Are you planning your trip to Brazil and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? In this guide you can read everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for Brazil.
Find out where to buy a local prepaid sim card in Brazil, why it is so complicated, up to date prices as per December 2023, the best 4G/5G network in Brazil, the best e-sim cards for Brazil, my recommendations, a vlog about my experiences and even information about international sim cards for Brazil.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card or get myself an e-sim card. These are the cheapest/easiest way to stay connected and to get data on your phone.
In Brazil buying a local prepaid sim card for tourists is a straight up nightmare. I have experienced it myself and in this blog you can read all about it. Because for buying a local prepaid sim card in a phone store in Brazil you need a CPF, a Brazilian Tax Number.
As I am a full time nomadic world traveler and also trying to visit every country in the world you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: USA, New York, Miami, Europe, United Kingdom, Spain, Paris, Italy, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile, Lima, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Dubai, Turkey, Qatar and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice for your holiday destination.
Traveltomtom recommends buying an international sim card or an e-sim card for Brazil. Why not a prepaid sim card in Brazil? Well, it simply is a huge pain to buy a prepaid sim card as a tourist. It took me about 3 days and I lost a lot of precious time figuring out a way to buy a prepaid sim card for tourists.
Buy your sim card for Brazil on the internet and thank me later!
Traveltomtom wrote a complete guide with everything you need to know about e-sim cards for Brazil. In the link you can read a comparison of the best Brazil e-sim cards, detailed specifications and an answer to all your FAQ's about e-sims.
Based on my comparison of the prepaid sim card deals in Brazil, Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card in Brazil if you manage to find a Vivo store that is willing to sell you one. Because it is not as easy as you would think.
Traveltomtom regards buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil for tourists as the most complicated country in the world to get connected. Keep reading…
Since buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil sincerely is such a pain, Traveltomtom recommends checking out international sim cards for Brazil of your phone is not e-sim compatible.
Click on the link for my comparison of the best travel sim cards with data in 2023. These pre-activated global sim cards will be delivered to your home address before your trip and it is plug and play.
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Brazil in 2023 is an e-sim card.
Best e-sim cards for Brazil
Forget about all the hassle of finding a nearby mobile phone store on arrival in Brazil. No more swapping physical sim cards. If your phone is e-sim compatible you can arrange everything online within just a couple minutes.
You order an e-sim on the internet, you receive a QR code in your email with instructions, scan the code, follow the steps and you are connected within no time.
For more info about using e-sim cards when traveling to Brazil click on the link to read my complete guide with all FAQ's answered.
Airalo is one of the favorite e-sim card providers used by Traveltomtom and their Brazil e-sim card plans are good too.
Check out the Airalo e-sim card deals for Brazil:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $15.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Brazil from Airalo.
The above Airalo data-only e-sim cards for Brazil are from Maneiro and operate on the 4G/LTE network of Vivo. Calling and texting is not supported.
The Airalo e-sim cards are the best-buy e-sims for Brazil as they go as low as $2.6 USD per Gigabyte.
SimOptions has e-sim cards for pretty much every country and also for Brazil. They sell international e-sim cards valid in multiple countries, see above.
Check out the following 2 international e-sim cards from AIS and Orange.
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Brazil via SimOptions.
SimOptions sells more international e-sim cards for Brazil, but these are the best ones.
Read more about Brazil e-sims in my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Brazil in 2023.
Although e-sim cards are the easiest way to get connected there is an international prepaid sim card for Brazil that is the best sim card for staying connected. A Three prepaid sim card with 10 GB data for $24.90 USD is only $2.49 USD per Gigabyte. This is a physical prepaid sim card though that will be delivered to your home address.
Can tourists buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil?
The short answer is: yes, tourists are allowed to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil. However, without the help of a Brazilian local friend things get very complicated.
All local prepaid sim cards in Brazil need to be registered on a so-called CPF number, which is a Brazilian personal tax identification number that is mentioned on a Brazilian ID card.
So when buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil bringing your passport is not enough!
A sincere pain, and that is why I recommended you in the beginning that staying connected in Brazil is not as easy as any other country in the world. Buying a sim card for tourists is pretty much a mess in Brazil.
It is about time someone in the Brazil government finally opens its eyes and provides a prepaid sim card service for tourists that does NOT require a Brazilian tax number for registration. It can not be that difficult as in any other country in the world it is possible as well.
So if you really want to buy a local prepaid sim card in Brazil you will need to ask any Brazilian friend for a photocopy of their ID-card which includes their CPF number.
This is also the main reason why Traveltomtom does NOT recommend buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil, but buying an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Brazil.
Mobile internet operators in Brazil
There are 3 main mobile internet operators in Brazil: Vivo, Claro and TIM and all of them sell prepaid sim card plans with the above mentioned restrictions.
If you have already read about my experiences buying a sim card in Rio de Janeiro or watched my corresponding vlog you know that I actually found a Vivo store in Ipanema that allowed me to buy a prepaid sim card without a CPF.
