If you’re travelling to Brazil, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
If you’re planning a trip to Brazil, we advise you to take all the usual and normal precautions.
Register with us
If you’re visiting or even planning to stay in Brazil, you should register your details with us so we can find you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or if you have a family emergency while you’re abroad. And, if necessary, we can offer help to you and your family.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Brazil before your trip. We also recommend reading our Know Before You Go travel guide for practical tips on travelling abroad.
Travel Insurance for Visitors
We strongly recommend that, before you depart, you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover all medical costs, including medical evacuation. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy.
In our view, if you cannot afford medical insurance for a visit to Brazil, you cannot afford to travel.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Contact the Embassy
If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Brasilia.
If you phone the Embassy outside of working hours and it is an emergency, the recording will give you a number for the Embassy’s Duty Officer. When calling that number, the Duty Officer will need your full name, the nature of your problem; details of your location and contact details - mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying.
And our contact details are:Embaixada da Irlanda (Embassy of Ireland)
SHIS QL 12, Conjunto 05, Casa 09
Brasília, DF, CEP 71630-255
Telephone +(55.61) 3248-8800
Fax +(55.61) 3248-8816
Website: http://www.embassyofireland.org.br Mr Stephen O'Sullivan
Honorary Consul of Ireland
Al. Joaquim Eugênio de Lima, 447
São Paulo SP, CEP: 01403-001
Tel: + 55 11 3147 7788
Fax: +55 11 3147 7770
How we can help you
We have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance we can offer you. But please do note the following in relation to Brazil. Because of distances and the fact that the Embassy is in the country’s political capital, Brasília, over 1,000km away from the largest cities, replacing a lost or stolen passport is complicated and time-consuming. It can and will be done but this is why we do strongly recommend making a laminated copy of the picture page of the passport and carrying that in Brazil as proof of identity with the original passport kept in a safe place.
Safety and security
Safety and security
The following is not intended to be alarmist; rather, we want you informed and on your guard. As always, the most practical precaution is common sense.
- Read our Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad.
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns and take sensible precautions about safety and security. For instance, don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- You are obliged to carry an identity document while in Brazil. However, as mentioned above, we recommend that instead of carrying your passport, you get a laminated copy of the picture page before travelling and use that for identification purposes, leaving your passport in a safe place in your hotel or lodging. You should also leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business. Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations. Keep your luggage locked.
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency.
- Inform your credit/debit card provider that you are going to Brazil to avoid your card being blocked for anti-fraud reasons;
- Check with your mobile phone service provider to make sure your phone works abroad, and store useful numbers in your mobile phone such as the local police and the number of this Embassy and the Honorary Consulate in São Paulo.
- Tell a friend or relative where you’re going and how long for - give them some idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number.
- Be aware that tourists are often targeted by criminals, especially prior to and during public festivals such as Carnival. Petty theft, such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching, is common, including by young men on motorcycles. Thieves operate in outdoor markets, in hotels and on and around public transport. Crime levels in shanty towns or ‘favelas’ (see below) and many satellite cities are very high. Tourists should avoid these areas, especially at night.
- Robbery and assault can also occur on Brazilian beaches. It is common for locals, for example, to take a minimal number of personal belongings to the beach and they leave passports, wallets and other valuables at home – you should do the same. Isolated areas on the beach should be avoided, particularly in the early evening. Sexual assaults have been reported in coastal tourist areas.
- Express kidnappings (called ‘quick-nappings’) and car-jackings, where individuals are abducted for short periods for a quick payoff from the victim’s family, business or ATM cards are a threat.. Park in well-lit areas; approach your car with the keys ready; drive with the doors locked and the windows up.
- If you are a victim of crime, you should cooperate and not resist. Be ready to hand over valuables if you’re threatened; don’t attempt to resist attackers, they may be armed or under the influence of drugs
- Travelers should avoid leaving food and drinks unattended in bars and places of entertainment as there have been incidents of drink spiking.
