Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro
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Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro

© Schmid

Brazil Travel Guide

Key Facts

8,515,770 sq km (3,287,957 sq miles).


210,274,356 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

24 per sq km.




Federal Republic.

Head of state

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva since 2023.

Head of government

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva since 2023.


Brasília and Recife, 220 volts AC; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, 110-120 volts AC. Many larger hotels will have 110-volt and 220-volt outlets. Plugs usually have two or three round pins.

From the jungle calls of the Amazon to the thong-clad crowds of Copacabana beach, Brazil is an intoxicating mix of the big, the bold and the beautiful, perennially one of the world’s favourite destinations.

It’s also one of the largest countries on the planet, with an awesome array of treasures to match. Its vast coastline is fringed with soft sands and island getaways; the Amazon Basin teems with an unrivalled mass of flora and fauna; and the wetlands of the Pantanal, the largest on Earth, support a staggering diversity of wildlife.

And then there’s the Iguaçu Falls, an unforgettable natural spectacle featuring hundreds of waterfalls, which cascade from the tropical rainforest as blue morpho butterflies flit through the spray.

Undoubtedly the greatest draw, however, are the Brazilians themselves; probably the most hedonistic people on earth. Whether it’s Rio’s effervescent Cariocas going overboard at Carnival, or São Paulo’s sultry citizens gyrating in chic nightclubs, Brazilians love having fun.

Their irrepressible joie de vivre finds its best outlet through music and dance. Samba, lambada and bossa nova are Brazil’s best-known musical exports, but visitors can also discover a plethora of other genres, from the Northeast’s forró to the punchy bass of baile funk coming out of Rio’s favelas.

Adrenaline junkies can go wild in Brazil; shooting the big surf of Santa Catarina; bouncing in beach buggies over the sand dunes of northern Natal; snorkeling in Fernando de Noronha National Park; or abseiling in the Chapada Diamantina National Park.

Or you can take life easy and let Brazil come to you by lolling in a hammock on an Amazonian ferry, looking out for the occasional macaw, or browsing the backstreets of colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Paraty, which are lined with architectural monuments and chic boutique hotels.

Whatever you’re looking for, rest assured, Brazil has it in spades.

Travel Advice

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel   

Amazonas State

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the following river areas towards the west of Amazonas State, where Brazil shares borders with Colombia, Peru and Venezuela:  

  • along the Amazonas (Amazon) River and its tributaries west of the town of Codajás and east of the town of Belém do Solimões in Amazonas State
  • along any part of the Itaquaí River in Amazonas State
  • along any part of the Japurá River or its tributaries in Amazonas State
  • along the Rio Negro (Black River) and its tributaries north or west of the town of Barcelos in Amazonas State

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Brazil set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Brazilian Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Brazil.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Brazil, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can visit Brazil without a visa for up to 90 days for tourism.

If you want to extend your tourist visa, contact the Federal Police (in Portuguese) before your visa expires.

For more information about visas, contact the Brazilian Consulate in London.

If you overstay your visa, you’ll face a daily fine. You have the option to pay this fine either when you leave Brazil or during your next visit. You will not be allowed to re-enter Brazil if you do not pay the fine. Overstaying your visa will result in a 6-month ban from re-entering the country.

Make sure you get your passport stamped.

Make sure the border control officer puts a stamp in your passport. If it is not stamped, you may be fined when you leave.

Read about passport stamping if you live in Brazil (in Portuguese).  

At Brazil border control, you must be able to show:

  • information about the purpose of your visit
  • evidence you have enough money for your whole stay
  • details of your accommodation
  • evidence of return or onward travel

British-Brazilian dual nationals

Brazilian immigration authorities often require dual British-Brazilian nationals visiting Brazil to travel on Brazilian (rather than British) passports.

Travelling with children

Children with dual British-Brazilian citizenship

British-Brazilian dual nationals under the age of 18 who are travelling without all parents or legal guardians need authorisation from all parents or legal guardians to travel in Brazil or leave the country.

If they travel with only one parent (or guardian) or without any parent, they must have 2 original written authorisations from all parents or guardians. Read more about the formal travel authorisation process for Brazilian minors and the frequently asked questions.

You must show this permission when the under-18 leaves Brazil. One copy will be kept by the Federal Police inspection agent, together with a copy of the under-18’s identification document, and the other must stay with the under-18 or the adult accompanying them on the trip.

