Brazil remains a destination that, although frequented by and ideal for tourists, still exudes an air of mystery and intrigue. This is especially true of the rainforest areas and those places that are still home to local native tribes. The lack of information about some areas (such as the Amazon Rainforest, for example) has led some potential visitors to steer clear of Brazil, unsure of what they can expect. The following questions are frequently asked and relevant to travellers of all kinds:
Q: At what time of year should I visit Brazil?
A: This depends very much on the type of climate you want to experience. Brazil is large, and stretches from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to inland areas of South America. Therefore, the different parts of the country have different types of climates. However, the following examples may help you to decide:
The Pantanal, the Amazon Rainforest and the Amazon Rivers are hot and humid. While they are wet all year round, there is a drier season, which extends between April and September. This provides visitors with more opportunities to see the sights and with better visibility.
Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, São Paulo, and Salvador are very popular tourist destinations and are best between October and April.
Iguazu Falls experiences a fairly unchanging climate (tropical) throughout the year, not limiting tourists at all.
Q: Will I get some tropical disease in the jungles or countryside of Brazil?
A: The towns and cities of Brazil are large and densely populated. They have excellent infrastructure, and are not rural or ill-equipped. Therefore, it is only when visiting the areas further afield (such as the rainforests, mountains, and so on), that one needs to exercise caution in terms of health matters. Even then, it is seldom that anybody contracts a harmful disease. Travellers are far more likely to suffer the effects of rich or spicy foods to which they are not accustomed. Malaria is a fairly common threat, though, and all travellers are advised to take anti-malarial prophylaxes before and during their trip, and can take further protective measures (such as using insect repellent, sleeping under mosquito nets, burning citronella candles, and so on) for added safety.
Q: What vaccinations are required when planning a trip to Brazil?
A: Vaccination against Yellow Fever is recommended by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) for most areas of Brazil. However, travellers that will not be leaving busy cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo should not require this vaccine. Other recommended vaccinations (many of which are administered during infancy anyway) are:
• Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
• Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus (DPT)
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
You should see a travel clinic or doctor about six weeks before your departure date, as some vaccines may take some time to be effective.
Q: Do I need a VISA / passport to travel to Brazil?
A: Although it is best to consult and confirm with your local Brazilian embassy, the following requirements are usually stipulated:
For residents of the United States of America, Australia and Canada - a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry into Brazil, a stamped VISA that is valid for 90 days from the date of issue, a return ticket (or an onward ticket), and enough money to last for your entire stay.
For European citizens (with the exception of those in Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta, who all require a VISA) - a passport valid for at least six months from the date of your entry into Brazil, an onward or return ticket, and enough money to cover your stay in the country.
Q: What are the standard wall currents and electrical socket shapes?
A: The standard voltage in Brazil is 110/220 volts and the frequency is 60 HZ.
There are three types of plugs – 1) Flat blade attachment plug, 2) Flat blades with round grounding pin, and 3) European 2-pin.
Q: How do I get around once I’m in Brazil?
A: If you are travelling from one state to another, you will likely need to go by aeroplane. However, public taxis and buses are also available.
Q: What are the main must-sees in Brazil?
A: Brazil is brimming with things to do and see. However, the following items are recommended for any visitor’s itinerary:
- Iguaçu or Iguazu Falls
- The Amazon River and Rainforest
- Rio de Janeiro
- Salvador (in Bahia)
- The Pantanal
Q: How safe is Brazil for tourists?
A: Across Brazil, increased efforts have been and are being made to ensure that tourists and locals are safer, especially as it is the host country for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Like any destination in the world, there are areas in which it is safer, and those in which it is less safe. Visitors are advised to exercise caution and act responsibly during their time in Brazil, but not to avoid this magical destination out of fear.