It has been announced that the police strikes in both Salvador and Rio de Janeiro have ended. The strikes have been cancelled and police in both cities will return to normal duties. Carnival festivities take place from Saturday 18th until Tuesday 21st February across Brazil and Irish citizens should take normal travel precautions regarding their personal effects and personal safety during this time.
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that comprehensive travel insurance, including medical insurance, is obtained before travelling to Brazil. Travellers should note that the Irish government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
For entry requirements for Brazil, please contact the nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate
In general, on arrival in Brazil you should have proof that you have or have access to sufficient funds (if bringing a credit card, it is advised to carry a statement to prove the limit), a return or onward ticket, and proof of accommodation booked for at least the first night. It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a copy, or authenticated copy, of your passport at all times.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Violence between organised criminal gangs and police forces is comparatively common, particularly in certain districts of larger urban centres such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
In preparation for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, the police in Rio de Janeiro have moved in force into some of the poorer areas to root out crime and drug trafficking in so-called 'favela pacification' projects. These areas should be avoided at all times.
Always be aware of where you are going, if in doubt seek local advice, and stay away from potential trouble areas.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Levels of crime, including muggings, and often involving firearms, are high. You should be very vigilant, particularly in major cities. Street robberies can occur anywhere. There are frequent reports of tourists being approached by persons posing as officials trying to impose on-the-spot fines on them.
You should carry only small sums of money on your person in relatively accessible places so some cash can be handed over without delay if you are threatened. You should avoid wearing jewellery, rings and expensive watches. Dress down, and keep cameras concealed if you must carry them. Under no account attempt to resist muggers or other attackers as they often carry firearms or other weapons. It is wisest to deposit all valuables and documents including passports in hotel safes. You should only carry a photocopy or certified copy of your passport with you while sightseeing etc.
Favelas (slums) exist in all major Brazilian cities; they are characterised by poverty and many also by high levels of violent crime. There are some respected guided tours of certain favelas in Rio de Janeiro, and these are considered safe. Your hotel should be able to give you further advice. However, under no other circumstances should you attempt to venture into a favela at any other time. After dark, you should avoid entering very quiet streets except under reliable local advice.
Thefts from cars are common. At any time of the day or night there are also incidents of cars being hijacked and the driver or passengers forced to use ATM cards to withdraw money. When in a car you should keep the doors locked and the windows closed, and take particular care at traffic lights. Hi-jacking of taxis and buses, where the driver is forced to take the vehicle to a remote location where passengers are then robbed, also occurs.
LOCAL LAWS & CUSTOMS
Drug trafficking and use and sexual tourism are growing problems, with very severe penalties in Brazil. Do not become involved. Pack your own luggage and do not carry items that do not belong to you.
In part because Brazilian airports are reaching full capacity and also because of systemic weaknesses, air travel in Brazil can be disorganised with frequent delays and cancellation of domestic flights. Throughout Brazil, it is recommended that travellers confirm flight details before travelling, and be prepared for delays.
For long distance bus travel, use a reputable company. If you are in any doubt or in any way unsure about the safety or security don’t board. The same is true for any road travel, including taxis and taxi drivers.
The Brazilian style of driving and standards are very different from Ireland. Be prepared to stop unexpectedly, and beware of potholes, slow moving vehicles, vehicles changing lane without indicating and going through red lights, and people/animals on the road. Avoid driving outside of towns at night as vehicles without lights and other hazards can make it dangerous. As Irish driving licenses are not currently recognised by the Brazilian authorities, we would advise all citizens intending to drive in Brazil to obtain an International Driving License in Ireland before departing.
Before travelling you should always get expert medical advice on required and advised vaccinations and other health precautions which should be taken during your travels. In general you should protect yourself from mosquito bites in Brazil as they can carry a range of diseases.
During the global H1N1 (Swine Flu) Virus outbreak in 2009, there were confirmed cases and deaths in Brazil. However, epidemic status has been removed and a comprehensive vaccination programme was rolled out in 2010.
Malaria is a risk in some northern parts of Brazil including much of the Amazon. You may need to take anti malarial medication, depending on the areas to be visited, and to cover up and use insect repellent in the evening and at night. There have been some cases of cholera in the north east of the country.
Yellow Fever is endemic to many tropical regions of South America. In Brazil, yellow fever transmission is for the most part restricted to tropical and jungle areas. From time to time, an increase in yellow fever activity or an outbreak occurs in other parts of the country as was experienced in 2007 and 2008. Travellers should consult with their own medical provider prior to travelling to Brazil regarding immunization and vaccination requirements for yellow fever. Travellers coming from yellow-fever endemic zones in other South American countries should have a documented yellow fever card which is required to be allowed to enter Brazil.
Dengue fever, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, may be encountered throughout the country and is caused by mosquitoes which are active during the daytime. From 2007-2010 there were worldwide increases in incidents of dengue fever with Brazil also having a significant increase of incidents. There have been reports of localised outbreaks in certain areas of Brazil, please follow local news reports for any updates. The main risk season in Brazil is January to March. There is no effective treatment for this fever, which has severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal to the elderly or very young. In addition to getting medical advice before travelling, you should also take advice on local conditions when travelling within Brazil and to minimize exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using spray or rub-on repellents on exposed skin. The Health Ministry has increased the alert for this disease in December 2011 following heavy rains, mainly in the internal areas but marginally also in tourist areas like Rio de Janeiro.
The Embassy is aware of a number of cases of persons travelling to a 'faith healer' in the State of Goias in Brazil. In many cases the Embassy was contacted by citizens when, following treatment, had become seriously ill and required urgent medical attention. In several cases they had either inadequate medical insurance or none at all. The Embassy strongly recommends that serious consideration be given before embarking on such trips. The public healthcare system in Brazil is not always able to provide adequate medical attention and, as is the case for all travellers to Brazil, it is strongly recommended that comprehensive medical insurance be taken out before leaving Ireland.
Flash floods and landslides, especially in poorer urban areas, can occur at any time, especially during and after periods of heavy rain. You should monitor the local news and weather forecasts and ask about the weather at the reception in your place of accommodation (see also above re the floods in the State of Rio de Janeiro).
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS IN BRAZIL
The Honorary Consulate in Sao Paulo is primarily for the convenience of Irish citizens in Sao Paulo state. Citizens in other parts of Brazil should contact the embassy in Brasilia.Top