Brazil has been rediscovered, and this rediscovery is expressed by people’s growing enthusiasm and their desire to visit this stunning country, get to know their world-renowned culture, and meet some of the most friendly people on the planet. The abundance of lush, untamed nature and breathtaking coastlines makes Brazil a paradise for travelers who love the outdoors.
They say Brazil is not what you see but what you feel. The minute you land, you will be taken aback by the country of color and life, one of old and new history, and once you spend some time there, it’s sure to be intoxicating. Planning a trip to Brazil? Don’t know what to expect or how to best prepare? We’ve got you covered.
Here are the 7 most important tips for traveling to Brazil that any first-time visitor should keep in mind for a carefree and truly memorable experience.
Brazil: Land of the “Earth’s Lungs”
Most people have some association with Brazil from popular culture. Although famous for the Amazon, the world-famous Rio De Janeiro Carnival, and the love of football and samba, there is, in fact, a lot more to Brazil.
Did you know that Brazil is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, apart from being the largest country in South America and Latin America? Occupying half of South America’s landmass, Brazil is the continent’s giant – both in size and in a population of almost 216 million!
Spanning a huge area and 5 different time zones, Brazil is an eclectic mixture of people, geography, culture, and landscapes – a true melting pot that has traditionally welcomed the world. The famous Wonder of the World, Christ the Redeemer statue, the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, and the immensely popular annual Rio carnival festival are must-sees if you plan to travel to Brazil.
And if you wish to minimize your expenses when in Brazil, learn a bit about Brazilian currency – the real – and the way locals pay their bills. It probably won’t come as a surprise that if they peg you for an uninformed tourist, the prices will be a bit steeper than usual. In any case, let’s get to the rest of the article.
The 7 Most Important Tips for Traveling to Brazil
Planning a vacation might be overwhelming. Even though the media tend to paint an unfair picture of Brazil, unfortunately, accidents can happen while visiting any destination for the first time. That’s why you need to come prepared!
With that in mind, we’ve made a list of the 7 most important tips to keep in mind when traveling to Brazil to ensure you save money, stay safe, and make the most of your time in this mesmerizing country completely hassle-free.
You don’t need magic to disappear. All you need is a destination. And a few insider tips to make your adventure one of a lifetime!
Pick the Right Time to Visit
Brazil is one of the few destinations on Earth that is warm year-round. While the deep south of Brazil does get winters from June to September, they are usually fairly mild and not enough to deter travelers at any given time. However, there are some useful tips and rules of thumb when choosing the perfect time of year to visit, depending on your priorities.
If you want to take advantage of the best deals and still have good weather, consider visiting Brazil in September or October. If traveling to Rio, December to March is the driest season and also when popular events like the New Year’s Eve celebration (Réveillon) and the Fat Tuesday festival occur. If you want to experience the wildlife at its finest, going between April to October is your best bet. For the cheapest flights, opt for March.
Most people are set on visiting the Amazon, expecting to see a lot of wildlife. However, since the rainforest is extremely dense, the wildlife of Brazil’s Amazon is not as easily accessible. The Amazon is not really about the wildlife – it’s more of a jungle experience. So, you can be disappointed if you embark on the adventure having the wrong expectations.
While this is a unique chance to experience a taste of the authentic tropical rainforest, if it’s wildlife you’re interested in, we recommend visiting the Pantanal, instead. It’s not as famous as the Amazon, but you’ll see more wildlife if that’s what you’re in for. Always go with a reputable and qualified guide to the Pantanal or the Amazon rainforest to get the most out of your trip and stay safe. Also, make sure you get health/medical insurance, just in case.
… Move wisely
There’s probably going to be a lot of sightseeing involved in your trip to Brazil, so you will surely benefit from some useful transportation tips, as well. Trains are rarely used in Brazil except for cargo. The bus system in Brazil, however, is an excellent alternative and makes traveling around the country easy, comfortable and cheap. It’s best to avoid public transportation in rush hours (7-10 am, 5-8 pm), and always keep an eye on your belongings.
Taxis also operate in the cities and are generally cheap, yet some taxi drivers try to overcharge tourists. These scams are not so frequent; however, ensure the taximeter is running to get the accurate price and check the route beforehand. Always call for a registered taxi or find it via taxi apps. At the airport, look for a licensed taxi as it will guarantee a fixed price. Tipping taxi drivers is encouraged but not required.
Uber is also available at an affordable price. Uber drivers don’t charge inter-municipality or baggage surcharges as taxi drivers do, and the fare is usually agreed upon before your ride.
Let’s talk about the million-dollar question: “Is it safe to travel to Brazil?” Brazil has something of a reputation for being dangerous, and while it’s not entirely false, it is often blown out of proportion, and you should not let fear overshadow your stay. That is not to say that the country is free from crime, like any other.
The favelas in large cities are known to be dangerous and should be avoided by tourists, particularly at night. The crime scenarios that involve tourists usually come down to non-violent pick-pocketing, so we advise leaving anything valuable in a safe in your hotel room and avoiding flashing any jewelry or electronics while out in public.
In general, Brazil is relatively safe for visitors and tourists who usually do not encounter these issues, but it is still wise to practice precautions.
Packing for Brazil can be tricky depending on the time of year and the areas you will be visiting. While you already probably have an idea of what to pack, here are some general Brazil essentials worth adding to your packing checklist.
Bring a plug adapter as the plug types used in Brazil are C and N, which means they are incompatible with most international appliances. Most hotels offer free WiFi, but the chances are it is slow. To avoid the annoyance, get a pocket WiFi you can take with you wherever you go. As a tropical country, Brazil also has a massive number of mosquitoes, some of which might even carry diseases, so adding an insect repellant to your travel checklist is a no-brainer.
Don’t Drink Tap Water
Brazil offers many delicious food and drink options. In most cities, tap water is drinkable, and it shouldn’t cause any health problems. However, as a result of the treatment process, it has a not-so-great taste. Therefore, even most Brazilians choose to drink filtered or bottled water instead of tap water. All brands are reliable, and many households and hotels have filtered water. You should also be careful when buying food from street vendors and eating seafood.
Brazil can get pretty expensive, but prices vary depending on the region of the country, the time you’re visiting, and what kind of activities you’re doing. We’re here to give you some tips on keeping your money in your pocket.
Remember that Brazil’s large cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are more expensive than rural areas. December to March is a pretty busy time in Brazil, so the prices go up. Accommodation prices can double or even triple over New Year and Carnival time (February). Try to visit off-season and avoid these dates if you want to be met with lower prices.
Rather than staying at expensive hotels, look into other accommodation alternatives. Rent an apartment and get into living life like a local, buying food at the local market and cooking at home. Couchsurfing connects you with locals who can give you a free place to stay. It’s a great way to meet locals and save money.
Take local transport, such as a bus, and if you plan on taking a lot of flights during your trip to Brazil (which you may do, as it’s a big country!) then getting a Brazil air pass can be a good idea.
Buy The Real Safely at Before You Leave
And here’s another important tip – if you’re traveling to Brazil, you’ll need some travel money. That means getting a good deal on your reals. In Brazil, ATMs are not as safe and numerous as you might be used to, and you can’t withdraw money from ATMs after 10:00 PM, as they’re closed because of local regulations.
So you might wish to buy some reals while still in the US and keep them on hand. If you Apply this last tip and the seven previous ones, you should have an unforgettable experience in one of the most fascinating countries in the world. We can only ask that you stay safe and have fun!