A country full of welcoming people, samba music, caipirinhas, and a massive beach culture.
Brazil is the largest country in South America with over 208 million people and not to forget: one of the most multicultural countries.
With its vibrant cities, beautiful beaches and tropical nature you definitely have to go visit this beautiful spot on earth!
In this travel guide, I want to share my favorite spots in Brazil, to inspire you for your upcoming trip.
Brazil Travel Route
Brazil is a very big country and distances should not be underrated. Most of the time, depending on where you want to go and what you want to visit, you will have to take a flight.
However, some locations are easily reachable by bus.
This travel guide includes both options and focuses on seeing the south and east coast of Brazil.
Day 1-3: São Paulo
São Paulo is a biiig city. A very big city indeed with 12 million habitants!
São Paulo is located in the state of São Paulo (surprise!) and offers many activities within the city.
You should at least spend 3 days to get to know the city.
How to get from the airport to the city?
Most commonly international flights will arrive at São Paulo Guarulhos Airport.
The airport is located 25 km from the city center and the best way to get from here to the city is by the airport bus service. It’s comfortable and with 39 BRL one way cheaper than taking an Uber or taxi.
The bus goes every 30 minutes and it takes about 1 hour to get to Sao Paulo (depending on traffic it might take longer).
Once arrived at the bus stop in the city, take an Uber from here to your accommodation. Uber is one of the safest and cheapest ways to get around in Brazil.
Best area to stay
The best area to stay in São Paulo is Avenida Paulista.
It’s a safe area and very modern street with lots of work offices, so you have food and drinks nearby, as well as supermarkets and metro stations.
You can find many Airbnbs available in this area.
During your time in São Paulo, visit the beautiful parks, the famous municipal market and enjoy some nice bars!
↠ Read things to do in São Paulo
Day 4-6: Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu waterfalls share a border with Argentina and belong to one of the natural seven wonders of the world, which makes them a must-see in Brazil!
They are higher than and twice as wide as Niagara Falls. Every second, 450.000 cubic feet of water thunder down the 275 waterfalls, it’s incredible!
The best way to get here from São Paulo is by plane.
On the morning of Day 4 take a flight to Foz Do Iguacu in the state of Paraná and stay in a nice accommodation near the waterfalls.
↠ Look for flights on Skyscanner
Tip: Hotel Nacional Inn Foz Do Iguaçu is very close to the waterfalls and has a bus station right in front of the hotel, so it will only take you 15 minutes to go to the waterfalls.
After your arrival and check in, head towards one of the biggest hydroelectric power station in the world called Itaipú and don’t miss visiting Marco das Três Fronteiras in the evening.
Use the next day to visit the famous Iguazu waterfalls and take your time walking along the stunning scenery.
Take Day 5 for exploring the Iguazu Waterfalls.
On day 6 take your opportunity for a day trip to Argentina! You are only 15 minutes away from the border and you can see the Iguazu waterfalls here from the other side. This day is actually optional, but I’m including it because I highly recommend you to come here It’s a great and quick opportunity to easily get to one more country in South America.
↠ Read Visiting Foz Do Iguaçu
Day 7: Travel Day- off to Rio!
Day 7 is travel day: take a 2-hour flight to Rio de Janeiro.
Check-in into your accommodation and use the day for relaxing.
Be ready to explore this beautiful city for the next days!
Tip: The best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro is Copacabana, with its short distance to the beach, samba bars nearby and markets/ restaurants/ food options. If you are on a budget you might prefer cheaper areas, like “Centro” neighborhood.
Also: The best way to get around in Rio de Janeiro is by Uber.
Day 8-14: Rio de Janeiro
It’s time for the city of all cities: Rio de Janeiro!
With its famous beaches like Ipanema (LINK) and Copacabana (LINK), its amazing views over the city from Corcovado (LINK) and many more top spots, you should spend at least 5 days or more, to have time to explore the city!
There are also great hiking opportunities- Rio is full of adventure!
→ Read Things to do in Rio de Janeiro
Day 15: Travel Day- heading to Paraty
Take a bus to the charming hippie town in Brazil!
The bus ride will take about 4,5 hours and there are many departures during the day, around 13 buses leave from Rio de Janeiro Bus Station (Novo Rio) to Paraty. The drive is very beautiful with coastal views!
* Tickets: 82 BRL one way
Paraty is a pretty small town. The vibe is really laid back and relaxed, so that many backpackers and young people fall in love with this place.
With its charming historic buildings and cobblestone streets, it remains as an important cultural center.
Many cute cafes, restaurants, and bars offer great food and drink dates. Besides that, you can find many shops selling souvenirs, clothes, art and many artists selling their stuff on the streets.
