Located in South America, Brazil is the 5th largest and 5th most populated country
in the world. The Atlantic Ocean borders it to the east; Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname,
and French Guiana to the north; Colombia to the northwest; Bolivia and Peru to the
west; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; and Uruguay to the south.
The Joint Commission International (and partners) has accredited 15 hospitals and
medical centers in Brazil, which are concentrated in Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
There is one accredited hospital located in Porto Alegre, which is 700 miles (1,127
km) south of Sao Paulo. Brazil is a hot spot for plastic surgery, however, most
hospitals and clinics specialize in dental, orthopedics, cardiology, urology, diagnostic
medicine, neurology, and mastology.
Because Brazil has the largest market for cosmetic surgery, it is home to some of
the most skilled surgeons in the world. Medical training is intense, and for those
travelers who are worried about quality, be assured that in order to practice medicine
in Brazil physicians must undergo 11 years of combined residency and medical school.
Credentials of potential doctors can be verified at the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, however English is spoken in places
frequented by international tourists and private hospitals, and Spanish is spoken
in the border regions.
Brazil´s large size contributes to
diversity in terrain and climate. It is home to both the Amazon tropical rainforest
and acres of farmland. Because it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, Brazilian
seasons are the opposite of North America. Winter is June to August and summer
is December to February (also the rainy season). During the summer the southern
part of Brazil is very humid and during the winter only the regions south of Rio
get really cold. Generally, during the winter the temperature is between 55oF and 65oF. The interior of the country
tends to be dryer and, or course, the Amazon Basin is the wettest region with an
average temperature of 80oF. In
Rio De Janeiro, the average summer temperatures are in the 70´s and low to
mid 80’s (22-28oC),
while the winter months can dip as low at
reach a maximum average temperature of
Visa / Entrance Requirements
U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport (valid for at least 6 from
the date entry, and with at least one blank page available for the visa stamp) and
obtain a visa prior to arriving in Brazil. In order to apply for a visa, you must
submit either in person or via U.S. postal service Express Mail, a visa application
form; your passport; one recent 2" x 2" passport-type photo, either in color or
black and white, front view, full face, with a light background (snapshots are not
accepted); a photocopy of a round-trip ticket in one's name; or a signed letter
on travel agency stationary with confirmed round trip bookings; or, if traveling
by land, a notarized bank letter concerning the balances in one's bank accounts,
signed by the bank's manager, as proof of financial capacity to pay for one's stay
in Brazil; and a non refundable visa fee payment of $130 (if submitting by mail
or by a person other than the next of kin, then an additional $10 must be paid).
The fee must be paid with a U.S. Postal Service money order. If submitting by mail
you must include a prepaid return U.S. Postal Service Express Mail envelope.
*Certain jurisdictions do not allow mail in applications and you (or a friend/family
member) must apply in person.
Airlines Servicing this Destination
Brazil has many major airports but for the purposes of medical tourism, 4 are important:
- Porto Alegre: POA
- Sao Paulo: GRU
- Rio De Janeiro: GIG
- Brasilia: BSB
The following airlines have flights to Brazil:
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- TAM Airlines (Brazil)
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air France
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Continental Airlines
- South African Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Airlines
- United Airlines
For budget travelers, a private room in a hostel costs $20-$35 USD per person per
night, while a 3 star hotel ranges from$70 to $183 USD with the majority in the
$120 USD range. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offer a variety of upscale and unique
hotels for those who desire the finer things in life. 5 star hotels, including hotels
and hotel/spa/resorts that overlook the beach are $187-$450 per night. Brazil also
offers an array of posh beach villas that average at around $2,500 per week.
The currency of Brazil is the Brazilian Reais (BRL).
The exchange rate of U.S. dollars to Brazilian reais is $1 USD to 1.97 BRL (exchange
rate subject to change).
The international access code for Brazil is 55.
Important area codes are:
- Rio de Janeiro: 21
- Brasilia: 61
- Sao Paulo: 11
- Haikou: 898
- Porto Alegre: 51
In order to call Brazil from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 (exit code) then
55 (country code for Brazil), then the area code (2 digits), and then the phone
number (8 digits).
To call the U.S. from Brazil you must dial 00 + (two digit carrier code) + 1 + area
code + phone number.