- When travelling in the cities use only licensed, metered taxis and, given few speak English, it’s a good idea to have your address written on a piece of paper to show the driver.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Brazil, make a report immediately to the local police. We advise you to obtain a “boletim de ocorrência” (police report) at a “delegacia” (police precinct) if any of your possessions are lost or stolen. You will require a stamped police report to lodge a travel insurance claim related to lost or stolen possessions. And remember, you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.
Social unrest and street protests
The political situation in Brazil is reasonably stable but there have been street protests in most urban centres in the country in 2013, protests which in some cases turned violent. These protests have been continuing at a low level since then but there are strong indications that they will reappear on an increased scale in the run-up to and during the World Cup. Visitors are strongly advised to avoid these protests and to get advice from the media, one’s hotel or tour guide before going out.
Favelas (heavily congested slums) exist in all major Brazilian cities; they are characterised by poverty and usually too by high levels of violent crime, often drug related.
In preparation for the World Cup this year and the Olympic Games in 2016, the police in Rio de Janeiro have moved in force into the favelas to root out crime and drug trafficking and to pacify the areas. You should avoid these favelas at all times.
There are some respected guided tours of certain pacified favelas in Rio de Janeiro. These are considered safe but obviously you should get advice from a tour guide or respected source before embarking on one. These aside, you should not venture into a favela and under no circumstances accept an offer from a taxi driver to give you a tour of one.
Although the threat from terrorism in Brazil is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
If you’re planning to drive in Brazil, you should be careful. Brazil has the 5th highest rate in the world with regard to traffic mortality and 40,000 die annually on the country’s roads. So be prepared to stop unexpectedly, beware of slow moving vehicles, of vehicles changing lanes without indicating; of vehicles going through red lights, especially at night, and of people/animals on the road. Pedestrians should not presume cars will stop at pedestrian crossings.
If you want to drive:
- An Irish driving licence is not legally acceptable in Brazil – make sure to bring an international driving license and make sure too that you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and, if caught, you risk being imprisoned or fined.
- Be aware of Brazil’s traffic laws, such as speed limits and of the wide prevalence of speed cameras.
- Wear your seatbelts at all times.
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your windows closed when driving and your bags out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
- If you find yourself in a car accident, the emergency number for the fire department/ambulance is 193 and 190 for the police.
If you’re hiring a vehicle, do not hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and get the agent to explain the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
For long distance bus travel, use a reputable company. If you’re in any doubt or in any way unsure about the safety or security, don’t board. The same is true for any road travel, including taxis and taxi drivers.
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
- Read our travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive.
- Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them.
- Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. Drug trafficking and use and sexual tourism are growing problems, with very severe penalties in Brazil. Pack your own luggage and do not carry items that do not belong to you.
Air travel in Brazil can be disorganised with frequent delays and cancellation of domestic flights. This is mainly because Brazilian airports are reaching full capacity but also because of severe weather and systemic weaknesses. Throughout Brazil, we recommend that you confirm your flight details before travelling and to be prepared for delays. Once at the airport make sure to check frequently the details of you departure gate as they can change, sometimes more than once, a consequence of the congestion, delayed flights and the allocation of gates to other incoming flights.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
- If you’re travelling to Brazil, make sure you know what to expect – then plan and pack so that you’re prepared
- Get local advice on how to manage in the case of a serious incident or dangerous conditions
- Co-operate with local authorities and emergency services in the case of serious incidents
Flash floods and landslides, especially in poorer urban areas, can happen at any time, especially during and after periods of heavy rain. You should monitor the local news and weather forecasts and ask about the weather at the reception of where you’re staying.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Ireland and Brazil have an agreement under which their citizens can enter each other’s country without a visa and as a tourist for up to 90 days. You will, however, have to be able to show that you are a genuine tourist (see below).
If you’re unsure of what the entry requirements for Brazil are, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.
In general, on arrival in Brazil you should have:
- Proof that you have or have access to sufficient funds (if you’re bringing a credit card, we advise you to carry a statement to prove the limit).
- A return or onward ticket.
- Proof of accommodation booked for at least the first night.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for your destination in Brazil. In general you should protect yourself from mosquito bites in Brazil as they can carry a range of diseases including malaria and dengue fever.
