Imagine this – miles and miles of sandy beaches hit by the waves, made for surfing. Big, exciting cities. Parties and fun that never seem to end. Picturesque towns and historical sites. Captivating and rough wilderness of the countryside. It seems that Brazil can’t be average or mediocre. Everything about it is spectacular. From the friendly people with a fierce passion for life to the bustling cities, history, culture, arts and, of course, the beautiful landscape.
Although best known for the Carnival, parties and stunning beaches, this largest country in South America has much, much more to offer. So once you get tired of lying on the beach (if that’s even possible?), you can choose from a wide array of activities. You can get lost in nature while exploring the Amazon jungle, wetlands, striking waterfalls, and meet some of the tribes that still live untouched by the modern day and age. You can also party like there’s no tomorrow or get your much needed cultural fix. The fifth-largest country in the world has an impressive heritage of history. And let’s not forget their football madness!
The variety and fun diversity of this country are purely magical. But don’t forget that they speak Portuguese in Brazil. Many people don’t know that and are a bit surprised to learn they won’t be able to practice their Spanish.
What to see and do in Brazil
Foz do Iguacu
The border of Brazil and Argentina is home to one of the most spectacular natural wonders – Iguazu Falls. The untamed power and rough beauty of the water leave everyone speechless. The Iguaçu National Park in Brazil is, along with the Iguazú National Park in Argentina, on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Enjoy the nature
Chapada Diamantina National Park is yet another wonder of nature that will thrill all adventure seekers. For eco-tourists, Bonito is a promised land. Crystal clear waters, hidden caves, and beautiful waterfalls take the breath away. Next on the list can be Pantanal Wetlands, world’s largest wetlands with incredible wildlife. And last but not least – the almighty Amazon! We are well acquainted with how much we need it. We are familiar with how our existence depends on it. But despite the fact that we are sadly and slowly destroying it, this mystic paradise manages to remain untouched and mysterious. Whether you decide to fly over it, take a boat tour, hike, go tree climbing, admire the wildlife… the experience of the rainforest jungle will very likely change the way you see the world.
Go big in Rio
There are no words that could describe Rio de Janeiro as it is a synonym for all the fun things. What can be a őproblem is to decide where to begin and how to see and do everything. From the stunning beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema (and many others!) to the iconic Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), Sugar Loaf, Maracana Stadium, and last but not least – the Carnival in February. Rio will captivate you with its unstoppable rhythm.
Don’t miss the beauty of Salvador
And visit a place where Brazil made its first steps. It was the country’s first capital, founded by the Portuguese in 1549 back in the grimy days of the slave trade. This also makes it one of the oldest colonial cities. The capital of Bahia region is a vibrant city bustling with life. Its rich cultural heritage shows everywhere and will keep you busy. Visit one of the museums, stop by one of the religious sites, stroll around the colorful streets, or enjoy the local cuisine.
Campos do Jordao
For a bit of a Swiss flair head over to Campos do Jordao, the highest lying town in the country located in the stunning Mantiqueira Mountains. The area is refreshingly beautiful as you can take a bit of a break from Brazil’s summer heat and enjoy many activities available. Outdoor lovers will be happy to hike around, and classical music aficionados will be thrilled to visit the Winter Festival.
Hit the beach
Brazil’s coastline is 4,655 miles long. This itself says a lot. Now add to this its tropical location, top it off with enchanting and hidden bays, and countless islands off the coast and you’ll soon understand why you shouldn’t miss a trip to the beach. Some of the best beaches in Brazil are Praia do Forno, Praia do Campeche, Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Baia do Sancho, and of course the famous Ipanema and Copacabana.
Go to a football match
Because nothing compares to the heated atmosphere in the stadium in a country that is so dedicated to football as Brazil is. Without any exaggeration, it’s easy to say that fútbol rules everywhere and everyone. So to experience the country and its biggest passion, head over to the stadium and see for yourself what the fuzz is all about.
You’ll need around 6-10 USD per night for an 8-bed dorm. Private rooms start at 31 USD, but you can also find many small, family owned budget hotels that shouldn’t cost you more than 22-31 USD per night. Another cheap option is a homestay. This way you’ll only pay between 11-16 USD per night. Airbnb is relatively inexpensive as well, with prices starting at 10 USD for a shared room, and 44 USD for the entire apartment. The cheapest option is, of course, Couchsurfing.
Food and drinks
Eating your way around Brazil won’t break your budget. Cheap, but good meals cost between 4-7 USD. Two people can feast at a mid-range restaurant and enjoy a three-course meal for as little as 32 USD. If you plan to make own meals, you’ll need around 31 USD for a week’s worth of groceries. Fast food restaurants charge around 8 USD for their meals.
A pint of the domestic beer costs around 2 USD while the imported one is more expensive with prices starting at 4 USD for a small bottle. Cappuccinos and similar drinks cost some less than 2 USD. As the tap water isn’t safe to consume, it’s best to buy bottled water. Alcohol prices aren’t too extreme. Expect to reach deeper into your pocket when visiting bigger cities.
Brazilians often joke and say that their homeland is more of a continent than a country. Well, it’s not far from the truth. The country is large, so you can imagine traveling and getting around might not be the easiest thing. Buses are the cheapest option. They go long distance and cost only between 2.50-3.20 USD per hour of travel. It’s a comfortable, reliable, and convenient way to travel between cities you just need to make sure to book at least a day before. Don’t count on trains too much. Train service is limited. Local public transportation is cheap as well as one-way ticket costs around 1.20 USD. You can use Uber as a taxi alternative although these aren’t expensive neither. A starting price is around 1.60 USD, and 0.99 USD per km.
How much you’ll need to pay for the Amazon river tours depends on how long they are and what all is included in the price. Expect to pay from around a few hundred USD and up. Entrance to Foz does Iguacu costs around 14 USD and to museums between 3-7 USD. Seeing a football match will cost from 11 USD and Corcovado Christ the Redeemer from 25 USD.