If you are planning a visit to Brazil, this is your one-stop guide for your Brazil trip, plus all the useful tips before you travel to Brazil prepared by a Brazileira ;-).
When you think about Brazil, what comes to your mind? Carnaval…Rio de Janeiro…Samba…Soccer (Futebol)…Beaches…Amazon forest?
Most people have some association with Brazil from popular culture. I am here to EXPAND on those associations so that you can get to know this amazing country, diverse culture, and incredible people.
Brazil is a large, diverse, complex, and fascinating country and should be on your Dream Destination Bucket List. When you visit Brazil, you will encounter a unique culture that is a blend of Portuguese, African, European, and undeniably Brazilian ways of living life.
There is so much to see and so much to explore (jungles, dry steppes, mountains, beaches, waterfalls, food, history, etc.), that you could visit Brazil every year and not see or experience everything it has to offer.
This Planning a trip to Brazil guide will point you in the right direction, by giving you tips on what to visit, the typical cost, what is the best time to visit, and how to get around. Even better, prepared by a local Brazileira, especially for you!
- Why you Should Travel to Brazil
- Brazil Travel Tips Essentials
- Where is Brazil?
- What is the Visa Requirement to Travel to Brazil?
- What are the best Flights options to Brazil?
- What are the Best Places to Visit in Brazil?
- How much does a Trip to Brazil Cost?
- Planning a Trip to Brazil: Transportation & Getting Around
- Planning a Trip to Brazil: Accommodations
- What is the Best time to Visit Brazil?
- What is the Weather in Brazil?
- Planning a Trip to Brazil: Safety
- Travel Insurance for your trip to Brazil
- What is the food in Brazil?
- What to Pack for a Trip to Brazil?
- Photography Gear in Brazil
- 8-Steps for a well-planned trip to Brazil
- Planning a Trip to Brazil Conclusion
Why you Should Travel to Brazil
Well, amigo, let me start by saying why you should travel to Brazil. Brazil is one of the most awe-inspiring places to visit on the Planet, and I really mean it.
Visit the natural beauty of the falls at Iguaçu, meet the locals at the Copacabana beach, see one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, Christ the Redeemer, learn how to dance the samba, enjoy a barbecue, and cool off with a caipirinha and be able to cruise around some of the largest jungles in the planet, Pantanal and Amazon.
Brazil offers it all for any travel style – from solo travelers to a family vacation trip of a lifetime, to adventure travelers, to one of the best routes to backpack in South America.
Brazil is a very vast country, and because of its size, it is impossible to travel around and get to visit many places on your first trip. You will need good planning and longer than a week to visit 1-2 States.
Brazil Travel Tips Essentials
LANGUAGE: The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. English and Spanish are not widely spoken.
CURRENCY: The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real, and the U.S. Dollar is not accepted. Check here for the latest conversion rate.
VISA: Visa-Free Entry to stay up to 90 days for American, Canadian, Japanese, and Australian passport holders. Consult this website for more visa requirements.
CREDIT CARD & ATMs: A credit card is widely accepted in Brazil. ATMs can be easily found in commercial areas, but they may be closed at night for security reasons.
CELL PHONE: Your international cell phone will work in Brazil. However, to avoid high international calling charges, you’ll want to pick up a local SIM card and get a local calling plan. You can buy these at street-corner kiosks (called bancas) and some supermarkets.
WI-FI IN BRAZIL: You can get Wi-Fi service in Brazil pretty much everywhere (unless you are planning to visit some remote areas). Normally the hotels, restaurants and shopping malls offer free internet service.
Where is Brazil?
Brazil is the largest country in South America and the 5th largest country in the world, with a population of 212 million people (2.75% of the total world population).
Brazil might be the largest country most of the world doesn’t know a whole lot about. Brazil’s economy ranks 1st in South America, 2nd in the Americas, and 8th in the world.
Although Brazil covers an area equal to 88% of the US and therefore is almost as large, being the size of the US without Alaska.
The coastline of Brazil measures 7,491 km, which makes it the 16th longest national coastline in the world. Throughout the coastal areas, geographical features can be found like islands, reefs, and bays.
What is the Visa Requirement to Travel to Brazil?
You need a valid passport for at least 6-months from the date of entry is required by all nationals referred below.
A visa to Travel to Brazil is not required by all nationals of EU countries for stays of up to 90-days. A Visa to travel to Brazil is required by nationals of Australia, Canada, and the USA.
