Getting Here and Around

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Getting Here and Around

Getting Here: International flights largely arrive in Rio de Janeiro's Galeão airport or São Paulo's Guarulhos. Some nationalities, Americans and Canadians included, require a visa issued from a consulate abroad to enter Brazil—the country operates on the principle of reciprocity, meaning that if a country requires a visa of Brazilian citizens, Brazil will require one of them. Visas are not granted on arrival. Tourist visas are generally valid for three months, and able to be extended for another three months by visiting the Federal Police and paying a small fee.

Getting Around: When planning trips in Brazil, keep in mind its vastness: The country occupies nearly half the South American landmass. Flights between large and medium-sized cities are frequent and reasonably priced. But be ready for some frustrations: You may need to buy your tickets through a tour agency or at the airline's booking office, since many airlines do not accept foreign credit cards or payments online without a CPF, a Brazilian ID number.

Bus trips are a good option for short trips, such as exploring Rio de Janeiro's coastal beaches or traveling from São Paulo to Rio. But comfortable travel to Iguaçu Falls or the Amazon region will likely require flying. Brazil does not have a developed intermunicipal train system, though a bullet train from São Paulo to Rio is predicted to be ready by 2020. Sparse infrastructure, especially as you leave Brazil's densely populated coast and head to the interior, makes travel times by land even longer.

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