It's probably best to avoid the food peddled by vendors on the beach (before you buy any food from them, take a look at their hygiene and cleanliness). A sanduiche natural (natural sandwich) may or may not be organic as represented, but if you buy one late in the day a tummy-ache or worse is a likely result. Food and drink in formal restaurants is safe, excellent, and inexpensive.
If you are going to rent a flat and live on your own, store perishable foodstuffs with extra care, as the hot climate can make them rot quite soon.
Only buy closed drinks sold from street vendors (like cans and bottles). Always use a straw or rinse the drink container with fresh water, because the water used to cool the drinks is sometimes not fit for consumption. Unless you have been in the country for a few weeks or more, avoid all ice in drinks. Mineral water is normally safe. The quality of tap water, on the other hand, may vary from place to place (from contaminated, saline or soaked with chlorine to plain drinkable) and Brazilians themselves usually prefer to have it filtered.
Vaccination against yellow fever and taking anti-malaria medication may be necessary if you are traveling to central-western (Mato Grosso) or northern (Amazon) regions. If you're arriving from Peru, Colombia or Bolivia, the vaccination of yellow fever is required (i.e. you cannot leave these countries if your destination is Brazil without your vaccination card). Some countries, such as Australia and South Africa, will require evidence of yellow fever vaccination before allowing you entry if you have been in any part of Brazil within the previous week. Check the requirements of any country you will travel to after Brazil.
If you get ill don't look for help in public hospitals, which tend to be crowded and not too good. In most cities of at least 60,000 inhabitants good healthcare is available at a fair price.
Dentists abound and are very cheap (so cheap indeed that people come from other countries to treat their teeth there). However, the quality of their work is not always the same. Absolutely don't trust "popular dentists".
The emergency number is 190, but you must speak Portuguese.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over nine months old arriving within from infected regions. Vaccination is strongly recommended for those intending to visit rural areas in the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondonia, Roraima, Tocantins, and certain areas of Minas Gerais, and specific areas of Espirito Santo, Piani, Bahia, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarin and Rio Grande do Sul. If in any doubt, please contact the Brazilian Consulate General (see Contact Addresses section).
Following WHO guidelines issued in 1973, a cholera vaccination certificate is no longer a condition of entry to Brazil. However, cases of cholera are still reported, especially in the northeast, and precautions are essential. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness; see the Health appendix for more information.
Typhoid and Polio:
Immunisation against typhoid is recommended.
Malaria risk exists throughout the year (78 per cent vivax form and 22 per cent falciparum form) below 900m (2953ft) in Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Maranhão (western part), Mato Grosso (northern part), Para (except Belém City), Rondonia, Roraima and Tocantins states, as well as some larger cities, such as on the periphery of Porto Velho, Boa Vista, MacapÃ¡, Manaus, Santerém, Rio Branco and Maraba. The malignant falciparum form of the disease is reportedly highly resistant to both chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Mefloquine, doxycycline or atovaquone/proguanil is the recommended prophylaxis.