Brazil Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated August 26, 2019

Brazil is a huge country in South America stretching from the Amazon Basin in the north to the vineyards and massive Iguazu Falls in the south. It is the 5th largest country in the world by size after Russia, Canada, China, and the United States of America. Stretching for 3.2 million sq miles or 8.5 million sq kilometers, Brazil is also the world’s 5th most populous country. Brasília isthe capital city, but São Paulo is the most populated. Rio de Janeiro is the most popular city with tourists.

Travel to Brazil’s border with Peru from Recife in the east, and you would havegone more than Moscow to London. From south to north borders, the distance is the same as Los Angeles to New York. 

The Brazilian landscape is diverse. The country has 7,400 kilometers or 4,600 miles of coastline. 60% of the 5,500,000 square kilometer Amazon rainforest isin Brazil. Then there are thundering waterfalls, red-rock canyons, mountains, plateaus, tropical coral islands, forests full of rich wildlife, and beautiful colonial towns. The land is so rich and diverse that Brazilians often say they stay in a continent and not a country.

Adventures, thrills, famous landmarks, soccer, stunning beaches, good food, a vibrant nightlife… Brazil is a country worth visiting. It should certainly be in your bucket list.

Brazil – Quick Facts

  1. Size – World’s 5th biggest country by size.
  2. Area – 3.2 million sq miles or 8.5 million sq kilometers
  3. Population - 210,147,125 (2019), 5th most populous country
  4. Currency – Real (R$) (BRL)
  5. Name – From the Brazilwood tree
  6. Capital – Brasilia
  7. Largest city – São Paulo
  8. Official language – Portuguese
  9. Football is the most popular sport. The national team has won the FIFA World Cup a record 5 times.
  10. 60% of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil
  11. There are 64 national parks and more than 200 conservation units. 
  12. There are 3 time zones

Top 10 Reasons To Visit Brazil

The Beaches Think of Brazil, and the Amazon rainforest and Rio de Janeiro comes to mind instantly. But the country has many stunning beaches, some of the best in South America. 7,400 kilometers or 4,600 miles of coastline with many tropical coral islands. Copacabana, Baia do Sancho, Ipanema, Praia do Espelho, Lopes Mendes, Praia do Forno, and Santos are all stunning. Many are exotic paradise with white sand and palm groves, and turquoise blue water, while others are happening places, party destinations with a vibrant nightlife.
Natural Wonders The Amazon River, rainforest and Iguaçu Falls are the most famous natural attractions in a country that has 62 National Parks and hundreds of conservation areas.
Cities & Towns There is São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, top attractions for tourists. You will find many other small colonial towns with rich history and culture, which are frozen in time.
People, Culture See a very diverse ethnic and cultural heritage, a result of hundreds of years. A perfect blend of diversity is imprinted in the culture that has resulted in purely Brazilian items, celebrations, and traditions such as the bossa nova, Capoeira, and the yellow soccer jersey.
Festivals There is the Carnival of Rio, which is the most famous. But many now feel that Reveillon, the Brazilian New Year, is as much fun as the Carnival. Other important festivals and events are Semana Santa – the Brazilian Holy Week, Festas Juninas, Festa do Divino, and St. Vito.
Food Brazilian barbecue has gained international attention. Picture open fire pits tended by the Rio Grande do Sul by gaúchos (South American cowboys). However, Brazilian food is not just barbeque. Pastel de queijo, chicken coxinha, cheese bread, cassava chips, salt cod bites, and chocolate truffles are also very good.
Travel Friendly Weather Fall and winter are great times to be in Brazil. You can enjoy cool sunrises, warm and sunny days and clear chilly nights.
Hotels and Pousadas There are many options at all budgets. You can pick from premium hotels and resorts, budget properties, apartments, and bed and breakfasts, rainforest lodges and charming pousadas.
Tourism Is A Priority Brazil is investing in their towns and cities to make the country comfortable and safe for tourists. There are now better roads and infrastructure.
Gateway To South America Brazil has great neighbors. Make it your hub to visit Peru, the Patagonia Coast, and other top destinations in South America.

Climate

Brazil has a wide variety of climates, influenced by its geography, long stretch of coastline, and other factors. There are 5 primary climates in Brazil.

  1. Equatorial – Hot and humid in the north and central Brazil, including Amazonia.
  2. Tropical – Humid or dry, depending on the season. In the central area and along the coast of the middle-north.
  3. Semi Arid – The semi-arid in Brazil can be defined as a tropical climate that is dry because of the irregularity of air movement. In the hinterlands of the northeast and the valley of the São Francisco River.
  4. Oceanic – Humid along the coast of eastern and northeastern Brazil.
  5. Sub-Tropical – Humid, influenced by marine tropical air. In southern part of the country.

Best Time To Visit Brazil

Brazil is a huge country with diverse weather. So the best time to visit Brazil depends on what you want to see and do.

