World Cup 2014
This article is a travel topic
The biggest event in soccer and one of the biggest events in all of sports—the FIFA World Cup—will be held in Brazil between 12 June and 13 July 2014. It's the second time Brazil is hosting the tournament (first time since 1950). 32 countries will participate, playing a total of 64 matches in 12 cities. It is estimated that 500,000 soccer fans will attend the event.
FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 visas for US citizens
The Government of Brazil will issue a special type of visa for spectators and participants in the FIFA World Cup. All visas issued for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 are free of charge. They are special temporary visas, issued just for the duration of the event. Applicants will be asked to present a valid ticket for any of the tournament games, or copy of email confirmation, or ticket certificate when applying. The processing time for Brazilian FIFA World Cup Visas can vary depending on jurisdiction. If you're planning on staying longer in Brazil you should apply for a tourist visa instead.
You can find more information about Brazilian visas here.
Applications for tickets can only be made at FIFA.com or at FIFA Venue Ticketing Centres which will open in host cities in Brazil closer to the start of the tournament. FIFA organized 3 sales phases for the ticket applications. The first application period for the ticket lottery run from 20 Aug to 10 Oct 2013. After the Final Draw, when the 32 qualified teams find out who they will face in the group stages of the World Cup, the second application period for another ticket lottery run from 8 Dec to 30 Jan 2014. The third application phase is “first-come-first-served” only and runs from 15 Apr until the FIFA World Cup Final on 13 Jul.
You are can buy tickets for individual matches (eg. opening match, final match), team specific ticket (follow my team series of tickets), or venue specific tickets (eg. matches in Rio de Janeiro).
Individual match ticket prices for round of 16 matches range between US$ 110 to $ 220, the opening match between US$ 220 to $ 495, and for the final between US$ 440 to $ 990 (all prices for the general international public).
It's best to plan your stay by booking early. Even though the games are not held during the high traffic season (Dec- Jan), you will definitely encounter higher prices and decreased availability.
Hotels are plentiful in just about all areas of Brazil and can range from luxury beach resorts to very modest and inexpensive choices. The Brazilian tourism regulation board imposes specific minimum attributes for each type of facility, but as the 1-5 star rating is no longer enforced, check in advance if your hotel provides the kind of services you expect.
Pousada means guesthouse (the local equivalent of a French auberge or a British boarding house), and are usually simpler than hotels, and will offer fewer services (room service, laundry etc.). Pousadas are even more widespread than hotels.
Motel in Brazil basically equates to a sex motel. Due the World Cup, some of these establishments will also provide accommodations, but keep in your mind that you may find your room equipped with red lights, erotic films and some interesting accessories in the night stand.
The second largest airport in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, (IATA: GIG ICAO: SBGL) the home of Gol Transportes Aéreos , which flies to many regional destinations including Santiago, Buenos Aires and Asuncion. Other direct flights include:
From Oceania there are services available to Brazil through connections in intermediate stops: Sydney and Auckland are served by LAN Airlines with a connection in Santiago. Qantas's direct flight from Sydney to Santiago has codeshare agreements with LAN and TAM Airlines making it possible to get a connection to Brazil there. South African Airways links Perth and Sydney to Brazil via Johannesburg. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland are served by Emirates via Dubai. Sydney is also served by Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the above, TAP flies directly to Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Porto Alegre. TAP Portugal  is the foreign airline with most destinations in Brazil, from Lisbon and Porto, and provides extensive connection onwards to Europe and Africa. American Airlines has flights from Miami to Manaus, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Salvador. Copa Airlines flies from its hub in Panama City to Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Manaus, provinding a wide range of destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Train service within Brazil is almost nonexistent.
In São Paulo is a very important transportation system and you can use as well to move into the city and some cities around.
There are now several Brazilian booking engines that are good (although not perfect) for comparing flights and prices between different companies. They will mostly include an extra fee, hence it is cheaper to book on the airline's own site.
