Best Brazil SIM Cards for Tourists: Updated Prices & Where to Buy 2024

Finding a reliable way to stay connected is essential when visiting Brazil or any other country. This post will explain why getting a Brazil SIM card is the best alternative as compared to using pocket WiFi, roaming with your local carrier, or depending on free WiFi. You will learn about travel SIM cards for Brazil, including the most cost-effective kinds for tourists, the best network providers, and advised trip routes.

Brazil country's SIM card featured image

I. Should You Get a SIM Card in Brazil? Compare Other Options

Yes.

Getting a prepaid SIM in Brazil is recommended for reliable mobile data access. You’ll likely need data for navigation, schedules, translations, and other essentials while traveling. A local SIM ensures easy connectivity wherever you are.

Here are the top benefits of getting a prepaid SIM card when traveling in Brazil:

  • Reliable mobile data connection throughout your trip without depending on unstable public WiFi.
  • The convenience of staying connected with a local phone number to make bookings and contact places directly.
  • Safety of easy access to important contacts in emergencies without needing WiFi.
  • Affordable rates without roaming charges that can add unexpected costs.
  • Usability to move around freely without struggling to connect to different WiFi networks. Seamless data connection nationwide.
Buying a Vivo SIM card from Brazil
Buying a Vivo SIM card from a store in Brazil

The most practical and economical way to remain engaged when traveling is to purchase a local SIM card, even though there are other popular options like roaming, public WiFi, or pocket WiFi.

We will compare the advantages and disadvantages of each option:

OptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
Public Wifi– Convenient access; 
– Saves mobile data;
– Available free in many places 
– Security risk 
– Low speed issues 
– Coverage gaps 
– Sign-ups required (possibly)
Roaming– Familiar service 
– Uninterrupted access 
– Coverage depends on agreements 
– Can’t make local calls 
– Not meant for extended travel 
– Expensive
Pocket Wifi– Portable hotspot 
– No need to hunt for WiFi spots 
– Uninterrupted connectivity 
– Useful for remote areas 
– Useful for group travels
– Ideal for people with multiple devices
– Extra cost 
– Slow speeds 
– Possibly run out of data 
– Security issues 
– Risk of equipment errors 
Local SIM Card– Affordable rates 
– Wide coverage and stable speed
– Ability to call local numbers 
– Extra data benefits 
– Need an unlocked phone
– Short validity periods 
– Language support
– Needed ID requirements 

Our Recommendation: Getting a prepaid SIM card from a major Brazilian carrier like Claro, TIM, or Vivo provides the most reliable and convenient connectivity for travelers, with fast 4G coverage nationwide to ensure seamless internet, maps, translation, and communication without dependencies on unstable public WiFi.

II. Brazil SIM Card Types for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

Prepaid physical Vivo SIM card
A prepaid physical Vivo SIM card

There are 02 main types of Brazil SIM cards for tourists.

  • Prepaid Physical SIM card in Brazil 
  • Prepaid tourist Brazil eSIM

1. Prepaid physical SIM card in Brazil

There are two types of prepaid physical Brazil SIM cards, which are data -only and data + voice and text plans.

Data Only Physical SIM: Includes just a high-speed data plan without call/SMS features. This is an inexpensive solution for basic connectivity need.

  • Ideal for: those primarily needing mobile internet access
  • Plans: range from 1 day (500MB) to 30 days (5-10GB data)

Data + Voice/Text Physical SIM: Combines a data plan with limited minutes and SMS allotments

  • Ideal for: both short trips and prolonged stays (3 – 30 days)
  • Plans: Daily/weekly plans have 1-2GB data with 50-100 minutes/SMS

How to buy prepaid Brazil SIM cards: You can buy starter SIM kits for Brazil travel at airports, carrier stores or shopping areas in Brazil. It is better to choose SIM card plans of major network operators like Claro, TIM, Vivo to warrant for wide coverage and stable speed.

To buy Brazil SIM cards, you need to show your passport or ID information for registration and activation at the purchase point. After buying, just need to insert the SIM card into your phone’s sim tray and reboot for network connection. After data runs out, use top-up credit via prepaid cards sold locally for continue usage.

