A travel to Brazil, a country which is more than a country in South America, but it is a continent of about 8,515,770 km², 286 times Belgium, almost 16 times France!
From the endless Amazon to the colossal waterfalls of Iguaçu, from the quadrilateral of drought in the Sertão to the marshy territory of the Pantanal, in Brazil, nature reaches the extremes of excess.
The excess! This may be the key to Brazil. We travel to discover Brazil for its beaches, its warmth, and its music, for the unique madness of its carnival, for its incredible energy as for its languors, for its tropical rain forests and the jungle of its cities. And above all, to shake their certainties, in contact with an extremely welcoming people, who have kept their zest for life despite the difficulties.
Brazil is a great and beautiful country to visit at least once in your life. It is a country with great natural and cultural diversity, which leaves no one indifferent. Organizing a trip to visit Brazil is not easy, obviously, because you have to negotiate great distances to visit the essential places in the country. There is also a concern for security in Brazil, which curbs many people in their desire to discover this country.
We thought about this and more to give you all the information you need to organize your travel to Brazil with suggestions for places to visit and practical advice concerning: Security, transport, accommodation, visa, etc.
Practical information for your travel to Brazil; Visa and time to visit
1. Visa to visit Brazil
To travel to Brazil, you need a visa, unless if your country is one of the visa-exempt countries. For instance, the Americans don’t need a visa to travel to Brazil; they can visit Brazil with just a valid passport for more than 6 months and a ticket for leaving the country, which may be required at border control at the entry of the country. Other countries don't need a visa to visit Brazil. For more information about countries that are exempted of Brazil visa, you can check about in RIO
2. The best time to visit Brazil
Brazil is a huge country, and the climate changes drastically from the South to the North. It's never too cold there, even in winter. (winter is especially felt in the south of Rio de Janeiro)
The most favorable periods, according to the regions:
In the North East: from September to mid-December
the Amazon: June-July to October
In Salvador de Bahia: from September to mid-December
Rio de Janeiro and in the South of Brazil: from June to September
Organization of a trip to Brazil: transport, housing, budget
Here are some essential travel tips you need to know for a successful travel to Brazil
1. Transport in Brazil
Brazil has no less than 62 airports, of which 22 are open to international traffic. Internal flights are recommended due to the long distances between major Brazilian cities.
1.1 Inter-urban transport
The train is not at all an option in Brazil. Plane or buses are the two options for getting around the country.
- Plane: several local companies (TAM, GOL, Azul, Avianca) provide most of the flights, with favorable prices and connections over most of the country. To buy at the best prices, you have to book well in advance or even the last minute (the day before a flight can be a perfect option).
- Bus: Clean, comfortable, safe, and punctual; the bus network in Brazil is really comfortable and organized. And remains an excellent mode of transport, during long journeys, the buses make several stops for catering and are suitable for sleeping. Pay attention to the air conditioning, pushed fully during long journeys.
Each city has its rodoviária (or rodoviário terminal). These bus stations often have a large choice of restaurants and shops.
- Car: In many regions, the car remains the most pleasant means of transport and discovery. However, expect very long journeys! In theory, you don't drive fast in Brazil (80 km / h), and the many trucks are not easy to overtake on the narrow roads, often very busy.
1.2 Urban transport
- Taxi: Use mainly at night or in areas known to be dangerous. Several applications are allowing you to book your taxi, which will meet you where you are. Avoid unofficial taxis that try to take you on the road.
- Bus: Urban bus networks are well developed in Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, there are many, efficient, serving the whole city but driving too fast.
2. Housing in Brazil
- Hotels: Choose pushadas (guest-houses) over standard hotels to benefit from a more pronounced cultural experience. The hotels, in general, are very comfortable and maintained. Breakfasts are often included in the price, and there is always a way to negotiate attractive prices on-site.
- Hostels: Relatively a new culture in Brazil, the hostels are often new or installed in renovated buildings. The service is impeccable, and the breakfasts very generous. There are hostels all over the country. They are recommended for single travelers in order to find the right company to explore the country.
- Campsites: Located mostly near the beaches. They are generally very basic, a small private plot where the tents pile up on top of each other.
- At the inhabitant: Brazilians are very warm, and it is not uncommon to be invited to stay with locals. The use of CouchSurfing is quite widespread and remains a good option for getting to know Brazilians up close.
3. Necessary budget for a travel to Brazil
The monetary unit of Brazil is the real (reais in the plural). You can get reais in vending machines or in exchange offices available in stations, airports or shopping centers.
The taste for life and the exchange rate fluctuates depending on the country's economic situation. Currently, Brazil remains very affordable compared to a few years ago.
4. Total average budget for 15 days
Stay (excluding round trip ticket): from 850 $ to 2,500 $
4.1 housing budget per day
- 1 and 2 star hotels / Hostels: from 15 $
- 3-star hotels: from 20 $ to 35 $
- Hotels 4 stars or more: from 35 $ to 65 $
- All-inclusive hotels: from 65 $ to 250 $
4.2 catering budget per day
- Cheap restaurants: from 3 $ to 6 $
- Traditional restaurants: from 6 $ to 25 $
- Large restaurants: from 25 $ to 60 $
4.3 transport price
Buses are affordable (5 $ per 100km). But regarding the distances in Brazil, plane tickets are sometimes cheaper than buses, especially if booked in advance.
- TIP: Add from 10 to 15% of the bill for the tip
Health and security travel tips when traveling to Brazil
- Provide a chemical or natural mosquito repellent (special oils are available in the Amazon and are very effective).
