is São Luis do Maranhão safe to travel?

Is São Luis do Maranhão safe right now?

Before your visit to São Luis do Maranhão, it's essential to check travel advisories for Brazil, including your home country's official travel advisory. These advisories can provide up-to-date information on safety, health, and any specific considerations for travelers.

United States Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The United States Government advises exercising increased caution in Brazil due to crime. Some areas have an increased risk. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: October 19, 2023

Canada's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The Canadian Government advises exercising a high degree of caution in Brazil. This is due to high crime rates, coupled with frequent incidents of gang-related and other forms of violence in urban areas. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: May 8, 2024

Australia's Travel AdvisoryExercise a high degree of caution

The Australian Government advises to exercise a high degree of caution in Brazil due to the threat of violent crime. Check the full travel advisory.
Last updated: May 6, 2024

Safety in Brazil