- General Info
- Health Risks
- Insect Threats
- Water Quality
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
Brazil is South America's largest country, offering a bounty of diverse experiences for the traveler. In Rio de Janeiro, home to the world famous Carnaval, one can relax on the beach by day and dance all night. The delightful, colonial city of Salvador da Bahia offers attractive architecture, more great beaches, and a wonderful view from the Elevador Lacerda that connects the lower city to the upper. Take an Amazon boat tour through dense rainforest for wildlife spotting, and if you are a birder, make sure you don't miss The Panatal.
Language: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French.
Major International Airports Include:
|Rio de Janiero||Rio de Janiero Int'l||GIG||9 miles NE|
|Sao Paulo||Congonhas Airport||CGH||9 miles S|
|Sao Paulo||Sao Paulo Int'l||GRU||18 miles NE|
Food and waterborne diseases are the number one cause of illness in travelers. Travelers' diarrhea can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which are found universally throughout the region and can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (Typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.
Malaria is a serious, but preventable infection that can be fatal. Your risk of malaria may be high, including some cities. Prevent this deadly disease by seeing your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug (atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine) and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Travelers to malaria-risk areas, including infants, children, and former residents of South America, should take an antimalarial drug.
If you visit the Andes Mountains, ascend gradually to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude, which can cause insomnia, headaches, nausea, and altitude sickness. In addition, use sunblock rated at least 15 SPF, because the risk of sunburn is greater at high altitudes.
Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid nighttime travel if possible and always use seat belts.
The CDC recommends the following vaccines as appropriate for age (See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect):
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG).
- Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay >6 months in the region, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- Rabies, if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals through your work or recreation.
- Typhoid, particularly if you are visiting developing countries in this region.
- Yellow fever vaccination, if you will be traveling to endemic areas.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles.
- Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not complete the series as infants.
All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Don't eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Don't share needles with anyone.
- Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it. Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Those traveling to Brazil are at risk from dengue fever, malaria and filariasis transmitted by mosquito bites, plague from flea bites, and leishmaniasis from sandfly bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing.
With the exception of some first-class hotels, the water supply in Brazil is considered high risk due to viral, bacterial and protozoan contamination. Travelers should treat water before drinking to avoid potentially serious health problems.
Political and labor strikes and demonstrations occur sporadically in urban areas and may cause temporary disruption to public transportation. By nature protests, anywhere in the world, have the potential to turn violent. While it is unlikely that U.S. citizens would be targeted during such events, U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Brazil are advised to take common-sense precautions and avoid any large gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest. Individuals with ties to criminal entities operate along the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These organizations are involved in the trafficking of illicit goods, and some individuals in the area are financially supporting designated foreign terrorist organizations. The three countries have notably stepped up cross-border law enforcement efforts and are working together, supported by the U.S. government, to combat illegal activities in that area. U.S. citizens crossing into Paraguay or Argentina in that area may wish to consult the Consular Information Sheets for those countries.
Colombian terrorist groups have been known to operate in the border areas of neighboring countries. Although there have been reports of isolated small-scale armed incursions from Colombia into Brazil in the past, we know of no specific threat directed against U.S. citizens across the border in Brazil at this time. Colombian groups, however, are openly targeting U.S. citizens for kidnapping in border areas of Venezuela, and have perpetrated kidnappings of residents and tourists in border areas of Panama. Therefore, U.S. citizens traveling or residing in areas of Brazil near the Colombian Border are urged to exercise caution. U.S. citizens are urged to take care when visiting remote parts of the Amazon basin. Recent cases of violence against U.S. citizens' interests, U.S. fishermen and other adventure tourists detained by angry indigenous people (or their Brazilian Government representatives - FUNAI) for trespassing on protected land, and tourists lost in the forest for a week, underline the risks inherent in visiting one of the world's great wildernesses. U.S. visitors should ensure that their outfitter/guide is experienced in the Amazon.
CRIME: Crime rates throughout Brazil have increased, but remain highest in the larger cities. The incidence of crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding beaches, hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs, and other similar establishments that cater to visitors and is especially prevalent during Carnaval (Brazilian Mardi Gras). Occasionally, crime against tourists has been violent and has led to some deaths. While the risk is greater at dusk and during the evening hours, street crime can occur during both the day and night, and safer areas of the city are not immune. Incidents of theft on city buses are frequent, and such transportation should be avoided. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists. Recently, there has been a marked increase in crime in the capital, Brasilia. Armed robberies of homes and vehicles, some violent, and street crime are becoming commonplace. Additionally, recent news reports in Brasilia have highlighted a series of "express kidnappings", where victims are abducted and forced to withdraw money from ATMs. In Rio de Janeiro, efforts by jailed drug lords to exert influence over the city, has lead to a violent backlash against the local authorities and businesses (see separate section on Rio de Janeiro).
