Currency: Brazilian Real
Time Zone: BRT/GMT-4
Tipping: In Brazil, tips are not generally given or expected, in restaurants a service fee is normally included at the end of the bill.
Ah, Brazil. You'd be hard pushed not to fall in love with this alluring nation. From soaring temperatures and wildlife laden rainforests to carefree samba vibes and wonders of the world, seductive Brazil delivers the full house when it comes to escorted tour destinations.
From the thundering majesty of Iguazu Falls to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and tourist holy grail of Rio de Janeiro, an escorted tour to Brazil will not disappoint. Prepare to tick off one lifetime experience after another as the whole of twinkling Rio is laid out before you on sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain, you stand afoot art deco giant Christ the Redeemer, soak up a samba-filled football match, sail piranha-filled Amazon lakes, get drenched by the spray of a world-famous waterfall and sunbathe on miles upon miles of perfect white beaches.
In additions to the sights, Brazil's cuisine won't let you down. Brazilians are big on their buffet barbeques and you'll find everything from salads and prime cuts of meat to chicken heart on offer. To really get into the Brazilian spirit, try a native Caipirinha cocktail or two (a strong mix of sugar cane hard liquor, sugar and lime), or opt for a cool Brahma beer. Despite the image conscious attitudes, you'll also notice patisserie shops and carts selling fresh cake aplenty.
Escorted tours to Brazil offer the ideal chance to explore this amazing country in the safety of a guided group. Touring holidays include return flights, accommodation, full touring itinerary with exciting inclusions, tour manager and often take-in neighbouring Argentina and also Chile.
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Brazil, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
Prior to travelling to Brazil it is wise to check with your GP to see whether you will need any vaccinations or preventive medical measures whilst away.
Foreign Nationals visiting Brazil are entitled to emergency medical treatment in public hospitals. These do tend to be crowded, especially in cities. Brazilian private hospitals will not accept you unless you have evidence of sufficient funds or insurance. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Dengue fever is common during the rainy season in Brazil and there is a low risk of malaria around Iguazu Falls.
While many of them are absolutely fine, try to avoid barbeque buffets and be careful what you eat if you have a big day of sightseeing the next day (e.g. grand tour of Rio or Iguazu Falls). Some buffets have been known to make tourists ill and you won't want to miss anything.
Should you need to contact the emergency services dial 192 to ask for an ambulance.
Cities (and Rio) in particular are playgrounds for opportunist thieves so a money wallet (a flat, zipped wallet with clipped belt that can be worn concealed under clothes) is a must-have on an escorted tour of Brazil.
Don't wear your money on your sleeve or flaunt your Western wealth if you can avoid it; leave any valuable items like necklaces and watches in the safety or your hotel. 'Gringos' or tourists will be spotted a mile off and the thieves in Rio are fearless: Thieves on bicycles in the cycle lanes off Copacabana Beach have been known to steal locals and tourists' necklaces off them whilst on the move. Securing your camera around your hand with a wrist loop is not enough to deter thieves when taking photos or otherwise; always use a full body camera strap to make it almost impossible to pinch. If you're heading to the beach carry only the essentials, and in a plastic bag to help you blend in with the locals.
If part of an escorted tour stay with your group if out late at night, even in tourist areas as there is safety in numbers, and never wander into a favela without an approved and official tour guide.
Local Laws and Customs
Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil; penalties for being caught can be severe.
British Citizens can normally enter Brazil without a visa. However, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to fund your stay in addition to providing the address you will be staying at and proof of onward travel. Ensure that your passport is stamped, if not you might be fined. Keep your landing card safe as you will need it when departing.
Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Brazil.
UK Emergency Travel Documents will be accepted in Brazil for entry, airside transit and exit providing you have at least 6 months validity from the date of entry.
Any other nationality looking to visit Brazil must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more about visiting Brazil you can see the official tourist board website at visitbrasil.com
Brazil is a stunning country and with so many things to explore you are bound to fall in love with this samba-fuelled country. Here's an idea of some things you can do whilst there:
When Eleanor Roosevelt saw Iguazu Falls her words were 'Poor Niagara', and she wasn't wrong in her opinion. With a total of 275 falls over a distance of two miles, the Iguazu Falls truly are a spectacular sight not to be missed and are well justified as one of the great natural wonders of the world. On the Brazilian side (you can also view from Argentina), witness their power and marvel up close with a tasteful series of walkways that allow you to stare the Devil's Throat right in the mouth, as well from as three different levels. On one of the levels you can also pay to have a token snapshot taken against the thundering Devil's Throat if you dare – its force and the amount of spray means that you're guaranteed to get soaked, so take a waterproof mac and waterproof bag for your camera. Round off your falls experience with the world-class Bird Park allowing you to come face to face with parrots, hummingbird and toucans. Overall, an un-missable part of any escorted tour to Brazil. The Argentinian side of the falls is equally amazing.
Rio de Janeiro
Samba, sun and sexiness; Rio is everything you'd expect it to be and then some. With its heady combo of beach life and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it's little surprise that it's on the itinerary for most holidays to Brazil. Stand afoot Christ the Redeemer, guardian of Rio and one of the new seven wonders of the world, watch the spectacular sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain with Copacobana, Ipanema and Christ the Redeemer laid out twinkling before you, experience an electric atmosphere of beating samba drums at football matches that put Premier League matches in the shade and sip coconut water on Copacobana. If you still can after the pacification carried out for the World Cup and Olympics, check out a favela tour – it will be an experience you will never forget, but only go with an official tour guide. For sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio, begin your journey a good 90 minutes before the sun sets to leave yourself enough time to negotiate the cable car queues and ensure you arrive on time.
This island just off the coast of Rio is where Brazil's rich and famous come to holiday. The biggest draw here is Lopes Mendes Beach, voted number seven in Trip Advisor's Best Beaches of the World 2013. This 3km sweep of fine white sand and palm trees is what many consider paradise. As well as accessing by boat, you can take a picturesque, somewhat challenging 2-hour trek across the island from the harbour through stunning forest scenery. If you're doing this take a drink and plenty of sunscreen as you'll work up a sweat on a hot day!