Brazil Travel Advice & Safety

Remote areas

You’re at risk of becoming lost or injured while trekking in remote parts of Brazil. This includes the Amazon border regions and the Pantanal wetlands.

Use an experienced guide.

Driving permit

To drive in Brazil, you need both:

  • a valid Australian driver’s licence
  • an International Driving Permit (IDP)

You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.

Road travel

You’re 4 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Brazil than in Australia.

Hazards on the road include:

  • aggressive driving
  • poorly maintained roads
  • large numbers of trucks and other slow vehicles on main routes

Stoplights are often not obeyed, especially at night in larger cities. Don’t assume cars will stop.

Carjacking and other vehicle-related crimes are common.

Driving in Rio de Janeiro is especially dangerous. See Safety

If you plan to drive:

  • check you have enough insurance
  • learn local traffic laws and practices
  • don’t drive your own vehicle in Rio de Janeiro
  • don’t drink and drive – penalties are severe for driving with a blood-alcohol reading over 0%
  • guard against carjacking and other vehicle-related crimes – see Safety

If you’re in an accident:

  • call 193 for the fire department if there are injuries
  • call 190 for the police if there are no injuries

See Local contacts

More information:


Check if your insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.

Always wear a helmet.


Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. This is due to the high risk of crime.

Don’t use unofficial taxis or hail a taxi off the street.

Rideshare apps are available.

Most airports have licensed taxi desks inside the baggage reclaim areas.

You can pay for your taxi in advance using a credit card or cash inside the airport.

Public transport

Brazil has a well-developed network of inter-city buses.

Travel can be risky due to poor vehicle maintenance, local driving habits and petty crime.

Be alert when using public transport, especially during busy times and at night.

Criminals often work in gangs robbing people gathered in the same place. Public transport hubs can be hotspots.

People have reported hijacking and robbery of tour buses in recent years.

More information:

Boat travel

International cruise liners visit Brazil.

Commercial riverboats are common in some parts. Keep your belongings close.

Tourist operators often use basic vessels for river outings in jungle areas.

Always wear a life jacket.

Piracy happens, particularly in the north-east. Pirates have also attacked cruise ships on the Amazon River.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) issues piracy reports on its website.

More information:

Air travel

Domestic and international flight delays are common. Airport strikes also happen.

Ask your travel agent if your itinerary allows for delays.

Be prepared for the possibility of extended waits at airports.

If you need to make or change airline bookings while in Brazil, make sure your payment method will be accepted.

LATAM, Brazil’s major airline, only allows you to use foreign credit cards online on its international website.

Other airlines such as GOL, Azul may not accept foreign credit cards on their websites.

Travel and tour agents may also have restrictions. You may need to pay cash at the airline office or ask your Australian travel provider.

DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Brazil’s air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.

More information:

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