  • For Parties, Fun – During the Carnival between February and March, and the New Year’s Eve. The best cities are Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, and Olinda.
  • For Nature, Wildlife – The months of May or June for the Amazon. This is between the rainy season and the dry, hot season. You can take a boat trip easily as the water level will be at its highest. Dry season is good for hiking. For Pantanal, the largest tropical wetlands in the world, it is between May and September, the dry season. July and September are good months for bird watching.Grass on the marsh will be more visible.
  • For Whale Watching – Anytime between July and November, visit Santa Catarina. You can see humpback whales.
  • For the Iguazu Falls – It will be majestic between December and March. There is consistent rain so there will be a lot of water. But the humidity willbe high.
  • For Sports – Visit São Miguel do Gostoso between July and February for windsurfing. May and February is a good time for kite boarding at Taiba, Lagoa do Cauípe, and Cumbuco.

Visa

  • You need a tourist visa for Brazil. With this, you can stay for up to 90 days. To apply – 
  • You must be a valid passport holder. 
  • The passport should be valid for at least 6 months.
  • Submit the completed visa application form.
  • Must provide proof of hotel reservation, flight ticket, and travel itinerary.
  • Provide proof of financial condition showing you can support yourself financially during your stay in Brazil. You must have at least USD 100 (INR 6,357.29) per day while in the country.
  • Statement of financial situation from the bank for the previous 6 months.
  • International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever if you have travelled to any of the Yellow Fever Countries hin the last 90 days.Statement showing intent to leave Brazil at the end of your stay.

Customs

You can bring in the following – 

  • Clothes and articles for personal use
  • Books, periodicals
  • Any article valued within USD 500

You can also buy up to USD 500 in the duty free shops on arrival. Limited to:

  • Alcoholic beverages – 24 units per type of beverage
  • Tobacco – 400 cigarettes, 25 cigars, 250 grams tobacco
  • Makeup – 10 units
  • Watches, toys, games, electric or electronic equipment – 3 units. 

Prohibited Items

Brazil prohibits the import of honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, fish, birds, insects, animal feed, seeds, bulbs, untreated wood, flowers, semen, and biological materials for scientific research.

Vaccines and Immunizations

 The following vaccines should be reviewed and updated if necessary:

  • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap)
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio
  • Influenza

Top 10 Attractions

Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro Rounded rock peak, jutting out of a tree-covered promontory, rising 394 meters above the beaches and city. An icon and symbol of Rio de Janeiro.
Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro The colossal Art Deco statue of Christ, called Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), standing at 709 meters gazes over Rio de Janeiro and the bay from the summit of Corcovado.
Carnival, Rio de Janeiro The famous carnival of Rio with its riot of colors, sounds, action, and exuberance.
Iguazu Falls At the meeting point of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The majestic Iguazu river drops spectacularly in a semicircle of 247 waterfalls, gushing down into the gorge below.
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro The most famous beach of Rio and all of Brazil. Overlooking the stunning Cristo Redentor. Trendy and happening.
Amazon Rainforest The world’s largest tropical rainforest. 60% of the 5,500,000 sq kilometer forest is in Brazil. Full of biodiversity, crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the gushing Amazon.
Brasília's Modernist Architecture Brasília was carved out of the wilderness and completed in 3 years to replace Rio de Janeiro as the capital in 1960. It is a showpiece of city planning and architecture, one of the world's few cities with a single architecture concept.
Salvador's Pelourinho See Salvador's most beautiful churches and monasteries in this ancient quarter. Built when Brazil was the source of Portugal's wealth. See the gold on the colony's religious buildings.
Ouro Preto The wealth of Brazil's state of Minas Gerais in its glorious days of the colonial period is easy to imagine from the interiors of the churches in its old capital, Ouro Preto.
Pernambuco Beaches Crystal waters, tall palm trees, and broad stretches of silver sand are only a few of the reasons why Pernambuco is frequently cited as Brazil's best beach.

Dos And Don’ts In Brazil

What to do – 

  1. Make eye contact with people. This is considered polite. You will also be safe because pickpockets are known to prey on those who do not make eye contact.
  2. Be careful and alert while walking. Look carefully before crossing the street. There is a lot of traffic.
  3. Keep most of your money and passport at your hotel. Carry only small change and a copy of the passport.
  4. There are pickpockets in busy places, like other tourist destinations. Don’t carry valuables, and avoid wearing jewelry. Keep your wallet safe.
  5. Report any crime to the police immediately.
  6. Hang your backpack on your chest in busy area. Do not let it hang behind you.
  7. Check the safety of the area where your hotel is located.
  8. Take a taxi instead of bus for long distance travel. They are not very expensive and pretty safe.
  9. The locals are generally very helpful and friendly. Seek help if needed.
  10. If you need to withdraw money, choose an ATM inside a mall or bank rather than one on the street.
  11. Wear walking shoes, shorts and a plain T-shirt to match with the locals.

Avoid doing this –

  1. Do not get drunk. Brazilians don’t respect those who take too much alcohol.
  2. It is illegal to take or possess drugs.
  3. Avoid prostitutes. They often rob their clients.
  4. Don’t leave your luggage or personal goods carelessly and unattended.
  5. Don’t give money to beggars and street children.
  6. Avoid walking alone in the streets or along the beaches after dark.

How To Save Money In Brazil

Brazil is one of the most expensive places in South America to travel. But you can still save money with these tips – 

  • Choose your accommodation wisely.
  • The peak holiday season is December to March. Avoid this time of the year.
  • Get out of expensive Rio fast. There are many other great places to visit. 
  • Take public transport from the airport. Avoid the taxi.
  • Take local transport, within the cities too.
  • Buy a Brazilian Air Pass.