Traveling Luck for Brazil. Brazil, South America

Advertisements

Brazil is located in Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Land in Brazil is mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt.

Brazilian land covers an area of 8511965 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than the US

Brazil has borders with Venezuela for 2200km, Argentina for 1224km, Paraguay for 1290km, Bolivia for 3400km, Suriname for 597km, Colombia for 1643km, French Guiana for 673km, Uruguay for 985km, Peru for 1560km and Guyana for 1119km.

Brazilian flag Brazilian national flag (Flag of Brazil)

As for the Brazilian climate; mostly tropical, but temperate in south.

Brazilian(s) speak Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French.

Advertisements

Places of note in Brazil

Brazilian Map Brazilian map

Regions of Brazil

Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822 and a republic in 1889. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

Advertisements

Country Profile for Brazil

Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2001-03 real wages fell and Brazil's economy grew, on average only 2.2% per year, as the country absorbed a series of domestic and international economic shocks. That Brazil absorbed these shocks without financial collapse is a tribute to the resiliency of the Brazilian economy and the economic program put in place by former President CARDOSO and strengthened by President LULA DA SILVA. In 2004, Brazil enjoyed more robust growth that yielded increases in employment and real wages. The three pillars of the economic program are a floating exchange rate, an inflation-targeting regime, and tight fiscal policy, all reinforced by a series of IMF programs. The currency depreciated sharply in 2001 and 2002, which contributed to a dramatic current account adjustment; in 2003 to 2005, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains - particularly in agriculture - also contributed to the surge in exports, and Brazil in 2005 surpassed the previous year's record export level. While economic management has been good, there remain important economic vulnerabilities. The most significant are debt-related: the government's largely domestic debt increased steadily from 1994 to 2003 - straining government finances - before falling as a percentage of GDP in 2005, while Brazil's foreign debt (a mix of private and public debt) is large in relation to Brazil's small (but growing) export base. Another challenge is maintaining economic growth over a period of time to generate employment and make the government debt burden more manageable.

Brazilian natural resources include bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber

largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador

Brazilian religion is Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census).

Natural hazards in Brazil include recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south.

Travel Advice for Brazil

Brazil

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary, Local Travel and Health sections.  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Around 156,000 British nationals visit Brazil each year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Brazil is muggings and the subsequent replacement of stolen passports.  Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities.  You should be vigilant, especially when going out after dark.

  • The recent delays and cancellations on domestic and international flights have diminished but travellers should be aware that there may be an increased risk of delays over Carnival and the rest of the high season i.e. until the beginning of March.  Departure times should be checked with the airline or via the website of the main Brazilian airport operator Infraero before travelling to the airport.

  • Since May 2006, there have been outbreaks of violence aimed primarily at police and officials in Sao Paulo. However, attacks also occurred in Rio de Janeiro in late December 2006.  You should continue to monitor the news carefully.  If there is a further escalation of violence, enquire about the situation at your destination and on the route you intend to take there.  If you need to use public transport, use taxis where at all possible, and avoid areas near banks, police and fire stations and other public buildings like courthouses.  You should remain alert and aware of local conditions at all times.

  • VARIG no longer offers flights between the UK and Brazil.  If you purchased a ticket for this route before 20 July 2006, you should contact VARIG via their website (http://varig.com.br) or their office in the UK (telephone:  0870 120 3020).

  • Drug trafficking and use is a growing problem, with severe penalties in Brazil.  Do not become involved.