Visa-Free Entry to stay up to 90 days for American, Canadian, Japanese, and Australian passport holders. Consult this website for more visa requirements.
What are the best Flights options to Brazil?
There are numerous options for flights to Brazil and many gateways in the US and Canada.
Direct flights leave from: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Washington, and Toronto.
TAM is the only Brazilian carrier serving the US at present, while the North American airlines are American, Air Canada, Continental, Delta, and United.
Most flights go to either Rio or São Paulo. If your ultimate destination is somewhere other than these cities, it is usually best to connect in Rio or São Paulo.
What are the Best Places to Visit in Brazil?
When talking about visiting Brazil, everyone seems to gravitate to either Rio de Janeiro, Iguaçu Falls, or the Amazon.
I regret to say that those places are very far distance from each other. Therefore, if you have only 2-week to visit Brazil you would need to pick one destination over another. You can see some ideas of the Best Brazil Route here.
Just take a quick glance at a map to figure this out, I have picked my top 10 places to visit in Brazil and pinned the map to help to give a better perspective of each location:
- SÃO PAULO (São Paulo State) – Largest city, very metropolitan and cultural, great cuisine
- RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio de Janeiro State) – Second largest city, amazing natural beauty, and beaches
- PARATY (Rio de Janeiro State) – 4 hours driving from Rio, Brazilian imperial town by the ocean
- ANGRA DOS REIS (Rio de Janeiro State): The most beautiful coastline in Brazil with over 2,000 beaches to choose from
- CURITIBA (Paraná State) – Large city praised with one of the world’s best models of urban planning
- FLORIANÓPOLIS (Santa Catarina State) – Island in the South with perfect beaches and excellent surfing
- PANTANAL (Mato Grosso & Mato Grosso do Sul State) – The world’s largest inland wetland area, one of the best to spot animals
- AMAZON FOREST (Amazonas State)– The largest tropical rainforest in the world
- JALAPÃO (Tocantins) – Large variety of landscapes including sand dunes, rivers, waterfalls, and Savana
- NATAL (Rio Grande do Norte State) -Stunning beaches, white sand dunes, and rich diverse culture.
How much does a Trip to Brazil Cost?
Brazil is one of the most expensive countries to visit in South America, but because of the exchange rate, when converted, prices are still very affordable.
The best time to travel to Brazil on a budget is in the off-season. If you travel outside of Christmas or Carnival, flying to Brazil can be quite affordable.
Check the average trip to Brazil cost below – Per day for 2 people – Based on 4 stars hotel, eating all meals at the restaurant, renting a car – Of course, it can be less, it will depend on your travel style:
Average Prices per Day/ 2 People
|TOTAL||US$185 PER DAY FOR 2 PEOPLE|
Planning a Trip to Brazil: Transportation & Getting Around
If you are visiting more than one state, I recommend flying instead of traveling by bus or car. The distances are long, and flying will save you time and allow you to visit more locations in less time.
You can get a 15% off your rental car when you book through this site. I use and recommend RentalCar because it is the most reliable rental car source, and it allows you to compare the prices of different places.
Planning a Trip to Brazil: Accommodations
Prices and options will vary a lot, depending on what area of Brazil you are visiting and what time of the year you are visiting. But the good news is that because of the exchange rate, the prices will be very affordable when converted.
I have selected 3 options for the most popular accommodation options in Brazil, and I recommend booking using Booking.com because it is a reliable source and also, there is free cancelation policy:
BUDGET OPTION: POUSADA (B&B)
This is my favorite option for accommodations in Brazil. Pousadas are normally family-owned, they are more intimate and in general, are very well located
MIDE RANGE: PRIVATE HOME
Another great option for accommodation in Brazil is to rent your own place. I recommend renting your own house or apartment if you are looking to cook your meals, be well located and enjoy the local lifestyle
Depending on your travel style, Brazil has always great options for hotels from 1 to 5 stars, including international chains
What is the Best time to Visit Brazil?
Brazil is one of the few destinations on Earth that is warm year-round. Because of its tropical landscapes, there are several climatic extremes, though none of which are too extreme to deter travelers.
Winter in Brazil lasts from May to September. No matter where in Brazil you are visiting, temperatures won’t drop below 60 F. It’s one of the best times to go sightseeing and hiking in cities like Rio, thanks to plenty of sunshine and cooler temps.