The Brazilian airline scene completely changed at least twice over the last 10 years or so. The largest carriers are now TAM and Gol , which share more than 80% of the domestic market between them. The traditional Varig is now just another brand of Gol. Others include WebJet , Avianca , and Azul . TRIP  has short-haul flights to smaller airports throughout the country, and Pantanal  and Puma  are growing in the same segment. Portuguese TAP  has a few domestic code shares with TAM. There are also a number of regional companies, such as NHT (Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina). Price differences, at least if a ticket is purchased on the internet well in advance, are so small that it´s rather meaningless to call any of these "low cost", although WebJet and Azul have lately been a notch cheaper for domestic flights.
Travellers to Curitiba are in luck, as the town is known for its excellent public transport.
12 cities will play host to matches during the World Cup:
The first round (group stage) will see the 32 teams divided into 8 groups of 4 teams.
Round of 16 & Quarter-finals (QF) & Semi-finals (SF) & Third place
Brazil's unit of currency is the Real (pronounced 'hay-OW'), plural Reais ('hay-ICE'), abbreviated BRL, or just R$. One real is divided into 100 centavos. As an example of how prices are written, R$1,50 means one real and fifty centavos.
Be careful using credit cards in Brazil. Many people have their cards compromised and then over several days have money siphoned off their cards. A safer option is to use cash (make sure you only withdraw from bank ATMs such as Banco do Brasil). If you choose to use your credit card, keep an eye on your statement.
Foreign currency such as US Dollars or Euros can be exchanged major airports and luxury hotels (bad rates), exchange bureaus and major branches of Banco do Brasil (no other banks), where you need your passport and your immigration form.
Look for an ATM with your credit/debit card logo on it. Large branches of Banco do Brasil (no withdrawal fees for credit cards) usually have one, and most all Bradesco, Citibank, BankBoston and HSBC machines will work. Banco 24 Horas is a network of ATMs which accept foreign cards (charging R$ 10 per withdrawal). Withdrawal limits are usually R$ 600 (Bradesco) or R$ 1000 (BB, HSBC, B24H), per transaction, and in any case R$ 1000 per day. The latter can be circumvented by several consecutive withdrawals, choosing different "accounts", i.e. "credit card", "checking", "savings". Note that most ATMs do not work or will only give you R$ 100 after 10 PM.
Some places put signs stating a minimum card value payment. This is illegal. Every commercial establishment that accepts card is required to accept payment regardless of the amount. If the merchant that accepts cards refuses to receive the payment due to the low value, call the police or PROCON (consumer protection agency).
Coins are R$0.05, R$0.10, R$0.25, R$0.50 and R$1. Some denominations have several different designs. Images from the central bank of Brazil are available here. Bills come in the following denominations: R$1 (being phased out), R$2 , R$5 , R$10 (still a few plastic red and blue around), R$20 R$ 50 and $100. Images from the central bank of Brazil are available here.
It is also very common to receive the change (pay back) for cents with candies (for example, R$ 0,05 or R$ 0,10).
Official FIFA Store
Brazil is a country with abundance of things to do apart from watching soccer:
By law, everyone must carry a photo ID at all times. For a foreigner, this means your passport. However, the police will mostly be pragmatic and accept a plastified color photocopy.
In the past year Brazil has been hit by a wave of multiple anti-World Cup protests in the World Cup host cities. Demonstrators were unhappy with the amount of public money spent on hosting the event ($11 billion), arguing that the money have been spent on public services to ease inequality instead. The protests and general discontent are part of wider unrest in the country which was initially sparked by increases in bus, train, and metro ticket prices. In addition to that, Brazilians were frustrated with the inadequate provision of social services, high corruption and poverty. While many soccer fans are looking forward to the tournament, repeating protests have raised serious questions about the capability of Brazil to host the biggest event in soccer. Therefore, it is advisable to stay away from any riots and public gatherings that might occur during the FIFA World Cup. In many cases Brazilian police had to fired tear gas into the crowds of demonstrators to stop the riots.
