Overland Brazil Travel
Pan American Highway > Brazil
Currency to display:
- 1 Visiting Brazil
- 2 VISA Requirements for Brazil
- 3 Entering Brazil with a Car or Motorbike
- 4 Driving in Brazil
- 5 Gas and Diesel price in Brazil
- 6 Safety and Security Considerations
- 7 Camping in Brazil
- 8 Navigation
- 9 Special Overland Travel interests
- 10 Vehicle Maintenance
- 11 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Brazil
- 12 References
- 13 Helpful External links
Give a brief overview of what it's like to visit. How easy is the border, how safe is the country, are there great things to see and do, etc.
VISA Requirements for Brazil
Following is a description of the paperwork and process required for a US citizen to obtain a visa in Ciudad del Oueste, Paraguay in July 2015. Required Items:
- Passport valid for a minimum of six months past the current date.
- Printouts of your bank statement for the past 3 months.
- Vehicle title (proof of onward travel)
- 1 Passport photo
- Proof of payment of fee - at time of writing, 960,000 Guarani (US$160) for US citizens.
- Application form - Go to http://scedv.serpro.gov.br and select Solicitar Visto. Print the form when you are done.
- Birth certificate for children traveling with you.
Process: Obtain all required items except the proof of payment. Submit them at the consular office. The officer will give you a payment voucher for the Bank of Brazil. In Ciudad del Oueste, there is one located in the shopping complex near the McDonalds on the road to Ascuncion. Pay the fee in the bank and get the form with the stamp and signature showing you've paid.
Return to the consular office and deliver the proof of payment. For us our visas were ready in 24 hours.
Entering Brazil with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: Sep 2014
(To check if you need a travel Visa for Brazil, application instructions and fees see: Brazil Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
- None, just your passport.
Process at border
Go to immigration and get your passport stamped, no vehicle importation is needed for vehicles being driven in which will later be driven out again. A vehicle is automatically admitted when the owner is admitted with a valid visa. Aduana (customs) may wish to inspect your vehicle (for illegal goods). Note that the entry and exit stamps are numbered. Upon entry the stamp should end with an odd number, upon exit it should end with an even number. You should check this as if it is done incorrectly you may have problems.
Cost of entry
Free for vehicle. Many European passports will be granted free entry for 90 days. Some countries (including USA and Australia) require visas. Brazilian Consulates at border towns usually issue visa within less time and with less paperwork required.
Permitted length of stay
As long as the legal owner can stay.
Extension of stay
The length of time a vehicle can be in Brazil is only based how long the owner can stay in Brazil. The information given below is about extending the stay for the owner, which by default extends the stay for the vehicle.
Custom info: http://intranet.sefaz.ba.gov.br/tributaria/fiscalizacao/regaduan.pdf.
The number of days given to tourists when entering Brazil varies according to the whims of the federal police ofﬁcer who stamps your passport. Generally 90 days are given to most tourists. If you are from the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand you would have had to get your visa ahead of time which allows for 90 days upon entry with a maximum extension of 180 days total. From talking to different Europeans we have met in Brazil we get the impression most Europeans are also allowed 90 days with a maximum of 180 days without having to pay for a Visa however this information is not tested and you should check with the federal police for your specific country.
The ﬁrst time we entered Brazil we were given only 30 days and told we could extend later. The second time we entered we were given 90 days. Here is the process we went through as US passport holders, extending our visas in Rio de Janiero. My understanding is that it is the same for everybody but you should check the rules for your country just in case.
In Rio, the ofﬁce of the Policia Federal that deals with tourist visas is located at the International Airport-Galeao, terminal 1 on the third ﬂoor. The website says they only accept extension paperwork from 8 to 12 in the morning, and the lines get long so I recommend arriving as early as possible. The waiting takes awhile but once you are talking to somebody the process is very fast and you should receive your extension right then. If needed there is an internet cafe/copy place at the airport on the bottom ﬂoor.