Children who are not dual British-Brazilian nationals

The Federal Police have sometimes delayed the travel of non-Brazilian under-18s who travel without authorisation from both parents. Families of non-Brazilian under-18s travelling through Brazil without one or both parents should follow the instructions for dual British-Brazilian under-18s. Make sure the under-18 or their travelling companion also carries the original or notarised copy of the under-18’s birth certificate. Contact the Brazilian Consulate in London for more information.

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Brazil guide. Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever vaccine.

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Brazil.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Brazil

Terrorist attacks in Brazil cannot be ruled out.

Protests and civil unrest

Protests, demonstrations and strikes take place regularly in cities across Brazil, with reports of arrests and clashes between police and protesters. They can disrupt transport. Even peaceful events can sometimes turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas extensively to disperse protesters. The effects of tear gas can be felt several hundred metres beyond the immediate site of demonstrations.

You should:

  • avoid political rallies or other events where crowds have congregated to protest
  • follow local news reports
  • comply with the instructions of local authorities

If you encounter a political protest or feel uncomfortable in a large gathering, leave the area immediately.


Favelas (‘slum’ or ‘shanty town’) are urban neighbourhoods of high-density informal housing. They exist in all major Brazilian cities and can border areas used by tourists and visitors. 

The security situation in many favelas is unpredictable. Visiting a favela can be dangerous. Avoid all favelas, including favela tours marketed to tourists and any accommodation, restaurants or bars advertised as being within a favela.

You should:

  • make sure the suggested route does not take you into a favela if you’re using GPS navigation
  • avoid entering unpaved, cobbled or narrow streets which may lead into a favela - tourists have been shot after accidentally entering favelas

If you’re unsure about a location, check with your hotel or the local authorities.

Carnival and other large-scale celebrations

If you are attending a large-scale celebration in Brazil, such as the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro or other major cities, be aware that criminals target people who appear to be wealthy or easy targets, for example, those who have drunk a lot of alcohol.

Be aware of your personal security and surroundings, and be cautious about proposals from strangers that take you away from public areas.


If you’re the victim of crime, contact the local police number 190 or the nearest British embassy or consulate.

Read our guidance if you’re the victim of a crime abroad.

Criminal Kidnaps

Short-term opportunistic kidnapping (called ‘express kidnapping’) can happen.  Victims have been kidnapped for a short period of time and driven to an ATM to withdraw money before being abandoned. Express kidnappers may use violence.

To reduce your risk:

  • avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewellery, particularly in public
  • avoid casual taxis, use official or pre-booked taxis instead where the driver is registered
  • be vigilant, especially at night


Pickpocketing is common. Do not go on to city beaches after dark.

If threatened, hand over your valuables without resistance. Attackers may be armed and under the influence of drugs. Do not resist attackers – this increases the risk of harm to you.

You can take steps to reduce the risk to yourself and your belongings, including:

  • avoiding wearing expensive jewellery and watches
  • avoiding carrying large sums of money – consider wearing a money belt
  • avoiding using a mobile phone in the street
  • keeping cameras out of sight when not in use
  • leaving your passport and valuables in a safe place, but carry a copy of your passport and another form of photo ID, if you have one, at all times

Thefts are particularly common on public beaches and include ‘arrastões’ where large groups of thieves sometimes run through an area of the beach grabbing possessions. Keep your belongings close and avoid taking valuables to the beach.

Robberies on buses are common in many cities. Thieves target mobile phones, particularly between 4pm and 9pm.


Bank and credit card scams are common, including card cloning from ATMs and in shops. Keep sight of your card and do not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious.

If you withdraw cash at an ATM and the cash has pink marks on it, speak to the bank (or police) straight away to get it changed. It may have been marked as damaged or counterfeit.

Sexual assault and drink spiking

Rape and other sexual offences against tourists are not common, but there have been attacks against both women and men. Some have involved date rape drugs. Buy your own drinks and keep them in sight.

If you begin to feel strange, sick or drunk after only a couple of drinks, tell a trusted friend or security staff. They should take you to a safe place, such as your hotel room or a hospital. You can phone the local police, a hospital or the nearest British embassy or consulate for advice.

Read our advice on what to do if you have been raped, sexually assaulted or drugged abroad.

Child sexual abuse

There are widespread cases of sexual abuse of children in Brazil. All sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) is illegal, regardless of the age of consent locally. If you commit sex offences against children abroad, you can be prosecuted in the UK.

Parental child abduction

Parental child abduction is not common but can happen in Brazil. Dial 190 to report a missing child or go to the nearest police station. Read the guidance on international parental child abduction if your child may be at risk of this.    


Theft from cars is common. Keep valuables out of sight.