2. Prepaid Tourist Brazil eSIM

Brazil eSIM for tourists a digital / virtual SIM embedded into the motherboard of a mobile device without the need to insert any SIM card. eSIM works similarly SIM cards in terms of functionality. Similar to prepaid tourist Brazil SIM card, there are also 02 major types of prepaid eSIM for Brazil travel: data-only and data + voice and text.

However, not all phones can work with an eSIM. To use an eSIM, your phone needs to be unlocked and eSIM-equipped.

How to buy a prepaid eSIM for Brazil travel: for tourists to Brazil, it is recommended to buy eSIM plans from an authorized eSIM providers/resellers/retailers, through online stores, instead of buying from Brazil mobile internet network carriers to avoid the hassle of registration process. You do not need to present your personal details upon purchase.

Among three major network carriers in Brazil, only TIM and Claro support eSIM services for tourists.

After buying online the eSIM plans for Brazil, you will receive your eSIM information in the email registered. Then, scan the QR code attached in the email and activate the eSIM by following prompts.

Our Recommendation:

If your device supports eSIM technology, we recommend getting a prepaid data-only eSIM plan for your trip to Brazil to save cost while still staying connected and in touch through voice apps using data.

Pro Tip: Physical SIM cards provide more options if your device lacks eSIM, or you need voice minutes included. But data-only physical SIM is still the most valuable choice for data-only use.

III. Best Brazil SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

Brazil's major SIM card operators
Brazil’s major SIM card operators

Good to know: For reference (as of February 2024):

  • 10 BRL = 2 USD
  • 100 BRL = 20 USD 

There are 03 major Brazil mobile network operators: Claro, Vivo, and TIM. Below are the plans, features, and prices of these network carriers:

1. Best Brazil Claro SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are the best Brazil Claro SIM card plans for tourists:

  • Claro Pós 50GB: 50GB data + 25GB bonus for social media and videos + WhatsApp unlimited, Claro tv+, Netflix, Globoplay, Disney+, Star+, HBO Max. Valid for 30 days = R$109,90 ($21.98)
  • Claro Pós 100GB: 100GB data + 50GB bonus for social media and videos + WhatsApp unlimited, Claro TV+. Valid for 30 days = R$149,90 ($29.98)
  • Claro Pós 150GB: 150GB data + 75GB bonus for social media and videos + WhatsApp unlimited, Claro TV+. Valid for 30 days =  R$159,90 ($31.98)

2. Best Brazil Vivo SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are the best Brazil Vivo SIM card plans for tourists:

  • Vivo Max 200GB: 200GB data + WhatsApp Unlimited, Spotify Premium. Valid for 30 days = R$149,90 ($29.98)
  • Vivo Max 300GB: 300GB data + WhatsApp Unlimited, Netflix Basic, Spotify Premium. Valid for 30 days = R$179,90 ($35.98)
  • Vivo Max 400GB: 400GB data + WhatsApp Unlimited, Netflix Standard, Spotify Premium. Valid for 30 days = R$209,90 ($40.58)

3. Best Brazil TIM SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are the best Brazil TIM SIM card plans for tourists:

  • TIM Black Familia Original: 80GB shared data + Unlimited calls and texts. Valid for 30 days = R$139,90 ($27.98)
  • TIM Controle C Express 5.1: 26GB data + Unlimited calls and texts. Valid for 30 days = R$59,99 ($11.99)
  • TIM Live Ultra Fibra: 300Mbps download speed + Entertainment services included. Valid for 30 days =  R$98,50 ($19.70)

Note: The plan details and prices are subject to change over time. To know the updated information, please visit the official websites of these providers.

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Brazil?

1. Buy a prepaid Brazil eSIM card online before traveling

You can buy prepaid eSIM cards for Brazil online from eSIM providers like Gigago before your trip. If so, buying eSIM cards don’t require any registration or Brazilian documents.

Pros: Very convenient as you don’t need to swap SIM cards. Can activate immediately. Good value international plans are available.

Cons: Your phone must be unlocked and support eSIM.

2. Buy physical Brazil SIM at airports

In Brazilian airports like Rio de Janeiro GIG airport or Sao Paulo GRU airport, you can buy SIM cards from providers like Correios Celular.

Pros: Can get a SIM upon arrival.

