Frequently asked questions

Do I need a visa to visit Brazil?
Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, meaning that whenever prices and restrictions are applied to Brazilian visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same measures for that country's visitors. Visas are granted by the Brazilian consulates abroad. Visa is required for American, Canadian, Australian and Indian citizens, and not required for citizens of most western European countries as well as South Africa and New Zealand. Spanish citizens do not require a visa but must meet additional requirements when entering Brazil based on reciprocal treatment. To find the consulate nearest to you check this link - the directory is listed in alphabetical order by city and is only available in Portuguese. Contact us if you need further assistance.

Do I need vaccination before going to Brazil?
Vaccination against Yellow Fever is recommended for tourists travelling to certain states. We will be able to advise you during your booking process if the area to which you are travelling is one of them. In case it is needed, vaccination should be taken at least 10 days prior to travelling. It is worth noticing that almost the entire Brazilian coast is considered free of contamination risk. For further reference check the CDC website or refer to the Brazilian Consulate or Brazilian Embassy nearest to you - the directory is listed in alphabetical order by city and is only available in Portuguese. Brazil requires an international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever for tourists from some countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire. Contact us if you need further help.

What is the temperature like in Brazil?
Brazil is a huge country and temperatures vary greatly from region to region. In the north temperatures tend to be more constant throughout the year. In the south, seasons follow the pattern of the southern hemisphere, i.e., summer from December to March and winter from June to September. If you plan to take a long trip that combines multiple regions, we recommend travelling in our spring (September to November) or autumn (March to June), when it is neither the dry nor the rainy seasons. For detailed climate information we suggest visiting this link or contacting us.

What is the travel time and distance from place to place?
Given that Brazil is a continental country, the distances and travel times depend on each itinerary. Domestic flights vary anywhere from one hour (e.g. Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo) to 4 hours (e.g. Sao Paulo to Manaus), not considering travel to/from the airport, waiting time and connections. As far as ground transportation goes, a trip from Sao Paulo to Paraty, for instance, takes 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic. You can simulate distances on this site or consult one of our experts.

What is the currency and conversion rate in Brazil?
The currency in Brazil is called Real (R$). Recently appreciated due to the development of the economy in Brazil, it is traded freely on the market and therefore fluctuates daily. The rate can be found at this site or by contacting us. In large cities, the vast majority of restaurants accept credit cards. It is also possible to make withdrawals at ATMs using international debit and credit cards. Dollars, Euros (and often British Pounds) and travelers checks can be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels.

I don’t know which destinations to visit. How should I go about choosing them?
We recommend visiting our destination comparison page. There you will find a description of groups of destinations. We have classified these groups in a way that does not require our customers to know much about the many destinations available in Brazil. Instead, you will choose a group based on its concept, and then we will show you examples of destinations included in that group. If you are still unsure after visiting the page, do not worry; it will be a pleasure to help you to decide the destinations that best suit you along the vacation design process.

I don’t have definitive dates, should I design a customized package?
That´s not a problem. We understand you are planning a memorable experience and we want to help you during your own timing. In order to start getting inspired, we recommend you visit our “favorite packages” page (click on the “choose your private package” button, then on the “browse our favorite packages” button). Once you have your dates we will be happy to tailor any of these packages to your exact dates; if you can’t find the right one, we will design one from scratch exclusively for you!

What is the booking process like?
Once you decide to book a vacation with us, we will send you a registration form with a secure payment method. We accept Visa, Mastercard and AMEX. In order to confirm your booking, you will need to make a non-refundable deposit of at least 20% of the total cost of the trip. This is to make reservations at the hotels, services and flights. The balance must be settled no later than 30 days prior to your starting date in Brazil. Once you request a booking, we will check availability of all services. As soon as we get the confirmation, we will charge your card and send you a final voucher with details of all the services you have booked. We won’t charge your card if one of the services or hotels does not confirm availability and will then be in touch to discuss alternatives. To start the booking process, browse our favorite packages, choose one and fill out the booking request form. We will be in touch in 2-3 days with your confirmation. If you can’t find a package that you like, we can design one from scratch exclusively for you!

