Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country, dominates almost half of South America. Covering more than five-million-square miles, it spans four time zones and exceeds the size of the contiguous 48 United States. Brazil’s territory displays great topographical variety, including mountains, plains, rainforests, islands, and 4,600 miles of Atlantic coastline—a seemingly endless stretch of white and gold beaches. Brazil shares inland borders with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador—specifically, Uruguay to the south; ArgentinaParaguay, and Bolivia to the southwest; Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and VenezuelaGuyanaSuriname, and French Guiana to the north.

Trips to Brazil:

8 Day Ecuador Multi-Sport

10 Day Galapagos Adventure

11 Day Best of Ecuador & Galapagos

Brazil was officially “discovered” in 1500, when a fleet commanded by Portuguese diplomat Pedro Álvares Cabral, on its way to India, landed in Porto Seguro. When Portuguese explorers arrived in Brazil, the region was inhabited by hundreds of different types of Jiquabu tribes. The Andes and the mountain ranges of northern South America created a rather sharp cultural boundary between the settled agrarian civilizations of the west coast and the semi-nomadic tribes of the east. Very little is known about the history of Brazil before 1500, but at the time of European discovery the territory of current day Brazil had as many as 2,000 tribes.

The initial exploration of Brazil’s interior was largely due to para-military adventurers, the bandeirantes, who entered the jungle in search of gold and native slaves. However colonists were unable to continually enslave natives, and Portuguese sugar planters soon turned to import millions of slaves from Africa. Brazil was a colony and a part of the Portuguese Empire during the 16th to the early 19th century. 

Brazil is unique in the Americas because, following independence from Portugal, it did not fragment into separate countries as did British and Spanish possessions in the region; rather, it retained its identity through the intervening centuries and a variety of forms of government. 

The Brazilian government has grouped the country’s states into five large geographic and statistical units called the Major Regions (Grandes Regiões): North, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast, and South. The tropical North covers more than two-fifths of Brazilian territory and includes the largest portion of Amazon rainforest. However, the region accounts for a limited proportion of the nation’s population and economic output.

The Northeast, experiences some of the nation’s driest and hottest conditions, has nearly one-fifth of Brazil’s land area. The Southeast covers only one-tenth of Brazil’s territory but has two-fifths of its population and the greatest concentration of industrial and agricultural production in the nation. The region includes São Paulo, landlocked Minas Gerais and the populous coastal states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro. The South, which stretches below the Tropic of Capricorn and it’s tourist trade partly depends on the spectacular Iguaçu Falls, at the Argentine border. The Central-West includes the Federal District, where Brasília is located.

Entry Requirements

A valid passport is required for entry to Brazil and re-entry into the United States. Each passenger should be sure that his or her passport has at least six months of remaining validity from the date of return to the USA.

Advance visas are required in Brazil for US citizens until June 17, 2019, after which the visa requirement will be waived for citizens of the United States and Canada. Visas must be obtained prior to leaving the US. You can complete your application here: http://vfsglobal.com/brazil-evisa/.

Prior to arriving at your destination, the airline flight attendants will give you an immigration form that must be completed and presented to a national immigration officer in order to be granted a tourist visa. You must save a copy of this stamped form, as you will have to surrender it to immigration officials when you check in for your flight home. 

A customs declaration form for both the outbound and inbound international flights will also be handed out by the airline flight attendants and should be completed before landing. You only need to fill out one form per family.


No immunizations are required for travel in these areas of Brazil. If you have questions regarding immunizations or a health concern, contact your personal physician or local health department.


The climate in Brazil varies considerably from north to south, although it should be said that 60% of the country lies in the tropics. Year round the temperatures rarely dip below 20°C (68°F) apart from the mountains and southern regions. The climates vary from hot and dry in the arid interior to humid and sticky in the tropical rainforest of the Amazon jungle.


The international access code for Brazil is +55, and the outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0055 for Brazil). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (00 55 11…) for Sao Paulo. A mobile phone operator provides a GSM 1900 network, however you may encounter little towns and some isolated places in the North and Northeast regions that lack even basic analog PSTN telephone lines. Brazil is well connected to the Internet, 4G is available in over 140 Brazilian municipalities and has inexpensive Internet kiosks, available on street corners in most towns and cities.


The official currency in Brazil is the Real and is marked by the R$ sign. The country does not accept other types of currency, so it’s important to exchange money or take out local cash when visiting. When exchanging money, be it cash or traveler’s checks, always keep the receipt. You will need it in case you want to change back any unused Reais at the end of your trip.

You will find them everywhere in Brazil, even in the smallest towns. The only trick is finding one that works with your card. The vast majority of travelers find they are able to use the HSBC and Banco do Brasil ATMs. The U.S. Department of State warns that credit card fraud and ATM scams are common in Brazil. Visit only well-known financial institutions, and use indoor ATMs when available.

The most commonly accepted cards are Visa and MasterCard. Diners and Amex are less common, especially in small towns. Please confirm your travel dates and destinations with your card issuers before you leave the USA.


Brazil electricity ranges considerably. In Rio, São Paulo and in the most of southern Brazil, the voltage is generally 110 volts. In many Northern parts of the country, voltage is 220 volts. Many sockets have no ground pin. Plugs are typically 2 pronged round. Some sockets accept US plugs. Beware – this does not mean that these sockets deliver the US standard 110 volts. Make sure that your equipment can handle 220 volts; irreparable damage and even fire can result. Most laptop power adapters and many portable electronics chargers are designed to work on dual voltage; check the specifications for your equipment to be sure


Brazil is a federal presidential constitutional republic, which is based on a representative democracy. 


There is no official religion, but approximately 64% of the population are Roman Catholic, with another 22% Protestant. A number of diverse evangelical cults are also represented, as are animist believes, particularly the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé.

Ethnic Groups

Brazil is a melting pot of indigenous American, Portuguese, African, and other cultures from around the globe. Brancos, commonly referred as White Brazilians with European descents, are the ethnic majority in the country forming 47.73% of the country’s population. Pardo, or Brown People, is a race that combines Brazilian natives, European and African ancestry or triracial ancestry. Afro-Brazilian is a term used to refer to the Brazilians of the African ancestry. 


The official language is Portuguese, with different accents characterizing each state. Four linguistic roots survive in the indigenous areas: Gê, Tupi-guarani, Aruak and Karib.


Brazil has the world’s ninth largest economy by nominal GDP. After more than a decade of impressive growth, the economy slowed in 2013 and the country entered an ongoing recession in 2014. Agriculture in Brazil is the second largest sector in terms of employment and it’s the second largest exporter of agricultural products, principally soya beans, coffee and sugar. Mining, oil, gas, energy and the industrial sector play a major role in the country’s economy as well.


Brazil is generally quite safe; however, common sense precautions are still important. As a general rule, you should not be out in the streets alone after dark. Stay in well-lit areas. Keep money out of sight and in a money belt. Keep your travel documents in the hotel safe or concealed in your money pouch. Please consult your tour guide for additional safety advice.

Travel Advisories

Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travelers’ cheques.  Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

Be sure to inform your credit card company as well as your bank you will travel internationally into South America. This will eliminate any credit card holds for fraudulent activity.


We strongly recommend travel insurance for each traveler. Travel insurance is not provided in your tour package.