Brazil Travel

Visiting Rio during Carnival

Beautiful Samba dancer at the Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil So you have decided to visit the biggest party in the world in the biggest Latin American country. This is exciting and you won't be disappointed! However, as you are not alone in this endeavor, some trip planning tips may help you on the way.

Plan ahead for the Carnival
Book far in advance. 3 months is a minimum, 4 months is better, 5, 6 or even 9 months in advance may be important if you would like to stay in the top hotels and be provided by the best services offered.

Prices during Carnival
Be aware that the prices during Carnival are higher than the usual rates, sometimes increasing as much as three times the regular rates. Another major expense is the Carnival Parade seats that can easily run into the a few hundred dollars per ticket.

Hotel Minimum Stays
Most hotels have minimum stays during Carnaval,usually 4-5 night minimums. This means that if you want to stay for fewer nights, you will be charged the full price of a 4 or 5 night package. Be aware of this when planning your trip.

Visa Requirement
Brazil requires some travelers to have a visa. Visitors from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and other nearby countries do not require a visa and can enter Brazil with photo identification. Tourists entering from most European countries only need a valid passport and return ticket for entry. Travelers coming from the United States, Canada, and Australia do need visas available three months before the actual trip. Visit your local consulate to apply for the necessary visa. You can also ask your travel agent to obtain the visa.
Brazil Visa Information

Money Matters
If you choose to use money over travelers checks and plastic (most businesses accept credit cards), you will have to exchange your money. Although you can exchange your money at the airport, you will get a better rate in Rio de Janiero. You can find exchange houses (Casas de Cambio) throughout the city, which are the best place to change your money since many do not even charge a fee. Keep in mind that banks tend to not exchange money except for the Banco de Brasil. Other options include your hotels, using the ATM machines, and the local American Express office.

Before traveling to Brazil, it is smart to make sure your vaccines are up to date. In order to make sure the vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, polio) are effective, plan on updating a few months in advance of your trip. For children visiting, make sure they also have the following inoculations: rubella, measles, and mumps. Once in the country, English-speaking medical professionals are not the norm. If you require any type of medical assistance your best bet is contact your country's consulate and visit private hospitals.
Brazil Immunization Information

Brazilian Portuguese Language
Be aware that the national language of Brazil is Portuguese. Some Brazilians do understand Spanish but only if spoken leisurely (although Spanish and Portuguese are written similarly, the pronunciation is vastly diverse). You may hear some English in the hotels but, for the most part, everyone speaks Portuguese. Knowledge of some fundamental Portuguese before arriving in the country will be helpful as you travel around Rio and the rest of the country.

Getting Around during the Carnival
Don't rely on buses during Carnival. The entire city essentially shuts down and focuses all of its energies onto the center, onto the heart of the night and Samba parades. By taxi is the best ways to travel during Carnival, though remember that parade streets are closed to traffic so you may need to walk a bit before finding one. Taking the subway is another option. The subway is relatively safe and runs around the clock during the Carnival.
Carnival Transportation Information

Carnival Safety
Pick pockets abound! Carnival is heavily policed, but pick pocketing is (understandably so) still very popular. Keep all important documents and money in a money belt under your shirt, or in your sock.

Get to know the city before venturing out with raging musicians, dancers, drinkers, and partiers. Obtain a map and pin point where you and your hotel are in relation to where you want to be, and some general reference sights so you would be able to get back quickly if the need arose.
Further Brazil Safety Information

Making Carnival Travel Reservations
It is important to work with a reliable travel agent that will properly make the arrangements for you. If you would like to go to Brazil during the Carnival, it is best to seek the help of a travel agency specilizing in Brazil.

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