Brazil Tips

 

Dear Brazil visitor,

On behalf of the staff of EcoAmerica Tours, we wish you a most pleasant experience exploring this exciting and diverse destination. Brazil’s cultural and culinary traditions, natural beauty and diversity, modern architecture and old world flavor, as well as its business opportunities attract a considerable amount of visitors each year. Brazil is such a vast country that we can say that there are different Brazils within Brazil. Even the most basic understanding of the country’s history, culture and people can go far in enriching your entire travel experience.

So please, before starting your trip, take a few minutes to review the following tips and information; it might be useful!


Entry / Exit Requirements

It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Brazil authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Argentina or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.

A valid and in good conditions passport is required to enter Brazil.

Citizens from the U.S. and Canada need a visa to enter Brazil.

More information for US Citizens is available through Travel.State.Gov, a service from the US Department of State.

More information for Canadian Citizens is available through Travel.gc.CA, a service from the Government of Canada.

Visitors who arrive in Brazil with expired or damaged passports may be refused entry and returned to their country of origin at their own expense.


Safety and Security

We asked a experienced Brazilian traveler if he thought traveling in Brazil was dangerous. He responded without hesitation, “only if you do something stupid!” Just as it’s not a good idea to walk around a poor neighborhood in any large North American or European city at night, alone, with your pockets stuffed with cash, wearing a Rolex and an expensive camera slung around your neck, it’s not a good idea to do it in any large Brazilian city either.

The vast majority of all Brazilians are honest, forthright, hard working people and, in the smaller cities of Brazil, life is less hectic, dangerous and, quite frankly, safer. But there are also poor people in Brazil. Like any society, especially in the larger urban areas, there are also muggers, pickpockets and other criminals who make their living preying on easy targets. For them, there’s no better or easier target than a foreign tourist.

There are, however, a few simple things you can do to avoid being an easy target:

  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you on the street. Pulling out a wad of cash may be impressive in some places in the world but in most large Brazilian cities you might as well paint a target on yourself. Carry only the amount of cash you think you will need for the activities you plan for the day or the individual side trip you are making.
  • Don’t carry what you’re not going to need and use during any excursion. If you don’t need your credit cards, don’t carry them. If you won’t use your camera, don’t bring it.
  • Make copies of your passport picture/information page(s) and Brazilian visa page and carry only these with you for identification. Replacing a lost or stolen passport can be a huge hassle and only accomplished at the corresponding country Embassy in Brasília or Consulates in main cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or Recife. If you don’t happen to be in one of these cities when your passport turns up lost or stolen, then that’s where you’ll have to go.
  • Carry your wallet with minimal contents in a front pocket. This makes it more difficult for pickpockets to grab and run. Some experienced travelers use a small, business card wallet to carry their credit card(s) and ID.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or watches or even cheap things that “look” expensive. This is a situation where less is best. Leave your expensive jewelry and watches at home and buy a cheap (and cheap looking) $20 watch before you leave home. You won’t cry too much if it’s ever lost or stolen.
  • Avoid highly congested areas as they are often a haven for pickpockets.
  • Don’t walk on empty streets at night alone because you become a muggers dream. Stay in well-lit areas where there are other people around.
  • Especially in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, make sure you always use a legitimate (real) taxi.
  • No matter what personal allure they may hold for you and no matter that some may offer tours and even overnight accommodations in a favela, it’s probably not a good idea to go into any favela ever. While the residents of many favelas are honest but poor people, favelas are also havens for traficantes (drug traffickers) and other criminals who make their living preying on others. Some favelas can often be extremely violent places where human life has little value. They’re certainly no place for a foreign tourist.

Stay healthy

  • Almost all Brazilian cities have treated water supplies, but if the taste of chlorine is not your favorite, it is probably best to drink only bottled water which is readily available almost everywhere.
  • Being Brazil a tropical country, it’s very easy to quickly become dehydrated. Drink at least two liters of water per day. Coconut water is a great option and you will find it fresh almost everywhere; keep in mind that coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage with the same electrolytic level as human blood. It contains no cholesterol, is naturally sterile and is full of natural sugars, salts and vitamins to ward off fatigue.
  • If your travel plans include time at the beach, limit your exposure to the sun to recommended time limits and use a sun block with a SPF of 30 or more.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and it is recommended to get vaccinated against it at least 10 days before traveling to certain places.