During the spring and summer (November to March), temperatures can get up to 120 F so be sure to stack on a whole lot of sunscreen and prepare for some humidity.
Around February and March is when it happens the largest party on the Planet: Carnival!
What is the Weather in Brazil?
The summer months are from December to March and winter is from June to September
Because of the size of Brazil, the country is broken into different climate areas. Check here for the weather in Brazil.
- The south of Brazil is the coldest part, with winters that can even be seeing some snowflakes.
- The Nort of Brazil, where you can find the Amazon forest, is always hot with temperatures climbing up to 100F (40C).
- The coastal areas in Brazil – If you are visiting the coastal areas, the weather is warm most of the year, with temperatures higher than 77F (25C).
Planning a Trip to Brazil: Safety
Let’s start with a million-dollar question. Every time I engage in a conversation with someone, I am asked this question: “Is it safe to travel to Brazil?”
Safety is a big concern for Brazilians. Drug gangs control certain territories, police corruption is not uncommon, and if you are not aware, you could become a victim of theft or pickpocketing.
With that being said, Brazil is not a dangerous place, and every year millions of people visit Brazil and it is not a reason you should avoid a trip to Brazil, just follow some basics suggested safety tips:
- While visiting a large city – like any other large city in the world, it is advised to not flash any expensive belongings, keep your passport in a safe and carry a copy with you instead. Use an ATM inside a bank and avoid going at night. Avoid going out alone in the dark. Don’t hang your bag in the back of a chair at bars and keep an eye on your belongings, including if you are using public transportation.
- While visiting the beach – do not bring any value to the beach and don’t go swim and leave your belongings in the sand.
- While visiting the jungle and forest areas – Always carry a bug spray with you, in some areas of Brazil there is a risk of Dengue and Malaria. Don’t go hiking by yourself, always have a local reliable local guide with you.
- While self-driving – Always keep your doors locked and keep your bag, wallet, or cell phone out of sight. If driving at night, be careful with the red lights, as it is common for other drives to not stop. Buy travel insurance, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Visting Favela – Favelas (slums), which in the past were dangerous places to go, have become tourist attractions. NEVER visit a Favela on your own, instead, you can sign up for a tour of a Favela and see how the poor communities live.
- Water & Food – It is advised to drink bottled water, we Brazilian people do not drink tap water. If you are at the beach, you will be offering many “beach food” and I just recommend avoiding any seafood. Food is in general fresh and of great quality in Brazil.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE: Don’t travel to Brazil without Travel Insurance, as anything can go wrong. I use and recommend World Nomads, as they are the best option for travel insurance that fits any kind of adventure.
For more information about safety to travel to Brazil, check out these great 13 Safety Tips for Brazil and stay safe amigos!
Travel Insurance for your trip to Brazil
I never leave my home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip. Things can go wrong, and you don’t want to get stuck paying tons of money if you get sick or have an accident without travel insurance.
World Nomads Travel Insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover their trip essentials. Especially if you are like me, travel insurance is ideal for adventurous travelers.
Travel smarter and safer – You can do your quick quote below and find out how little you can pay for the essential benefit of Travel Insurance for your next trip!
What is the food in Brazil?
Maybe you are already family with the Brazilian steakhouse. Yes, steak is very popular in Brazil, it seems that every weekend you will have at least 2 invites for a churrasco (barbecue) at your family or friend’s house.
A churrasco usually includes sausages and several different cuts of meat, grilled over hardwood charcoal, sliced to bite-size pieces, and eaten hot off the cutting board.
In addition to churrasco, there are many other delicious Brazilian foods to experiment with:
- Açai: Antioxidant super fruit gaining popularity outside of Brazil – açaí bowls are very popular
- Pão de Queijo: They are getting very popular in the US, they are the heaven version of cheese bread.
- Cachorro Quente: It is the Brazilian version of hot dog, it is another level
- Moqueca: Anyone who tries it, falls in love. Fresh fish cooked in coconut milk
- Brazilian Pizza: My vote goes to the Brazilian pizza. Want to know the difference between Brazilian and American pizza?
- Feijoada: Brazilian comfort food, which is a slow-cooked black bean, beef, and pork stew served with rice – a truly must try the traditional dish, that every time I cook it and invite my friends to try, they leave asking me for the secret recipe.
