Brazil at a glance
South america’s giant, brazil is a vibrant and unique travel experience that will surpass all of your expectations.
From rio’s glistening sandy beaches and iconic landmarks to the weird and wonderful sights and sounds of the brazilian amazon, wherever you travel to in brazil, you’re never too far from being immersed in its unique atmosphere.
Brazil is without a doubt one of the most captivating places you can visit not only in south america but in the world.
Facts about brazil
It shares a border with every south american country except chile and ecuador.
With over 200 million inhabitants, brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world.
Brazil travel tip:
No matter how much time you have, it is safe to say that it would be a massive challenge to get to know all the amazing things to do in brazil in just one trip
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Brazil is a huge country, and there is a ton to do there.
A lot of travelers just spend a couple of weeks in the southeast or northeast.
Those areas are totally worth seeing.
Time required: brazil
Most people do 2-3 weeks in brazil trip, or use you can use it as a framework for the brazil portion of your larger south america itinerary.
Spend 2 weeks in brazil sample itinerary
This sample itinerary for spending 2 weeks in brazil includes some of the world’s most photographed natural wonders, white-sand beaches and historic monuments.
Boasting one-third of the world’s rainforests and an enormous coastline to boot, brazil is the perfect destination for people who love to explore the great outdoors.
In addition to its natural beauty, brazil has a rich history that can be experienced through its stunning architecture and world-class museums.
Brazil is expensive
Simply come with a reasonable amount of money, as true budget backpackers will really struggle, especially if you plan on moving around the country a lot.
Brazil is a huge country - literally largest in south america - with many different climates throughout.
In the north, mostly near the equator, youll find a wet and a dry season in place of the typical seasons most of us think of.
From sao paulo down to the south there is a more common spring/summer/fall/winter.
How to get to brazil
The brazil evisa for us citizens allows travelers to stay for a period of up to 90 days per year and is valid for two consecutive years.
It’s also a multiple-entry visa which does not limit the number of times that you can enter brazil.
You can obtain the evisa within 5 working days upon registration.
Travel to brazil
Sao paulo and rio de janeiro are the largest airports in the country, respectively.
Chances are you’ll probably fly into one of these.
Flights vs bus vs train
Distances in brazil are far so certainly count on some travel hours or even an overnight bus.
A more expensive but more comfortable and faster alternative is to move around via internal flights.
Touring brazil by plane
Flights to smaller cities are best bought from large hubs like sao paulo, rio, or brasilia.
The largest carriers in brazil are now latam (owned by united) and gol.
We flew with latam, gol and avianca and had no issues with any of them
Bus transportation in brazil
Finding your way through hundreds of bus companies, bus stations, infinite destinations and information hard to come by is definitely no easy job.
For example, we took a 12-hour bus between iguazu falls and bonito.
According to our map, we had barely moved.
Though relatively cheap, long distance bus tickets will still cost a minimum of $50, and upwards of $150.
If you’re planning on seeing lots of brazil, be prepared to pay for it.
Are taxis safe in brazil?
They come in a load of shapes, sizes, and colors.
Make sure you check the company details on the side of the car.
Ridesharing in brazil
Although it is considered to be quite different than taking the bus, people are still interested in terms of pricing and safety.
Eg While in rio we almost exclusively used uber to get around and found it quite easy to flag down drivers and explore the sprawling metropolis.
Most cab drivers in rio barely spoke english, so uber made the experience much smoother since our destination was already in the app.
We also enjoyed the added safety and peace of mind that comes with using uber as it pertains to your route.
Can you travel by train in brazil?
Getting from a city to another by train is a difficult task most of the times, though, as there are almost no trains to run the service.
Most of the existing routes are leisure journeys that are worth a ride not for transporting purposes but for leisure.
What to see?
Brazil places to visit:
We all know about the amazon or rio de janeiro, its mountains covered with tropical jungle dominated by the famous corcovado and its famous carnival rich in colours moving with the sound of samba.
An ultimate holiday destination with thousands of kilometres of heavenly beaches and the famous equatorial forest, the “giant of latin america” is huge- 8.
Rio de Janeiro
While it’s no longer the capital of brazil (which moved to brasilia in 1960), rio de janeiro is one of the most vibrant and culturally-rich cities in the world.
It offers pretty much everything you could want in one place – awesome views, white-sand bays, buzzing nightlife, delicious food, lively locals and more museums than you can imagine.
Take in stunning aerial views of world-famous landmarks while riding in style and comfort with all tours personally narrated by friendly and experienced pilots.
Helicopter sightseeing tours provide you with a bird’s eye view of rio and the surrounding area in comfort and style.
Petropolis - brazil
That is petropolis, a city about 1 hour distance from rio and easily reached by bus.