  • Dengue fever may be encountered throughout Brazil and outbreaks are currently occurring particularly in the south of the country.  Take local advice.  You are advised to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime
Levels of crime, including muggings, and often involving firearms, are high.  You should be very vigilant, particularly in major cities.  Street robberies can occur anywhere.  You should carry only small sums of money on your person in relatively accessible places so some cash can be handed over without delay if you are threatened.  You should avoid wearing jewellery, rings and expensive watches.  Dress down, and keep cameras concealed if you must carry them.  On no account attempt to resist muggers or other attackers as they often carry firearms or other weapons and will use them.  It is wise to deposit all valuables and documents in hotel safes.
Since May 2006, there have been outbreaks of violence in São Paulo State aimed primarily at police and officials, and a series of rebellions inside prisons.  There have also been attacks on banks and public transport.  The violence was orchestrated by criminal gangs, some from within the penal system.  The violence resulted in over 100 deaths. In Rio de Janeiro overnight on 27 December and during 28 December 2006, there were a series of attacks by criminal gangs against police stations and police posts and on buses at various points in the city.  At least 18 people were reported killed.  Policing of tourist areas and the express way from the international airport to the downtown area are being increased by the new Governor of Rio State.
If there is a further escalation of violence, it may be widespread and unpredictable.  Previous outbreaks have led to severe disruption to public transport. You should remain alert and aware of local conditions at all times.  Enquire about the situation at your destination and on the route you intend to take there.  If you need to use public transport, use taxis where possible, and avoid areas near banks, police and fire stations and other public buildings like court houses.
Slums exist in all major Brazilian cities; they are characterised by poverty and extremely high violent crime levels.  There are some respected guided tours of certain slums in Rio de Janeiro, and these are considered safe.  Your hotel should be able to give you further advice.  However, under no other circumstances should you attempt to venture into a slum at any other time.  After dark, you should avoid entering very quiet streets except under reliable local advice.
Thefts from cars are common.  There is an increasing problem of cars being temporarily hijacked, and the driver or passengers being forced to use their bankcards to extract money from ATMs.  Cash machines in many parts of the country often close or allow only reduced withdrawal facilities from 22:00 to reduce the risk of this happening around midnight (when a card’s daily limit can be withdrawn twice, just before and after midnight).  When in a car you should keep the doors locked and the windows closed, and take particular care at traffic lights.
The threat of personal attack is lower outside the main population centres.  However, incidents do occur, even in holiday destinations that appear relatively secure.  A number of sexual offences have been reported in coastal tourist areas.  Unaccompanied women, in particular, should avoid walking alone and should never accept lifts from strangers or passing acquaintances.
Credit card fraud is common.  You should always ensure you retain your copy of the transaction slip, along with the carbon paper.  UK cash cards are not always accepted by Brazilian cash machines.  It is wise to take sufficient funds in cash/travellers' cheques (preferably US dollars) to exchange.  Travellers' cheques are not widely accepted so some cash should also be taken.
Mobile telephone cloning can occur.  If your telephone is cloned your bill will show calls, often expensive, made using your telephone number. 
There have been reports of “date rape” and robberies after the victim has been drugged.  Do not accept drinks from strangers or drink from your glass if it has been out of your sight.
 
Political Situation

Brazil Country Profile.
Local Travel

The recent delays and cancellations on domestic and international flights have diminished but travellers should be aware that there may be an increased risk of delays over Carnival and the rest of the high season i.e. until the beginning of March 2007.  Departure times should be checked with the airline or via the Infraero website before travelling to the airport.

VARIG no longer offers flights between the UK and Brazil.  If you purchased a ticket for this route before 20 July 2006, you should contact VARIG via their website (www.varig.com.br) or their office in the UK (tel: 0870 120 3020).

In general if you use public transport you are advised, where possible, to travel by taxi in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife and Salvador.  This is strongly recommended for any travel at night.  Travel by public bus or tram within the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador is unsafe and while less of a risk in Sao Paulo, it is complex. In Rio de Janeiro in 2006 there were two incidents of hijacking and robbing of tour buses transferring British tourists from the international airport to their hotel including a hijacking of 19 British tourists on 25 November 2006.  Bus travel between major cities and travel within other cities is relatively safe.
There have been a number of incidents in recent months on the train and metro systems in Sao Paulo that have raised concerns among Brazilian transport authorities (and the press) about safety and security. The collapse of a metro construction site in January that resulted in a number of fatalities and caused disruption to road traffic in the vicinity, is one such example. This  is currently being investigated.

