We highly recommend learning a few basic phrases in Portuguese which will get you a long way when traveling in Brazil. In some areas it is not easy to find English-speaking guides, especially in the North-East. But the locals will immediately connect once they see you can speak some Portuguese. Do expect that the pace is slower and more relaxed than in Europe or USA. We hope the tips we prepared for you will ease the travel preps and will set you on the right way before your trip.
Visa and Passport: No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days for a British, EU and US passport holder. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.
Minors: for minors travelling without parents or only with one parent an official affidavit signed by the missing parent or both might be required. Additionally, please also have the birth certificate at hand as well.
Time Zone: UTC – 2 in Fernando de Noronha, UTC – 3 in Brasilia (most of the country) UTC – 4 in Amazonas, Pantanal, Roraima UTC – 5 in Acre and s-w Amazonas
Phone: + 55 Wi-Fi : Available
Electricity: bring an adapter, the socket has a specific shape
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. A few words of Portuguese are always helpful:
Hey, what’s up? : Olá, tudo bem?
Good morning! : Bom dia!
Good afternoon! : Boa tarde!
Good night! : Boa noite!
What is your name? : Qual é o seu nome?
My name is… : Meu nome é
Please : Por favor.
Thank you : Obrigado.
You are welcome : De nada.
Great! : Que bom!
Can you help me? : Poderia me ajudar?
I am lost : Estou perdido.
I don’t understand : Não entendo.
Can you speak slowly, please? : Pode falar mais devagar, por favor?
How much does this cost? : Quanto custa isso?
Brazil’s currency is the Brazilian Real (R$). Foreign currencies can be exchanged for Real (R$) in banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels. The US Dollar and EURO are the most widely accepted foreign currencies. Most major international credit cards are accepted, though not universally. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
We usually recommend to have some cash with you for small shopping, additional meals and drinks or tips. Especially, in the national parks it is not always easy to find ATMs and you might not be able to pay with card in some smaller pousadas or grocery stores. Estimatedly, around R$100 per person per day would be a good amount to bring.
Public health services in Brazil are free for foreign tourists. So, if you are in an accident or present any health problems, just call the Mobile Emergency Service (Samu) dialing 192 on the phone. The call is free.
Brazil is a country with tropical climate, so we recommend that you drink liquids constantly in order to prevent dehydration. Bottled and canned drinks are safe but do ask a straw; tap water varies from place to place and Brazilians themselves prefer to have it filtered.
Wear comfortable clothes and protect yourself from the sun with a hat (or cap), sunglasses and sunscreen. Avoid direct sun exposure between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Always bring repellent against insects, to use whenever necessary.
Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day, especially after using public transportation and visiting attractions with a great movement of people.
Avoid consuming foods that have been poorly prepared or packaged.
During cycling or hiking trips, take foods that can be keep without refrigeration and that don’t spoil with the heat.
To enter Brazil, it is not mandatory to vaccinate against any type of illness, but an international certificate of vaccination against polio is compulsory for children aged between 3 months and six years.
However, vaccination against yellow fever and taking anti-malaria medication may be necessary if you are traveling to central-western (Mato Grosso) or northern (Amazon) regions.
If you’re arriving from Peru, Colombia or Bolivia, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required before you enter Brazil.
Some countries, such as Australia and South Africa, will require evidence of yellow fever vaccination before allowing you enter the country if you have been in any part of Brazil within the previous week. Check the requirements of any country you will travel to from Brazil.
If you have never taken the vaccine, you need to take it 10 days before your trip (this period is not necessary if you have been vaccinated before). If you have any doubts, check the website of the Brazilian Ministry of Health and consult your GP.
According to the World Health Organization (OMS), there is a risk of malaria transmission in 96 countries around the globe. Infected people have symptoms such as fever, chills and flu-like symptoms at the beginning. In Brazil, the transmission of malaria is concentrated in the Amazonia that is composed by the States of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. In these areas, it is essential that you take certain precautions during periods of higher activity of the mosquitoes that carry the disease (from sunset to sunrise):
Use light clothes with long sleeves during periods of high exposure in activities such as canoe trips.
Apply insect repellent on exposed areas of the skin, always following the guidelines of the manufacturer.
Pay attention to the appearance of disease symptoms, such as fever, body aches and headaches.
In case any symptoms of the disease appear, look for the nearest hospital or health unit. Ideally, medical attention should be given until 48 hours after the first symptoms.
Most tourists have a good experience when arriving in Brazil, but, especially in the big cities, you must be careful not to become targeted by thugs. See below our tips about safety during your trip:
Sustainable Tourism and responsible travel are our concerns. Our programs always respect local customs of the ethnic groups in Brazil and leaving a minimum impact on the nature. We work with local partners and guides. You can experience Brazil along with the natives and the regions you will visit will share their hospitality with you. We will often take you off the beaten track so you will learn about the nature, customs and everyday life of different parts of Brazil.
By Air: Air service covers most of Brazil. Note that many flights make stops en route, particularly in hubs as São Paulo or Brasilia.
By Train: Despite its gigantic size, Brazil has scarce train services which are only operating locally. However, there are some very scenic routes, like the Serra Verde Express from Curitiba to Paranagua in the South, and the steam trains in the historic part of Minas Gerais.
Road Transport: Long-distance bus services are available throughout the country. Buses in Brazil are very comfortable and modern. Many bus companies will provide wi-fi onboard. However, sometimes the price for a flight will be the same or cheaper than a similar bus ticket. We would advise to fly wherever possible.
Boats: in the Amazon region as well as on the coast west of Sao Luis, boat travel is often the only way to get around. Also getting from Salvador to the beaches in the south of Bahia.