At airports, hotel lobbies, bus stations and other public places there is much pickpocketing, and the theft of carry-on luggage, briefcases, and laptop computers is common (including some reports of thefts on internal flights). Travelers should "dress down" when outside and avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewelry or expensive watches. "Good Samaritan" scams are common. If a tourist looks lost or seems to be having trouble communicating, he or she might be victimized by a seemingly innocent and helpful bystander. Care should be taken at and around banks and internationally connected automatic teller machines that take U.S. credit or debit cards. Very poor neighborhoods known as "favelas," often located on steep hillsides in Rio de Janeiro, are found throughout Brazil. These areas are sites of uncontrolled criminal activity, and are often not patrolled by police. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid these unsafe areas.
While the ability of Brazilian police to help recover stolen property is limited, it is nevertheless strongly advised to obtain a "boletin de ocorrencia" (police report) at a "delegacia" (police station) whenever any possessions are lost or stolen. This will facilitate the traveler's exit from Brazil and insurance claims. Carjackings are on the increase in Sao Paulo and other cities.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/.
SAO PAULO: While similar incidents may occur elsewhere, all areas of Sao Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery of pedestrians at stoplights. There is a particularly high incidence of robberies and pickpocketing in the Praca da Se section of Sao Paulo and in the eastern part of the city. As is true of "red light districts" in other cities, the areas of Sao Paulo on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area are especially dangerous. There are regular reports of young women known as "Mickey Finn girls" slipping knock-out drops in men's drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious. Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles ("motoboys") are an increasingly common occurrence in some parts of Sao Paulo. Victims who resist, risk being shot.
RIO DE JANEIRO: The city continues to experience a high incidence of crime. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies on and in areas adjacent to all the main beaches in the city. Walking on the beaches is very dangerous at night. Recent efforts of incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have resulted in serious disruptions in the city, violence directed at the authorities and incidents of crimes against property, including after-hours shootings and explosions set off outside hotels and restaurants frequented by tourists. While these occurrences have not resulted in any injuries to U.S. citizens, visitors and residents alike should be aware that inconveniences such as closed shops and disrupted municipal services are likely. In Rio de Janeiro City, motorists are allowed to treat stoplights as stop signs between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to protect against holdups at intersections. All incidents should be reported to the tourist police, who can be reached at 3399-7170/71/72/73.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The Amazon Basin of northern Brazil offers an equatorial, tropical climate with little difference in temperature and daylight hours from month to month. The weather is typically hot, humid, and wet. Moving to the southeast, the Brazilian Plateau has a wet season between October and April, and the rest of the year is fairly dry. More seasonal temperature variation can be expected, with very hot summer days moderated by altitude - the higher you go, the cooler it gets. The southeast coastal area has year-round precipitation, and warm to hot days. In southern Brazil, the climate is much more temperate with warm summers, cool winters, and year-round precipitation.
|Rio de Janeiro||109||46"|
Brazil's electrical current is 110/60*220/60 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Please note: Not all electrical sockets in these countries provide grounding.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
A passport and visa are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil for any purpose. Brazilian visas must be obtained in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler's place of residence. There are no "airport visas," and immigration authorities will refuse entry to Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. All Brazilian visas, regardless of the length of validity, must initially be used within 90 days of the issuance date or will no longer be valid. Immigration authorities will not allow entry into Brazil without a valid visa. The U.S. Government cannot assist travelers who arrive in Brazil without proper documentation. In response to the introduction of the US-VISIT program, on January 1, 2004 the Government of Brazil began fingerprinting/photographing all U.S. citizens arriving in Brazil. In the first six weeks of 2004, two U.S. citizens were fined (an average $15,000 each) for making obscene gestures while being photographed at a Brazilian port of entry. Travelers are reminded that they are subject to local law, and that showing contempt to a government official is a serious offence in Brazil. (Fines for such offenses are based on the offender's claimed income.) Additionally, travelers who have recently visited certain countries (check Brazilian Embassy website below) may be required to present an inoculation card indicating they had a yellow fever inoculation or they may not be allowed to board the plane or enter the country. Minors (under 18) traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party, must present written authorization by the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent, or with a third party. The authorization (in Portuguese) must be notarized and then authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. For current entry and customs requirements for Brazil, travelers may contact the Brazilian Embassy at 3009 Whitehaven St. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20008; telephone (202) 238-2818, e-mail email@example.com; Internet: http://www.brasilemb.org. Travelers may also contact the Brazilian consulates in Boston, Houston, Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. Addresses, phone numbers, web and e-mail addresses, and jurisdictions of these consulates may be found at the Brazilian Embassy web site above.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The time zone for Brazil is -3 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Brazil would be 2:00 pm
The unit of currency in Brazil is the real (BRL).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
Traveled to Brazil?
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Other Travelers' Experiences in Brazil
"We had a wonderful 3 week tour with Elderhostel. Two of the most impressive places in Brazil for us was thr Iguazu Falls and the capital, Brazilia. The food and accomodations were superb"
- Lillian Belinfante Herzberg, San Diego, CA,
"i am in love with rio de janeiro . the city is alive with neg and positive energies but i find the people friendly and just average people trying to live. if i hit the lottery.. look for me there"
- cap manuel, chicago, IL,