You will need the following items to extend:
- Tourist visa extension request form (given to you at the ofﬁce and ﬁlled out by hand)
- Immigration paper given to you when entering
- Proof of departure from the country dated within the next 90 days (if traveling by car we took a copy of the title of our vehicle and explained we were driving our own vehicle through the country which was accepted without question)
- Proof of ﬁnancial independence-the paper we were given said a credit card would be acceptable but the ofﬁcer at the information desk asked for a copy of a bank statement. I would recommend having a copy of your bank statement handy just in case
- Copy of the payment form with receipt of payment attached-the fee is R$67.00 BRL (this should be done ahead of time) NOTE: If your are extending anywhere besides Rio de Janeiro the information for this form is going to be different. You will have to go to the ofﬁce ﬁrst and get the code and location information from them.
- Go to http://www.dpf.gov.br, click on the GRU link along the left hand side of the main page under Servicos.
- Click on 1-GRU-Funapol (estrangeiro, etc)
- Click on 3-Pessoas e entidades estrangeiras
- Fill in the form. Under Unidade Arrecadadora select: SUPERINTENDENCIA REGIONAL NO ESTADO DO RIO DE JANEIRO. The Codigo da Receita is 140090. Once this is entered the R$67.00 BRL fee should ﬁll in itself.
- Submit the form and print a copy of the receipt.
- Take this receipt to any bank and pay the fee. They will give you half the page back with the payment receipt stapled to it
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
As of 2013, there is no paperwork or stamp in your passport for your vehicle, so you are free to leave it in the country while you leave. As long as the vehicle owner is legal in the country, the vehicle is too. In 2014 many people have proved this - leaving their vehicle in Brazil for many months while they are not, the returning on a new visa and no issues with the vehicle.
Custom info: http://intranet.sefaz.ba.gov.br/tributaria/fiscalizacao/regaduan.pdf.
- ADMISSÃO TEMPORÁRIA
- Art. 293 - Poder-se-á aplicar o regime aos seguintes bens:
- I) veículos de turistas estrangeiros;
- Art. 298 - De conformidade com o artigo 250, o regime será concedido
- por até 1 (um) ano, prorrogável por período não superior a 1 (um)
Exiting with a vehicle
You will need to go to immigration / Federal Police to have your passport stamped for exit (as above, make sure the stamp number ends in an even number). There is no paperwork for the vehicle although aduana (customs) may wish to inspect it.
Driving in Brazil
Recommended books for Overlanding in Brazil
Travel insurance for Brazil
Vehicle insurance requirements
Not at the border, nor at any police checkpoint, were we asked for insurance.
Cost of vehicle insurance
As a reference, yearly car insurance cost is around 4% of fair market value.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Search for 'seguro auto'.
An international driving permit is not required to drive in Brazil, only a valid drivers licence from your home country. The IDP is only recommended because the translation can solve problems during routine encounters with police (who may not be aware of the recent changes in Brazilian law dropping the requirement of an international driving permit).
(Note, Australian licence accepted, Belgian licence accepted).
Driving side of road
Brazilians drive on the right. In Brazil, the steering wheel is on the left.
RHD can be driven in Brazil without a problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
A fire extinguisher and a safety triangle are mandatory items in a vehicle.
Since Septembre 19, 2015, a fire extinguisher is not mandatory anymore. It's only mandatory for buses and trucks. Law: Resolução 556/2015 CONTRAN.
For motociclists, only helmet is mandatory.
General Road quality
Roads in Brazil are generally adequate but improving. The quality of pavement is generally not an issue, but some major roads may only feature one lane in each direction, making travel difficult. Some villages are still only accessible via unpaved roads (Which may not be marked on a map). It is a good idea to ask a local guide for more information because the most efficient route may not always be the most obvious, and the best available maps / GPS may not always be up to date. One way roads are common in major cities.
Updates on road conditions can be found on the official Brazilian Roads Authority (in Portuguese): 
Road signs are very standardized and most drivers will find them adequate and self-explanatory. Be aware that every 500-1000 meters of road in populated areas will have a (clearly marked) speed bump to force drivers to slow down when passing through cities and villages.
