Brazil, the largest country in South America (covering 47% of the continent!), is one of the top vacation destinations in South America. The country is incredibly diverse, in people, culture, and landscapes. The capital city is Brasilia and Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. The country covers 3 time zones and shares borders with all South American countries except for Ecuador and Chile!
Brazil is known for it`s national football (soccer) team, which has won the FIFA World Cup a record five times. Every city in Brazil has at least one soccer stadium. Coffee is another claim to fame for Brazil. The country has the best in the world. Another fascinating attribute is that the country is home to almost 60 percent of the Amazon rain forests. Which brings us to monkeys, the country is home to more species of monkeys than anywhere else in the world.
Home of the famous Christ Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Also famous in Brazil is the most celebrated and lively carnival festival in the world and the world`s largest beach at 2,606 ft long.
From the famous summer carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Olinda to the wild power of nature in the Amazon, Pantanal, and Iguassu Falls. You`ll find bustling cities, laid-back beaches, and traditional lifestyles, often right next to each other. Brazilian culture, which varies substantially across the country, comes from an international mix of European colonizers, African and Asian communities (particularly in Salvador and Sao Paulo, respectively), and indigenous influence throughout the country.
From exciting cities to pretty colonial towns and coastal hideouts to hectic and lively metropolises and more, there are a ton of great places to discover. Besides the obvious and world famous Rio de Janeiro, make sure to check out Mauaus, the capital of Amazon State and also the biggest city of the Amazon. It is a gateway to the Anavilhanas and to Jaú National Park. Sao Paulo, Brizil`s largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city, is an excellent city to discover. Then there is the quaint fishing village of Buzios boasting over 250 days of sunshine and over 21 beaches that surround this peninsula.
For tourists, Brazil is both a tropical paradise and an exciting cultural destination with attractions for all tastes, from idyllic beach holidays and jungle explorations to world-class art museums and so much more!
A majority of Brazil lies in the tropics so it`s warm all year round, and when the rain does come it is often in short sharp bursts. Brazil`s summer is Dec-Mar, and winter Jun-Sep - but heat and humidity rise the further north you go. Overall, Sep-Oct is the best time to visit Brazil - avoiding major vacation periods, the chilly southern winter and soggy season in the Pantanal – as well as enjoying cheaper prices. Rio`s samba schools are also starting Carnival rehearsals. The Amazon is sweltering year-round; the Jan-May floods just mean you`ll travel by canoe rather than on foot.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Bus travel is popular and easy in Brazil, servicing most areas of the country.
Brazil`s coach services aren`t quite as smooth running or reliable as those in Chile or Argentina but it is an option. The huge distances put a strain on the vehicles and breakdowns are not uncommon, however, if you choose one of the larger companies replacement buses are usually not far off.
The distance may take a heavier toll on you personally, with some trips stretching well over 40 hours. Although the buses will stop for food and drink, some of the stops are at very odd hours and you may sleep through them. It is smart to bring water and snacks with you on the coach bus travel. Brazil`s truck stop diners will not provide the most nutritious options.
Metro and Subway: The metro is one of the easiest ways to get around major cities like Rio and São Paulo. Fares are around R$3.50 - R$3.80. If you plan to use the metro often, there are rechargeable travel cards you can purchase.
The metros are generally cleaner and safer than traveling by local bus. However, the metros do not operate at night (unless it`s Rio Carnivale) so you will need to make alternative arrangements.
Be aware of discount tickets on the street, they are likely to be fakes. Always purchase from a metro station ticket booth or machine.
As always, when traveling on the metro make sure that you keep watch of your belongings at all times, especially during peak hours when metro carriages are packed full.
By Taxi: There is no shortage of taxis in most Brazilian cities and they are a cheap way of getting around (providing you don`t get stuck in traffic).
Taxis are also a safe option if you are planning to have a night out in the city however always make sure you get into a licensed taxi. It`s advised to phone for a taxi or pick one up at a taxi stop rather than hailing one off the street.
In the cities, taxis will run on a metered price per kilometer whereas if you are out of town a bit further, you will need to negotiate a price with the driver. A good tip to make sure you don`t get ripped off on the fare is to ask your hotel or local tourist information office what an approximate fare would be and when you get in the taxi, show the driver on a map where you want to go.
Tipping is not necessary but a nice gesture should you receive good service.
Driving in Brazil: Brazil`s transport options will easily get you to the major destinations but renting a car in Brazil provides a little more freedom and exploration. It could save you time and money but be sure you know what you`re signing up for. If you are a first-time traveler to Brazil, it`s probably best to stick to public transport and get a feel for the local traffic before jumping behind the wheel.
If you are in Brazil for less than 6 months your national driver`s license is valid, however, we recommend getting an International Driving Permit just to avoid confusion and annoyances. Some hire companies will incorrectly demand an IDP, while police have been known to target tourists without an international license and threaten huge fines in the hopes of scoring a bribe.
Some roads in Brazil have tolls attached so check and plan accordingly. Most tolls can be anywhere R$1.50 to R$20.00 and priced based on vehicle type and other criteria.
The currency of Brazil is the Brazilian Real. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for reais upon arrival. Currency exchange desks and ATMs can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city. For more detailed information, consult our guide by clicking here Tipping in Brazil.
No, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1-10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `Voce Fala ingles?`
Note: Do not speak in Spanish to a Brazilian person, thinking they will understand you when you do so. Responses will range from stunned silence to outright hostility; the Brazilian people are proud of their culture and heritage, and such an act will cause nearly everyone to take personal offense. One another note, the vocabulary and pronunciation in Portuguese differs from Spanish more than you may realize.