If you are visiting Brazil from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire, you will be required to present an international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever.

It is important to remember that almost the entire Brazilian coast is considered disease-free. This area goes from Rio Grande do Sul to Piaui, with the exception of northern Espirito Santo and southern Bahia.

For more information, please check with the nearest Brazil Consulate and also with your physician.


Medical Insurance

Travel insurance is a great way to protect your travel investment. By choosing to offer travel insurance, your travel agent is providing you a financial safety net for most unforeseen travel inconveniences. Allianz Travel Insurance plans have been created to suit most any traveler’s coverage needs. For your peace of mind, we strongly suggest you to purchase travel insurance. For more information, please visit: Allianz Global Assistance or contact us for a personalized quote.


Clothing and Wheather

Brazil has climates for all tastes, thanks to its large territory combined with factors such as altitude, pressure and proximity to the ocean. The average annual temperature is 28 C (82 F) in the North and 20 C (68 F) in the South. Brazilian winter is from May to September, and in some cities in the South and Southeast temperatures fall below 0 C (32 F), with frost and snow.

In the summer, in turn, you can enjoy a hot 40 C (104 F) in Rio de Janeiro, for example. Summer in Brazil is the best time to go to the beach, drink coconut water, plunge into the sea and get a tan. However, regardless of the season it’s always advisable to pack a coat and trousers, because the weather can change suddenly in some localities, especially in mountain and coastal regions.


Currency

The currency of Brazil is the Real (R$). Dollars and travelers checks can be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels. The exchange rate is published daily in newspapers and on specialized websites. We strongly recommend against exchanging your money with a street vendor. It is a good idea to have with you some small denomination bills (for tips and small shopping along the roads). US-Dollars are welcome almost everywhere; however, should you prefer to exchange your currency for Brazilean Reales, we recommend you to avoid the kiosks and/or booths at the International Airport since they usually charge a lot for the service. Exchanging currency at the hotels or at any bank will be always safer and less expensive.

Keep in mind that most major credit cards are widely accepted.

For your convenience, below you will find a currency converter. Please keep in mind that this is an external third-party tool and it is provided for illustrative purposes only.

Voltage and Electrical Outlets

Voltage in Brazil varies between 110V and 220V 60Hz, depending on the region. Check out the voltage distribution list in Brazil:

110V: Bahia, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo

220V: Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Ceara, Distrito Federal, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Para, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sergipe, Tocantins.

Also be aware that many electrical outlets in Brazil that will only accept a standard Brazilian two round prong plug. You may need a plug adapter; however, keep in mind that many plug adapters do not change the voltage but merely enable connecting the device.


Food

For over 500 years, Brazilian gastronomy has been a large mixture of traditions and ingredients that was introduced not only by the indigenous native population, but also by the immigrants. Each region in the country has its own specialties and adaptation to its climate and geography. The discovery of Brazil itself has a connection with gastronomy, considering the Portuguese caravels accidentally landed here in 1500, on their way to India and its spices. Due to the differences in climate, landform, types of soil and vegetation, and various people inhabiting the same region, it is very difficult to establish a typical Brazilian dish. Rice and beans, which preparation varies according to the region, can be considered a national unanimity. However, although the mixture of both is so characteristic and common in Brazil, it is not enough to summarize the whole complexity and richness of Brazilian cuisine.

Most Brazilians eat a “continental” breakfast consisting of fresh fruit and/or juice, bread, butter, requeijao (a spreadable cheese) or cheese and coffee with milk. The biggest meal of the day for most Brazilians is almo§o (lunch), usually between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Dinner or supper in Brazil is usually (but not always) lighter and can start anywhere from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm at night.


Language

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and is the only language used in schools, newspapers, radio and TV. It is used for all business and administrative purposes. Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, giving it a national culture sharply distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbours and also being a major factor contributing to the differentiation between Brazilians and people from the rest of South America. Brazilian Portuguese has had its own development, influenced by the Amerindian and African languages.

Many Brazilians in the larger cities, especially those you encounter working at airports, hotels, better restaurants, tour companies, travel agencies, etc., speak at least some English. Both English and Spanish are taught in many Brazilian schools; however, the farther away you get from the larger cities, the less likely it is that you encounter people who speak English.


Important Notice

Since the information provided above has been collected from several sources and even though we attempt to keep it updated, it tends to change, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.