Cons: Require effort to find SIM stalls and queue up at Brazil airports. Limited to Correios Celular which has weaker network coverage. Plans also have less data. Require registration with Brazilian ID documents.

3. Buy physical Brazil SIM online

You can buy prepaid SIM cards online from providers like Three with international plans. SIM will be delivered before your trip.

Pros: Avoid the hassle of finding SIM in Brazil. Good value plans are available. No registration is needed.

Cons: Must buy before a trip. Not truly a local SIM.

4. Buy physical Brazil SIM in the cities

SIM cards for Brazil can be best bought from shopping malls with stores from Vivo, Claro, or TIM. Also some pharmacies and bookstores.

Pros: Can be truly local SIM. Best networks available.

Cons: Require registration with Brazilian ID documents. The process can be complicated for tourists. Might need help from locals. Network coverage varies across providers.

Our Recommendation:

  • Purchasing a prepaid Brazil eSIM card online provides clear benefits for visitors:
  • No switching SIMs upon arrival – the eSIM activates immediately allowing instant connectivity.
  • It saves the hassle of locating SIM retailers at the airport or stores upon landing in Brazil.
  • Options from providers like Gigago offer reasonably priced international plans with good value for money.
  • Registration isn’t required so travelers can use data plans as soon as they touch down in Brazil.

V. How Much Data Is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Brazil?

To know how much data is enoguh for a prepaid tourist SIM card for Brazil travel, it is essential to understand what 1GB of data can do for you.

With 1GB of data, you can:

  • Browse the web for about 5-6 hours
  • Send/receive 100-200 emails
  • Stream low-quality music for 2-3 hours
  • Watch 1-2 hours of standard-definition videos
  • Use Google Maps offline for 30-45 minutes

Below we introduce some facts about activities that each type of users often do on a daily basis:

Type of usersActivities
Heavy data usersBrowse a lot of websites, stream HD videos, listen to music, and share mobile hotspots. 8GB or more is recommended.
Medium data usersCheck emails, use maps, and browse occasionally, social media. 4-6GB should be enough.
Light data usersOnly check emails and use maps occasionally. 2-3GB will suffice.

So, it is a good idea to choose a prepaid data plan for Brazil based on your needs and trip duration. If you are of average travelers, 4 to 6 GB of data is enough for a short trip from 3-5 days.

Pro tip: To avoid data overages or running out: assess daily usage needs based on the length of your stay in Brazil, typical usage habits, and any extra usage, monitor daily consumption via the SIM provider's app (if any), disable mobile data when possible, and consider top-up options for flexibility.

VI. Gigago eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Brazil

Gigago Subscription for SIM in Brazil
Gigago eSIM plans for Brazil

Obtaining the internet in Brazil as a visitor can be difficult, as past options like public WiFi, hotspots, and roaming incur drawbacks. 

However, prepaid Brazil eSIMs provide a superior solution. eSIMs are digital SIM cards that can be installed on compatible devices instead of physical SIMs, giving travelers reliable connectivity.

Purchasing a prepaid Brazil eSIM has several advantages, such as:

  • No queues or paperwork
  • Cost-effective local plans
  • Reliable high-speed 4G/LTE data
  • Ease of switching plans

To optimize the benefits of using eSIM in Brazil, we introduce Gigago.

Gigago is a popular eSIM provider offering affordable prepaid plans for Brazil including data-only as well as data with calling credits options not commonly found with other providers:

  • 1GB for 7 days with $5
  • 3GB for 30 days with $12.50
  • 10GB for 30 days with $20

Our app allows activating any of these plans in minutes. Gigago plans to provide high-speed 4G/LTE data on Claro’s network across Brazil – a cost-effective and reliable choice for tourists needing Internet access.

► To see more details, visit Gigago Brazil eSIM

VII. Which Brazil Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

When it comes to choosing a mobile network operator in Brazil, one trusted source is the independent mobile benchmarking platform nPerf. Let’s take a look at what nPerf’s data reveals about the major Brazilian networks – Claro, Vivo, and TIM.

1. Claro

Claro Coverage map in Brazil
Claro Coverage map in Brazil. Source: nPerf

In nPerf’s most recent speed tests done across Brazil in 2022, Claro ranked top nationally with an average mobile network speed of 24.32 Mbps. It consistently delivered the fastest speeds in nearly all major cities. Claro’s 4G availability nationwide was also the highest at 95.8%. This makes Claro the optimal network for reliability and speed coverage for most tourists traveling within Brazil.

