Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil Travel Guide

A vibrant and diverse country in South America, Brazil offers a unique travel experience. Explore the iconic city of Rio de Janeiro, known for its breathtaking beaches and the towering Christ the Redeemer statue. Immerse in the Amazon rainforest's stunning natural beauty and discover the magnificent Iguazu Falls. Brazil's pristine coastlines and charming colonial towns, like Florianopolis and Paraty, add to its allure. With rich culture, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, Brazil is a true paradise for travel enthusiasts.

Experience the infectious beats of samba and indulge in the flavours of Brazilian cuisine, from feijoada to churrascaria. Embrace the lively spirit of the Carnival celebrations and witness the blend of Portuguese, African, and indigenous influences. Whether exploring cities, venturing into the wilderness, or immersing in the local atmosphere, Brazil promises an unforgettable travel experience that will leave you enchanted.

Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT-2 to -4

Money

Brazilian Real (BRL)

Dialing Code

+55

  • As the largest country in South America, Brazil is an excellent place to experience a true taste of the continent while remaining in one country (although it is possible to get cheap flights to other South American countries too)!
  • Home to the Amazon, the world’s largest and most famous rainforest. You can take part in any number of activities such as jungle trekking, piranha fishing and swimming with wild dolphins.
  • Brazil is the famous carnival and party capital of the world.
  • Sun, sea and sand! With over 7000km of coast, there is no shortage of beaches!

Despite what people may think, Rio is not the capital of Brazil! At least no longer! After decades of planning, the capital of Brazil was changed to the constructed city of Brasília located in the central-western region of Brazil and it took just 41 months to construct - not bad!

  • Visit the icon of Brazil, Christ the Redeemer, on the hills of Rio. An awesome sight and a must-do in Brazil!
  • Visit the famous Copacabana beach and surf by day and then party at night!
  • Amazonia National Park makes up 40% of the country and completes any trip to Brazil. Whether you prefer trekking or boating, there are options for all!
  • Take a look at a different side of Brazil, away from the shiny lights of Rio and the natural wonders of the Amazon, with a tour of the poor favelas districts.
  • During carnival time (just before Lent) join the 2 million people who take to the streets in Rio with dancing, music and extravagant outfits!
  • Explore the history of Portuguese rule in Brazil by visiting the arty colonial town of Olina.

The national dish of Brazil is Feijoada which is made of beans, pork (ears and knuckles included) and dried beef. It is served with rice and garnished with green veg and orange slices. Brazil is also famous for its strong coffee, so you will have no excuse for not getting up the day after partying all night at the carnival!

There is no bad time to visit Brazil as the temperatures are pleasant throughout the year, although due to Brazil’s vast size different parts of the country experience different climates.

From December to February the summer season hits and temperatures in and around Rio reach a scorching 39ºC but the temperatures during the rest of the year hover around a more pleasant 20-30 ºC range. In the Southern parts of the country, temperatures are cooler but won’t dip past 15 ºC as a rule.

If you plan on visiting the Amazon basin you will be pleased to know that temperatures don’t usually go above 27 ºC but due to the rainforest environment, the humidity is extreme and, unsurprisingly, it rains a lot.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The largest lusophone country in the world, the official language of Brazil is Portuguese. European languages including English are widely understood in tourist centres.

Brazil is strange in the fact that it uses both 120 and 240 volts in various parts of the country. Both North American flat pin plugs and European circular pin plugs can be used in most outlets, but if you wish to use a British appliance you will need to take an international travel adaptor.

Drug trafficking is a widespread problem in Brazil and penalties for trafficking are severe. If found in possession of drugs, punishments include educational classes and community service.

Drink driving is not tolerated and will result in a fine, suspension or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

Homosexuality is legal in Brazil and the country has a tradition of tolerance, but some attacks on homosexual couples have been reported. Brazilian law has recognised homosexual unions since May 2011 and gives homosexual couples equal rights.

We have selected what we believe to be the key points that you should be aware of when travelling in Brazil.

