Yeah, we know. The news items next to the word “Brazil” and “travel” this year have not exactly been flattering. But sometimes the best travel opportunities come out of perceptions of trouble, so let’s talk about the positives for a moment.
First though, we don’t mean to make light of the Zika virus situation. If you are pregnant or planning to be soon, you have a valid reason to stay away for awhile. Otherwise, treat this new mosquito threat for what it is: something far less dangerous than malaria, yellow fever, or dengue fever.
A Great Exchange Rate in Brazil
Brazil’s exchange rate has been more like a roller coaster than a soft beach wave for the past two decades. After cresting a few years ago it’s now near a record low for that period. For a while there Brazil was the most expensive country south of Mexico, so this doesn’t mean it has suddenly turned into a bargain. It does mean, however, that you won’t be looking at New York or London prices when you go out to eat or drink.
After trading at below 2 to the U.S. dollar most of this decade, you can expect to get between 3 and 3.2 Brazilian reals for your dollar this summer.
No Reciprocal Visa Fee This Summer
Many Americans have avoided Brazil for ages because of the hefty reciprocal visa fee. Basically the country has charged visitors whatever they charge Brazilians to enter, so countries that made it difficult for Brazilians to enter got penalized. While this is understandable to a point, the aggressive counter-measures often hurt the penalizing country more than the penalized one since tourists just went elsewhere instead. Chile dropped this practice two years ago, Argentina dropped it more recently, and Brazil has now suspended it for the period around the Olympic Games.
Given the major political struggles in the country, we don’t expect this logical step to roll over permanently, so take advantage of it now and save more than $600 on the price of stepping off a plane in Rio for a family of four.
There are Still Tickets for the Olympics!
Usually when a developed country is hosting the Olympic games, tickets are bought up by corporate sponsors and VIPs years in advance and it’s next to impossible to catch Michael Phelps in the pool or see the finals in the gymnastics floor performances. This year is different. Because of Zika scares and troubles in Brazil on the political and economic fronts, you can still get in and have plenty of events to choose from. As of yesterday 30% of the event tickets were still available. Go here to purchase.
We can’t promise you smooth sailing when it comes to accommodation though. Rio has been a baffling city since we first launched Luxury Latin America. While every other major tourist city in South America has exploded with hotel options, Rio remains mired in bureaucracy and half-baked developments. So there are very few luxury hotels in Rio and they’ve often booked solid. Your best bet is to put your faith in the hands of a local who can find options in the nooks and crannies. Check out See You in Brazil for your time in Rio and then some time in a less crowded place elsewhere in the country.