Carjacking can happen, particularly on major roads and in tunnels. To reduce your risk you should:

  • approach your car with your keys in your hand so you can get into your car quickly
  • keep doors locked and windows closed
  • take particular care at traffic lights
  • drive in the middle lane if possible
  • avoid deserted or poorly lit areas, unless you have reliable local advice
  • be cautious of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night
  • If driving at night outside the city, avoid stopping at the roadside – if you must stop, try to stop in a petrol station or well-lit area

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and trafficking scams

Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil and the penalties are severe. The penalties for possessing drugs for personal use range from educational classes to community service.

British nationals have been targeted through email scams where fraudsters offer a financial reward for travelling to Brazil, where they are then asked to carry items out of Brazil, including to the UK. These items are often illegal drugs. Anyone caught will face detention for drug trafficking, regardless of the circumstances.

Electronic smoking devices

As of 2 May 2024, all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are banned in Brazil. Refills, parts, and accessories are also banned.

The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) prohibits the import, transport, sale, storage and advertisement of these items. Customs officials have the authority to confiscate any vape products found in travellers’ luggage (both checked in and carry on) during inspections.

LGBT+ travellers

There is no legislation against homosexuality in Brazil. Same-sex marriage is legal and LGBT+ couples have equal rights in law.

São Paulo holds the world’s largest Pride celebration, which is usually very peaceful. Violence at the event is rare. Pride in Rio de Janeiro and other cities also attracts large numbers.

Brazil is generally tolerant. However, Brazilian society is quite conservative, particularly outside the larger towns and cities. Violence against LGBT+ people is a concern. Instances of discrimination, violence and harassment against the community have been reported. Factors contributing to these concerns include societal attitudes, cultural influences and the presence of conservative perspectives. Urban areas can be more accepting. 

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Swimming safety

Strong currents can be a danger off some beaches. Get local advice before going in the water. Pay attention to warning flags and the location of lifeguards if present on the beach.

Shark attacks are a danger, particularly on the beaches around Recife in north-east Brazil. Pay attention to warning signs and consult lifeguards if unsure. Do not enter the water if there are warning signs. Sharks have been known to attack in waist-deep water and deaths have occurred.

See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society.

Transport risks

Road travel

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Brazil. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the 1968 version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well. An IDP is recommended. After 180 days, you need to apply for a Brazilian driving licence.

Driving standards

Brazil has a high road accident rate. Driving standards are poor. Take care on the roads and avoid riding bicycles. In many rural areas, roads are in poor condition away from the main highways. Bus and coach crashes are frequent.


Immediately report all accidents involving personal injury to the police: call 190 or file a report at a police station. Also call the police if the vehicles are obstructing traffic and you need help.

 You can report an accident:

  • at the nearest police station
  • to the tourist police (DEAT)


Drink-driving is a serious offence in Brazil and checkpoints are often set up. If you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be prosecuted. Penalties range from fines and a suspension from driving for 12 months, to up to 3 years in prison.

Air travel

Allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport for your flight. Traffic in the main cities, especially São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, can be very heavy.

If you have been a victim of a passport theft and you need to fly to Brasilia, São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro for consular services, you can travel on domestic flights with a valid photo ID or a police report.   

Check whether your tour operator has concerns about airlines in Brazil.

Sea travel

There have been armed and unarmed attacks on merchant vessels, including British flag vessels off the Brazilian coast and in some Brazilian ports.

Rail travel

There is a limited railway infrastructure in Brazil, and there have been safety incidents on the rail network.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Heavy rainfall 

The rainy season runs from November until March in the south and south-east (including Rio de Janeiro – see Regional risks) and from April until July in the north-east of Brazil. However heavy rainfall and flooding can also occur outside of the designated rainy seasons, in any region of the country.

Heavy rains often disrupt infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. Flash floods and landslides, especially in poorer urban areas, are common during heavy rains. Monitor local media and follow any instructions given by the local authorities.

Forest fires

Forest fires are common from May to September, especially during July and August due to the arrival of dry season. They are highly dangerous and unpredictable. Check the latest alerts and weather forecast (in Portuguese) and follow advice of local authorities if you’re considering travelling to affected areas.

This section has safety advice for regions of Brazil. It only covers regions where FCDO has specific advice.
You should also read FCDO’s overall travel advice and safety and security advice.

