The world’s fifth largest country has more to offer than simply beaches, soccer, samba and a giant stone Jesus. From the Amazon, to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, to São Paulo and its 11 million residents, the vastness of Brazil affords travelers a seemingly bottomless reservoir of adventure. So pack your best beachwear and leave those preconceptions behind.
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- ACCOMMODATION | On a budget you can manage to find a room in a Brazilian hostel or guesthouse for around $15-20 a night. On the other hand there is no shortage of luxury hotels for those with cash to burn.
- FOOD | The food in Brazil is fantastic. You can fill up on cheap food sold by beach vendors or throw down some reais for an all-you-can-eat feast of delicious meats and a few caipirinhas while you’re at it.
- TRANSPORTATION | Getting around the country and its cities is relatively painless thanks to a large network of buses and citywide subways. Single use transportation tickets will cost you around R$3 per trip, and the intercity buses are a relatively comfortable and a cheap alternative to airplanes. Taxis are always available should you desire but they can be pricey (use the meter).
- ACTIVITIES | In such a large country the number of things to do is overwhelming, but certain things should not be missed. The beaches of Rio de Janeiro, the skyscrapers of São Paulo, the Amazon in Manaus, the boringness of Brasilia, the North, the South, and everything in between. From amazing hikes to raging nightclubs, you will find yourself with a longer list than you can manage.
- WHEN TO GO | The best time to visit Brazil is during their summer (remember, that’s the Northern Hemisphere’s winter). Between the months of January and March you will find not only spectacular sunga-sporting weather, but also the celebration of Carnaval and the welcoming of the New Year – two events that Brazil does better than anyone else.
TOP THINGS TO DO
- CRISTO REDENTOR | When imagining Brazil, it is difficult to find your mind devoid of the iconic Cristo Redentor (the giant stone Jesus statue). Just a short tram ride (or strenuous hike) up the mountain known locally as Corcovado will place you at the base of one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World – definitely worth a short stint away from the beach.
- CARNAVAL | Largely regarded as one of the largest parties on Earth, Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro proves to the world, year after year, that Brazilians know how to party. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the country during this yearly event then you had best have your samba boots on and be ready to consume copious amounts of cerveja and street food.
- EAT | A trip to Brazil cannot be considered complete before you surrender yourself on the life-changing food and drink selection the country has to offer. Morning: grab an água de coco by the beach. Afternoon: relax with some açaí at a suco bar. Evening: gorge yourself on unlimited meat at a churrasco. Late Night: visit a 24-hour bakery for a cheese-filled coxinha.
TIPS & MONEY SAVING TRICKS
- Remember that the great people of Brazil speak Portuguese not Spanish (or Brazilian…). For those of you who speak Spanish, you may find it helpful to an extent, but do not expect to be able to get along as you would in a Spanish speaking country.
- The beach can be found at the center of many Brazilians’ lives (this is especially true in cities like Rio de Janeiro). Be sure you know what your doing out there before you make yourself out to be too big a gringo (no towels allowed). Check out Brazilian Beach Etiquette for the full scoop.
- If you are invited to anything that could be considered an informal event it is imperative that you show up late. Arriving on time to a party or similarly festive gathering of people could (and likely wil) cause great embarrassment to yourself and possibly your host. More on this subject here.