Traveling to Brazil

Most of the big cities offer modern services and amenities to residents and visitors alike. However, the further you plan to get off the beaten track, the better you should prepare.

Maps

Brazil for travelers (Download .pdf – 4Mb)
Map Brazil for travelers (Download .pdf -1Mb)

City Maps
Online maps : Maporama and Apontador
Our website already provides maps and links for further information, but nothing beats a good hardcopy guide.

Guidebooks

Guia 4 Rodas – Updated yearly, gives the most complete overview of hotels, restaurants and sights to see in Brazil. Publishes maps and separate guides as well. In Portuguese, but uses a lot of international icons, so it is understandable for foreign users. Available at most newsstands in Brazil.

Guias Philips-Insight type guides, with good background information and quality photographs of Amazon, Pantanal & Bonito, NorthEast and South Brazil and the National Parks. Available through their own site Horizonte Geográfico.

Non Brazilian Guides: Lonely Planet; Footprint, Rough Guide, Fodor’s, Routard.

Visas and passports

An entry visa is not required for holders of passports from many (but not all) European* and all South American* countries for a stay of up to 90 days (60 days in the case of Venezuela). Entry visa are required for most citizens from Africa*, Middle East*, Asia* and Oceania.
As a matter of reciprocity, a visa is required for citizens of North American countries.
Tourist visas can be renewed for a period of 180 days per year. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the planned date of arrival in Brazil

*As visa requirements can change, always check about the necessary documentation and where visas can be obtained, with your travel agent or directly with the Brazilian consulate in your country. A list of Brazilian embassies and consulates abroad and foreign embassies and consulates in Brazil can be found at this address.

Brazil Foreign Ministry site
• At the moment (April 2004) citizens from these countries do not require a visa to enter Brazil for tourism purposes and a stay of up to 90 days (except Venezuelans for a stay of up to 60 days):

Andorra
Argentina
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Bolivia
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Denmark
Ecuador
France
Finland
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mexico
Monaco
Morocco
The Netherlands
Namibia
Norway
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
The Philippines
Poland
Portugal
San Marino
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Surinam
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
Trinidad & Tobago
United Kingdom
Uruguay
The Vatican
Venezuela

Currency

The currency in Brazil is the Real (abbreviated to R$). Dollars and traveler’s checks can easily be changed in hotels, authorized banks and travel agencies. International credit cards are accepted in most hotels, shops and restaurants. In big cities it is possible to withdraw cash using Cirrus or Maestro cards.

Current daily Exchange Rates

Currency Converter
International Currency Converter

To help you in budgeting your trip, enter a local currency amount to check the equivalent amount in Brazilian Reais (or Reals). Or enter a Brazilian Real amount to convert to your local currency. Exchange rates are updated daily so rates are not exact.

Health Matters

With some sensible planning before your departure, simple precautions during your travels, you can avoid most health problems in Brazil. See your doctor (especially if you already have some health problem) and make sure your vaccinations are up to date.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended (and is required if you are coming from certain countries to Brazil) for all lowland tropical areas. Malaria is present in the Amazon states (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, western Maranhão and northern Mato Grosso). The use of anti-malarials, which do not offer complete protection and have side-effects, should be weighed against the real risk of exposure (which varies over time and by region).

Check with your doctor.

Make sure you have adequate health insurance and travel with a basic health kit. Brazil has a very good network of pharmacies.

Language

Portuguese is the national language, but the Portuguese spoken in Brazil is quite different, in accent and intonation, from the language spoken in Portugal. Brazilians like to communicate. They appreciate people using some basic Portuguese, but know that not many foreigners can speak their language. Many Brazilians understand some Spanish and the number of Brazilians learning English is increasing and if all else fails will use “sign” language. So you will be able to make yourself understood.

Accommodation

With more than 28,000 options to choose from, Brazil offers a huge variety of accommodation, able to satisfy the most varied and demanding of tastes.

Booking a Trip Locally

Brazil has about 10 thousand travel agencies (Brazilian Travel Agency Association – ABAV and tour operators. The major tour operators have their own organizations: Braztoa and Bito.

Air Travel

Distances are large in Brazil, so you should consider using domestic flights to get from one region to the other. Brazil has a good flight network. The main Brazilian airlines cover most domestic flights. There are also regional airlines, offering high levels of comfort and security.
Domestic flights map
Amadeus

Bus Transport

The bus is the most popular form of transport for traveling between states and there are very comfortable buses for long distance trips.

Car rental

Rental cars, with or without a driver, are available for tourists at the main airports and in city centers. Most big international companies are represented and there are also good Brazilian companies.

Taxis

There are a large number of taxis in most cities. Regular taxis, with a meter, can be hailed in the street. Radio-taxis can be called by phone. Taxis are very cheap compared to Europe and USA. In some Brazilian regions the taxis that have air-conditioning are a bit more expensive.

Tipping

Most restaurants and bars include a 10% service charge on the bill. It is usual to leave a little more if the service was good. When it is not included on the bill, the general rule is a tip of between 10 and 15%. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.

Voltage

In the majority of Brazilian cities the electric current is either 110 or 220 volts, although it is advisable to confirm the voltage before plugging in any appliance.

Communications

Any part of the world can be reached in real time by phone, fax or e-mail.

Weather & Climate

The climate in Brazil varies according to latitude and altitude. The seasons are exactly the opposite of those in Europe and the United States (except in the north of the country). The average annual temperature is approximately 28°C in the north and 20°C in the south.

Average Temperature:

Current weather in Rio de Janeiro:

Time Zones

Brazil covers three time zones. The time in Brasilia is the official time in Brazil, usually 3 hours behind GMT (London). This changes with the start of Summer Time (the clocks go forward an hour). The time in Rio de Janeiro is 2 hours ahead of New York, except during Summer Time, (3 hours ahead of Brazilian Summer Time and an hour ahead of North American Summer Time). To see the time zones between your country and Brazil click here.
Worldtimezones

Safety

Brazil has an exaggerated reputation for violence and crime.
Yes, crime rates are higher than in the USA and Europe, but most of it is not directed at tourists. But – and this is the case everywhere you travel – , you are never immune from inconveniences. However, taking some common sense precautions can greatly reduce the risks of anything happening:

‣ dress down and don’t bring unnecessary valuables
‣ don’t keep your valuables together and don’t be obvious about what you carry of value
‣ make sure you know your way about before venturing off the main tourists areas.

And to reduce your mental stress if something does happen:
‣ take out a travel insurance
‣ make copies of important documents
‣ have numbers of consulates and credit card companies ready to call

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