Brazil’s annual Carnival festivals take place in February, with the Rio Carnival scheduled for 21 February – 26 February 2020. These events are usually associated with an influx of foreign visitors to Brazil. New Zealanders planning on attending this year’s festivals or travelling in Brazil during the Carnival period should read this information in conjunction with our travel advisory for Brazil.
Before you go
All New Zealanders are encouraged to:
- Register your details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the SafeTravel website so we can contact you and account for your well-being in an emergency
- Ensure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that provides cover for any pre-existing conditions and any activities you wish to undertake that may be excluded from regular policies
- Check visa requirements for your travel to Brazil. In all cases your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of departure. Further information on passports and visas can be found here.
- Read our information and advice on the current outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil.
- You can also find a travel checklist on SafeTravel and advice about what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can help with should something go wrong.
Safety and security
New Zealanders attending Carnival or travelling in Brazil during the Carnival period should be aware that there is a high level of violent crime in Brazil, which is particularly prevalent in major cities including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife and Salvador and in the north of the country. Crimes can include mugging, armed robbery, home invasion and sexual assault and often involves firearms or other weapons.
Street crime, including pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is also common, and increases around festive periods such as Carnival. Foreign tourists may be specifically targeted for theft, due to their perceived wealth.
Particular care is recommended while on public transport, where phones should be kept out of sight. Ensure you keep your passport, any jewellery and other personal belongings secure when staying in hostels. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery, mugging or other crime as this could lead to an escalation in violence.
Protests occur regularly in Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro. New Zealanders are advised to avoid all political gatherings, protests and demonstrations as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. You should monitor local media for information on protests or strikes. New Zealanders who are in an area affected by demonstrations or violence should leave the immediate vicinity and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities.
As a precaution against drink spiking, never leave your drink unattended in a bar or nightclub and be cautious accepting drinks from strangers and recent acquaintances. Victims of spiked drinks have been robbed and sometimes assaulted.
Take a variety of means to access money. A visit to the bank in Brazil can be complicated. For safety reasons, we recommend that you use ATMs during daylight hours and located within shopping malls or bank branches. Carry just enough money for your daily expenses, and keep it in internal pockets. Irrespective of the branding on ATMs (e.g. – carrying a ‘Plus’ system sign) you may need to try several machines before meeting with success. Do not accept help from strangers at the ATM machine.
Where to get help
In an emergency, call:
Police (Polícia) - 190
Ambulance (Ambulância) - 192
Fire (Bombeiros) - 193
In Rio de Janeiro, tourist police can be contacted on (21) 2332 2924, (21) 2332 2511 and (21) 2332 5112.
The Sao Paulo Tourist Police can be contacted on (11) 3120 4417 and (11) 3151 4167.
New Zealanders requiring consular assistance in Brazil should contact:
New Zealand Embassy, Brasilia
Street Address: SHIS QI 09, conj. 16, casa 01, Lago Sul 71625-160, Brasilia DF, Brazil
Telephone: + 55 61 3248 9900
Reviewed:11 Feb 2020, 14:25