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 for 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 May 2023, the best 4G/5G network in Brazil, the best e-sim cards for Brazil, my recommendations, a vlog about my experiences and even info 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 an e-sim card. These are the cheapest/easiest way to stay connected and to get data on your phone. 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 Brazil prepaid sim card? Well, it is simply a pain to get one and it took me about 3 days and I lost a lot of precious time figuring out a way to get connected in Brazil.
Buy your sim card for Brazil online and thank me later!
Anyway based on my comparison of the prepaid sim card deals in Brazil, Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card in Brazil if possible. It is not as easy as you would think. Traveltomtom regards getting a prepaid sim card in Brazil for tourists as the most complicated country in the world to get connected. Keep reading…
As buying a prepaid sim card in Brazil sincerely is such a pain, Traveltomtom recommends checking out international sim cards for Brazil. 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 shipped to your home address before your trip.
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Brazil in 2023 is an e-sim card.
E-sim cards for Brazil
Forget all the hassle of finding a nearby mobile phone store and swapping sim cards. E-sim cards make you arrange everything online and within just a couple minutes. You order an e-sim, you receive a code in your email with instructions, you apply the settings and you are connected within no time. Check out the following e-sim card deal for Brazil:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $13 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $27.5 USD
Click here to order the above Brazil e-sim card deal directly online or click on the link for more info.
The above data-only e-sim cards for Brazil are from Joia and operate on the 4G/LTE network of Vivo network. Calling and texting is not supported. More about the best Brazil 4G/5G network below.
There are also international e-sim card which are valid in more than 70-120 countries including Brazil:
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $34.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Brazil directly online.
Although e-sim cards are the easiest way to get connected, buying an international prepaid sim card for Brazil online will give you much better deals. More about it at the end of the article!
Can tourists buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil?
Yes, tourists are allowed to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil however, without the help of a Brazilian local things get very complicated.
Believe it or not but all local prepaid sim cards in Brazil need to be registered on someone’s CPF number. Basically, a 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 in the ass, therefore I told you already in the beginning that staying connected in Brazil is ridiculously unorganised. It is about time someone in the government finally opens its eyes and provide a prepaid sim card service for tourists!
So my advice is to beg any Brazilian friend for a photocopy of their ID-card with the CPF number on it if you really want to buy a prepaid sim card in 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 deals with the above mentioned restrictions.
When you read about my experiences buying a sim card in Rio de Janeiro or watch my corresponding vlog you can see 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 sim card without a CPF.
On top of the 3 main mobile internet operators there is also a sim card that you can buy from the Post Office (Correios). They operate on their own network, but could unfortunately not find more info about it online. They only have a 3G/4G, there is no 5G signal available with a prepaid sim card from Correios Celular.
I ended up buying a Correios Celular sim card, which after 3 days finally got me connected in Brazil. My experiences? Read below…
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 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 May 2023 it is still pretty much impossible to buy a prepaid sim card for Brazil for tourists 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 arrival hall. When you get out of the international arrivals, walk straight towards the domestic arrivals. However, the same story applies here: only when you have a CPF number and only a sim card from Correios Celular.
Sao Paulo GRU Airport
At GRU Airport Sao Paulo there is a bookstore (Conveniencia Livraria) on the second floor, above the international arrivals hall where you could potentially buy a sim card. But only if you have a CPF on hand and only before 07.00 pm. On top of that it is a sim card from Correios Celular, the Post Office, not from one of the mobile internet providers.
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 Google Translate to figure things out. But people in Brazil are very friendly and helpful.
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 May 2023 $1 USD = 5.00 BRL and 1 BRL = $0.20 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
- 3 GB data + 100 minutes = 30 BRL
- 5 GB data + unlimited minutes = 40 BRL
- 9 GB data + unlimited minutes = 50 BRL
- 20 GB data + unlimited minutes = 75 BRL
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.
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
- 6 GB data for 30 days = 29.99 BRL
The Claro prepaid data packages include unlimited calling minutes in Brazil and Whatsapp. For more information check out the Claro Brazil website.
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.
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.
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 completely satisfied with the network coverage as inside a building I often completely lost signal.
Best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2023
In my above comparison of all the prepaid sim cards in Brazil, we come to the conclusion that based on the prices, the 4G/5G network coverage and my experiences: Vivo is the best prepaid sim card in Brazil in 2023.
Therefore Traveltomtom recommends buying a Vivo sim card for traveling in Brazil. However, since it is such a pain to buy a prepaid sim card in Brazil Traveltomtom actually recommends an international or an e-sim card for traveling in Brazil. Check out how that works below.
Order a 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. And there are actually great deals available, better than the e-sim card deals 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! Check out the following Brazil sim card deals:
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 12 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
- 12 GB data for 1 year = $59.90 USD
- 24 GB data for 2 years = $79.90 USD
Click here to order one of the above Brazil sim card deals online or find more info in the link.
Still interested in ordering an e-sim card for Brazil then click on the link and arrange everything online right now. You can order a Brazil e-sim card through Airalo and SimOptions. Traveltomtom has great experiences with both e-sim card providers.
My experiences buying a sim card in Brazil
In the following vlog you can see what it was like trying to get a Brazil 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 pretty well. 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 May 2023 and my conclusion about the best prepaid sim card in Brazil were helpful for your upcoming trip.
Let me know if you have any more questions 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 May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Brazil!