By Avril David. Looking like a tourist is probably the fastest way to get into trouble. The horror stories we hear about Rio from abroad don't happen all the time, but of course, they do happen. And they're most likely to happen (being robbed at gun point for instance is a common occurence) when you look like an opportunity to someone who is probably poor, pretty desperate and possibly on drugs.
Try to blend in by not speaking English loudly in crowds (for you English-speakers out there)...No flashy jewelry or fancy purses. Cloth or crocheted purses that hold tight against your body work great.
I got into the habit of carrying around a plastic bag (doubled) that looks like it might have grocery snacks or water in it instead of bringing a purse. It works great if you absolutely have no pockets and really need to carry something valuable (like a camera).
A big fancy purse is kind of a flashing neon sign. For a night out on the town, when a plastic bag simply wouldn't do, lol, you should try wearing shorts. Wear shorts under a baby doll dress, so you can keep cash or card in the pockets...or you can always bug a guy friend to hold your money for you.
Avril's Rules: Only wear makeup if it's a big night out, sandals, no flashy jewelry, usually no watch (who keeps track of time in Rio anyway?). Tank tops - showing skin is definitely okay here...so is walking in platform sandals on cobblestones. I'm still not sure how that works exactly!
No maps out in public. Try to bring as little money as possible with you to the beach. If you wear a money belt under your clothes, please do not wear the kind that starts as a cord around your neck and hides the money just below where your clothing line starts. Use the kind that velcros just under your abdomen.