Many countries require a visa, the process isn't difficult and the fees are based on a reciprocity system. While your visa might be pricey, food accomodations and services will more than make up the cost difference. The process isn't horrific but it does require a few minutes to ensure you have all the proper paper work in order, which Brazilians love! Don't try and skimp on the paper work, or they'll complain. Print everything they ask for out! Flight information, hotel information, etc. Overall, the consulates are friendly and helpful.
Brazil has setup a reciprocity visa program. If you are an American Citizen, you will need a visa prior to traveling to Brazil. There is no whining: you won't even board the plane without a visa. If you are a Canadian Citizen, the same rule applies - no getting onto the plane to go to Brazil without a visa. For Americans, it means a trip to the Brazilian Consulate. This is all because Brazilians are required to go in person to an American Consulate in order to obtain a visa to visit the United States. The fees also follow a reciprocity rule: if Brazilians are paying 130 dollars for their visitor visa to enter America, Americans will be charged the same amount to obtain a visitor visa to visit Brazil.
For all the other countries with which Brazil has diplomatic deals, such as great part of Western Europe, no visas are required. So if you're a French citizen, you can just go ahead and book your ticket! If you're Canadian or American, however, here are a few steps you need to follow to get your Visa done in time (Beware of Brazilian Burocracy - we do love our paperwork!):