Most new high capacity roads in Brazil charge a minimal toll every 50-80 km of R$1.00 BRL-R$2.00 BRL, and tolls are clearly marked in advance. Generally you must pay the toll with a R$10 (Brazilian Real) note or smaller. Highways and major roads will cost more, usually R$10-R$20. And toll gates can be a lot more frequent, depending on the road and state. See the Online toll calculator.
Bribery in Brazil
Bribery in Brazil as in the rest of Latin America is always expected (excluding Chile).
Is not the norm but the probability of being "politely" asked for some "way" (read it money) to "ease" the issue is very high.
Never ever OFFER bribery (or as a gringo you are offending a police officer and that s real trouble) rather wait for the police to ask you ...and then decide what you want to do.
If the police asked you for money it definitely is a bribery. In Brazil we don't have to pay anything directly to the police.
At the entry to each state there was a checkpoint, but we were only stopped at these when the guard thought we were a truck. At some luxury beach towns there were checkpoints that stopped all non-local vehicles for papers. (Drivers licence and home country registration papers only).
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in Brazil
Last updated: August 2016
Prices can increase/decrease like 0,50 BRL per liter if you are in a big or small city.
Currency and unit to display:
|Unleaded||R$3.30 BRL per Liter|
|Ethanol||R$2.20 BRL per Liter|
|Diesel||R$2.70 BRL per Liter|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Gas shortages are not common in Brazil, diesel and gasoline are widely available. Even in small villages very rudimentary gas stations exist, even far from major cities. One should not have to drive more than 10-15 km to find a gas station. Be aware to not put accidentally ethanol as it is as common as gasoline and diesel at the gas stations. In big cities there is also the LPG option.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Gasoline and Diesel in Brazil are of very high quality, and the quality of gasoline is generally the same at all major chains and independent retailers. Don't be surprised to find very rudimentary gas stations in the areas far from major cities, as their gasoline is usually of the highest quality.
In 4.5 months in Brazil we (the Belgian and the Aussie) did get dirty diesel in the North and so did one other over landing vehicle we met.
Note that all gasoline contains 25 ~ 27% of ethanol. Brazil doesn't have a pure gasoline because of some laws. In big cities prefer to use "Shell", "Ipiranga" or "Petrobras / BR" gas stations. Shell usually are less expensive then Ipiranga and Petrobras/BR.
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Some areas are not safe to drive at night, especially the state of Bahia. Express kidnappings and robberys are known to occur, and most Brazilian people will not stop for cars which appear to be 'broken down' as people have been known to ambush and rob the good Samaritans who come to their aid at gunpoint. Generally, most people do not encounter any problems during the daytime however and Brazilians are very courteous and helpful to travelers.
Brazil has a complicated system of parking on the street which involves color codes and different rates for different areas at different times. It is usually cheaper and safer (in most major cities) to park in private "Garages", especially overnight. Many hotels, restaurants, attractions, and places of business provide free parking to their customers. Beware in some areas of people who offer to "watch your car". They usually expect some small amount of money for this "service" and if you do not pay them they could damage your vehicle. This is somewhat common in free parking areas near major attractions.
Special driving considerations
In Brazil, there are speed bumps wherever there is an inspection, most are signposted but sometimes the signpost is obstructed. Trucks of 7 axles and less can drive all day, they have tight deadlines and will overtake on double lines. Be prepared to leave the road and drive on the shoulder when faced with 2 trucks coming over a hill. Because of frequent speed bumps, towns, and many trucks expect to average a speed that is half the speed. Toll roads are in better condition. Be aware that almost in all roads/highways and in most medium/large cities in Brazil they are INFESTED with speed radars ... Comply with speed posted or you will face an huge amount of tickets.
For bikers: it's recommended to use a "kite cutter" antenna for safety reasons. It's common in some regions of Brazil to use "cerol" (glass-coated) in the kite line, which is extremely sharp and can cause severe cuts on the biker's neck.
List any roads that are not recommended to drive for safety or other security reasons.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Brazil - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Brazil
Organized campsites are common in the South of Brazil.
