South America’s largest country has a lot to offer travellers, and international sporting events like the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics means Brazil is more equipped than ever before to deal with the needs of international travellers.
Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are the two most popular urban tourist destinations. Visit during Carnival in the first week of lent, and take in six days of parades, singing, and dancing. In Rio, don’t miss the chance to look down at the city from above, from the Christ the Redeemer statue or from the top of the Sugarloaf Mountain cable car.
If it’s beachtime you desire pay a visit to one of the more than 2,000 beaches in Brazil. There are also 1,000 islands off the coast.
Climate change and deforestation has added an unfortunate level of urgency for travellers hoping to visit the Amazon Rainforest. More than half of the total area of the rainforest lies within Brazil’s borders, and the region is home to the greatest biodiversity on Earth.
Travellers visiting Brazil should book an appointment with a travel medicine specialist at least six weeks before departure to discuss the following health concerns:
- Typhoid Fever– Travellers to Brazil are at a mid-level risk of contracting typhoid fever, an intestinal infection caused by contaminated food and water.
- Yellow Fever– While not required to enter the country, vaccination against yellow fever may be recommended for those travelling to high-risk areas – virtually all parts of Brazil with the exception of a few eastern provinces.
- Hepatitis A– This virus is contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water.
- Hepatitis B– This highly contagious liver disease occurs in Brazil, especially around the Amazon River Basin. It is spread through unprotected sex, exchange of bodily fluids, or the use of a contaminated piercing tool or needle.
- Polio– Brazil has been polio free since 1989, though in 2014 an isolated strain of the contagious disease was found in sewage samples in Campinas. Risk is still low, though Italians should ensure this routine vaccination is up to date.
- Measles– As of early 2016 there was an outbreak of measles in Brazil, with the majority of cases reported around the northern states of Ceará and Pernambuco. Ensure this routine vaccination is up to date.
Could Mosquito-Borne Diseases Affect My Trip to Brazil?
Malaria is found in certain parts of Brazil, especially in the Amazon Region. If planning travel to the north and central parts of the country, speak to a travel medicine specialist to see if antimalarials may be right for your itinerary. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are not considered risk areas. Dengue fever and other diseases in the Americas are also transmitted by mosquitoes. Protect yourself against mosquito bites.
Travellers should be wary of the Zika Virus, another mosquito-borne malady that can lead to joint pain, headaches, and fever. The implications of the virus are inconclusive, though the Public Health Agency recommends speaking to a medical specialist about travel, especially if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Passport Health’s travel medicine specialists are ready to help you fight mosquitoes on your trip. Call us at +39 392 0056499 or schedule your appointment online today.
Brazil is a huge country and temperatures vary greatly as you travel from north to south. Here’s what to expect in a few key travel destinations:
Rio de Janeiro: Rio and other cities on the coast have warm climates, with temperatures moderated by ocean winds. The average temperature in these coastal cities is between 23° Celsius and 27° Celsius.
Brasilia: The central capital of Brasilia is a cooler, due to its elevation of 1,100 metres. Temperatures range from 15° Celsius to 30° Celsius.
The Amazon Rainforest: As can be expected from a rainforest, the Amazon is humid, with a much higher amount of precipitation than the rest of the country. Despite the humidity, temperatures usually remain in the mid 20’s.
December to April is the rainy season south of the equator, though the northeast region of the country rarely experiences rain and is the dryest and most arid part of the country.
Italian travellers are encouraged to take a high degree of caution when visiting Brazil because of crime rates and gang violence.
Travellers should be aware of their surroundings in Brazil, especially in urban centres. Gang activity is rampant, and what may be a safe neighbourhood can change as soon as you round a corner. Favelas (shanty towns) are where most gang activity occurs, though it has spread to transit hubs, tourist destinations, and highways as police try to crack down on crime. While some companies offering favela tours, visits should be limited and done only with a reputable tour company. Clashes between gangs and police can get violent.
Robberies in major urban centres are common and often involve weapons. Never resist someone who is mugging you, as foreigners have been seriously injured or killed for their items of value. Travelling in a group will make you a less appealing target. Watch for pickpockets and bag snatchers during public festivals, especially Carnival. Carry minimal money and leave your valuables in the safety of a locked hotel safe.
Public transportation can be dangerous for foreigners. Taking a taxi into the city from the airport is recommended, though you should always buy a taxi ticket within the airport. Ask your hotel how you can identify official taxis, or have them book a cab for you. Official taxis will always have a taxi metre to track your fare. Avoid hailing cabs from the street, especially after dark.
In addition to your clothes and other personal essentials, here are a few items to get you started on your Brazil packing list:
- Money belt: This is especially important if you’ll be heading to Brazil during busy periods of the year, including Carnival and major sporting events. Hardly no one carries a bag during these occasions, and a money belt that you can either slip under your clothing or wear as a fanny pack will mean you can carry the essentials hand-free.
- Waterproof phone case: Whether it’s days at the beach or exploring waterfalls, Brazil has so many sights you won’t want to miss capturing. Look for a waterproof phone case that allows you to still take photos and videos.
- Copies of your important paperwork: You should carry a copy of key identification with you at all times in case you get stopped. Unlike some other countries, Canadian travellers can drive in Brazil for up to 180 days if they bring their license, though it is recommended to get a Portuguese translation of the card before arriving.
- Portuguese language book: Portuguese is the main language spoken in Brazil, so you’ll have to switch gears if you’ve been travelling across South America and speaking Spanish. Picking up a small language guide to help with a few key phrases will simplify your travels.
- Sunscreen: Bring a waterproof lotion with a high SPF rating for your days on the beach. For women planning to buy swimwear in Brazil, the bikinis are often much skimpier than the ones at home. Bring a sarong to cover up if you’re not comfortable, otherwise prepare to slather on the sunscreen.
All Italians visiting Brazil should register with the Embassy of Italy to Brazil before departure. This will inform the office of your travel plans within the country and will allow them to reach out to you in the case of an emergency or evacuation. If you plan to purchase a local SIM card you can also enter your phone number to receive SMS updates from the office.
The Embassy of Italy to Brazil
Visit the Embassy website prior to your departure.
Italians require a visa to enter Brazil as a tourist. To get a visa, travellers must have a Italian passport valid for six months past the intended departure date from the country. You must apply and receive your visa before travelling to Brazil.
Once travellers obtain a tourist visa it is valid for multiple entries over five years. While most travellers stay 30 days or less, Italians can remain in Brazil for up to 90 or even 180 days if they receive an extension from local or federal police.
Italians can apply for a Brazilian tourist visa using this online website. Be careful when filling out your visa application – the name on your application must be identical to the one written in your passport.
The Brazilian government has created a special tourist visa exemption period for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. From June 1, 2016 until September 18, 2016, Canadian travellers will be able to get a free 90 day tourist visa. Travellers only need a valid Italian passport to be eligible for this offer.
If you have any questions about travelling to Brazil or are wondering what shots you may need for your trip, schedule an appointment with your Passport Health travel medicine clinic today or call +39 392 0056499.