And the contrast between rio and petropolis is just chalk and cheese.
Petropolis is a city that is calm, well design where one thinks that is in a traditional german town.
Visiting iguazu falls from the brazil side
Iguazu falls are beyond epic.
There was certainly lots of activities available (kayaking, boat ride, bird watching, jeep tours through the park, etc) the admission price of $17 would essentially only allow us access to trilha das cataratas.
And it was, without a doubt, the one unmissable thing to do in the park.
Iguazu falls brazil side - continue
Bus number 120 brings you to the doorstep of the national park, where you purchase your park tickets.
Admission is r$62 ( $21), and credit cards are accepted.
The park entrance is still located quite some ways up from the riverbank, so after you scan your ticket and enter the park, you hop on an open-air bus that brings you along the 10km journey down to the falls themselves.
Falls are divided by various islands into separate waterfalls.
Among the best known are devils throat, or gargantua del diablo (garganta do diabo in portuguese).
You will surely stop while going for the iguacu falls from sao paulo or rio de janeiro and it would be a shame not to stop for a couple of days.
As you will see, there are various places to see.
Brazil - canyons and waterfalls
Nestled along the southern atlantic coasts of rio grande do sul among brazils most expansive canyons is the 28,000 hectares conservation area and national park.
The area is comprised of two parks; aparados da serra and serra geral.
Kitesurf in jericoacoara, brazil
If you love flatwater, probably some of the most epic spots are ilha do guajiru and macapa/barra grande – or taiba if you love spotting pros (not too much for kiting though since it’s super busy).
Jericoacoara however is special and different from all the spots you can find along the coast.
The village of jericoacoara is located in the middle of an environmental protection area (epa), which protects the area from getting overly touristy.
The pantanal wetlands, brazil
At 210,000 square kilometres, it is the biggest tropical wetland in the world.
Most of the pantanal falls within the states of mato grosso, and mato grosso do sul in brazil, but as nature knows no political borders, parts of the wetland spread into neighbouring bolivia and paraguay.
A lovely city in brazil.
In brazil, every time i go to paraty, i get this feeling that i’m in such a special place, unlike any other city in the country, in the continent and perhaps in the whole world.
It used to be the seat of the most important seaport in brazil, exporting lots of gold all the way to portugal back in the 1600s.
Florianopolis & southern brazil travel guide
The vibrant ilha de santa catarina offers sand dunes, pine forests and many different beaches, bays and lagoons.
Inland and into the province of parana there is the serra verde express, one of brazil’s last great train rides from curitaba to morretes through mountains and atlantic forest.
As someone who has traveled to both rio and florianopolis (called floripa, for short), i think that this little island deserves a lot more attention from prospective tourists.
Lencois maranhenses national park, brazil
The park is still one of the most astonishingly beautiful and untouched areas of the country.
Composed of sand dunes and surrounded by crystal clear water originating from heavy periods of rain during the rainy season.
Carnaval in brazil
While customs, celebrations and costumes vary by region and city, rio de janeiro’s carnival is the biggest and flashiest.
What originally started as a series of samba street parades is now a fierce competition among top samba schools from brazil.
Where to stay?
Where to stay on the coast of brazil:
The coastline is enormous, and just about every inch is beautiful.
The beaches around recife, trancoso and paraty are all good choices, but we decided on something farther south.
Backpacker accommodation in brazil
Only in the most remote places will you need to resort to some other form of accommodation.
You could find a bed for less than $10, but i would never pay more than $15 unless forced.
We made the most perfect choice in paraty, brazil and a stay at the happy hammock hostel.
Where to stay in hotel in brazil?
Whether that’s rio’s windsor atlantica (where celebrities like madonna are known to stay), the intercontinental sao paulo or belmond hotel das cataratas near iguazu falls, getting a great hotel during your brazil itinerary 3 weeks (or longer) is now cheaper than ever.
The good news is that flight prices within brazil have lowered alongside hotel prices, so this is no longer the impractical affair it once was.
In Paraty, stay at Rumos dos centos.
Built largely from native timber, the hotel has a very natural feel to it, with large open spaces and a grassed garden peppered with trees and colorful plants and a swimming pool alongside the river and a turkish-style sauna.
The property is surrounded by inquisitive miniature monkeys who venture onto the balconies looking for treats of papaya from the staff and guests.
In buzios, stay at Porto bay boutique hotel; there are views over the town to the ocean, and it’s only a 5-minute walk to the town center and the rua das pedras.
What to eat?
A long line of cultural influences underpin brazilian cuisine, creating unique, traditional dishes filled with exciting and exotic ingredients from brazil’s own turf.
Try brazilian bbq, mosqueca (fish stew), cachaca (fermented sugarcane juice), brigadeiros (chocolate truffle), feijoada (stew)