- Brigadeiro: Sweet like a bonbon and extremely scrumptious and delicious
- Creme de papaya: a perfect ending to a big meal, papaya helps digestion.
- Caipirinha: It is the Bazilian popular drink. Strong is the definition, made by sugar cane, sugar, lime, and ice.
- Guaraná: the Brazilian soda – loaded with caffeine from the guaraná plant
What to Pack for a Trip to Brazil?
I recommend packing light, and if you forget anything, buy it there. Brazil makes very good quality clothes and shoes and the prices are really good.
The packing will depend on what area of Brazil you are planning to visit, and what time of the year. But in general comfortable, light and colorful clothes are the best option. Some MUST PACK items are:
- Colorful casual clothing: tank top, t-shirts, shorts, skirts,
- Summer dresses
- A pair of jean
- Shawal – is always a great item for the cooler evening
- A light rain jacket
- a pair of Havaianas
- Bikini/ bathing suit
- Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
- Dress shoes/ sandals – to go out at night
- Long sleeve shirt/ nice dress – to go out at night
- 1 pair of sneakers
- LifeStraw water bottle with a purifier
- socks/ underwear
- A day backpack
- Universal charger/ adaptor
PACK SMART ALERT!
If you are planning to carry a backpack for your trip to Brazil, I have compiled a very detailed review of the Best Backpacks for Travel in the market today – Also, it doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter, it is always smart to carry a jacket with you, so check my complete review guide on the Top Jackets for Travel and pack smart!
Photography Gear in Brazil
We all know that Brazil is a very unique and magical place. It is impossible to not take many pictures and want to capture the amazing moments while traveling around Brazil.
Therefore, do not forget to bring your camera equipment with you:
- This is the camera I use and love – Sony Mirrorless a7III
- Bring a couple of good lenses for different pictures – I always carry this lens with me
- Extra memory cards
- I recommend bringing some filters
- Tripod to photograph the waterfalls and depending on the time of the year, the Aurora Borealis.
- If you want to capture amazing videos, I use and recommend a Gimble Smartphone Stabilizer
- I also recommend a GoPro HERO9 for some action images videos and pictures.
- You can also capture incredible Drone images in Iceland. I use DJI Mavic Air 2
8-Steps for a well-planned trip to Brazil
- CHOOSE A LOCATION TO VISIT: Start by checking other itineraries and tips that I have prepared, as I am providing the best information for you to plan an independent trip to Brazil on my BRAZILTRAVEL GUIDE.
- BUY A GUIDE BOOK: An excellent guidebook that I recommend is Lonely Planet Brazil Guidebook, as it has tons of great information on main attractions, places to stay, and many curiosities about Brazilian culture.
- BOOK YOUR FLIGHT: There are great options to fly direct to Brazil to the major airports of the country. Book in advance to try to get a better deal. The flights are approx. 6-8 hours. The best way to start your South America backpacking route is to fly to a large city.
- BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN ADVANCE: Brazil has great options for accommodations, but make sure you book in advance to take advantage of the best prices and best options. I recommend Booking.com as it has a great policy of free cancelation.
- BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE: Wherever you go or do during your travels, don’t travel anywhere in the world without travel insurance; the unexpected can, and often does, happen. I strongly recommend reliable travel insurance through World Nomads
- START PACKING: It will depend on each area of Brazil you will visit to pack accordingly. Check my recommended packing list and my expert review on the Best Backpacks for Travel here.
- BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER: Responsible and Ethical traveling is REALLY IMPORTANT. Check my complete guide
- BOOK ANY TOUR IN ADVANCE: There are great options for group or VIP tours in Brazil, just make sure you check the many options and book in advance. Check here for options or check some options for you below:
Planning a Trip to Brazil Conclusion
Brazil is a very large country, and you will need to plan accordingly before your visit. Preplanning, researching, and understanding what you are looking for will help make your travels far more successful and safe.
Make sure you have the places you want to visit highlighted. Brazil offers everything from large cities to the Amazon Rainforest to stunning beaches. You can visit my Travel Planning and print the easy 10-steps to plan an international trip.
You may also enjoy:
- 15 Amazing day trip from Sao Paulo
- 21 Amazing Facts about Rio de Janeiro
- Jalapao 5 days itinerary, to the ecological sanctuary in Brazil
- 10 Best Backpacking Routes in South America
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