What we thought would be a simple application and pay process in order to get our visa for Brazil turned into what seemed to be the start of a police investigation. As a Canadian trying to obtain a visa for Brazil while you are abroad you require EVERYTHING on the following list, no exceptions.
- Visa application and passport photograph
- Employment Letter
- Proof of Sufficient Funds in the form of a credit card statement or bank account statement
- Proof of Entry travel and Onward ticket out of Brazil
- Payment of fee at the bank
The list seems simple, but when you’re an unemployed backpacker travelling overland with no set itinerary it’s not easy. We managed to write self-employment letters and mock- up an itinerary to cover off employment and onward travel. The rest was just a matter of back and forth to the embassy, the last of which was clearing our fingerprints through Interpol. We were granted a one year multiple entry visa for about $90 USD each. It took a total of one week once all the paperwork was filed.
The remainder of our stay in Georgetown was a mix of Dale studying (he is finishing 2 university courses), hunting for frenzied mosquitoes through our bug net and several trips to the Brazilian embassy. With the exception of a claim to the largest standing wooden buidling (the town’s church), downtown Georgetown is not a place for sight-seeing. It’s not even a place to walk alone as female foreigner during the day. When going to the market, we were advised by authorities (who we passed enroute) to wear our backback on our front. Almost every time we were walking in the streets, taxis would stop to offer us a ride. They were adament that being on the streets, especially during election time was not safe. “You never know who is watching you”, we were told. This made trips to the ATM a little un-nerving.
Excursions to the virgin rain forest that lies in Guyana’s interior were cost-inhibitive for our on backpacker’s budget. A few days in the jungle with a couple of nights stay at a lodge in search of jaguars, caimans and river otters runs well over $1000 US per person. We decided to pass and wait for the Amazon in Brazil. We did, however partake in a local’s scheduled flight to Kaieteur Falls. This was well worth it, and a good deal compared to the 30% higher priced tourist flights. Ten of us packed in a turbo prop, flew beneath the cloud cover and an hour and a half later arrived at the majestic falls smack in the middle of the jungle. Sitting on the edge of the 741ft falls is enough to make your feet tingle and your head a bit squirrely, but it’s a must-do and was a nice break outside of the city.
Our other highlight in Georgetown was meeting Rona the Spy and her mate Lorrie from the UK. The first set of fellow-backpackers we met. Good times and drinks with fun folks and clean bathrooms was a night to remember!