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flag Brazil Brazil: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Federal police
Diplomatic Representations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Portuguese)
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

The Metro is an efficient means of transport in large cities. Taxi drivers speak very little English, Spanish or French but it is enough to state the place where you want to go. Late at night and for a woman alone, it may be useful to ask for the taxi's official number. In the daytime, outside the shanty towns, buses present no danger; you should just have your destination confirmed by the "cobrador", the ticket inspector, or another passenger. A bus journey costs 2 BRL, as opposed to 12 on average for a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride.
Maps of Urban Networks
Plan of the São Paulo metro
Plan of the Rio network
Plan of the Brasilia network

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
São Paulo - Guarulhos Intl (GRU) 28 km / 18 miles REAL 85 / 35-60 min REAL 30 / 45-60 min - Available
Rio de Janeiro - Galeão Intl (GIG) 18 km / 11 miles USD 15 / 20 min USD 2.50 - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

The safest and fastest is the airplane. Prices are within European standards. If you have time and a more limited budget, there is an excellent bus network all over the country. The train is almost nonexistent. There is an airport tax for travelers leaving Brazil by plane, which has to be paid in local currency at the day's rate, in dollars or in euros for a foreign company. Unless this is paid, the boarding card is not issued.
Rail Companies

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
TAM Major company Yes Yes
GOL Low cost company Yes No
BRA Low cost company Yes No

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

An extensive road network over 1.5 million km, but only 10% is asphalted. Expressways are rare, the roads are in bad condition and there are practically no road signs outside towns. Be careful and avoid driving at night.
Road Maps
Road maps by State
Find an Itinerary
Addresses and itineraries

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Different Forms of Tourism

Brazil has a very rich historical heritage, dating from colonial times, especially in the Nordeste (Salvador, Recife, Olinda, São Luis).
A more contemporary artistic dynamism can be found in São Paulo, where the country's main museums are located. Modern art is also expressed in architecture, on the scale of a capital like Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer's Brasilia. Musical wealth is expressed everywhere.
The Carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
There are many natural parks, in particular the "Chapada Diamantina" in Bahia, the "Chapada dos Viadeiros" around the Federal District and the magnificent Pantanal region in the west of the country, not forgetting the entire Amazon basin.
There is a strong Catholic tradition: churches dating from colonial times in all the historic towns of the Nordeste. It is also worth noting the Cathedral and the San Francisco Church by Niemeyer in Brasilia.
There are several hot springs such as Caldas Novas, Rio Quente, Águas Mornas, Santo Amaro da Imperatriz.
There are thousands of kilometers of beach in the country. Some urban beaches, with crowds of people; others are more for families, or there are developing seaside resorts where people are banking on a pleasant, simple life style such as Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte) or Jericoacoara (Ceara).
Outdoor Activities
Sport is widespread (jogging, body building, football, volleyball), as well as seaside activities (surfing, fishing, sailing) or walking in the natural parks.
Beautiful craftsmanship in the north and Nordeste essentially. Foreigners generally buy wooden decorative items, stone jewelry, musical instruments, cloth, hammocks, off-the-rack beachwear.
Tourism Organizations
Brazilian Tourism portal
Ministry of Tourism
Rio Convention Camp & Visitors Bureau

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
There is no major health risk if you are traveling in large Brazilian cities. If you go to the interior, particularly to the Amazon region, you should be vaccinated against yellow fever and protected against malaria and dengue. For further information, consult the World Health Organization's web page on International Travel and Health.
International Hospitals
The American Hospital in São Paulo. It is not advisable to go to a public hospital in Brazil. Apart from the language barrier, the quality of healthcare is only average, and there are endless waiting times. It is better to go to a doctor for slight problems or to a private clinic if the problem is more serious.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Ministry of Health
World Health Organization
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
The advice of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The US State Department

Emergency Numbers

Police 190
Ambulance 192
Firemen 193

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Recife, Brasilia, Rio, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre (GMT-3 in winter, GMT-2 in summer)
It is %T:%M %A In Salvador, Fortaleza (GMT-3)
It is %T:%M %A In Manaus (GMT-4)
Summer Time Period
Summer time from October to February.

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
A tropical area but there are 5 different climatic regions in Brazil. The climate is very mild in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, on average 19°C, and it is hot in Rio de Janeiro. It is better to visit the south of Brazil between September and November. The tropical climate in the north allows visiting all year, but be careful of the rainy season from December to March and the very high temperatures which go with it. The ideal time to visit Amazonia is the dry season, from June to September.
For Further Information
National Meteorological Institute (Inmet)

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
Arroz (white rice), feijão (black beans) and farofa (cassava flour) : the Brazilian staple diet. In addition there are three other components: carne (beef), peixe (fish) and galinha (chicken).

The feijoada, the national dish, is a stew of pork and black beans.
In the north there is strong Indian influence, with many fruits and tubers.
On the north-east coast, the cuisine has a more African flavor: chilis, spices and the delicious dendê oil (palm oil).
The moqueca, a sort of sea-food based sauce or stew, is a specialty of Bahia.
The acarajé, composed of peeled red beans, fried in palm oil and stuffed with vatapa (dried shrimp, with chili and tomato), is sold by the Baianos on street corners.
In Minas Gerais, they prepare the comida mineira, pork and vegetable based cuisine with kuiabo (a sort of bean) and tutu (fried bean paste).
In the south, the comida gaucha is prepared with meat.
The Brazilians are very fond of beer. Cachaça, sugar cane spirit, is a strong liqueur of which there are many varieties. The cheapest and most common strong alcohol in Brazil, it is the basis of many delicious cocktails including the famous caïpirinha. Wine is not so common and is generally only served in international cuisine restaurants.
Dietary Restrictions
There are no dietary restrictions in the country.

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Domestic Currency
Brazilian Real
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
Foreign currency is rarely taken. There are ATMs which take foreign cards in all the towns in the country. You should plan to have cash on you when you go to more isolated places (seaside villages, parks, rural areas).
Possible Means of Payment
Credit cards are often taken in large cities, but usually not elsewhere. Only 27% of the country’s payments are made by this means. Traveler's checks are accepted in banks and some large hotels in Rio and São Paulo. Cash is the easiest means of payment when traveling. Debit/credit cards are useful for those with bank accounts in Brazil.

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Official Language
Other Languages Spoken
English is the first foreign language spoken in Brazil. Spanish is generally understood by the Brazilians. French is still spoken by around 570,000 people across the country.
Business Language
Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Getting Some Knowledge
Use travlang.
Free Translation Tools
Lexilogos : Online dictionary
Eurodicautom : EU dictionary

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Hostel Brazil
To Find an Apartment
Property in Brazil
Directory of real estate agencies
RT Imobiliaria
Imovelnobrasil Brazil
Green acres
To Find a Job
Recruitment website
Manager online
People consulting

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Last Updates: February 2015