Because of Brazil’s Reciprocity Law, if your country asks Brazilians to get a Tourism Visa before entering (e.g. USA), then you will also need to apply for a Tourist Visa before traveling to Brazil.
To check if you need to apply for a visa, click here.
You can apply for a visa at your local Brazilian Consular Office in Chicago, Miami, New York, or Washington DC.
Flights to Rio
Traveling to Brazil is not as complicated as one might think. Nowadays there are direct flights from most worldly cities to Brazil, although often times direct flights head to São Paulo. Nonetheless there are also connections (usually considered “non-stop”) from international flights to Rio in São Paulo.
American Airlines has two flights to Rio de Janeiro, one from Miami (direct) and one from New York (JFK – stops in São Paulo).
Continental has two flights to Rio de Janeiro, both stop over in São Paulo, but you don’t do immigration/baggage claim there, since it’s done in Rio, making the flights somewhat “direct.” The flights leave from New York (Newark Airport) and Houston.
TAM is a Brazilian airline. It has pretty good service and is the only airline flying direct from New York to Rio de Janeiro.
TAM has flights to Rio de Janeiro from New York (JFK…2 flights a day, morning flight goes through São Paulo, evening flight is direct) and Miami (direct).
United has flights to Rio de Janeiro from DC Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, and Miami. The only direct flight to Rio is through Miami, the other two stop over in São Paulo, but you don’t have to go through immigration/baggage claim there, since you do that in Rio. During high season (Christmas through Carnaval) the DC Dulles flight is direct.
US Airways has just inaugurated a new direct flight from Charlotte, NC to Rio de Janeiro. I have never taken it, but I have heard plenty of complaints regarding flight delays. However, it is one of the cheaper options.