Unlocking the World

Traveling to Brazil during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN StaffUpdated 9th December 2021
Copacabana beach makes Rio one of the world's most captivating cities.
Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases are in flux across the globe. Health officials caution that staying home is the best way to stem transmission until you're fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on December 9.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to Brazil, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

Brazil has been one of the hardest hit countries by the pandemic. It holds the second highest Covid-19 death toll in the world, second only to the United States.
The Brazilian government has done little to limit the spread nationally. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has criticized the use of masks and lambasted governors who adopt regional lockdown measures.
The Gamma Covid-19 variant was first detected in Brazil and spread rapidly across the country earlier in 2021.
Hospitals in Brazil have struggled. Intubation, medication and oxygen have repeatedly run low at points during the pandemic.
Cases dropped significantly over the summer months, with the 283,604 cases recorded in November 2021 a steep decline from the record high of 2,197,488 cases in March 2021.
As of December 9, 2021, 65.5% of the population in Brazil is fully vaccinated.

What's on offer

Brazil is a bucket list destination -- a country that really does have everything. Beachside Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most beautiful cities, capital Brasilia is a whirl of modernist architecture, and Salvador is the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture. There are some of the best beaches on the planet, plus, of course, the main part of the Amazon rainforest -- which visitors can help protect, by contributing toward the conservation economy.

Who can go

Almost everyone. Brazil's government has been infamously relaxed about the pandemic -- and that includes border control. Following a brief closure in 2020, the borders are now open.
For some months in 2021, Brazil had restrictions in place on arrivals from the UK, India and South Africa, including enforcing quarantine, but these rules were subsequently lifted.
Following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Brazil's Presidential Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira said on Twitter that his country's air borders with South Africa, Botswana, Swatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe would close.
The measure, announced November 26, came despite President Jair Bolsonaro's previous assertions that he would not support border closures.

Entry requirements

If flying, before boarding, all arrivals must present a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding, as well as a traveler's health declaration form to their airline before boarding which can be completed online. Children under two are exempt, as are children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult with a negative test.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga announced on December 7 plans for unvaccinated travelers entering Brazil to undergo mandatory quarantine for five days and then take a PCR test.
Some Brazil land borders are closed to everyone except non-residents, unless you're en route to fly home. In that case, travelers must get authorization in advance, present a note from their own embassy or consulate authorizing their crossing at the border, show the plane ticket and go straight to the airport.
Sea borders are also limited entry. From November 1, 2021 domestic cruise ships were permitted to recommence sailing in Brazil with Covid guidelines in place, but international ships still cannot stop off at Brazilian ports.

US CDC travel advisory:

Level 3: High. The CDC advises to make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Brazil. Unvaccinated travelers are advised to avoid nonessential travel to Brazil.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Read how the Christ Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio reopened to visitors last August. And read the story of Brazil's national spirit, cachaça, here.