BRAZIL TRAVEL ADVICE:
Things to know before traveling to Brazil
Are you going to Brazil or this awesome country on your bucket list? Great, because it’s an amazing destination! It truly has it all: from pristine jungle to gorgeous beaches and from bustling cities to laidback islands. But before you go to Brazil, it may be very handy to be well prepared. Is it safe enough? What do you need before passing the border? In this article, Maaike from travel blog Travel a Lut discusses all the practical information about Brazil.
Best time to go
Brazil has two seasons: a dry season and rainy season. In the south, all the way from Rio de Janeiro to the border of Argentina, the rainy season starts in October and ends in January. In the northeast of the country, the area of Fortaleza and Salvador, the rainy season starts in April, so that’s way earlier. Are you not going to the north? You’ll have better weather all year round.
The best months to go to Central and South Brazil are May, June, July, August and September. Did you know this is also the best time to spot jaguars? The best months for the north of the country are from July to December. So try to plan your trip in July or August to have the best weather in the whole country.
How long should you travel
Brazil is a huge country so the distances are unreal. Are you a budget traveler? You will need more time because you’ll spend a lot of time in busses. But if you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can fly between some cities to save time.
In general, I would say travel for at least four weeks. During four weeks you can cover Central and South Brazil. If you also want to go to the north of the country, go for at least six weeks. I know this is a long time, but it’s too bad if you miss all the beautiful spots that Brazil has to offer.
Visa for Brazil
It depends on where you’re coming from, but most of the time you don’t have to apply for a visa, unless you’re a citizen from the United States, Canada, Japan or Australia. Then you need to apply for a tourist visa, which is valid for five years. You must go to a Brazilian Embassy and your passport needs to be valid for at least six months on the date you enter Brazil.
Because Brazil has a lot of nature, think of Pantanal and the Amazone, you definitely need a lot of insect repellent. In Brazil itself, you can’t find repellent with a lot of DEET in it, so I recommend to buy this at home.
Sunscreen and sunglasses are also very important. The sun in Brazil is very strong, so make sure you have a lot of sunscreen with you. I recommend using a protection of 30 or 50. A lot of Brazilians use oil to get an extra tan. You can do this as well, but make sure you use normal sunscreen underneath. If you are going to travel around South America but concern about not over packing, check this light packing guide.
Definitely pack summer clothes, like short pants, dresses, short sleeves etcetera. But you also need long trousers for the bus rides (they can be very cold because of the air conditioning) and a sweater. Don’t forget to bring good shoes if you’re going to Pantanal, Chapada Diamantina or the Amazone, and flipflops or sandals are also a great idea.
Brazil dress code
You can dress however you want to in Brazil. Moreover, the people in Brazil love to walk in bathing clothes, even in the city! You see them walking with no clothes on, especially in Rio de Janeiro. You can definitely wear whatever you want to and make sure your legs are shaved!
Don’t forget to check your doctor for more information about vaccines. Here are some vaccines you definitely want to consider: tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis A, diphtheria and typhoid. You also have to get medications for malaria, as malaria is common in Brazil. And consider a vaccine for rabies.
You don’t want to get bitten by a dog or monkey and get very sick or even die real soon. These are the vaccines that are all recommended by some doctors. Check with your own GP and see if you actually need it, depending on the places you want to visit during your round-trip.
A yellow fever vaccination is required, so don’t forget this one! This one is definitely the most important vaccination. If you are going somewhere else after Brazil like to Colombia you will need to present a Yellow Fever Vaccine Certificate, get one at home or you can get on in Brazil for free but it takes 10 days before you can leave Brazil after the shot.
How to stay safe
Brazil is not a safe country for tourists. Especially in Rio de Janeiro and the surroundings a lot of stuff gets stolen. Also, my stuff has been stolen in Rio de Janeiro, so you really have to be careful. Make sure you don’t wear a lot of valuable items when you’re walking down the streets.
Are you with someone? Bring one phone for the two of you, so you’ll always have a phone when this one gets stolen. Don’t walk with credit cards, leave them at your hotel. Do you need to take cash from a machine? Take your money, bring this to your hotel (including your card) and then get out again.
In Brazil, a lot of people drink alcohol, but they’re not annoying. They love to have a good time, so go with the flow. In Rio de Janeiro a lot of men will probably offer you drugs, like cocaine, say no and walk further. They won’t bother you.
If you are a member of LGBTQ+ community and worried about the safety situation for yourself, I highly recommend you check out this gay guide to Rio De Janeiro for more accurate information.
The homeless people can be a bit scary sometimes. They yell at you, want money from you and they can be a bit aggressive. Never give money, because they will probably buy drugs from it instead of food. The best way is to simply ignore them and walk further or go the other way around if you notice a homeless person is aggressive.
If you’re in the big cities, always ask your hostel or hotel if you can walk down the streets in the evenings. Which areas are safe and which areas should you skip? This is always helpful, they know the city the best.
How to get around
In Brazil, they’re a lot of ways to get around. For big distances, you can take the airplane. For example: go from Rio de Janeiro to the Iguacu-falls by plane and from the Iguacu-falls to Campo Grande. From here you can fly to Salvador, so you have covered Central and South Brazil.
Look at Skyscanner for the best rates and companies. But you can also take the bus. Brazil has a lot of busses and this is a very common way to get around. The bus rides are very long, but if you bring a blanket or sarong for the night you’re all good.
You can take taxis everywhere in Brazil. Just ask them if they want to put on the meter so you always have a fair rate. In my experience, the taxis never scam you, so that’s great. They even have an application for taxis. Order the taxi on the app, where you can see the price before you even get in. They put the meter on anyway, but you pay the price the app shows. And most of the time that’s cheaper.
An Uber is also possible, but only in the cities. It’s not illegal and the UBER is fine, so this is safe. But I’ve noticed that the prices are the same comparing to a normal taxi, so I prefer taking the taxi.
Enjoy your time
Most importantly, enjoy this awesome country. It’s not the cheapest country, but it’s not as expensive as everyone says. Make sure you don’t bring a lot of valuable stuff when you’re going outside and you will be totally fine. Have fun and take care.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maaike Lut is a Dutch travel writer, exploring the world as much as possible. She's traveling full-time for more than six months now and she can't get enough. She love to travel with her backpack, but she's also in for a good road trip. On her travel blog Travel a Lut, Maaike give her best tips for destinations all over the world, but she also give practical tips, like how to fly as cheap as possible. Find out more about her on Facebook and Instagram.
All photos in this post are copyrighted to travelalut.com, unless stated - A Mary Road used them with permission
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