Norwegian is the only true low cost flying to GIG. I don't count Edelweiss as a low cost, as it isn't.
Rio has been unsafe for decades now - since the 80s for sure. It has just become worse over time. Sao Paulo seems a tad better, but it is not a place where I'd let my guard down either. It has not happened to me but colleagues of mine report of being robbed at gun point at a restaurant in the Jardins area of the city. All the restaurant patrons, rather. The crooks take everything of value they can get their hands on, such as phones, watches, money, jewelry, etc., before leaving as fast as they got there.
Yes, plenty of horror stories. Not many know more than I do. Sometimes Rio is more violent than São Paulo, but sometimes São Paulo can be much worse. There are statistics and there is hyperbole.
However, try to explain to a Brazilian the mass shootings in the USA, from Columbine to Sandy Hook to the Pulse disco to the shocking Charlestown Church shootings and then try and explain why “The United States of America”- a country that most Brazilians truly admire does absolutely nothing about them.
I grew up in The Bronx in the 60’s and 70s when NYC was bankrupt, filthy and extremely dangerous. I know on a very different level what it’s like to fear a night out to dinner. Having good “Spidy Sense” helps!
I am not saying that the story of 2 German tourists who landed at GIG got in a taxi and were found shot dead in a field is not true. But people talk about that today and say “stay away from Rio” - although that tragic story is 25 years old.
But, there is also not hyperbole to say that at peek season, all the “attractions” (for which there are very many) in Rio are so packed and crazy you wouldn’t find me near one because of the hordes of tourists.
GRU, (and to a lesser degree GIG) is one of the best plane spotting airports in the world. Air France, BA, and Lufthansa 747s, Asian, Middle Eastern airlines, Air Canada, all in brand new tech aircraft. And a whole bunch of AA, DL and UA 777s and 767s- aside from the huge fleets of LATAM, GOL, Avianca, Azul and many more.
Yes, busses and restaurants can be raided by crooks looking to steal your money once in a blue- but I rather be in a raided restaurant in São Paulo and robbed than mowed down in a restaurant in USA (also very rare, but true). And, our stories in the USA are world famous and given their frequency plus the HYPE, and certainly no action taken, I know people who are terrified of the USA.
My advice is: when enjoying yourself in Brazil, especially Rio (the city I know best) is dress VERY casually (flashing gold is stupid!) and go to Lapa at night for dinner for an AWESOME night. It’s super crowded, with outdoor cafes spilling into the streets, pick any place and enjoy the live music and BBQ and caipirinhas! THE BEST! Then take an Uber back to your hotel. Brazil is in the top 3 Uber countries and is very safe!
And as an aviation enthusiast, it’s not far to visit Santos Dumont’s preserved house, outside Rio in a beautiful town.
If you’re gay and in Rio (or straight) my advice is sun yourself near or on the gay beach in Ipanema- probably the safest place you could be. And if you go out at night, you’ll want to go to “The Week”- an amazing gay club! Just take an Uber or a real Rio taxi. (Yellowy-Green with a blue stripe) and says “Transcotoor” - R