Tip: Recommended place to stay is “Pousada Do Tesouro”. If you are looking for a hostel “Che Lagarto Hostel Paraty” is an awesome choice. Both accommodations are really close to each other, there is a delicious pizzeria at the corner and the historical center is only 10 minutes walking distance.
Day 16-19: Paraty
Enjoy your first two days in Paraty by strolling through the historical center and falling in love with all the colorful small houses. Spend your day exploring the streets, the shops, head down to the beach and choose your lunch from the many options you have.
Don’t miss: Try the ice cream in “Sorveteria Pistache Premium Gelato”, where you can serve yourself at an ice cream buffet!
On your last day in Paraty, make sure to do an island hopping tour to the beautiful islands nearby!
You can choose between small group speed boats (better for visiting the more distant islands), party boats with music and caipirinhas or a fisherman’s boat where you are able to set the schedule.
↠ Click here for more information on island hopping tours
Day 20: Back to São Paulo
Back to São Paulo!
The bus from Paraty to São Paulo takes around 7 hours.
*Tickets: 88 BRL one way
Prepare for your flight out of Brazil and recaptured all the memories that you’ve made!
How to get around
The transportation in the cities of Brazil is efficient and modern. Many places like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have a well-built subway system and you can easily get from place to place by metro. Prices are about 4,20 BRL.
The same counts for buses. You can find bus systems almost everywhere and they are about the same price as the metro.
Anyhow, traveling by public transport is not recommended at night, especially when traveling alone.
The safe option to move during the night is simply by Uber. Uber is cheaper and also considered safer than public taxis.
If you are traveling a long distance (for example São Paulo – Rio de Janeiro), the long-distance buses are a very good option! They are comfortable and very convenient (just bring an extra jacket because of the air conditioning, it can get really cold inside the bus…).
Brazil has many airports and most of the time you won’t have a problem getting from one to another place by plane. You might need to choose flying when going to places further apart, as like already mentioned, Brazil is a really big country and you can actually end up flying a few hours to cross half of the country.
Common airlines in Brazil are:
Best time to visit Brazil
Brazil is divided into different climate areas, as it’s such a big country.
Winter in Brazil is from June to September, but temperatures usually don’t get too cold and it rarely gets freezing.
Summer is from December to March and these months get very hot.
The further you go north, the hotter and more humid it gets. The northeast (Amazonas area) for example is always hot and there doesn’t really exist a winter season.
I visited Brazil for 3 months in winter (July-October) and I can only recommend you to go during winter! Why? Because you’ll have fewer tourists and fewer crowds.
Also, the prices will be cheaper than in summer.
The weather was not too bad during my time in Brazil: There were many warm and sunny days. Sometimes even hot, so that you really could have a proper beach day. Of course it wasn’t only sunny and there also were cold and rainy days.
Overall I would say it was a good mixture!
Is Brazil safe to travel?
All in all, I felt safe in Brazil and could also explore the country by myself during the day.
BUT, you really have to be careful concerning a few things!
Take good care of your valuables and don’t show them too obvious in public. There is a high risk of robberies and pick-pocketing, especially for tourists and you should always keep your belongings close to you- don’t show them off. Also, try to avoid wearing jewelry and noteworthy clothes.
Besides that, never walk alone through dark streets or uncrowded places by night and avoid going outside alone after it gets dark.
I’ve experienced one robbery right next to me in the middle of the street in Rio de Janeiro. It was around 11 pm and 3 guys robbed one guy walking lonely and drunk in the street.
Robbers in Brazil don’t hesitate when they see a good chance, even when people are around. Luckily I was with my mum and my boyfriend, who is Brazilian and knew how to behave in this situation. We went close to a restaurant with light and people around.
If you should ever become a victim, never hesitate of giving your valuables, just give the robbers what they are asking for. Usually they will let go and not hurt you as long as you leave them your valuables.
Take some extra care in Rio de Janeiro. The crime rate in this city is higher than in other cities like São Paulo and favelas are located really close to many of the tourist highlights. Try to avoid going inside a favela, as they are not considered safe.
Just keep an eye open, pay attention and don’t provoke dangerous situations.
If you have all of that in mind, you will considerably decrease the chance of you getting robbed.
The visa regulations are very different from country to country.
Most nationalities (from EU) will be allowed to enter Brazil for up to 90 days for tourism purposes. This means you don’t need to apply for a visa beforehand.
The only requirements are that your passport still needs to be valid for at least 6 months and that you have an outbound ticket showing you’re leaving the country within those 90 days.
Like mentioned, the regulations are different for every country. It’s always better to check before your trip!
↠ Check here to check if you need a visa
If you like my first travel guide or have any more inputs, make sure you leave a comment down below and subscribe to my blog for more inspiration!