How to Plan a Trip to the Amazon or to Brazil

Emerald Boa Tree Snake

Long gone are the days of simply buying a ticket and hopping on a plane; travel today is a much more precise science, especially if you are planning a trip into the Amazon, or other parts of Brazil.

When budgeting for a trip into Brazil, be prepared for all the extra fees you will encounter, fees that have nothing to do with your flight or your accommodations.  Like the cost of getting a Brazilian tourist visa.

You may be living in a country that is exempt from needing a Brazilian visa, but if you are Canadian, Australian, or American, you must apply. (Citizens from countries like Germany, France, and Italy do not require a Brazilian visa.)

In addition, no matter what country you hail from, Brazil (especially the Amazonian area) is disease-carrying mosquito territory, and you must prepare. That means getting vaccinated for Yellow Fever, as well as Hepatitis A and B.

Read on . . .

  1. Check to see if Brazil requires citizens of your country to apply for a visa. If it does, determine what type of visa you will need — business and tourist are the most common types but there are many others, too. Check with the Brazil Consulate General online.
  2. You can try to fill out the application found on the Brazil web site, but this is not advisable. First it is difficult to read because the majority of the form is written in Portuguese (I believe), and secondly, the web site keeps timing out. We tried several times to file an application from the Brazilian web site only to be repeatedly given an “error” message. We conceded defeat and searched for another way to get our visa.
  3. If you live in a city that hosts a Brazilian Consulate General like Toronto, or Vancouver, or New York City, you will be expected to show up in person to apply for your visa. But those of us, who don’t have a Consulate in our city, must apply by mail. This will be costly because you must use an express courier service, and you must include a prepaid express courier envelope addressed back to yourself.
  4. The next step is to find a Brazilian visa application, for your country, on line. A simple Google search will bring up both government departments, as well as other consumer options (there are businesses like ImmiGroup that specialize is assisting travelers with their travel documents. For a fee.
  5. If you are not in a hurry, then use your government’s form. The Canadian application, for example, is only a two-page document, it is fairly easy to understand, and very easy to fill out.But if you are in a hurry, or you are worried about the fact you will have to part with your passport, then choose the ImmiGroup service. But be prepared to pay extra for the service (fees vary depending upon how fast you need your documents).

  6. In preparation for your Brazil visa application, you must get your passport photo taken again because you must affix a recent passport-style photo of yourself to the application.Read the Brazilian requirements on this; they are strict. (This is another cost you weren’t expecting. Try your AAA or auto club — the fees are usually affordable and you will get your photo within a couple of minutes.)
  7. You must provide a valid passport, that is NOT due to expire within six months of your trip, and that has at least two blank pages.
  8. You also must provide a travel itinerary. Here is an excerpt directly from the Consulate General of Brazil:A copy of the round trip or multi-country ticket/itinerary (do not send the original) or a statement from a travel agency, addressed to the Brazilian Consulate, or an e-ticket confirmation.  In all cases, the name of the passenger, the confirmed itinerary, airline/cruise company, flight number/vessel name and dates of arrival in and departure from Brazil must be clearly displayed.”

  9. Verify if you will also need an international immunization Yellow Fever certificate. You can check here to see what countries are on the list according to the WHO.
  10. You will be given very specific instructions (when using the mail) on how to handle your submission. You don’t want your application rejected, so follow the guidelines to the letter. This includes your application fee payment which must be by certified cheque or money order ONLY!

Be prepared for delays, and irritations; the process may not go smoothly. Remember, if you are applying by mail, and you have allowed yourself plenty of time, you should have your Brazilian visa in 2-3 weeks.

Now the only other thing you must deal with are the vaccines and the preparations you must make in order to avoid getting sick with malaria or yellow fever. But that’s in the next blog entry. And that’s an entry you won’t want to miss if you want to know about the side effects from a yellow fever shot.

Wishing you safe and happy travels,
Sheree Zielke

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