*For Brazil the exit code 00 must be followed by a carrier code which can be: 14
(Brasil Telecom), 15 (Telefonica), 21 (Embratel), 23 (Intelig), 31 (Telemar).
To call a cell phone in Brazil from the U.S. and Canada you must dial 011 + 55 +
area code + the eight digit phone number (beginning with 7, 8, or 9).
*All Brazilian cells phone numbers start with 7, 8, or 9.
Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns. Larger hotels and most
private hospitals throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
U.S. Embassy in Brasilia: (55-61) 3312-7000.
U.S. Embassy in Rio De Janeiro: (55-21) 3823-2000.
U.S. Embassy in Sao Paulo: (55-11) 5186-7000 day; (55-11) 5181-8730 after hours.
Where do we begin...
There are tons of activities to occupy your time in Brazil. No matter where you
are in Rio de Janeiro (unless shielded by tall buildings), a statue called Christ
the Redeemer is discernable which is located on top of the Corcovado Mountain. Brazil
is also home to two highly ranked beaches: Ipanema and Copacabana. Other Brazilian
top ranked beaches are located on the northeastern coast of the country. They are
called Fernando de Noronha and Pernambuco. If partying is your game then be sure
to check out the biggest party in the world: Carnival which kicks off six weeks
before Easter. Also, the milder Parintins Folk Festival (June 28-30) is internationally
known. The festival occurs on the banks of the Amazon and it features traditional
music, dance, and folklore.
Brasilia offers an unique experience for travelers interested in modern architecture
and urban planning. The city was planned and developed in 1956 by the famous architect
Oscar Niemeyer and urban planner Lucio Costa, and is one of the few planned cities
(a city that is carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed
in a previously undeveloped area) in the world. It is the epitome of modern architecture.
For the avid outdoorsman (or woman), a climb atop Sugarloaf mountain is a must for
those trying to push their physical and technical limits. For those who would rather
watch an athletic activity than participate must buy a ticket in order to watch
Brazil’s national obsession: futbol (soccer in the U.S.). Brazil is home to Soccer´s
most famous (and best) player of all time: Pele, and a trip to Rio de Janeiro´s
famous Maracana Stadium, which hosts many soccer matches throughout the year is
For the ecotourist in all of us, Brazil has many sights and activities to choose
from (considering that the Amazon Rainforest takes up almost half of the county´s
area), including rainforest tours, nature hikes, mountain climbing, hang gliding,
canopy and helicopter tours, and waterfalls, including the Iguazu Falls, which is
considered one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world.
Brazil is a hot spot for jewelry in that it is a producer of diamonds, gold, and
2/3rds of the world´s colored gems. Also, cotton hammocks, leather goods, Indian
handicrafts (in the Northeast), and religious articles are popular buys among tourists.
Sao Paulo is considered the largest shopping zone in South America and you can find
clothing and fashion at Rua Augusta located in the Jardins area, and there are also
two malls in this area that are popular amongst Paulistas: Shopping Iguatemi and
Shopping Eldorado. In Rio de Janeiro, the Copacabana and Ipanema areas are popular.
Nightlife and the Arts
Before heading to the clubs and discos a trip to a Brazilian restaurant is a must.
Brazilian cuisine, like the people, is a fusion of many different gastronomical
entities. Food in Brazil is not only ethnically driven but is also regionally variable,
for example, slaves in Bahia developed dishes from scraps and locally caught food
mixed with coconut milk and palm oil. The closest to a Brazilian national dish are
churrasco (black beans simmered in meat) and feijoada (BBQ of select meats) which
must be topped off with the national drink of Brazil: the caipirinha. This drink
is a mix of crushed lime, ice, vodka or cachaça, and sugar.
Nightlife is booming in Brazil´s urban landscapes and the best entertainment is
localize to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with the latter offering more sophisticated
venues. Both cities host top international DJ´s and samba clubs featuring samba
music and world famous samba dancers. Be advised that the main acts do not begin
performing until after midnight.
Brazil offers a lot of cultural activities that are a result of its multicultural
environment. Capoeira is a martial art that was developed by African slaves in the
1500´s, and samba is a musical genre with African and European roots. Both are performed
throughout Brazil, and art museums, theaters, and galleries are common in major
The following are English language newspapers in Brazil:
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- The Gringo Times
- O Estado de Sao Paulo
- Gazeta Mercantil
- Brazil Post