On arrival you should use registered airport taxis.  The various taxi offices in airport arrival halls sell pre-paid tickets for these.  You can pick up taxis from the many recognised taxi ranks around Brazilian cities.
In major cities there have been reports of incidents involving taxis with blacked-out windows and there are also reports that they are being used for criminal activities.  We therefore recommend against travelling in taxis with blacked-out windows.
If using a roving taxi check before getting in that it displays an obligatory photographic licence.  Beware of unlicensed taxis quoting low prices, but who later overcharge, threatening those who protest.
Road Safety
The Brazilian style of driving and standards are very different from the United Kingdom.  Be prepared to stop unexpectedly, and beware of potholes, slow moving vehicles, vehicles changing lane without indicating and going through red lights, and people/animals on the road.  Avoid driving outside of towns at night as vehicles without lights and other hazards can make it dangerous.
Sea Safety
Strong currents and sharks can be a problem off some beaches.  You should take local advice before swimming.
There have been cases of both armed and unarmed attacks on merchant vessels, including British flag vessels off the Brazilian coast and in some Brazilian ports, including Amapá, Rio Grande, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Santos.
Air Safety
Air travel in Brazil is generally reliable and safe.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Paedophilia and Child Prostitution
The sexual abuse of children is a serious crime and an increasing problem in Brazil.  The UK and Brazilian authorities are committed to combating travelling child sex offenders and the Brazilian government continues to crack down on those who commit such offences.  Those arrested and convicted can expect to receive long sentences in a Brazilian prison where facilities are very poor.  Legalisation in the UK, The Sex Offenders Act 1997, can be used to prosecute in the UK those who commit sex offences against children abroad and has already been used successfully in cases of British nationals who have committed such offences elsewhere in the world.

Drugs

Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil.  If you are caught trafficking, or in possession, the penalties are severe.

Driving Licence Requirements

Foreigners are allowed to drive in Brazil provided they have their original driving licence, their original identification document (passport) and an authorised Portuguese translation of their driving licence.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British nationals are normally admitted to Brazil without a visa as tourists or business visitors for an initial maximum stay of 90 days.  Overstayers risk fines or deportation.  If you wish to stay for longer, you should apply to the Federal Police for an extension before your initial 90-day period expires.  You should retain your immigration landing card (green) and enough cash to pay the US$38 or R$ 115 airport tax, if this has not been paid with the airline ticket; both the landing card and payment of the airport tax are required to leave Brazil.
The Brazilian Immigration Authorities are vigilant for visitors claiming to be business visitors when in fact the intention is to work in Brazil – eg undertaking training, equipment maintenance etc.  This is a particularly serious issue for the oil and gas industry.
There are additional requirements for all children under 18 entering and/or transiting Brazil without their parents or legal guardian (i.e. on a school trip).  You should contact your nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date advice on requirements.  A travel authorisation form may be required, which can be found in Portuguese and English on the website of the Brazilian Embassy in the UK at:  www.brazil.org.uk.
If unsure about entry requirements for your journey to Brazil you should contact the nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate: Brazilian Representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.

Malaria is a risk in some northern parts of Brazil.  You may need to take anti malarial medication, depending on the areas to be visited: - take medical advice before travelling.
Dengue fever may be encountered throughout the country and outbreaks are currently occurring particularly in the south of the country.  Health authorities in Brazil have recently declared a health alert in the state of Mato Grosso du Sul (which includes the Pantanal) due to the increase in cases of dengue fever so far this year.  Other states particularly affected by dengue are Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Parana (which includes Iguaçu Falls) and Pernambuco.  There is no effective treatment for dengue, which has severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal to the elderly or very young.  You are advised to take advice on local conditions when travelling within Brazil and to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents. 
A recent cluster of measles has been reported from the state of Bahia.  All travellers should be up-to-date with measles vaccination.
There have been some cases of cholera in the North East.  Yellow Fever occurs in large areas of north and west Brazil.

Rotavirus is also common.  The symptoms are severe diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.  This virus is highly contagious and usually spread through contact with an infectious person but it can also be spread through the air. If you suspect you may have contracted the disease seek medical advice.

There have been recent cases of people contracting Brazilian Spotted Fever, caused by being bitten by ticks.  If you suspect that this has happened to you, you should seek medical advice.