Malaria is a risk in some northern parts of Brazil including much of the Amazon. You may need to take anti-malarial medication, depending on the areas to be visited, and to cover up and use insect repellent in the evening and at night.
The main risk season for dengue fever is from January to March. There is no effective treatment for this fever, which has severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal to the elderly, the very young or people with underlying conditions. As well as getting medical advice before travelling, you should also take advice on local conditions when travelling within Brazil and minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using insect repellents on exposed skin.
In Brazil, yellow fever transmission is for the most part restricted to tropical and jungle areas. However, from time to time, an increase in yellow fever activity or an outbreak occurs in other parts of the country. You should discuss the immunisation and vaccination requirements for yellow fever with your doctor before travelling to Brazil. And if you’re coming from a yellow-fever endemic zone in another South American country, you must have a documented yellow fever card before you will be allowed to enter Brazil.
The Embassy is aware of a number of cases of Irish people travelling to see and be treated for illness by a well known 'faith healer' in the state of Goias in central Brazil. Some became ill following this treatment and were in need of medical attention. The Embassy strongly cautions that serious consideration be given before embarking on such a trip or allowing any, other than a medical professional, to perform a medical procedure. The public healthcare system in Brazil, especially in the more remote areas, is not of the highest quality.
If you have to use a Brazilian telephone (rather than an Irish mobile) you need to use a carrier, that is, to add an additional two numbers which effectively select through which company your call will be routed.
Thus if, from, say, Rio de Janeiro, you wished to call the Embassy, you would dial 0+carrier (which can be 21, 14 or 15) followed by 61.3248-8800.
The World Cup
The FIFA World Cup 2014 will take place this year in twelve cities in Brazil between the 12th June and 13th July.
Full details of the cities, stadia and games are available, in English, on the FIFA website, http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/
Please note that tickets for the games are available only through FIFA.
Tickets will be ID specific and you may be asked to produce photo ID to confirm the ticket is yours (see in the Safety and Security Section about using a laminated copy of the photo page of your passport for identification with the original left in a safe place).
Your travel agent will advise the best way to travel to Brazil. The most used entry points to the country are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the two cities there are both international and domestic airports. If possible, you should try to use the international airport when connecting in these cities, to avoid having to travel between widely separated airports across very congested urban areas.
If coming to the World Cup, you should plan your trip carefully. It is stating the obvious to say that Brazil is a huge country - it is seven times the size of the last location for the World Cup, South Africa, and a flight between the most northerly city hosting games, Manaus in the Amazon region, and most southerly one, Porto Alegre in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, is over four hours. Airfares, therefore, can be expensive, as is often the case too with hotels.
When travelling in the cities use only licensed, metered taxis and it’s a good idea to have your address written on a piece of paper to show the driver who quite possibly will not speak English.
Give yourself plenty of time to get to the games. There is heavy traffic congestion in some of Brazil’s cities, even if the cities declare public holidays on the days of the matches.
Very few Brazilians speak English so it’s a good idea to have a Brazilian Portuguese phrasebook and to have learned a few of the common phrases. Downloading a Brazilian Portuguese translation app to your iPad or iPhone, if you have one, might also be a good idea.
As mentioned elsewhere in our travel advice, it is a good idea to Inform your credit/debit card provider that you are going to Brazil to avoid your card being blocked for anti-fraud reasons and you should check with your mobile phone service provider to make sure your phone works abroad, and store useful numbers in your mobile such as the local police and the number of this Embassy and the Honorary Consulate in São Paulo.
As mentioned above, street protests are expected in some, if not all, of the cities where the games will be played. Before setting off for a game, you should seek information and advice in your hotel or lodging on how to get to your destination and avoid the protests.
In Brazil, in the southern hemisphere, June/July is winter – well, more aptly called the ‘cool’ season - and, depending on which city you are in, temperatures can range between 15ºC and 26 ºC although in the far south they can go as low as 8ºC and in the Amazon, as high as 35 ºC.
Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security Section of our travel advice for Brazil.
Lastly, if you do decide to come, we wish you a great time at the World Cup and a great time in Brazil. Saude!