Please note: Gap 360 follows advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and we recommend that you frequently check the FCDO website for updated travel advice. You can find the website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-development-office

Crime

Crime levels in Brazil are high and frequently involve firearms or other weapons, so travellers should take care and be vigilant at all times, especially before and during festive and carnival periods.

Don’t carry large amounts of money, avoid wearing expensive items and don’t have mobile phones and cameras visible. You should leave your passport and valuables in a safe place, but carry another form of photo ID (e.g driving licence) at all times.

Be wary of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night. If you are threatened, don’t attempt to resist as attackers may be armed or under the influence of drugs.

Car thefts and carjackings do happen, so if driving, approach the car with your keys ready so you can get in quickly, then keep doors locked and windows closed. Take care of traffic lights and avoid deserted or poorly lit places.

Although rape and sexual offences against tourists are rare, there have been reports of attacks, sometimes using ‘date rape’ drugs. Always buy your own drinks and keep them in sight at all times.

Robberies at ATMs are on the increase, and some machines have been fitted with an anti-theft device that applies pink coloured ink to bank notes from a damaged or tampered-with ATM. Pink-coloured notes will not be accepted and have no value, so if you withdraw cash with any pink marks, speak to the bank immediately and get it changed. If you withdraw pink notes outside bank hours or from an ATM which is not at a bank branch you should get a bank statement from the ATM which proves your withdrawal and take it and the marked note/s to a police station to get an official police report filed.

Bank and credit card fraud are also common crimes, for example, card cloning at ATMs. Always keep your cards in sight and do not use an ATM if anything seems suspicious.

Look after your mobile phone as there have been reports of mobile phone cloning.

Terrorism remains an underlying low-level threat in Brazil.

Demonstrations

Many Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Belo Horizonte can stage protests without warning, sometimes resulting in violence and injury. Take extra care and avoid all large gatherings and demonstrations. Strikes may also take place at short notice and can affect or disrupt transport and security.

Favelas

Favelas are shanty towns which exist in all major cities in Brazil. Poverty and high levels of violent crime are a problem in the favelas, although the government has recently implemented a Pacifying Police Force in many of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, which has improved security. However, all favelas remain unpredictably dangerous areas, with outbursts of violence, and you should take extra care, even if you visit on an organised tour.

Swimming

Some beaches in Brazil have strong currents and sharks are sometimes a threat so take local advice before swimming in the sea.

Transport/Travel

Petty crime is a problem on public transport, particularly during rush hour. The metro system is generally safer than the bus system in Rio and São Paulo, as there have been some incidents of robbery and hijack reported on tour buses and bus crashes are common.

Road accident rates in Brazil are high and many rural roads are of poor standard. During periods of unrest public transport can be disrupted.

Always use licensed taxis, which can be hired from recognised taxi ranks in Brazilian cities. Most airports have a licensed taxi desk inside baggage reclaim, which you can pay for in advance using cash or a credit card.

Brazil’s major cities offer disabled facilities such as easy-access public buses and lifts at stations.

Avoid using light aircraft which have poor standards of maintenance which can lead to crashes. Always use recognised national air carriers.

Traffic in the cities of São Paulo and Rio can be heavy, particularly in rush hour, so allow plenty of time if travelling to the airport.

If travelling by boat on the Amazon River, be aware that accidents are not uncommon.

Entry and Departure Requirements

You may have to demonstrate that you have enough money for the duration of your stay when you arrive in Brazil, plus provide details of your accommodation and evidence of return or onward travel. Ensure your passport is stamped when you arrive, or you may be fined on departure. Keep your immigration landing card which you will need when you leave, you may be fined if you lose it.

Natural Disasters

November to March is the rainy season in the south and southeast and it runs from April until July in the northeast. Heavy rains, flash floods and landslides are common and can disrupt the infrastructure, especially in poorer areas.

Health

You should be in touch with your GP around 8 weeks before you travel for vaccination or health advice. Dengue fever is common in Brazil, particularly during the rainy season so take necessary precautions against mosquitoes. Be aware that the sun can be extremely strong in Brazil, with high UV levels. Diarrhoea can be caused by contaminated food or water so we advise you to drink bottled water.

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