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Rio 2016: What you need to know

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With the Olympic opening ceremony of Rio 2016 on Friday the 5th of August, and the games themselves officially starting on Saturday the 6th, Olympic fever has well and truly hit. While many of us will be cheering on Team GB from the comfort of our living rooms, for those lucky travellers venturing across the Atlantic to see the games first hand here are some tips to help you get the most out of your trip.

Rio 2016: What you need to know

Rio 2016

Do I need a visa?

The short answer is no. UK passport holders are exempt from needing a visa for stays of up to 90 days. While this should certainly cover the duration of the Olympics games, if you are planning on staying for the Paralympics or want to travel around Brazil before or after the games, then you need to ensure that your stay will not exceed 90 days. Similarly, if you are planning to visit any of Brazil’s neighbouring countries, then check if you will need a visa. Have a look at the FCO website for details on visa requirements and travel up dates:

How do I get around?

Often arriving in any large and busy city can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t speak the language and are trying to find your hotel after a long flight. If you are arriving at night its best to avoid public transport and to take a taxi. During the day there are a number of buses which run from the airport into the city centre. Buses, the metro, the new Light Rail Transit, and a more extensive rail network are all integrated, and are the most effecient way to get around the city during the day. At night it is advisable to use a taxi as a safety precaution.

How safe is Rio?

Rio is city of extremes, and while it‘s a beautiful place with lots to see and do, due to the extensive poverty the crime rate is quite high. If you are sensible and take the necessary precautions, then your stay in the city should go without a hitch.

  • Stay aware in crowded places and while travelling on foot.
  • Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
  • Avoid taking public transport at night, instead call a taxi.
  • Avoid taking valuble and expensive items outside of the hotel.
  • Store passports, credit cards, jewellery and cash in the hotel safe.
  • Try to take out money from inside banks, hotels or shopping centres.
Can I drink the water?

People in Rio don‘t drink water from the  tap, unless its been filtered or treated. Buy bottled water to drink in your hotel or accomodation.

What can I do when I’m not watching the games?

Rio is a fantastic destination to visit, even when not playing host to the 2016 Olympics. Nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City), Rio offers beautiful landscapes and captivating culture. Copacabana and Ipanema Beach, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Christ the Redeemer are just a few of the top tourist spots that can’t be missed when visiting Rio. For more information and advice on where to go, where to eat and what there is to do, check out Visit Rio page:

Is the Zika Virus really a problem?

There has been a lot of conflicting information in the run up to the Rio 2016 games regarding the Zika virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) have stated that the games do not need to be cancelled due to Zika, but others have made the case that the games shouldn’t go ahead.

While the threat of Zika is still controversial, the best way to avoid problems is to take precautions. WHO have advised both tourists and athletes to protect themselves from mosquito bites using insect repellent, mosquito nets, and wearing long trousers and sleeves. Choose air-conditioned accommodation where possible as this will also help to keep mosquito’s away. Try to avoid impoverised or over-crowded places where stagnant water may increase the risk of mosquito lavae. Practicing safe sex is also essential in areas where Zika is present.

Before you travel you should take out adequate travel insurance and also contact your health practitioner to seek travel health advice. This may include advice on any immunisations you may need before you go. See the Travel Health Pro Brazil advice page for up to date information on the country and the Zika virus.

Useful Contacts:


POLICE BATTALION FOR TOURIST AREAS (BPTUR) – (21) 2332-7928 / 2332-7937


Helen Elizabeth

Helen Elizabeth

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