I am sure this Vivo store had some kind of workaround because every other Vivo, Claro or TIM store I tried in Rio de Janeiro AND Sao Paulo they would not let me buy a prepaid sim card without a CPF number.
On top of the 3 main mobile internet operators there is also a prepaid sim card that you can buy from the Post Office, so called Correios. They operate on their own 3G/4G/LTE network. Unfortunately I could not find more info about their network coverage online. They only have a 3G/4G?LTE network, there is no 5G signal available with a prepaid sim card from Correios Celular.
In the end I ended up buying a Correios Celular prepaid sim card as well. It was the first sim card store I found that was able to get me a prepaid sim card, but it took me 3 days to finally get connected in Brazil. I wrote down all my experiences at the end of this blog.
Best way to get around Brazil
Every heard of 12Go? They compare all mode of transportation in one overview. They show you all busses, flights, train and even boats to get from A to B and they also operate in Brazil. Try it out below yourself.
Find a complete overview with up to date prices, available seats, company reviews, time schedules and even all flight options. Best thing is that you directly reserve your seat and get the ticket confirmation directly in your email.
I have used 12Go a lot for finding amazing flight deals and for booking my bus tickets for traveling around South America.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil
International Airports on arrival
In almost every country around the world you can buy a prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival at the airport, but NOT in Brazil. I flew into Sao Paulo Airport (GRU) and also into Rio de Janeiro (GIG) multiple times but as of December 2023 it is still pretty much impossible to buy a prepaid tourist sim card for Brazil at any of the international airports.
Rio de Janeiro GIG Airport
When arriving at Rio de Janeiro GIG Airport you can only buy a sim card at the Drogerias Farmais, which is locates all the way on the other side of the international arrival hall. When you get out of the international arrivals, walk straight towards the domestic arrivals.
But before you go to the Drogerias Farmais to buy a tourist sim card, make sure you have a Brazilian CPF number on hand. And if you do, you can only buy a prepaid sim card from Correios Celular.
Sao Paulo GRU Airport
At GRU Airport Sao Paulo there is a bookstore called Conveniencia Livraria on the second floor, above the international arrivals hall. Here you could potentially buy a sim card. But only if you have a CPF on hand and only before 07.00 pm.
Also same here, they only sell prepaid sim cards from Correios Celular, the Post Office, not from one of the mobile internet providers.
Mobile internet stores - shopping malls
The best place to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil is at any of the bigger shopping malls and walk into a store of retail store of Vivo, Claro or TIM.
Farmacies, Correios, book shops
Some farmacies, book stores/kiosks and of course also the post office Correios itself sell prepaid sim cards of Correios Celular and TIM.
Be prepared that English is very little spoken in Brazil. You will most certainly end up using Google Translate to figure things out. But people in Brazil are very friendly and helpful.
Last but not least get your sim card for Brazil online. Not only do you bypass all the hassle of buying a sim card in Brazil, but you also do not need any form of registration. The easiest way is to order an e-sim card for Brazil on the internet and if your phone is not e-sim compatible then buy an international prepaid sim card for Brazil.
Arrive prepared and as soon as the plane lands you are online!
Prices prepaid sim cards in Brazil
Price for prepaid sim card plans in Brazil constantly change of course. Traveltomtom does everything in its power to keep all the info as up to date as possible. As per December 2023 $1 USD = 4.95 BRL and 10 BRL = $2 USD.
A prepaid Correios Celular sim card cost 10 BRL. This is the fee for the registration. Then they offer the following data packages:
- 1.5 GB data + 60 minutes = 25 BRL - $5 USD
- 3 GB data + 100 minutes = 30 BRL
- 5 GB data + unlimited minutes = 40 BRL
- 9 GB data + unlimited minutes = 50 BRL - $10 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited minutes = 75 BRL - $15 USD
All plans are valid for 30 days and inclusive of unlimited Whatsapp. That means if you used all of your data you can still use Whatsapp.
Traveltomtom does NOT recommend a Correios Celular over any TIM, Vivo or Claro sim card. A Correios Celular prepaid sim card would only be an emergency solution if you can not get any other sim card. Correios Celular has the weakest network coverage and inside building the signal was horrible. The data speed was also disappointing. Read more about my experiences towards the end of the blog.
Buying a Claro prepaid sim card also costs you 10 BRL for the registration and they only offer 2 prepaid data packages:
- 2 GB data for 7 days = 9.99 BRL - $2 USD
- 6 GB data for 30 days = 29.99 BRL - $6 USD
The Claro prepaid data packages include unlimited calling minutes in Brazil and Whatsapp. For more information check out the Claro Brazil website. You can only get a physical prepaid sim card at Claro stores, e-sim cards for tourists are not provided.
