Brazil Medical Tourism
Brazil Medical Tourism offers 15 Joint Commission International accredited hospitals
Located in South America, Brazil is the 5th largest and 5th most populated country in the world. The Atlantic Ocean borders it to the east; Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana to the north; Colombia to the northwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; and Uruguay to the south.
A former colony of Portugal, Brazil merges three distinct ethnicities into one culture: European (mostly from Portugal, but there is a significant number of Italians, Spaniards, and Germans), African, and Amerindian. A comparatively smaller number of Japanese and Middle Easterners arrived in the early part of the 20th century. This synergic mixture produces a unique blend of music, art, edifices, food, celebrations; and not to mention some of the most beautiful people in the world. With 4,655 miles (7,491 km) of coastline, Brazil is home to world renowned beaches and adjacent nightlife, and it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “fun in the sun.”
Brazil Medical Tourism Fame
The Joint Commission International (and partners) has accredited 15 hospitals and medical centers in Brazil, which are concentrated in Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo. There is one accredited hospital located in Porto Alegre, which is 700 miles (1,127 km) south of Sao Paulo. Brazil is a hot spot for plastic surgery, however, most hospitals and clinics specialize in dental, orthopedics, cardiology, urology, diagnostic medicine, neurology, and mastology.
Because Brazil has the largest market for cosmetic surgery, it is home to some of the most skilled surgeons in the world. Medical training is intense, and for those travelers who are worried about quality, be assured that in order to practice medicine in Brazil physicians must undergo 11 years of combined residency and medical school. Credentials of potential doctors can be verified at the Brazilian Ministry of Health.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, however English is spoken in places frequented by international tourists and private hospitals, and Spanish is spoken in the border regions.
Brazil´s large size contributes to diversity in terrain and climate. It is home to both the Amazon tropical rainforest and acres of farmland. Because it is located in the Southern Hemisphere, Brazilian seasons are the opposite of North America. Winter is June to August and summer is December to February (also the rainy season). During the summer the southern part of Brazil is very humid and during the winter only the regions south of Rio get really cold. Generally, during the winter the temperature is between 55oF and 65oF. The interior of the country tends to be dryer and, or course, the Amazon Basin is the wettest region with an average temperature of 80oF. In Rio De Janeiro, the average summer temperatures are in the 70´s and low to mid 80’s (22-28oC), while the winter months can dip as low at 50oF (10oC)and reach a maximum average temperature of 79oF (26oC).
Visa / Entrance Requirements
U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport (valid for at least 6 from the date entry, and with at least one blank page available for the visa stamp) and obtain a visa prior to arriving in Brazil. In order to apply for a visa, you must submit either in person or via U.S. postal service Express Mail, a visa application form; your passport; one recent 2" x 2" passport-type photo, either in color or black and white, front view, full face, with a light background (snapshots are not accepted); a photocopy of a round-trip ticket in one's name; or a signed letter on travel agency stationary with confirmed round trip bookings; or, if traveling by land, a notarized bank letter concerning the balances in one's bank accounts, signed by the bank's manager, as proof of financial capacity to pay for one's stay in Brazil; and a non refundable visa fee payment of $130 (if submitting by mail or by a person other than the next of kin, then an additional $10 must be paid). The fee must be paid with a U.S. Postal Service money order. If submitting by mail you must include a prepaid return U.S. Postal Service Express Mail envelope.
*Certain jurisdictions do not allow mail in applications and you (or a friend/family member) must apply in person.
Airlines Servicing this Destination
Brazil has many major airports but for the purposes of medical tourism, 4 are important:
- Porto Alegre: POA
- Sao Paulo: GRU
- Rio De Janeiro: GIG
- Brasilia: BSB
The following airlines have flights to Brazil:
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
- TAM Airlines (Brazil)
- Aerolineas Argentinas
- Air France
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Continental Airlines
- South African Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Japan Airlines
- Korean Airlines
- United Airlines
For budget travelers, a private room in a hostel costs $20-$35 USD per person per night, while a 3 star hotel ranges from$70 to $183 USD with the majority in the $120 USD range. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offer a variety of upscale and unique hotels for those who desire the finer things in life. 5 star hotels, including hotels and hotel/spa/resorts that overlook the beach are $187-$450 per night. Brazil also offers an array of posh beach villas that average at around $2,500 per week.
The currency of Brazil is the Brazilian Reais (BRL).
The exchange rate of U.S. dollars to Brazilian reais is $1 USD to 1.97 BRL (exchange rate subject to change).
The international access code for Brazil is 55.
