"When you devote your life to achieving your goal, you will not be bothered by shallow criticism. In fact, nothing important can be accomplished if you allow yourself to be swayed by some trifling matter. The key to achievement is to move forward resolutely along your chosen path."
I just got back from successfully applying for my visa at the consulate general of Brazil. I've traveled abroad to Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, and lived in the Dominican Republic several times, but this is the first time I've ever had to go to the consulate to apply for a visa.
In order to go to Brazil, American citizens need to apply for a tourist visa that will allow them to enter the country for up to 6 months of the year. The application has to be completed (here) online and only takes a few minutes. You need to make sure you have your passport on hand so you can fill in the required information. Once your done you have to print out an electronic receipt, you'll need to sign and attach a photo. The website says to print out two copies.
The price for the visa is $160 and an extra $25 dollar fee must be paid for visa applications that are not presented in person. All fees must be paid by a U.S. Post Office money order. No other forms of payment are accepted! While you're at the post office picking up your money order you should also get yourself a self-addressed priority mail package so that the consulate can mail your passport back to you after the visa is processed. This will save you a return trip to the consulate to pick up your passport. Make sure you get a tracking number-I didn't, so I will be returning to pick up my passport!
Along with the signed receipt, your passport, and the money order for $160 you will also need other documents like a copy of your drivers license, a recent bank statement, a REFUNDABLE exit ticket from Brazil (you do not need an entry ticket, just an exit ticket). Certain states require other sorts of documentation and if you've traveled abroad you may need yellow fever vaccines. In order to see all the requirements check the consulate website.
They told me I could come back and get my visa July 10th, which is a lot quicker than I was expecting. Once I pick it up I'll have three months to go to Brazil or it will expire. That's fine because I also emailed Connection Rio today to reserve a room for three months. I'm applying for a sponsorship which would allow me to train and live for free for up to three months, but I want to have my room secured just in case!