The World Cup is coming to Brazil and I couldn’t be more excited!
I grew up on football (soccer), both playing and watching it. I remember the 1994 World cup very well when Nigeria first reached the World Cup, but lost disappointingly to Italy in quarterfinals qualifiers. We watched the Super Eagles excel in the African Nations Cup and were excitedly cheering for them for the World Cup (I was living in Nigeria at the time). I remember my brothers and I would gather around the tele eagerly cheering for our stars, hoping for that global glory. It never happened. After the 1994 loss, we went back to the drawing board, cheering again hoping for 1998. Back then our top stars were Rashidi Yekini (R.I.P.), Stephen Keshi and Jay-Jay Okocha and I remember wanting to play like Okacha. This just took me on a trip down memory lane, ah :)…
Brazil went on to win the 1994 World Cup, and I remember seeing the euphoria in the crowd and saying to myself, “what an amazing thing… I want to be there one day“.
I’m a pretty big sports fan. Today, my favorite sport to watch and follow is baseball (go Yankees!) and American football (go Giants!), but football (soccer) will always be number one in my heart and will always be my favorite sport to play. So when I found out the 2014 World Cup is going to be held in Brazil – one of my favorite countries in the world – I decided it’s high time I make do on my promise to myself to “be there one day”. Hopefully, either Nigeria or U.S.A qualifies so I’ll really be cheering hard
The 2014 World Cup will be the perfect time for me to return to Brazil where I first visited in May 2010 and loved. Even back in 2010 when I was there, there was so much excitement about the World Cup already, and so much money is being spent on preparing the cities for the festivities. The World Cup stretches from June 12th to July 13th with the final occurring July 13th, 2014 in Rio. While I’d love to be there for finals of course, I expect it would be extremely expensive, way crowded, and possibly a lot of ruckus if Brazil does not win.
Want to go?
The World Cup will be played across 12 Brazillian host cities namely, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Olinda, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo.
Most people from out of the country will likely be interested in attending the matches in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, so I’ll give the info on both of those.
- São Paulo dates – June 12, June 19, June 23, June 26, July 1, July 9
- Rio de Janeiro dates – June 15, June 18, June 22, June 25, June 28, July 4, July 13
As you can see, matches are spread out throughout the World Cup giving prospective attendees plenty of flexibility and plenty of options to choose from to catch a match or two. It comes down to whether you’d like to spend your time in São Paulo or in Rio – or both!!
Entry requirements into Brazil
A valid passport is required for all visitors except for citizens of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay who may enter Brazil with a valid ID card.
If you are American or Canadian, you will need a tourist visa to enter Brazil for a period of 90 days. The visa costs $160 and will be valid for a period of 10 years. You can obtain one here. Citizens of almost all other countries including countries in the EU do not need a visa to enter Brazil but may only stay for a period of up to 90 days as well.
How to get there
If you will be attending the São Paulo matches; São Paulo has two major airports for international flights – Guarulhos International (GRU) and Viracopos (CPQ), though you will most likely fly into GRU. From the U.S, there are non-stop flights to GRU only from New York (American Airlines, United Airlines or TAM Airlines), Miami (American Airlines or TAM Airlines), Washington, D.C. (TAM Airlines or United Airlines), Houston (United Airlines), Charlotte (US Airways) and Atlanta (Delta Airlines). Travellers from elsewhere in the have to make a stop in the aforementioned U.S. cities.
Average flying time is 9.5 hours from NY, 7.5 hours from Miami and from 9.5 hours from Atlanta. It’s still too early to cost out flights (flight availability only shows a year out), but to give you a sense, the average cost of flying from the U.S. to GRU is between $800 and $1300 in economy class depending on where you fly from and the time of year you go. For instance, I just costed out flights from New York (JFK) to GRU for this July and I am seeing $913 for a direct flight there on TAM (connects through Lima on the return leg).
If you will be attending the Rio de Janeiro matches; almost all international flights land at Galeão – Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (airport code: GIG). From the U.S, there are non-stop flights to GIG only from New York (American Airlines or TAM Airlines), Miami (American Airlines or TAM Airlines), Washington, D.C. (United Airlines), Houston (United Airlines), Charlotte (US Airways) and Atlanta (Delta Airlines). Travellers from elsewhere in the have to make a stop in the aforementioned U.S. cities or in São Paulo to get to GIG.
Average flying time is 10 hours from NY, 8.5 hours from Miami and from 9.5 hours from Charlotte. It’s still too early to cost out flights (flight availability only shows a year out), but to give you a sense, the average cost of flying from the U.S. to GIG is between $800 and $1200 in economy class depending on where you fly from and the time of year you go. For instance, I just costed out flights from New York (JFK) to GIG for this June and I am seeing $899 for a direct flight.
Quick Tip: If you are able to solidify your plans by June/July, I would advice to book tickets as close to when they become available as you possibly can. While tickets on these routes are very unlikely to decrease, they are very likely to increase as the date approaches, especially due to the World Cup being played.
There are an abundance of hotel options in both São Paulo and Rio, including the 5-star Renaissance Sao Paulo in Jardins, Sao Paulo and the JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro in Copacabana, RIo de Janeiro. If you are a member of hotel loyalty programs and are seriously contemplating going, but you aren’t sure yet, I’d recommend booking your hotel as far in advance as you have some reasonable certainty you will be going, just to be on the safe side and in most cases, payment will not be due until you check-in. Be absolutely sure to read the cancellation policies and ensure that if you do discover you aren’t able to go, you can cancel with no penalty. I do not recommend putting a hotel on hold just because, but only if you really do believe you would be going. When you hold a hotel room, the hotel can not make the room available to other customers, so holding one just because is essentially cheating real customers out of availability (while concurrently spiking up the price due to supply and demand).
For more information on the World Cup or to keep an eye on tickets when they are released, please visit the official World Cup site. If you plan on going, bookmark this page, as I will make updates frequently as more information becomes available.
Will you be headed to the World Cup next year? Have you attended a World Cup match in the past? How was your experience?