Brazil covers almost half of the South American continent and has a population of 192 million people, making it the fifth-largest country in the world in both size and population. The population is largely concentrated in the southeast with the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The size of Brazil means it can offer an astounding array of both natural and cultural attractions. Brazil has beautiful beaches, vast rain forests, music-fueled cities and is home to an amazing assortment of wildlife. The country has long enjoyed a flourishing tourist trade and its growing reputation as a preferred health and medical destination sees it welcoming visitors from around the world. In fact, Albert Einstein Jewish Hospital in São Paulo was the first hospital outside of the USA to be JCI accredited. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but Spanish, English, Italian, French and German are also spoken, particularly in the more tourist-orientated areas.

Medical tourism

Brazil's most common area of specialisation is in Cosmetics, with a large number of service providers. Other popular areas for medical tourists visiting Brazil are Obesity treatments, Orthopedics, Dental, Hair transplant, Eye procedures and Cardiology. See the box to the right to view a full list of available treatment areas.

Best time to travel

Brazil's biggest tourist season is from December to March, with school holidays running from mid-December, and the massive Carnaval festival in February. Prices generally rise during this time. The low season, on the other hand runs from May through to September. This is the cheapest and least-crowded time to visit Brazil, although it can be slightly cold in the south. Weather can be a significant factor depending on your plans; October through January are the wettest months which may put a dampener on outdoor activities.

Money and costs

Brazil's currency is the Real/Reais (BRL, symbol R$), and even though it is considered to be the most expensive of the South American countries, it is still a cost-effective destination for many North Americans and Europeans. Find up-to-date exchange rates and conversion through a currency conversion tool. Mid-range travellers staying in a comfortable hotel and eating in nice restaurants can spend R$250 a day and above.


Brazil has a reciprocal visa system, which means that tourists from the UK and most of Europe do not need a visa, while those from the USA, Canada and Australia do. Basically, if Brazillians require a visa to enter your home country, then you require one to enter theirs. Tourist visas normally last for up to 90 days, although this is at the discretion of Brazilian immigration officials. Tourist visas can be extended for a further 90 days provided the application is made at least two weeks before the expiration of the visa. Foreigners seeking extension in Brazil should apply to the federal police; this must be done before the visa expires or there is a risk of deportation.

Getting there

The most popular international gateways are Aeroporto Galeão (GIG) in Rio de Janeiro and Aeroporto Guarulhos (GRU) in Sao Paulo. Brazil has direct flights from the USA, Europe and Canada with airlines such as Aeromexico, Bristish Airways, United Airlines, Swissair, Air Fance, Japan Airlines to name just a few. Those travelling from Australia and Asia may have to catch a connecting flight to Brazil from the USA.

Dialling codes

To call Brazil, the country dialling code is +55.

Useful links

Find more in-depth information on Brazil at:

Lonely Planet -​brazil

Brazil Tourism -

Brazil Embassy in the USA -

Brazil Embassy in the UK -

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Page last updated: Friday, 2nd September 2011