Important area codes are:
Rio de Janeiro: 21
Sao Paulo: 11
Porto Alegre: 51
In order to call Brazil from the U.S. or Canada you must dial 011 (exit code) then 55 (country code for Brazil), then the area code (2 digits), and then the phone number (8 digits).
To call the U.S. from Brazil you must dial 00 + (two digit carrier code) + 1 + area code + phone number.
*For Brazil the exit code 00 must be followed by a carrier code which can be: 14 (Brasil Telecom), 15 (Telefonica), 21 (Embratel), 23 (Intelig), 31 (Telemar).
To call a cell phone in Brazil from the U.S. and Canada you must dial 011 + 55 + area code + the eight digit phone number (beginning with 7, 8, or 9).
*All Brazilian cells phone numbers start with 7, 8, or 9.
Cyber-cafes are widely available in major cities and towns. Larger hotels and most private hospitals throughout the country offer Broadband Internet connection.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
U.S. Embassy in Brasilia: (55-61) 3312-7000.
U.S. Embassy in Rio De Janeiro: (55-21) 3823-2000.
U.S. Embassy in Sao Paulo: (55-11) 5186-7000 day; (55-11) 5181-8730 after hours.
Where do we begin...
There are tons of activities to occupy your time in Brazil. No matter where you are in Rio de Janeiro (unless shielded by tall buildings), a statue called Christ the Redeemer is discernable which is located on top of the Corcovado Mountain. Brazil is also home to two highly ranked beaches: Ipanema and Copacabana. Other Brazilian top ranked beaches are located on the northeastern coast of the country. They are called Fernando de Noronha and Pernambuco. If partying is your game then be sure to check out the biggest party in the world: Carnival which kicks off six weeks before Easter. Also, the milder Parintins Folk Festival (June 28-30) is internationally known. The festival occurs on the banks of the Amazon and it features traditional music, dance, and folklore.
Brasilia offers an unique experience for travelers interested in modern architecture and urban planning. The city was planned and developed in 1956 by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and urban planner Lucio Costa, and is one of the few planned cities (a city that is carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area) in the world. It is the epitome of modern architecture.
For the avid outdoorsman (or woman), a climb atop Sugarloaf mountain is a must for those trying to push their physical and technical limits. For those who would rather watch an athletic activity than participate must buy a ticket in order to watch Brazil’s national obsession: futbol (soccer in the U.S.). Brazil is home to Soccer´s most famous (and best) player of all time: Pele, and a trip to Rio de Janeiro´s famous Maracana Stadium, which hosts many soccer matches throughout the year is a must.
For the ecotourist in all of us, Brazil has many sights and activities to choose from (considering that the Amazon Rainforest takes up almost half of the county´s area), including rainforest tours, nature hikes, mountain climbing, hang gliding, canopy and helicopter tours, and waterfalls, including the Iguazu Falls, which is considered one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world.
Brazil is a hot spot for jewelry in that it is a producer of diamonds, gold, and 2/3rds of the world´s colored gems. Also, cotton hammocks, leather goods, Indian handicrafts (in the Northeast), and religious articles are popular buys among tourists. Sao Paulo is considered the largest shopping zone in South America and you can find clothing and fashion at Rua Augusta located in the Jardins area, and there are also two malls in this area that are popular amongst Paulistas: Shopping Iguatemi and Shopping Eldorado. In Rio de Janeiro, the Copacabana and Ipanema areas are popular.
Nightlife and the Arts
Before heading to the clubs and discos a trip to a Brazilian restaurant is a must. Brazilian cuisine, like the people, is a fusion of many different gastronomical entities. Food in Brazil is not only ethnically driven but is also regionally variable, for example, slaves in Bahia developed dishes from scraps and locally caught food mixed with coconut milk and palm oil. The closest to a Brazilian national dish are churrasco (black beans simmered in meat) and feijoada (BBQ of select meats) which must be topped off with the national drink of Brazil: the caipirinha. This drink is a mix of crushed lime, ice, vodka or cachaça, and sugar.
Nightlife is booming in Brazil´s urban landscapes and the best entertainment is localize to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with the latter offering more sophisticated venues. Both cities host top international DJ´s and samba clubs featuring samba music and world famous samba dancers. Be advised that the main acts do not begin performing until after midnight.
Brazil offers a lot of cultural activities that are a result of its multicultural environment. Capoeira is a martial art that was developed by African slaves in the 1500´s, and samba is a musical genre with African and European roots. Both are performed throughout Brazil, and art museums, theaters, and galleries are common in major cities.
The following are English language newspapers in Brazil:
The Gringo Times
O Estado de Sao Paulo