The Olympics are finally coming up next month, and nearly half a million tourists are expected to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the highly anticipated games. If you're thinking about heading down for the Olympics or Paralympics, there's still a chance to plan your trip — Brazil made it a whole lot easier for tourists to go this year. You won't need a visa for Brazil because of a new rule, but it's a limited time offer.
If you're going to Brazil for the Olympics, all you need a valid U.S. passport. Usually, you would have to visit your local consulate to purchase a visa, but Brazil instituted a visa waiver program for the United States this year ahead of the Olympics to streamline the expected massive wave of tourism.
That's a big savings, since a visa costs $160 and could add a significant extra expense to your trip (although a visa does remain valid for 10 years after you buy it, so if you go visit many times over the course of a few years, the cost is largely mitigated). The waiver program is valid until September 18, 2016, so even if you weren't planning to go, it might not be too late. However, if you're traveling for any other reason than tourism, you still need to purchase the visa, so check to see where your closest consulate is.
The visa waiver for U.S. citizens is a great opportunity to take advantage of the Olympics and the beautiful country of Brazil. If you just want to pop down for a visit or you have the chance to spend the full 90 days available through the waiver, you might not get another chance like this.