- Recommended vaccines: Yellow fever (vaccine highly recommended), universal vaccines (DTPP, hepatitis B), Typhoid fever and hepatitis A;
- Remember to prepare your travel pharmacy kit well.
Nothing particular to report at this level except to drink mineral water and watch out for raw food (wash well) in the jungle.
Even if Brazil is reputed to be dangerous. You can travel there without too much risk by following these simple rules:
- Free yourself from prejudices and be natural. You quickly notice a person who feels in danger or pays too much attention to their business. So you have to behave naturally and find an absolute serenity first in your head.
- Stay modest: do like the Brazilians who go out without much on themselves to go to the beach. So avoid taking an expensive camera around the expensive, avoid putting any watch or ostentatious jewelry. In brief, dress up modestly and prevent tempting thieves.
- At night: in big cities, avoid walking around after dark (at least after 9 p.m.), instead take a taxi. If you have a car, do like other motorists and use the parking or supervised sites.
What to do and see in Brazil?
1. Cities to visit in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro(Image: © Agustín Diaz/Unsplash)
The famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro: Copa Cabana, Ipanema, Leblon, at the foot of mountains covered with Atlantic jungle. The main points of interest in the city: Christ the Redeemer, the sugarloaf, the Selarón de Lapa stairs, the favelas, the restaurants and bars of Samba, the carioras, and their hectic life. Rio de Janeiro offers a multitude of things to see and experience, so much so that it can be a trip to Brazil on its own.
Salvador da Bahia
Cultural cradle of the country, Salvador is in its image: mixed. This city has a historic center, Pelourinho, which evokes Portugal and a predominantly Afro-Brazilian population. Human and warm city, famous for its carnival and capoeira. Salvador also has some of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil. An essential city when you want to experience an authentic and warm Brazil.
Olinda(Image: © José Ribamar/Unsplash)
One of the gems of Brazil. Steep streets lined with multicolored colonial houses, Baroque churches, and Moorish fountains. The old town of Olinda is nice, but it is mainly the beach that calls for the visit.
Ouro Preto(Image: © Nathalia Segato/Unsplash)
A Baroque gem in the heart of a mountainous region. The city is a typical example of a colonial city in Brazil. Unesco cultural heritage.
São Paulo(Image: © Vanessa Bumbeers/Unsplash)
The great metropolis may seem intimidating but is full of cultural and artistic activities. A monster to tame to make the most of it and discover the hectic life of Brazilians.
2. Natural sites to visit in Brazil
- The Amazon: One of the last wilderness areas on our planet, a rainforest teeming with life. A unique experience is to make the trip by traditional boat for several days or weeks on the Amazon River.
- Iguaçu Falls: a set of 275 waterfalls, distributed between Brazil and Argentina. A curiosity of nature listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Chapada Diamantina National Park: Located inside the State of Bahia. Chapada Diamantina National Park is a beautiful region of low mountains, canyons, and high plateaus. Ideal for a multi-day hike. Wonder guaranteed.
- Lençois Maranhenses: This immensity of dunes and lagoons in the Northeast is a unique site in the world. White dunes as far as the eye can see, dotted with lagoons, in which you can cool off by visiting the park. A must-see.
- Jericoacoara: from a little-known little village and isolated from everything. Jeri has become a favorite destination for those seeking the simplicity of life and activities in abundance in the neighboring lagoons and dunes.
- Pantanal: It is the most beautiful animal reserve in Brazil, to be avoided during the rainy season (November-April) due to the floods.
A beautiful experience to live while traveling to Brazil
- Discover the typical city of Rio de Janeiro
- Take a photo with Christ the Redeemer and take in the breathtaking view of Rio Bay
- Party to the wild rhythms of Samba in the streets of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro
- Discover the magnificent beaches of the Brazilian Northeast
- Hike in the impressive diversity of Chapada Dimantiana Park
- Discover the vastness of the Amazon rainforest
- Take a shower under the 275 Iguazu waterfalls
- Taste the Afro-Brazilian culture of Salvador de Bahia
- Visit the colonial town of Ouro Preto
- Discover the tropical savannahs and the richness of the Pantanal fauna
- Quad biking in the vast dunes of Lençois Marahenses
- Go scuba diving in the beautiful island of Florianópolis
- Bask in the hundreds of superb Brazilian beaches: Ilha Grande, Ilha do Mel, Jericoacoara, Olinda, Buzios, the beaches of Rio, Canoa Quebrada,…
- Taste the Brazilian zest of life.
Shopping in Brazil
- The flip-flops! This is the main purchase you should make when you visit Brazil. There are all shapes and colors, with the possibility of creating your own models for 3 times cheaper than elsewhere.
- Some markets in Rio de Janeiro for shopping for handicrafts and souvenirs: La Feira da Glória, La Feira Rio Antigo, Le Mercadão de Madureira, La Feira de São Cristóvão, La Feira da Praça XV
Travel to Brazil in solo, with family or with children
1. Traveling in solo
Traveling to Brazil is not always easy. It takes a good deal of courage and the ability to meet people while traveling and befriend the locals easily. If so, Brazil offers one of the best experiences in solo travel.
2. Traveling with family
Brazil, with all its diversity, its cultural and natural richness, is an excellent destination for a family trip. The whole family will find pleasure and exciting activities to do. It's also a great honeymoon destination.
3. Traveling with children
If you restrict yourself to a few cities in the country without venturing too far into the most remote and wild parts of the country. Traveling with a baby to Brazil can be very pleasant. A stay in the state of Rio de Janeiro with a baby is a perfect idea.
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Originally published on Live Positively.