Expect to pay somewhere between $5.00 USD and <cost price="35" currency="USD" /> for two people per night. Pay campsites have facilities like bathrooms and hot showers.
Camping Club de Brazil (http://www.campingclube.com.br) has a network of campsites. Foreign Automobile Association member cards can be shown to receive member prices which are far more reasonable. Brazilian Motorhome Club "MaCamp" (http://www.macamp.com.br) are active in listing suitable places for motorhomes to stay. Some places are parking lots or pousadas (guest houses) or restaurants who have installed accessible power points and facilities (water taps, showers, toilets, and sometimes wifi or swimming pool) for motorhomes.
It's legal to drive only on some beaches far from population, and many Overlanders have mentioned they wild camped on beaches without incident.
Brazil also has very well equipped gas stations, where many overlanders sleep for the night, with showers and bathrooms, all for free.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
You can't always drink tap water in Brazil. Drinking tap water is "okay" in more developed states, but not recommended in Brazil, drink filtered or mineral water only. It's okay for teeth brushing and showers.
Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Brazil
The best paper maps for Brazil is "Guia Quatro Rodas which comes with a book, including gas stations, police checkpoints, toll roads, etc. The "Guia" itself contains most of brazilian cities and its attractions. It can be bought in any book shop or news stand.
GPS Maps of Brazil
Most GPS brands have Brazilian up to date maps at least for the big cities. You can get free updated maps for Garmin and Navitel GPS at: http://www.tracksource.org.br/index.php/downloads-mapas.html Open Street Maps are free and can be loaded onto other devices. TRC Brazil is the OSM that some overlanders are using.
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Brazil
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
In the GPS maps there are plenty of these points and a lot more.
Currently the best website with GPS co-ordinates (campsites, propane, etc.) in South and Central America is iOverlander.
There is a list of organized camp sites from BodesWell here: 
and boondocking camp sites from LandCruising Adventure here: 
Special Overland Travel interests
For shipping the vehicle on barges on the Amazon river: Macapa-Belem The info and schedule was very difficult to get without being there personally, talking to all the 'balsa' offices in person. I even asked a company for a schedule - they simply don't have anything written down. For the Macapa-Belem route, it takes 40-45 hours, R$1,000.00 BRL (2 people + a small car; or same price for 1 person + a van, including food, sleep in the car/hammock). Starts from Macapa M/W/F at 4-6pm. The other companies seem to be on the same schedule. I was told the reverse trip is the same schedule. Bausas can be cancelled if there isn't enough cargo.
The bausas are huge, with capacity for 35-40 truck trailers. There are smaller ones too.
Not all the shipping companies take passengers along with the car. Check around. TNA is a company that have been able to take passengers with the car.
It's also possible to ship from Manaus to Belem. Much longer and more expensive than Macapa-Belem.
The Belgian and The Aussie recommend using an agent and have blogged about their experiences of shipping by using an agent: http://thebelgianandtheaussie.blogspot.com/p/overland-notes-brazil.html
- In early 2016, prices for ferries on the Amazon river with a 4x4 and a driver from TransAmazonas Logística are:
** Porto Velho -> Manaus $320.00 USD ** Manaus -> Porto Velho $320.00 USD ** Manaus -> Santarem $266.00 USD
More updates on TransAmazonica route can be found on this websites (from 2013 until 2017):
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Belém: JR Service Car (BOSCH), worked on our diesel engine (timing belt change), very professional shop and nice people.
They also work on Landcruisers (was working on one while we were there).
Address: Tv. Perebebui, 212 - Sacramenta - Belém - PA
Phone: +55 (91) 3264-5034
Mobile: +55 (91) 8138-6969 for Jaime, +55 (91) 8146-9899 for Diogo (Portuguese speaking only)
São Paulo : Good Toyota mechanic in Sao Paulo - João - his workshop is called "Sollo 4wd" #(11) 3835-3781
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Brazil
Not difficult. It just don't make any sense since the same car can be bought much, MUCH cheaper on most other countries in South America.
Not possible. Brazilian laws does not permit used foreign cars to be legally imported or registered, except for brand new cars or cars more than 30 years old.
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.