2. Vivo

Vivo Coverage map in Brazil
Vivo Coverage map in Brazil. Source: nPerf

Vivo placed second in nPerf’s Brazil testing with average speeds of 22.06 Mbps. It secured the number 2 spot in terms of speed in many locations. Vivo’s 4G availability was comparable to Claro at 95.6%, ensuring stable connectivity. However, Claro edged out Vivo both in overall speeds and speed crown wins as per nPerf’s data.

3. TIM

TIM Coverage map in Brazil
TIM Coverage map in Brazil. Source: nPerf

TIM registered average speeds of 16.82 Mbps according to nPerf, placing it third among Brazil’s big three operators. While TIM’s 4G coverage was adequate at 93.1%, its speeds consistently trailed Claro and Vivo across different locations. This makes TIM a slightly less reliable choice for travelers seeking fast and ubiquitous network access.

Our Recommendation:

Vivo is highly recommended for tourists in Brazil. It offers reliable connectivity with 95.6% 4G coverage nationwide, speeds of 22Mbps, and a strong reputation for quality. Vivo’s widespread network and early 5G deployment ensure fast data access throughout the country.

IX. How to Use Brazil Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using prepaid Brazil tourist SIM Cards

  • Purchase SIM from carriers like Claro, Vivo, and TIM at airports, and stores with options like 1GB for 7 days.
  • Present passport for ID verification.
  • Insert SIM into the phone until it clicks.
  • Turn on the phone and wait for SIM detection.
  • Check initial data/minutes balance.
  • Recharge as needed with vouchers using PIN.
  • Ensure the phone is network unlocked before inserting a new SIM.

2. Setting up and activating Brazil eSIM 

  • Check carrier websites for your phone model’s eSIM compatibility beforehand.
  • Purchase an eSIM plan from providers offering Brazil support like Gigago online.
  • Open their app and scan the generated QR code to download the eSIM profile.
  • Go to phone Settings > Cellular > Add cellular plan. Select eSIM and scan the QR code.
  • Your phone will configure the new profile automatically with data access.
  • Activate the eSIM plan by following the prompts. Data will be enabled right away.
  • Recharge your eSIM online as required by adding more funds to the account through their website or app.

X. FAQs

Can I bring my phone and SIM to Brazil?

Yes, you can bring your unlocked phone and use a local prepaid SIM card. Inform your operator that you’ll be traveling to avoid blocking your account.

Which network is best in Brazil?

Claro generally has the fastest 4G speeds and widest coverage. Vivo and TIM are also good options.

Can I purchase a SIM card at the airport in Brazil?

Yes, you’ll find SIM stores at Sao Paulo Guarulhos and Rio Galeao international airports selling prepaid SIMs from all major carriers.

Are SIMs inexpensive in Brazil?

A: Prepaid SIMs start from around $5-10 for small data bundles. Recharge cards are widely available if you need more data during your stay.

Can I use my U.S. iPhone with a Brazilian SIM?

A: Yes, iPhones sold in the U.S. are unlocked/universal. Ensure you switch off iMessage before inserting a new SIM for messages to work properly.

Does Brazil have WiFi calling or eSIM support?

A: eSIM is supported and some carriers offer WiFi calling too. Gigago is a popular eSIM option for travelers with compatible devices.

Will roaming or WhatsApp/internet work on a Brazilian SIM?

Domestic prepaid SIMs don’t include international roaming. But you’ll have full WhatsApp/internet access on the local network within data/call allowances.

XI. Conclusion

  • Prepaid data-only SIM plans from major Brazilian carriers like Claro, Vivo and TIM offer affordable coverage nationwide.
  • Buying an international eSIM plan from a provider like Gigago before your trip allows easy activation upon arrival without hassle.
  • Vivo has a reliable network with near-nationwide fast speeds, making it a good primary choice.
  • eSIM plans to provide more flexibility than physical SIMs and avoid registration issues.
  • Even 1-2GB data bundles usually suffice for light email/maps, while 4-6GB works well for moderate usage.
  • Getting the right SIM ensures internet access for independent travel and exploration of Brazil.