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

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 March 23.

(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 criticized the use of masks and lambasted governors who adopted regional lockdown measures.

The Gamma coronavirus variant was first detected in Brazil and spread rapidly across the country in early 2021.

Hospitals in Brazil have struggled. Intubation, medication and oxygen have run low at points during the pandemic.

Cases in Brazil spiked in late 2021/early 2022 following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Case numbers have since dropped but remain quite high.

As of March 23, over 75% 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

Brazil’s government, infamously relaxed about the pandemic, was initially hesitant to implement pandemic border restrictions.

However the country introduced new border measures following the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Now all travelers to Brazil must be fully vaccinated to enter Brazil (unless they’re an exempted case as listed here) all travelers must also present a negative test — see below.

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.
Travelers over the age of 12 must also present proof of vaccination, unless they’re an exempted case as listed here. These exempted unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for 14 days at their final destination in Brazil.

Travelers entering Brazil via its land borders must show a negative PCR or antigen test, and over 18s must also present proof of vaccination. Travelers arriving into Brazil by land must also show proof of vaccination, unless they’re exempt.

If you’re unvaccinated, you can only enter Brazil via land if you are transiting the country en route 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. International cruise ships cannot currently stop in Brazil. Domestic cruising in Brazil restarted on March 3 2022, following an Omicron-prompted suspension earlier in the year.

US CDC travel advisory:

Level 4: Very High. The CDC advises to avoid travel to Brazil and advises if you must travel to Brazil, make sure you are vaccinated.

Useful links

Our recent coverage

Brazil moved to the CDC’s “very high” risk Level 4 category in January.

CNN’s Julia Buckley and Francesca Street contributed to this report

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