One in a Brazillion.

Brazil travel guide

Brazil has won the World Cup title five times, one of its most famous players is Pelé.

Brazil has four different time zones:

The island Fernando de Noronha observes Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) -02:00

The south, southeast, and northeast observe Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) -03:00.

UTC -04:00 is observed by the states Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, and most of Amazonas.

UTC -05:00 is observed by the state Acre and the southwestern portion of the state of Amazonas.

For reference, New York is one hour behind Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. London is four hours ahead.

As of 2019, the country abolished Daylight Savings Time.

If you are a U.S. Passport Holder, you do not need a visa to travel to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities. For other types of travel, you will need to contact your nearest consulate to apply for a visa.

Passport holders of Japan, Canada, and Australia also do not need a tourist visa. You can stay in Brazil up to 90 days and after you can also request to stay an additional 90 days.

Visitors must provide proof of vaccination, printed or online, in Portuguese, English or Spanish. Unvaccinated visitors must give proof of a negative or not detected antigen or RT-PCR test taken one day before boarding. 

Source: Visit Brazil

Brazil has three major international airports in Rio de Janeiro, Sāo Paulo, and Brasília

Antonio Carlos Jobim/Galeão International Airport (GIG) is Rio de Janeiro’s international airport on the Ilha do Governador. You can also catch domestic flights from this airport or at the Santos Dumont Airport. To reach your destination from GIG, take an Uber. It will cost around 10 USD and will be a lot faster and safer than taking the bus.

Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (GRU)
is São Paulo’s international airport that also has domestic flights. The other domestic airport is the Congonhas Airport. GRU is located pretty far from the city center, so it is also recommended that you take an Uber to your destination.

Brasília–Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport (BSB) is another large international airport in Brazil that serves internationally and domestically. If you want to spend a lot of time in Brasília then definitely try to find a flight here! Otherwise, it is a lot more common to fly first to GIG or GRU.

The cheapest and easiest way to explore Brazil is to take domestic flights. GOL airlines has very cheap and reliable flights throughout the country.

There are, unfortunately, very few passenger train routes in Brazil. Vale has 2 lines, one that goes from Belo Horizonte to Vítoria and another that goes from Pará to São Luís.

In general, there are a lot more cross-country buses than trains. The buses also all have a very reasonable price. Check out this website to find reliable times and destinations.

Brazil is a safe place to visit, and travelers from different countries visit Brazil annually. That being said, foreign travelers should follow the same procedures as any other country to stay safe, especially in big cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

In case of an emergency, the phone number for the federal police is 194. The phone number for an ambulance is 192. The number for a fire is 193.

Safety tips:

Try to invest in a fanny pack and if you are going out at night, keep your valuables under your clothes. Avoid taking your phone out on the street, but rather, step into a store to check directions or make a call. Do not walk alone at night, especially on deserted city streets or empty beach areas. Uber from place to place after 10 p.m.

For Female Travelers:

Female travelers should follow the tips above, in addition to these:

Foreign women may receive attention from Brazilian men, but it’s important to not show any signs of distress or disturbance. Stay about your business, and keep moving forward. Keep an eye on drinks, especially when going to any sort of club or party.

Brazil as a whole generally has a tropical climate. As you move farther south, there are more temperate temperatures and the high plateaus can sometimes even experience snowfall.

The Amazon’s average temperature is from 22 to 26 °C (72 to 79 °F.) The Northeast experiences the warmest climate, sometimes climbing to 38 °C (100 °F) in the dry season. São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul’s weather can be compared to southern United States, while Rio de Janeiro is a lot more humid and tropical.

Other than the Northeast region, precipitation is fairly high so pack a raincoat and some closed-toe waterproof shoes!

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. Here are a few phrases and words to help you get by:

Bom Dia: Good Morning

Boa Tarde: Good Afternoon

Boa Noite: Good Night

Oi a gente: Hey guys!

Obrigada: Thank you

Por Favor: Please

Sim: Yes

Não: No

Tal vez: Maybe

Desculpo(a): Sorry

Onde fica o banheiro?: Where is the restroom?

Eu preciso um médico. I need a doctor

Você pode falar ingles?: Can you speak English?

Brazilians are generally extremely friendly and helpful when greeted properly. Saying hello, please, and thank you in Portuguese will go a long way.

Brazilians also tend to stay positive and hide their negative feelings. You could easily become a Debbie Downer of the group if you are being too negative.

In Rio, girls greet girls or guys with two kisses or a kiss and a hug. In São Paulo, it is one kiss for girls/girls with guys. In general, Brazilians are also very touchy so don’t let that startle you, unless someone is going too far then just let them know.