Can I make changes once my trip is booked and confirmed?
We recommend booking your trip once you are fully satisfied with your itinerary to avoid potential change fees applicable to certain services. Our travel planners are available to customize your trip for you. We usually allow you at least two adjustments before asking for a financial commitment. We try to accommodate changes whenever possible but they are not always free of charge.

What happens if cancel my vacation?
We understand sometimes it is inevitable to cancel a vacation. Should you wish to cancel your trip after confirming and paying for it, you must notify True Brazil Travel in writing. The following conditions apply:
• Cancellation 30 or more days before departure: you pay 20% of the trip cost
• Cancellation 15-29 days before departure: you pay 50% of the trip cost
• Cancellation 1-7 days before departure: you pay 100% of the trip cost
• CARNIVAL/NEW YEAR’s/HOLIDAY’s packages: non-refundable
Make sure to have travel insurance for the unfortunate event of medical illness.

Can I book a trip for the 2014 World Cup / 2016 Olympics? Do you sell tickets?
We do not have rates for the 2014 World Cup yet. Maybe in few months we will be able to help you. If you send an e-mail to info@truebraziltravel.com with subject line World Cup or Olympics we will be happy to contact you as soon as that information becomes available. You may also want to "like" us on Facebook to stay in touch and up to do date with our news. If you decide to travel to Brazil before this period, it will be a pleasure to design a trip for you.

What and when is Carnival?
Carnival (also spelled Carnaval and also known as Mardi Gras) is Brazil’s biggest party and takes places across the country every year, lasting almost a week in February or early March (and weeks in certain places). It is celebrated in a wide variety of ways, from the giants “bonecos” of Olinda and the “trios elétricos” of Salvador to the massive samba parades of Rio de Janeiro.
• In 2013, Carnival will start on February 8 and end on February 13, 2013.
• In 2014, Carnival will start on February 28 and end on March 05, 2014.
Don't forget to make your reservations well in advance!

Does True Brazil Travel have special packages during Carnival?
Carnival is for sure one of the most exciting seasons in our country and there is no place like Rio to enjoy it. True Brazil Travel puts together a nice itinerary in Rio every year, which has been loved by guests with various tastes looking to experience this unique event. As True Brazil Travel specializes in authentic travel experiences, our Carnival package is developed to allow ours guests to experience this party from the standpoint of a Brazilian. Rather than doing touristy activities, you will be part of the Brazilian crowd and a local English speaking host will be there to assist you with anything you many need so you can have peace of mind while enjoying Carnival.

Is Brazil an LGBT-friendly destination?
Brazil is a popular LGBT destination. There is an increased level of acceptance and openness especially in larger cities and during Carnival. The main lesbian and gay destinations are Rio, which was elected the world's sexiest destination twice, São Paulo, which has the world's largest Pride Parade, Florianópolis, which is the hippest gay hangout, and Salvador and Recife which are attracting more and more lesbian and gay tourists looking for the fun and year-round sun of the Brazilian northeast.

Do Brazilians speak English?
The national language is Portuguese, but the accent and intonation are slightly different from what one hears in Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries. Portuguese is relatively similar to Spanish, therefore most Spanish speakers get by well throughout Brazil. English is not widely spoken, except in the best hotels. At True Brazil Travel, we rely on our excellent English-speaking hosts to accompany our guests. Most of our hosts have spent time abroad and are local experts in their respective city.

What activities are available in each city, including night life?
We have many activities available in each destination. You can get a good sample by browsing our favorite packages and looking for optional activities under the “Enhance your experience” tab. Additionally, when you book your trip with us, we will send you your final itinerary with details and suggestions, including specific activities to explore in every place.

What personal items should I bring?
It is advisable to bring a variety of clothing, depending on the places you visit. If traveling to the beach or jungle, light clothing is recommended. If traveling during Brazilian fall/winter (May-September) or to the Southeast/South of the country, light winter clothing is advisable. We recommend guests to bring tennis or hiking shoes, sandals, flip flops, sun screen, a hat, insect repellent, a small backpack, bathing suit, a sweater, a light jacket and a rain coat/cap. Before departure, you can also check with True Brazil Travel for additional recommendations specific to your itinerary.

