Brazil is many countries, landscapes, natural wonders and histories in one, and describing it in a few words is challenging!
There is Carneval, soccer, samba, beaches, beautiful people, exotic fruit and sumptuous dishes. Then there are complex ecosystems, mountains, rivers, canyons, rainforests, jungles, swamplands and waterfalls, for the eco-minded.
Add this to a rich mix of Portuguese, European, African, Asian, modern North American and indigenous Indian heritages, for a fusion of landscapes, experiences, history and culture unlike any other in the world.
Officially the Federative Republic of Brazil is the biggest country in South America. It is the fifth largest country by geographical area, the fifth most populous country, and the fourth largest democracy in the world. The official language is Portuguese.
Brazil offers holiday experiences to suit most tastes and budgets. It is famous for miles and miles of white sandy beaches, where you can swim, surf, snorkel and sunbathe.
It’s also the home of the Amazon and the Pantanal wetlands, for all manner of native flora and fauna. Take a canoe trek upstream to see native wildlife, or a wild ride through underground caves, down rapids and into deep limpid swimming holes.
Rio is often referred to as the party capital of the world, with samba, music and celebrations – but there are also many festivals and celebrations to experience in the little villages and towns throughout the year.
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Brazil has a wide gap between rich and poor, which unfortunately results in endemic petty crime in most of the major cities. Stories of pick-pocketing and muggings are common amongst tourists. In addition there are sometimes hold-ups – armed gangs demanding money and valuables at gunpoint.
Simple travel precautions, such as not displaying your wealth or expensive jewellery, taking a little more than enough cash with you each day, using hotel safes, and avoiding crowds and lonely backstreets can reduce your risk.
Likewise, taking only reputable taxis from registered companies, not getting intoxicated enough to make yourself an easy target, and staying in touch with a group of friends can keep you safer. Most people visit Brazil without serious incident.
Large-scale protests do occur from time to time and it is wise to avoid getting caught in one, as demonstrations can turn violent with little or no warning. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the local press so that you are warned of any likely problems.
Planes and other transport systems sometimes do not run on time, so expect delays and possibly cancellations. Also there may not always be daily flights to and from your destination, so it’s best to plan ahead to avoid unexpected delays.
Driving in Brazil is not for the faint-hearted, as although the driving is not necessarily bad, rules and conventions may be different to home.
Also sometimes roads are not in good repair, especially in remote and rural areas, due to the torrential rain that can occur in some months. You can drive in Brazil on an Australian license for up to 180 days.
You will not need a vaccination for yellow fever before travelling to Brazil, however, some states strongly advise that you have one before visiting.
It’s best to drink only bottled water, which is plentiful and cheap. Check with your GP or visit the Travel Doctor site for more health information.
In 2014, Worldcare helped 4 Australians who travelled to Brazil, ran into trouble and made a claim on their travel insurance policy.
Most of our total claims cost for Brazil last year was for luggage and personal effects (62%) and medical and hospital expenses (38%).
If your luggage or personal effects are lost, stolen or delayed in Brazil, it could cost you an average of AUD $488 without travel insurance.
If you are injured or get sick while travelling in Brazil, you can expect to be out of pocket an average of AUD $201 without insurance.
So it’s worth considering travel insurance, which is not expensive and may save you considerable cost and trouble.
Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions to suit any Brazil holiday budget – even if yours is limited.
All Australian citizens need a visa to enter Brazil. The normal turnaround time is 30 days, but this can be cut down to 3 days if you are willing to pay extra.
As soon as adverse events such as bad weather, natural disasters and others that may affect your trip hit mass media, you are not covered unless you already have travel insurance, as it’s no longer ‘unforeseen’.
It’s wise to buy your insurance in advance of travelling, as you never know when disaster can strike and cause you to cancel or delay your trip. If you have your policy arranged well in advance of travelling, you are protected. So take it out before you leave and you should be eligible to claim.
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