Brazil: Useful Advice when Visiting the Country

Published 10 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Men MUST wear long trousers and I would suggest a minimum of a reasonably plain collared polo shirt.

I carry a pair of loose, long trousers that fit over my shorts – this has, so far, always been deemed acceptable.

As officials here have a penchant for wanting photocopies of every conceivable document you can very quickly find yourself with 6 or 7 documents relating to your boat and it can be very awkward if any of them are lost.

I carry a ‘highlighter’ pen and a thick felt pen. I number each page and highlight the number. This makes it much easier to keep track of my copies when handed over for copying or whatever. On more than one occasion I have had to either reach over a counter to retrieve my documents or point them out to an official who has lost track of them himself.

It is mandatory to carry ID at ALL times in Brazil. If you are not carrying ID you may be arrested. (Personal experience.)

It is not advisable to carry your passport other than for official business and carrying a photocopy doesn’t last and does not look ‘official’.

Have a color scan or copy made of the photo page of your passport and the front cover. Have this reduced to slightly larger than a standard business card? Place the two images back to back and have them plasticized. You now have a very official looking, waterproof ID card that will last years. It is common to be asked for ID/Passport when making a credit card purchase – this ID has always proved acceptable.

It is also extremely inadvisable to carry wallets with all your credit cards together.

Solution:- Make a small carrying flap from plastic and duct tape (a plastic file cover works well). Make it large enough to hold a credit card and your newly made ID card. Small, low profile, easily concealed. (See photo)

Remember ‘The Rule’ – “Carry only what you are going to use or are prepared to lose.”

Do not under any circumstances wear a ‘bum-pack’. They are a magnet for thieves.



PS. During my travels through Brazil I have been drugged and robbed, my boat boarded at anchor and robbed, I have had a gun in the head by someone wanting my new bicycle (he didn’t get it.) My wife has been mugged and robbed. People have attempted to steal my dinghy on numerous occasions. A cruiser friend was shot and killed. The security problem in Brazil is very real and should not be downplayed. I can see from my house yachts that pull their dinghies up before nightfall and never go ashore at night other than in a marina. They then write a report and say they didn’t have a problem. Brazil is a night place, everything starts at around 10 pm. I have met many yachties who never in six months ventured out at night in Brazil.

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