Even the most patriotic Brazilian would say that the greatest problem the country faces is crime. Brazil is one of the most criminalised countries of the world, therefore the crime rate is high, even for a developing nation. Armed bandits have more recently been attacking schools, hotels and even innocent people in the streets. While in recent years, the overall crime levels are decreasing, Brazil continues to have moderately high crime rates in various aspects, even with a moderate homicide rate (about 28 per 100,000 people).
The best thing to do is to not act like a tourist, and do not display items of extreme wealth such as laptops, jewelry, etc. Also avoid carrying large amounts of money with you.
Brazil has international telephone code 55 and two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Some areas used seven digits until 2006, meaning you might still find some old phone numbers which won't work unless you add another digit. (Mostly, try adding 2 or 3 at the beginning).
Eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.
All cities use the following emergency numbers:
However, if you dial 911 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
To dial to another area code or to another country, you must chose a carrier using a two-digit carrier code. Available carriers depend on the area you are dialing from and on the area you are dialing to. Carriers 21 (Embratel) and 23 (Intelig) are available in all areas.
The international phone number format for calls from other countries to Brazil is +55-(area code)-(phone number)
Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them. The Farmácia Pague Menos sells them at official (phone company) prices which are somewhat cheaper. Calls to cell phones (even local) will use up your credits very quickly (nearly as expensive as international calls). Calling the USA costs about one real per minute. It's possible to find all international and Brazilian phone codes on DDI and DDD phone codes.
By mobile phone
When traveling to Brazil, even though it may seem best to carry your cell phone along, you should not dismiss the benefits of the calling cards to call the ones back home. Get yourself a Brazil calling card when packing for your trip. Brazil phone cards 
Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo, Claro, OI and TIM, all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks (Vivo still runs a legacy CDMA 1xRTT network, which is being phased out). There are also smaller operators, like Nextel (iDEN Push-To-Talk and HSPA+), CTBC-ALGAR (GSM and HSDPA in Triangulo Mineiro Region (Minas Gerais)), and Sercomtel (GSM and HSDPA in Paraná). OpenSignal provide independent Brazil cell coverage maps allowing comparison of the quality of the networks.
Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc. Vivo uses 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies, while other operators uses 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies. 3G/HSDPA coverage is available mostly on big cities on the southeast states and capitals. Some states use 850 MHz but others use 2100 MHz for 3G/HSDPA. If you need to unlock a phone from a specific operator, this can be done for a charge in any phone shop.
All major carriers (Vivo, Claro, TIM and Oi) can send and receive text messages (SMS) as well as phone calls to/from abroad.
If you need a roaming sim card that would let you call at inexpensive flat rate outside of Brazil, try TravelSim's prepaid sim card, which you can order online no matter if you are in Brazil or in your home country and it would be with you in a few days. The incoming sms are free and so are the calls from Skype to TravelSim's numbers.
Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns will have at least one spot with a decent connection.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hot-spots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer. Most hot-spots will ask you to register before using Wi-Fi, including places like Starbucks, McDonald's and other public hot-spots.
For general tips on internet while travelling, see our travel topic: Internet access
Food from street and beach vendors generally have a bad hygienic reputation in Brazil. The later it is in the day, the worse it gets. Bottled and canned drinks are safe, although some people will insist on using a straw to avoid contact with the exterior of the container.
Bear in mind the local heat and humidity when storing perishable foods.
Tap water quality varies from place to place, (from contaminated, saline or soaked with chlorine to plain drinkable) and Brazilians themselves usually prefer to have it filtered.
In airports, bus stations, as well as many of the cheaper hotels, it is common to find drinking fountains (bebedouro), although they are not always safe. In hostel kitchens, look for the tap with the cylindrical filter attached. In more expensive hotels, there is often no publicly accessible fountain, and bedrooms contain minibars—selling you mineral water at extremely inflated prices.
The emergency number is 192, but you must speak Portuguese. The police can be reached through 911.