What is the voltage and electrical outlet in Brazil?
Voltage in Brazil varies between 110V and 220V 60Hz, depending on the region. 110V: Bahia, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo 220V: Acre, Alagoas, Amapá, Amazonas, Ceará, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sergipe, Tocantins. Brazil has a local plug system and plug adapters are available in most hotels. Adapters do not change the voltage but merely enable connecting the device.

What safety precautions should I take?
As is the case in most places, by law everyone must carry a photo ID at all times. For a foreigner in Brazil, this means your passport. However, most police officers would accept a photocopy. Even the most patriotic Brazilian would say that the greatest problem the country faces is crime. While in recent years the overall crime levels are steadily decreasing, Brazil continues to have moderately high crime rates compared to more developed countries. The best thing to do is to stay low profile and not display items of high value such as laptops, jewelry, etc. Also avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you. At True Brazil Travel we always design your experience in private transportation and assign an English-speaking host to accompany you. We believe this is the most convenient way to travel in Brazil.

What is True Brazil Travel’s specialty?
We specialize in customized full package trips all over Brazil. We plan your trip together with you, using only suppliers that we trust. The advantage for you is that you don’t need to plan your trip all by yourself or feel insecure about an unusual place. We are a team of highly specialized travel professionals based in Brazil. Think of us as an architect helping you build a dream house. Some of our favorite packages are available on our website; be sure to check them first as they will inspire you during the planning process, or you might just find the perfect one along the way. We are here to adjust each package to your tastes.

Why are you called TRUE Brazil Travel?
We are committed to delivering authentic experiences in a non-touristy way, that’s the meaning of TRUE. As travelers, we have always liked to see the local culture. Unlike what is commonly done in Europe, the US and other developed countries, where travelers take a more independent approach to see the authentic, Brazil requires some advance planning with local knowledge. All our services are tailor made for each guest and we only use suppliers that we have personally certified and trust. We spend time with you to learn your preferences and always include a local host in your trip, who is much more than a guide, and who knows exactly where to take you.

I received a cheaper quote from another company. Why?
We have come across companies offering lower prices than ours, and in our experience, we found that prices which were apparently lower on paper had several shortcomings in practice, and were not comparable in terms of what was included or the quality. We are happy to review a competitor’s quote and help you understand where the differences lie. We usually find these differences in hotel room categories, type of transportation used, inclusion of admission tickets and activities, taxes and fees, as well the overall quality of what is offered. If you want us to review the quote you received, please send it to info@truebraziltravel.com with subject line “cheaper competitor.”

I expected Brazil to be less costly. What is happening?
The recent economic boom in the country inevitably triggered inflation, making the local currency, the Real (R$), very strong, thus making costs in foreign currency significantly higher vis-a-vis many destinations. Brazil is booming, it will soon host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics and the positive energy and optimism can be felt everywhere in the country. We believe Brazil is a unique destination and worth the investment. By bundling all activities into a tailor-made package, as opposed to paying for individual services locally, we are able to gain economies of scale which we pass on to our guests. We will be happy to further discuss this topic, just contact one of our enthusiastic trip designers!

What makes True Brazil Travel special among other travel companies?
We are not really a traditional type of travel agency. Instead, we operate a network of "hosts" throughout Brazil. A host is much more than a travel guide - he or she is someone who will accompany you during your trip and give you the feeling of having a local friend in Brazil. We give our guests the same experience we give our own friends when they come to visit. Having that "familiarity" aspect is a key ingredient for a good experience in a country like Brazil. We created True Brazil Travel because our international friends always found it too complex to travel in Brazil. By certifying every hotel, host and transportation service that we use we make sure our guests are taken to authentic yet high quality places in a safe and uncomplicated way. As our special guest, you are invited to experience Brazil with us!