Chagas disease (or American trypanosomiasis), caused by a parasite, is widespread in rural and poor areas of Brazil.  The vector insects are usually found in the walls of poorly constructed dwellings that may be made of mud and thatch.  Most infections are mild or asymptomatic but may be more severe in children.  Treatment can be difficult in all stages of disease, and after many years intestinal or cardiac problems may develop which can be fatal.  Early symptoms include fever, nausea, muscle aches and pains and there may be swelling at the site of the insect bite.  Until recently, infection was thought to be via insect bites only, but some cases have been traced to the ingestion of sugar cane juice and the tropical açai fruit contaminated with the faeces of vector insects.  Check hygiene precautions with the supplier before purchasing such products.

The incidence of some other diseases, previously confined mainly to rural areas, has increased substantially in poorer urban areas in recent years.  They include leishmania infection, amoebiasis, shigella infection and leptospirosisicterohaemorrhagica.  Symptoms may include persistent fever and/or diarrhoea.  However, these diseases are unlikely to be encountered in modern hotels in the main tourist areas.

If you have reason to suspect you may have contracted any of the above diseases, seek medical advice urgently.

Tap water is heavily treated giving it an unpleasant chemical taste but is safe to drink in most urban areas providing it has been passed through a charcoal filter system; you should check with your hotel/restaurant management before drinking tap water.  Tap water in remote areas can be unsafe even if filtered; stick to bottled mineral water, which is available virtually everywhere.

You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information on health, check the Dept of Health's website at:  www.dh.gov.uk

NATURAL DISASTERS

Flash floods and landslides, especially in poorer urban areas, occur regularly.  Following recent heavy rains in the north-east of the state of Rio de Janeiro around Nova Friburgo, Campos, Sumidouro and Ponta Grossa dos Fidalgos, 26 people have died and more than 12,000 made homeless. Certain highways have been closed.  Similar flooding and landslides have hit parts of the state of Minas Gerais in the south, west and in the Triangulo Mineiro (centre of the state).  Affected cities include Esmeraldas, Goncalves, Matias Barbosa, Novo Cruzeiro, Pouso Alegre and Itajuba.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help

It is a legal requirement in Brazil to carry evidence of identity at all times.  A photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport is acceptable.  Because of the risk of mugging, we would advise you to carry a photocopy and not the original document, which you should lock away in a safe place.

CONTACT DETAILS
The Consulate in Rio de Janeiro provides assistance to British nationals in the following states: Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceara, Piaui, Maranhao.  For information on Honorary Consuls in the area, please visit www.uk.org.br
British Consulate-General
Praia do Flamengo, 284/2°
22210-030
Rio de Janeiro  RJ
Brazil
Telephone:  (55) (21) 2555 9600
Facsimile:  (55) (21) 2555 9671
consular.rio@fco.gov.uk
Office Hours (GMT):
Mon-Thurs:  1130-1945
Fri: 1130-1930
Local Time
Mon-Thurs:  0830-1645
Fri: 0830-1630
The Consulate in Sao Paolo provides assistance to British nationals in the following states: Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul.  For information on Honorary Consuls in the area, please visit www.uk.org.br).
British Consulate-General Sao Paulo
Rua Ferreira de Araujo, 741 – 2 andar
Pinheiros
Sao Paulo –SP
05428-002
Tel:  (55) (11) 3094 2700
Fax:  (55) (11) 3094 2717
Email:  saopaulo@gra-bretanha.org.br
Office Hours:  GMT
Mon-Fri 11:30-15:30 and 16:30-19:45
Website:  www.uk.org.br
The Embassy provides assistance to British nationals in the following states: Goias, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, Acre, Amazonas, Roraima, Para, Amapa, Tocantins. 
For information on Honorary Consuls in the area, please visit www.uk.org.br)
British Embassy
Setor de Embaixadas Sul
Quadra 801, Conjunto K
CEP 70200-010
Brasilia – DF, Brazil
Telephone:  (55) (61) 3329 2300
Facsimile:  (55) (61) 3329 2369
Email:  contact@uk.org.br
Office Hours: (GMT) Monday - Friday: 11:30 – 20:30
(Local time) Monday – Friday: 08:30 – 17:30
Website:  www.uk.org.br
See Also: UK Overseas Mission: Brazil