Travel guide to Brazil

Passports
Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return date and have two blank facing page for an entry stamp. Soiled, damaged or defaced passports will not be accepted.
 
Keep your immigration card issued on arrival with your passport, as you will need it on departure, otherwise you will be fined. And make sure your passport is stamped each time you enter or leave the country (this is especially true for day trips from Iguassu Falls to Argentina and Paraguay).
Visas
UK and most European passport holders do not require a visa for holidays < 90 days. US citizens will need a visa
Health
No yellow fever certificate is required on entry, but you should be vaccinated if travelling away from the coastal cities, to the Pantanal or the Amazon. Malaria tablets are recommended for the Pantanal and Amazon region; the jungle areas outside Iguassu Falls (although not in the resort itself) and day trips to Paraguay. As dengue fever is present, a good insect repellent and anti-histamine are recommended. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. There are no other compulsory health requirements, but you should be up to date with your primary courses and boosters. Always check with your doctor at least 8 weeks before travel for any other inoculations recommended (eg Hepatitis A+B, Cholera, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Polio, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies and TB).
Currency
Brazilian Real (BRL) - remember to ask for small denominations, especially useful for tipping. At Iguassu Falls, the Argentine Peso is also accepted from those on day trips.
Language
Portuguese, although Spanish is generally understood in the south, with pockets of German and Italian but little English. Also over 180 indigenous languages.
Time Zone
Generally GMT - 3 hours, but ranges from -2 to -5. Daylight saving is observed in some states between October and February, when  the clock is moved forward an hour
Travel Tips
To ensure that you have the best possible holiday experience, we ask you to read the following information carefully. If you have any questions, please discuss them with us before you depart. 
 
Hand Luggage – pack essential items for a day or two in your hand luggage, in case your bags go astray and take a few days to catch up with you, especially if you have any tight connecting flights. 
 
Documents – take a copy of your travel insurance policy with you, and leave a copy of your passport with a reliable contact at home, in case the originals are lost or stolen. 
 
Electronic Devices – ensure these are all fully charge before travel, as you may be required to switch them on at airport security. Any device that does not switch on cannot be checked in and must be surrendered. 
 
Mobile Phones – make sure they are set up for international calls and turn off data roaming to avoid nasty bills. Be aware that some rural areas may not have cell phone coverage or Wi-Fi. 
 
Credit Cards – remember to inform your bank when travelling abroad. Credit cards are widely accepted, but always ensure you have cash when travelling in the countryside as some places may not accept them. 
 
Accessories – pack your phone (with charger and a spare battery pack), camera (with spare memory cards and batteries – a 200 mm zoom lens is good for wildlife photography) and binoculars (large 8x40 is best). If you are a keen birder we suggest one pair per person, as it can be frustrating to share. 
 
Clothing – as the tropics are hot and humid, pack in layers according to the season including T-shirts, shorts, jeans, sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, swimming costume and flip-flops for the beach. Pack a fleece for the Pantenal and in the winter months. If you are visiting the Pantanal or Amazon, pack lightweight but long sleeved shirts and long trousers to protect against mosquitos (safari clothing is ideal for this – at least 2 sets). Take proper walking shoes, a day pack, good head lamp and long socks (so you can tuck in your trouser legs and keep the insects out). Pack raingear and take a generous supply of insect repellent to spray on your neck, wrists and ankles and avoid using perfume, as this attracts mosquitos. Sanitising hand cleaner/wet wipes and eye drops can be handy, especially if you wear contact lenses. 
 
Plugs – Type N (similar to European 2-prong, but with third grounding pin). Type C plugs also work. 
 
Books – pack a good travel guide and a Portuguese phrase book. Knowing a few simple greetings will go down well. Also pack a generous supply of English reading material for quiet evenings and when waiting for flights, as these will be hard to come by. 
 
Water – tap water is generally safe for brushing teeth, but drink only bottled water. 
 
Food – Brazil cuisine varies widely by region. The larger cities such as Rio and Sao Paulo have a huge array of restaurants ranging from local churrascarias, where they bring meat out on skewers (generally the cheaper cuts of meat are brought out first, so wait for the really tender pieces) to high quality Sushi bars, Korean, Brazilian and fantastic seafood. The cuisine on the eastern coast around Salvador is uniquely Bahian and has African influences. Vegetarians and food allergies are well catered for. 
 
Taxis – in cities use only regulated yellow taxis, which run on a meter. Your hotel can also arrange a private car (fixed fee). 
 
Self-Drive – driving is on the right, although there are very few areas we would recommend self-driving in Brazil. Remember that all road signs will be in Portuguese and very little English will be spoken. Any valid European or American driving license is accepted as long as it has a photograph and signature. It is advisable to hire a sat-nav, as signage can be sparse in rural areas. Also pack some CDs as the local radio stations can be a little limited, and always allow some extra time to stop for photographs along the way. 
 
Tourism Tax - all hotels in Brazil add an optional local tourism tax, which funds the local Tourist Board. It is charged directly to each guest on check out, but it can be rejected. 
 
Safety – as this is a third-world country, take all sensible precautions. Leave valuable jewellery/watches at home, wear a money belt and be alert when outside your hotel. In particular, avoid taking out large wads of cash in public view and keep your spare cash in your hotel safe. 
 
Tipping – this is voluntary and should depend on the level of service received. We suggest the local currency equivalent of the following USD per couple, but this can be reduced for longer stays: 
- city guide & driver: $8/$2 per day ($4/$1 for half day) 
- overland guide & driver: $10/$5 per day 
- tipping box for hotel staff $2 per day 
- waiters: 10% if not already added to your bill 
- porters $1 per bag.
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