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Travel insurance for holidays in Brazil

Brazil travel insurance

Brazil! What a place to travel. It doesn't matter whether or not you go to Rio for Carnival, to the Amazon or to the beaches of São Paulo it'll always pay to be prepared. So, to help you get the lowdown before you step on the plane, we've compiled a few useful bits of information. Did you know, for example, that Brazilian electricity supplies can vary between 100v and 240v? No? Then read on!

And don't forget that having good travel insurance is essential, wherever you travel in Brazil.

With World First you can choose the level of cover you go for, depending on the way you travel. So if you are visiting Brazil on a no expenses spared Single Trip of a lifetime we can cover you for up to £10,000 cancellation, up to £10 million in emergency medical expenses, cancellation, loss of baggage, documents and money with our Exclusive policy. As with all our policies you'll also get access to 24/7 emergency assistance as standard, so if things go wrong, we'll be right there with you.

So don't go without us!

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Your quick guide to travelling in Brazil

Official language(s):

Real (R$) (BRL)


Emergency Services:
Ambulance: 192
Fire Department: 193
Police: 194

Dialling code:

Water: Doing nothing in Brazil can be thirsty work

Brazil is a tropical country and it's easy to get dehydrated. Fortunately, you probably won't have to blow your holiday budget on bottled water. Almost all Brazilian cities have treated water supplies and it's unlikely that you will become unwell from drinking the tap water or using it for ice cubes. The exceptions are rural areas as well as Rio de Janeiro, where it's advisable to drink bottled water because of outdated and leaky water delivery systems.

Weather: The rain in...Brazil?

Did you know Brazil has a rainy season? It runs from November to March in the south and south east of the country and from April to July in the north east. If you visit during this rainy season, forgetting your umbrella could be the least of your worries. The heavy rains can trigger landslides and disrupt infrastructure, especially in rural areas. But remember: if bad weather does upset your travel plans, you'll be able to claim under the travel delay section of your World First travel insurance policy.

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Currency: Comma? Come again?

Money, money, money. The national currency of Brazil is the Real. But don't get confused with their use of commas and full stops when expressing numbers. Basically, it's the opposite of the way we do it here in the UK. They use a full stop to delineate thousands and a comma to delineate fractions. And while we're on the subject or money, Visa and Master Card are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and stores in Brazil. Just remember to let your bank know that you intend to use your card abroad before you leave.

Currency: Those notes aren't coloured pink to look pretty...

The Brazilian Banks Federation has installed a number of ATMs that spill pink ink on the notes if the ATM is damaged or tampered with. These pink coloured notes automatically lose their value and will not be accepted anywhere. If you withdraw money and find a pink note, go inside the bank straight away and they'll change it for you. If that's not possible, head for the nearest police station. They'll give you a report which you can take to any bank to get replacement cash.

Crime: Be vigilant!

You might have heard that Brazil is a dangerous country. While that's not necessarily true, it is important to be vigilant. It's best not to wear jewellery or flash your favourite watch when you're out in public. And try not to carry too much cash. Thieves are common in some parts of Brazil's cities and unfortunately tourists are an easy target. In the unlikely event that you do have something stolen, remember that your valuables, possessions and cash are all covered when you insure with World First.

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You'd also be well advised to avoid Brazil's 'favelas'. They're shanty towns on the outskirts of all major cities that are characterised by poverty and high levels of violent crime. Some see these as a tourist attraction. (You can even find official sightseeing tours that visit favelas!) Now we're all for liberal-minded tourism, but favelas really are very dangerous places for a tourist. A trip to see the statue of Christ The Redeemer is far safer...

Smoking: Lighting up?

Like most places, smoking has become increasingly restricted in Brazil. Government health authorities have totally banned smoking in all public places including airports, post offices, government offices, rest rooms, banks, hospitals, supermarkets shops, restaurants and bars.

Electricity: The electric shock...

Taking an appliance on holiday with you? Electricity in Brazil isn't quite as simple as it is here in the UK. The current varies widely, from 100 to 127 volts or 220 to 240 volts. Also be aware that many electrical outlets in Brazil will only accept a standard Brazilian two round prong plug. You should be able to pick an adapter up before you leave relatively cheaply.

Drugs law: On medication? Take your prescription.

If you're on medication then make sure you take at least a photocopy of your prescription on holiday with you. Drug laws are severe in Brazil and ruthlessly enforced. Think your prescription drugs are harmless? Think again. Improper use carries the same penalty as any other illicit drug, such as cocaine or heroin. If your medication is lost or stolen while you're away, we'll cover the cost of replacing it under the medical section of our policies.

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Healthcare: Do you need vaccinations?

There are no vaccinations that are formally required for entering Brazil. However, vaccination against yellow fever is advisable if you are travelling to the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Distrito Federal, Goias, Maranhaõ, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins or specific areas in the states of Bahia, Paraná, Piauí, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo. Remember: you need to be vaccinated at least 10 days before you travel.

You should also take precautions to avoid mosquito bites as dengue fever is present in Brazil. There are no vaccinations for this. But using insect repellents and wearing appropriate clothing will help to minimise the risk of infection.

Healthcare: How does it work?

Emergency healthcare is free to foreigners in Brazil's public hospitals up to the point you are stable. However, you may have to pay for subsequent ongoing treatment. Another thing to consider is that public hospitals are usually very crowded. The alternative is to go private, where you'll find exceptional levels of medical care and many English speaking Doctors. Brazil's private hospitals do charge and will require proof of your medical travel insurance before they treat you. Insure with World First and you'll be covered!

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Brazil: Know Before You Go

For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.

See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.

Follow the FCDO on twitter HERE.

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