At TIM they also charge 10 BRL for the prepaid sim card registration and then you can choose from one of the following prepaid data package:
- 9 GB data** + unlimited calls/text for 15 days = 15 BRL
Sounds like a great prepaid sim card deal, but be aware that the 9 GB data is in fact 3.3 GB + 2 GB recharge bonus + an extra 3.7 GB loyalty bonus. For more info check out the TIM Brazil website. You can only get a physical prepaid sim card at TIM stores, e-sim cards for tourists are not provided.
A prepaid Vivo sim card also costs 10 BRL for the activation. At Vivo they have at least a couple different offers compared to the other mobile internet providers and plus their website is much more informative. Here are the data package deals of Vivo:
- 3 GB data for 7 days = 11.99 BRL
- 4 GB data for 7 days = 14.99 BRL
- 4 GB data for 15 days = 14.99 BRL
- 5 GB data for 15 days = 19.99 BRL
All Vivo data packages include free Whatsapp and unlimited calling in Brazil. For more information check out the Vivo Brazil website. You can only get a physical prepaid sim card at Vivo stores, e-sim cards for tourists are not provided.
Best 4G/5G network in Brazil in 2023
If you are traveling around Brazil then you want to make sure to stay connected to a data network even if you go off the beaten path. Distances are long in Brazil and you might end up traveling for many hours. Therefore let’s compare the 4G/5G network coverage maps of the main mobile internet providers in Brazil.
Is there 5G in Brazil?
Yes, there is 5G available in Brazil and the 5G network coverage in Brazil is actually pretty good compared to many other South American countries. Almost all popular tourist destinations in Brazil have 5G coverage.
Claro 4G/5G network coverage map
Tim 4G/5G network coverage map
Vivo 4G/5G network coverage map
From the above 4G/5G coverage maps for Brazil we can clearly see that there is a very extensive mobile network available around the country for all the mobile internet providers. However, it is also easy to see that when comparing the mobile network coverage maps of the mobile internet providers in Brazil, Vivo has the best 4G/5G network in Brazil in 2023.
As mentioned before there is very little information online available about the network coverage of Correios Celular. Fact is that they do NOT have 5G, but only a 3G/4G network. Based on my own experiences I was not really satisfied with the network coverage as inside buildings I often completely lost phone signal.
Best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2023
In my above comparison of all the prepaid sim cards in Brazil Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that based on the prices for prepaid sim card plans and the 4G/5G network coverage in Brazil, Vivo is the best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2023.
Therefore for those travelers that want to buy a local prepaid sim card in Brazil Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card for traveling in Brazil.
However, as you have read between the lines it is pretty clear that I recommend everyone traveling to Brazil to buy a sim card for Brazil on the internet. Weather that is by simply ordering an e-sim card for Brazil or buying an international prepaid sim card for Brazil.
The best-buy sim card for tourists in Brazil is a Three Data Pack physical prepaid sim card with 10 GB data for $24.90 USD. Unfortunately this sim card is not available as an e-sim card.
For a comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Brazil in 2023 click on the link and I tell you everything you need to know about using e-sim cards for your trip to Brazil.
Order a prepaid sim card for Brazil online
As you have seen it is a lot of hassle buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil. The best way to avoid all this is by ordering a sim card for Brazil online. If your phone is not e-sim compatible you will need to order a physical prepaid sim card that will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Brazil.
And there are actually great sim card deals available, even better than the e-sim card plans for Brazil.
These international sim cards with coverage in Brazil are pre-activated and will be send to your home address before your trip. It is plug and play on arrival in Brazil!
Check out the following international sim card deals from SimOptions:
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order an international sim card for Brazil via SimOptions or find more info in the link.
Last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can arrange everything directly online without swapping sim cards. Order an e-sim card for Brazil through either Airalo or SimOptions. Traveltomtom has great experiences with both e-sim card providers.
Click here to read my complete guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Brazil.
My experiences buying a sim card in Brazil
In the following vlog you can see what it was like trying to get a Brazil prepaid sim card in Rio de Janeiro.
After trying multiple Vivo, Claro and TIM stores in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the first 3 days I basically begged someone in the post office in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro to let me buy a Correios Celular prepaid sim card. They used someone’s CPF for the registration and they made it work for me, so big thumbs up for willing to help a stranger out.
Most of the time the Correios Celular sim card worked ok. I got a package with 20 GB data for about $17 USD so price-wise it wasn’t that bad either. The biggest bummer was the network strength and the internet speed. More often than desirable there was no or a very weak signal inside buildings, coffee shops, etc. which still made me depend on the WiFI.
Anyway I was grateful that at least someone let me buy a Correios Celular prepaid sim card without having a CPF number.
I hope all the above tips for getting connected in Brazil, the info about the 4G/5G network coverage, the up to date prices as per December 2023 and my conclusion about the best prepaid sim card in Brazil were helpful for your upcoming trip to Brazil.
Let me know if you have any more questions. Please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of December 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go. But no rush!
Enjoy your trip to Brazil!
Some links in this article about the best prepaid sim cards for Brazil are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.