For appearance, you can wear nearly whatever you would like. Brazilian culture – especially in beach cities like Rio – is fairly casual. Wear your swimsuit on the beach only and then buy a canga (sarong) to cover up when you leave.

Do not bring your own towels, chairs, and umbrellas. Rent those at the beach and just bring a canga.

The real (plural: reais) is the official currency of Brazil. The conversion is around 5 reais to 1 USD.

Tipping is not required since most restaurants include a 10% service fee in the bill.

The standard voltage is 110 volts with a Type C or N plug. You will need a plug adapter if coming from outside of Brazil. Your converter should look like this:

It’s advised to drink boiled or bottled water. It’s not recommended to drink water from the tap in cities or rural areas. Get a filtered water bottle to save plastic! Also, avoid ice and pre-cut fruit.

Wi-Fi can be found across much of Brazil, less so in rural areas. Public places offer Wi-Fi, including: hotels, resorts, and coffee establishments.

If you are looking for a more reliable solution, buying a SIM card for an unlocked phone might be the best move. SIM cards can be purchased at the lowest cost through the phone company: TIM. It’s around 50R (USD $10) a month for 4GB of data and unlimited WhatsApp.

It’s recommended to travel via Uber. It is the cheapest and safest option. Be wary of taxis because they will often try to scam foreigners. If you do take a taxi, make sure they turn on the meter and double check the machine when you insert your credit card.

Brazil is a living paradox especially with LGBTQ+ rights. The current president, Jair Bolsonaro, is openly hateful and homophobic.

While gay marriage is legal, Brazil suffers from one of the largest murder rates of Black Trans women in the world. LGBTQ+ PDA is fairly present during Carnaval, but not so much during any other time.

Look for establishments with pride flags! There are lots of them, especially on Rua Augusta in São Paulo and Rua Farme do Amoedo in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil is still working on becoming an eco-friendly country. Pollution is an issue and recycling is not a common practice. As a foreign traveler, it is best to use reusable products to eliminate the increase in waste.

That being said, there are plenty of eco-tours and eco-friendly lodging options in the Amazon, close to Manaus.

There are many other ways that you can help reduce your carbon footprint while in Brazil!

  1. Buy a filtered reusable water bottle; Avoid plastic water bottles!
  2. Take public transportation. Rio and São Paulo have a very good bus and metro system that will take you nearly anywhere.
  3. Spend time outdoors! Brazil is filled with natural beauty and national parks.
  4. Consider carbon offsets after your long flight. For more information check out this website.

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Archeological evidence found in the region of Minas Gerais shows that hundreds of Jiquabu tribes inhabited this part of Brazil.

10,000 BCE

The Portuguese arrive in Brazil where nearly 2,000 different indigenous tribes lived. Soon after their arrival, the Portuguese export brazilwood (pau brasil) for red dye. This important commodity gave Brazil its name.

brazil wood


Zumbi dos Palmares, a fugitive slave leader of a quilombo (fugitive slave community), is beheaded. The date of his death on November 20, is today known as Brazil’s National Day of Black Consciousness.

Zumbi (1927) by Antônio Parreiras
Zumbi (1927) by Antônio Parreiras

Prince Dom Pedro, son of the King of Portugal, would declare Brazil as its own independent empire, marking the beginning of Brazil’s monarchy.


Brazil is the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery, emancipating nearly 4 million slaves. This leads to the collapse of the empire the next year and the beginning of the republic.


Christ the Redeemer, one of the seven wonders of the world, is constructed by French sculptor Paul Landowski and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa on top of Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio, Brazil
Christ the Redeemer, Rio, Brazil. UNSPLASH Robert Nyman

Getulio Vargas rises to power and establishes the Estado Nôvo (“New State”). This is when Samba music is appropriated from the communidades (communities) for cultural export.

Brazil Samba

Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira becomes the new president of Brazil who expands economic development and establishes the new capital of Brazil in Brasília.


Brazil is ruled by a military dictatorship where thousands were tortured and hundreds killed.


The TransAmazonian highway starts construction. The highway was never completed because of its major effect on deforestation. Since 1970, 91% of deforested land in the Amazon has been used for cattle ranching.


Brazil hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. In the midst of these events, the lavo-jato (car wash) scandal is revealed where former president Lula da Silva is imprisoned and the current president Dilma Rouseff is removed from office.

Olympics and World Cup

Far-right and former army general, Jair Bolsonaro, is elected to office.