Brazil — Visas and Vaccinations
Brazil operates under a reciprocal visa procedure. That is, whatever Brazilians need to do to get inside a country, the same is done for nationals of that country who want to get into Brazil. Visas are required for US citizens and these have become more expensive over the last decade. Business visas for US travelers are even more expensive than tourist visas. Nevertheless, visas of up to and including 10 years can be purchased by US citizens. (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cispatw/cis/cis1072.html?action=/travel/cispatw/cis/cis962.html).
Health and Safety
Unfortunately, Brazil is not an overly safe country. From the smaller townships to the larger metropolises, the country still faces an uphill battle to decrease the high crime rates. The slum areas of major cities are extremely dangerous for travelers, and should be avoided. Armed robberies and muggings are common on the streets of cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Tourists should not carry too much money with them and try not to look like a foreigner. Hide valuables, including phones, wallets, watches and expensive looking sunglasses, when sightseeing. Tourists and locals must carry photo ID at all times. Professionalism among local police may be lacking, so carry an embassy or consulate contact number when traveling the country.
Racism is illegal in Brazil, and is taken very seriously by locals. It is best to avoid any references to skin color when joking around with friends, as this could be seriously misconstrued, and travelers could get into big trouble.
Be careful of the water in some areas. It is best to play it safe and drink bottled water when possible. In larger cities, street vendors are common. However, their food is well known for its poor hygiene. Unless tourists have iron stomachs, it is best to eat at a restaurant instead of a stand.
All travelers to Brazil should have a yellow fever vaccination before arriving. However, it is more important for those visiting the central western region and Amazon region of the country. Malaria is another sickness that is quite common throughout Brazil’s northern region, so taking anti-malaria medicine could be beneficial.