Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world. Its population of 200 million is a diverse mix of race, religion and cultural heritage. Brazilians are known for their passion; demonstrated in the colorful Rio De Janeiro Carnival, their love of football (Brazilians often refer to their country as “the country of football”) and in the colossal Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer at the summit of Mount Corcovado. The Amazon rainforest, dramatic waterfalls such as Iguazu Falls in Parana and the beautiful beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are more reasons to visit this vibrant country.
BRAZIL TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
One of the most beautiful attractions in Rio de Janeiro and one of the most famous in Brazil. Sugarloaf Mountain is a rounded rock peak sitting 394 meters above sea level. The tip of this rock is where travelers head to when they arrive for an incredible bird’s eye view of Rio de Janeiro from the mouth of Guanabara Bay. Sugarloaf Mountain is open year-round, but whenever you plan to visit, expect some lines as it’s one of the most popular spots in Rio. If you want to avoid the heat of the day, head up either early in the morning (first car leaves at 8 am) or after 4 pm.
Iguazú Falls or Iguaçu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. They consist of approximately 257 individual falls over 2.7 km. Together, they make up the largest waterfall in the world (even larger than Niagara). The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. With awe-inspiring water cascades as far as you can see, Iguazu Falls is well worth the trip. When the late US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw Iguazu Falls her response was “Poor Niagara”, even she was blown away by the beauty of the Iguazu Falls.
All over the world people talk about Copacabana; or sing songs about it. Copacabana is considered one of the world’s most famous beaches and runs for 3 miles along the densely populated residential area of Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of travelers flock to this beautiful golden sand beach every year to sunbathe and play volleyball. Bring your Brazilian bikini and kiss your tan lines good bye!
Visit one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and undoubtedly the most iconic site in Brazil. With a watchful eye over the people of Rio de Janeiro, the Cristo Redentor Statue (Christ the Redeemer ) sits 2,300 feet (700 meters) above the city on top of the Corcovado (meaning ‘hunchback’) Mountain in the Parque Nacional da Tijuca.
The Amazon Rainforest is synonymous with Brazil, and there is a great selection of Amazon tours here. Brazil controls roughly 60% of the Amazon making it an ideal destination to explore the largest tropical rainforest in the world. Famous for its unparalleled biodiversity, the Amazon Rainforest is home to the most extensive array of plants and animals in the world, not to mention the 2.5 million insects.
Read more: 10 Badass Things To Do In Brazil
Adventurous Traveler? Browse our
Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 travel adventures in South America.
Camp on the Bolivian Salt Flats, go Cotopaxi Horse Trekking in Ecuador or hike to Peru’s Machu Picchu. Enjoy browsing our top 25 South America Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
BRAZIL TOP 3 FESTIVALS
The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (Portuguese: Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro) is a festival held annually before Lent. Considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets. The highlight of Rio Carnival is the Samba Parade which is not to be missed!
Festa do Peao
Brazil’s Festa do Peao is a giant celebration of cowboy culture held in the small Brazilian community of Barretos. The Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro (Portuguese for Cowboy’s Peasant Party) or simply Cowboy Festival includes an American bull riding and barrel racing rodeo and country music concert.
When we talk about Oktoberfest, Germany comes to mind. But the Oktoberfest of Brazil is entirely different and is hosted in the beautiful city of Blumenau. More than 1 million people come to Brazil every year to enjoy this festival for the mix of Brazilian and German cuisine, culture and music.
Language: Brazil was once a Portuguese colony and so people speak Portuguese in Brazil as their first language. Outside of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo not many Brazilians will speak English which is generally not widely spoken in Brazil.
Currency: Brazilian real.
Visa: EU, Canadian and U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Brazil for tourism if they wish to stay less than 180 days within a 12-month period. You must hold a passport valid for at least six months on entry with one blank visa page. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Brazil is required (which depends on the country you are from) and how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: Brazil operates on a 127/220V supply voltage and 60Hz and there are two associated plug types, types C and N. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins. Plug type N is the plug which has two round pins and a grounding pin. Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Brazil: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN BRAZIL
Some traditional dishes that you must try in Brazil are listed below.
Churrascaria: This Brazilian barbecue tradition comes from the southern part of the country, from a gaucho technique of cooking meat in the wide-open country after a long day wrangling cattle. Brazil is a champion of Barbecue with ogre-sized quantities enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Meat is seasoned with a liberal amount of coarse salt and grilled to perfection over charcoal. In restaurants the meat is sliced directly onto the plates by waiters.
Moqueca: Fish stews can be boring but not a Brazilian fish stew. Moqueca is made with firm white fish, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and coconut milk.
Cachaca: Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice. Also known as pinga, caninha, marvada aguardente and other names, its the most popular spirit in Brazil. Small-batch un-aged cachaças can tasty grassy, like a bianco tequila. Aged cachaças take on flavor notes from their barrels, and can taste like Christmas spices, dried fruits and/or coffee.
Brigadeiros: The brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert, created by the confectioner from Rio de Janeiro, Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira. It is made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and chocolate sprinkles covering the outside layer. This popular Brazilian chocolate treat was named after the Brazilian hero, Brazilian Air Force brigadier general Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes who was famous for helping to put an end to a communist coup attempt in Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s and running for Brazilian president in 1946.
Quindim: A decadent custard, this popular Brazilian baked dessert is dense, intensely sweet and very addictive! Made from sugar, egg yolks and ground coconut it is usually presented as an upturned cup with a glistening surface and deep yellow color.
WHERE TO STAY IN BRAZIL
Brazil is a generally affordable destination to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Brazil is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Brazil affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Brazil will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Brazil can cost less than $50.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. Whatever month you choose to visit Brazil, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. Brazil is a very popular destination with backpackers, vacationers and business travelers alike.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Brazil. However, if you are backpacking in Brazil or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Brazil very affordable and is also a great way to meet new Brazil travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR BRAZIL TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT BRAZIL
With its warm and tropical climate, Brazil is a destination that has great weather all year round. Brazil’s summer is from December to March and winter is from June to September. To avoid the chilly southern winter, major vacation periods and to get cheaper prices, the best time to visit Brazil is between September and October. December and March are also good months to visit when the weather is warm and sunny enough to hit the beaches.
BRAZIL TRAVEL BUDGET
Brazil is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Brazil really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $50 to $80 per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $80 to $150 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least $250 plus per day.
IS BRAZIL SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Exercise a high degree of caution in Brazil due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and other violence in urban areas. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching is common, especially in tourist areas, on public transport, public beaches and around festive periods such as the Carnival. Take extra care to ensure that food and drink is never left unattended. Based on my own travel experiences in South America I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance and I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip to Brazil.
BRAZIL VISA CHECKER
BRAZIL FLIGHT DEALS
BRAZIL TOURS & ACTIVITIES
BRAZIL PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Brazil, like most other places in South America, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Brazil.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
Packing for a trip to Brazil, like most places in South America is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for dry season and warm, waterproof clothing for trips during the rainy season. Be prepared for the weather to get extremely hot during the summer so pack a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Brazil include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.