All regions

Heavy rainfall

Heavy rainfall (particularly in the summer months of January to March, and in the rainy seasons of November to March in the south-east, and April to July in the north-east ) can lead to localised flash floods, as well as landslides in regions where mountains are close to the coast such as Rio de Janeiro. This includes in tourist areas. Follow local authority warnings which are displayed on digital street signs and sent to hotels and hostels. Heavy rainfall and flooding can also occur outside of the designated rainy seasons, in any region of the country.

Avoid travelling on the road during heavy rain. Cars and buses have been caught in landslides, resulting in deaths. If you are outside when the rain starts, avoid walking in flooded areas, and do not cross fast flowing water, however shallow you think it is. People have drowned when swept away.

Rio de Janeiro

Protests in Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana beach is a popular location for demonstrations.

Organised crime and militias

Organised crime groups and militias operate in Rio de Janeiro.


Avoid all favelas – see Safety and security. There are favelas located around the city, including close to the tourist area of Zona Sul and Maré.

There have been armed clashes on major roads, including the main highway to the international airport, which runs alongside a large favela. Tourists participating in favela tours have accidentally been shot dead during police operations.

There is a risk of violence spilling over into nearby areas, including popular tourist areas. There have been injuries and deaths from stray bullets in and near favelas.

Theft in Rio de Janeiro

The most common incidents affecting British nationals are thefts and pickpocketing around:

  • Copacabana beach
  • Ipanema beach
  • Lapa
  • Santa Teresa

Tourists have reported armed robberies on the Corcovado walking trail to the Christ the Redeemer statue.

Drinking water

Problems have been reported with tap water. Only use bottled water.

São Paulo

Protests in São Paulo

Protests take place regularly and often without warning. Roads and public transport are frequently disrupted and there can be delays along the main road to Guarulhos International Airport.

Popular locations for demonstrations include the Avenida Paulista and the historic downtown area.

Theft in São Paulo

The most common incidents affecting British nationals in São Paulo are thefts or pickpocketing around:

  • Avenida Paulista
  • the historical downtown area
  • the red light districts located on Rua Augusta (north of Avenida Paulista)
  • Catedral da Sé
  • Praça da República
  • the Estacao de Luz metro area (where Cracolandia is located)


Protests in Brasilia

The Esplanada dos Ministerios is a popular location for demonstrations. See our advice on protests and civil unrest.

Theft in Brasilia

In Brasilia, the central bus station area has a lot of incidents of theft. Theft from pedestrians also happens across the city, especially in the central and southern commercial centres. Take particular care at these locations.

Amazonas State

River travel

FCDO advises against all but essential travel:  

  • along the Amazonas (Amazon) River and its tributaries west of the town of Codajás and east of the town of Belém do Solimões in Amazonas State
  • along any part of the Itaquaí River in Amazonas State
  • along any part of the Japurá River or its tributaries in Amazonas State
  • along the Rio Negro (Black River) and its tributaries north or west of the town of Barcelos in Amazonas State

There are risks to travellers in river areas towards the west of Amazonas State, where Brazil shares borders with Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, due to criminal activity. Armed groups, including pirates and drug traffickers, travel by the river routes in the Amazonas state where is there is low presence of police and local authorities.

Be aware of safety procedures on board vessels and check the location of life jackets, including for children if travelling with them. Boat accidents on the Amazon River are not uncommon.

North-east Brazil

Theft in north-east Brazil

The most common incidents affecting British nationals in north-east Brazil are theft from hotel and motel rooms and muggings. Reduce the risk of being mugged by avoiding quiet or deserted areas and by using taxis after sunset instead of walking.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 192 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccinations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Brazil, including:

  • yellow fever
  • dengue
  • chikungunya
  • high UV levels

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Brazil. Read more about altitude sickness on TravelHealthPro

There is an increase of Dengue in Brazil. Local authorities have declared states of emergency have been introduced in multiple regions of the country, including in Rio de Janeiro State. Dengue is spread by mosquitos, take extra steps to avoid being bitten. Read TravelHealthPro’s Brazil page and information on avoiding insect and tick bites.


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

If you’re taking medication, bring a prescription or letter from your doctor confirming your need to carry the medication. Bring enough to last your whole trip, as some medicines may not be available locally. Counterfeit drugs can be an issue, so it’s better to travel with your own supplies.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare facilities in Brazil

Foreign nationals are entitled to emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals. Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be overcrowded and there’s often a long wait for a bed and a lack of medication. Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can show evidence of enough money or insurance to cover your treatment.

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Brazil.  

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Brazil.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Brazil

Ambulance: 192

Fire: 193

Police: 190

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Brazil and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Brasilia or the British consulates in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife and Belo Horizonte.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.