There’s Never Been a Cheaper, Easier Time to Visit Brazil
American citizens will soon be able to travel to Brazil without a visa. Announced via press release this week, the country’s tourism board plans to allow free entry to residents of the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, starting June 17th of this year.
It’s the Brazilian government’s latest effort to encourage tourism to the country by easing the cost and workload of obtaining a visa. In early 2018, it was lowered from $160 to $40 and made available online, but it seems this time Brazil’s not messing around. The Ministry of Tourism hopes to reach 12 million foreign visitors a year by 2022 — a tall goal that will need interest from Americans, specifically. After all, only 570,000 Americans visited in 2016, the year Rio de Janeiro hosted the Summer Olympics.
As for specifics on the visa: tourists will be able to spend a lengthy 90 days a year in the country, with an option to extend it to 180 days. That’s plenty of time to see a whole lotta Brazil. So we put together a guide detailing a few things to keep in mind when planning your big trip.
Brazil (4 images)
- Book your flight for this fall: Round-trip tickets to Rio as far in the future as October are already $840+, and only getting pricier. Not to mention, June, July and August are Brazil’s coldest months. Flights could be better, but that’ll naturally develop in the wake of this news. By our cursory look at New York-Rio routes, Delta has reliable one-stop flights from the States, and Colombian airline Avianca has some decent rates. If you’re coming from the UK, stay tuned for Virgin Airlines’ just-announced London-Säo Paolo route. It doesn’t open until 2020, so there’s a chance Brazil will havfe waived visa fees by then for the United Kingdom, too.
- Hit São Paolo, not just Rio: Speaking of … don’t miss out on São Paolo. It’s the economic stronghold of the nation, and actually the most populous city in the entire Western Hemisphere, at a hefty 14.7M. It’s known for its art and culture; we recommend visiting Ibirapuera Park (a greenspace cultural center), the São Paulo Museum of Art and staying at Hotel Unique, a former Condé Nast Traveler “Best Hotel in South America.” It looks like an alien mothership crossed with a modern art museum, and delivers on its titular uniqueness with a crimson red rooftop pool and a 60-foot vertical “wall bar.”
- Visit the wine regions: Brazil’s a bit newer to wine than its South American neighbors, but predictably good at it, thanks to fertile lands in the south. Pay a visit to the town of Bento Gonçalves in the Serra Gaúcha region and you’ll have your toast of some excellent vinhos. We like the look of Miolo, which offers wine gardens and preposterous, Tuscan-like vistas.
- Be mindful of the environment: Pick a topic, and new President Jair Bolsonaro will have views on the matter that range from problematic to downright dangerous. When in a country run by a despot, be aware of situations he (or she) has negatively contributed to. Brazil’s environment is suffering at the hands of Bolsonaro; just 50 days into power, he’s reversed 30 years of progress in protections for the Amazon, indigenous groups and NGOs. Look for ways to donate your time or money to Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples, stay in places like the Araras Pantal Eco Lodge and head on an educational jaguar safari at the Jaguar Ecological Reserve.
- Buy a pair of Havaianas: One pair for you, one pair for someone back home. The famous Brazilian flip flops can cost up to $40 Stateside, but sell for only $10 a pop in Brazil.
Main image via Denilo Vieria
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