You are in for one of the most exciting trips during one of the most amazing sporting events the world has to offer. Brazil is an incredible destination, with a population that will welcome international guests with open arms. Like any large international city, it's very important to be aware of your surroundings. This guide is intended to equip you with tips and advice to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch!
Portuguese is the primary language in Brazil and the majority of Brazilians do not speak English. If you encounter someone at your hotel or restaurant who does not speak English and you are having trouble communicating, you can ask for a person that speaks English. Most establishments that cater to tourists will have employees who speak English, but sometimes you just have to ask for them.
To enter Brazil you must have a valid passport (and it needs to be valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay in Brazil).
If travelling from the US or Canada to Brazil, you will need a travel visa. You can visit any Brazilian embassy or consulate. It usually takes at least a few days to get the visa, so make sure you have enough time for the process to complete itself. A list of Brazilian Consulates based in the United States can be found here.
Too busy to manage your visa or passport request? May companies will help you manage the entire travel visa or passport application process for a fee. One that we recommend is CIBT Visas.
It is recommended that you confirm with your local doctor or health officials to determine if you need vaccinations prior to your trip to Brazil. You can also view what the CDC recommends.
It is recommended that travel insurance is purchased to protect yourself against cancellation penalties if you have to cancel your trip for any reason that is covered by the insurance policy. We recommend using Allianz to purchase your travel insurance. More information can be found on their website.
Brazilian currency is called Real and can easily be exchanged at banks or exchange offices. Avoid using ATM's at the airport, subway stations, or any public areas where the machines can be tampered. Most restaurants, bars, and shops take major credit cards. Just be aware of foreign transaction fees as some credit cards will charge you a 2-3% fee for any purchase made in a foreign country. You should call your credit card before your trip to let them know you'll be using your card in another country and find out the process if you need to get ahold of them while on your trip.
Tipping is not the norm in Brazil. If you receive great service at a restaurants, tips are very much appreciated (but definitely not expected). Tipping a couple of US dollars or $5 Reals is very appreciated by hotel staff (bellhop who helps with luggage, room service, maid, etc). Also, tips are appreciated if someone goes out of their way to arrange you a beach chair or something along those lines.
Crimes involving tourists usually take place in public areas like beaches, busy sidewalks, city buses, etc. Most crimes involving visitors are done by petty thieves who work in groups, with one person distracting you and the other person grabbing your wallet, camera or something of value. A good rule of thumb is to leave any valuables such as expensive watches and jewelry in your hotel safe (or even better, don't take them on your trip). Also, you should only carry enough cash to get you through the day and leave your passports safely in your hotel room.