Brazil.. an immense country where you need months to discover everything. My first thought when I meet Brazil think? Spot animals in the Amazon or the Pantanal, sip caipirinhas on Copacabana beach, the amazing city of Rio de Janeiro with one of the seven new wonders of the world Christ the Redeemer and of course Carnival! In this article I'll tell you everything you want to know before you make a trip to Brazil.
Also read: 20 Must Sees in South America | Feed for your Bucket List ✔️
Table of contents
Brazil or officially called the Federal Republic of Brazil is located in South America and borders French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. The country is so big that it borders almost every country in South America (except for Ecuador & Chile† With an area of 8,5 million square meters, The Netherlands no less than 204 times in Brazil. It is therefore the 5e largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, USA & China† The country has 208 million inhabitants, making it the 6the country in the world in terms of population. The capital of Brazil has been Brasilia since 1960, before that this was the much more famous Rio de Janeiro. The official language of Brazil is different from the rest of South America where mainly Spanish is spoken, Portuguese! And when I say Portuguese I also mean Portuguese.. with English, Spanish or something else you won't get very far in Brazil. The currency is the Brazilian Real. Where €1,- is equal to about 6,7 Real.
Best time to visit Brazil
In order to determine the best travel time, we have to divide the country. Brazil is so large that the best travel time can differ considerably per destination. Different regions therefore have different climatic zones. Most regions have a tropical or subtropical climate. The seasons in Brazil are the other way around. When it is summer in the Netherlands, it is winter in Brazil and vice versa. Since the temperatures in Brazil are generally always pleasant due to the tropical climate, you should especially take the rainy season into account.
Rio de Janeiro has an average temperature of 25/30 degrees Celsius all year round. From Rio de Janeiro to the south, the rainy season runs from October to January. In the North East near Fortaleza, the rainy season starts a lot earlier, where there is a lot of rain, especially in March & April. There is always a lot of rain in the Amazon since you are here in the rainforest. The Pantanal is best visited in the dry season. Below is a small overview of the best travel times:
- North coast: July to December
- Amazon: May to August
- pants: April to September
- Rio de Janeiro: May to September
- Southern Brazil: March to May & September to November
- Sao Paulo: March to May & September to November
- Savior: September to February
As you can see, the best travel time differs per destination. It is therefore almost impossible to visit every destination during the period of the best travel time. So you will have to take a rain shower every now and then!
Visa for Brazil
To visit Brazil you do not need a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. As a tourist with Dutch nationality, you can stay in the country for up to 3 months without a visa. However, you must be in possession of a passport that is still valid for at least 6 months, you must have at least 2 empty visa pages in your passport and you must be in possession of a plane ticket, bus trip or something similar with which you can prove that you have entered the country. will leave again within the allowed visa free period. In practice, you are often not asked for an exit ticket, however, are you asked for an exit ticket and you cannot prove this? Then you can be refused for your flight or on arrival in Brazil. If you do not want to book a return flight yet, it is always an option to book a cheap bus ticket from Brazil. That way you always have something on hand just in case.
Do you want to stay in Brazil for longer than 90 days? Then you need a visa. You can get your visa then
have it extended on the spot at the immigration service in Brazil. Do you want to work in Brazil? Then you must arrange a work visa in advance. More information about this and help with applying for a work visa is easy via this website.
Vaccinations for Brazil
There are currently no vaccinations required for a trip to Brazil. However, there are a number of vaccinations that are highly recommended for a stay of up to 3 months. These are the vaccinations for Yellow Fever, DTP & Hepatitis A. If you plan to stay in Brazil for more than 3 months, this can be supplemented with other vaccinations. Always get advice about vaccinations from Vaccinations While Traveling or the GGD. They specialize in this! They will also register all vaccinations in your vaccination passport that you have to take with you on your trip. In addition to vaccinations, it is also always wise to take a number of medicines with you, such as anti-diarrhea inhibitors, DEET, possibly a mosquito net & ORS (against dehydration).
TIP: Start planning your vaccinations in time, for some vaccinations you need several injections with a number of weeks in between. So don't leave this until the last minute.
GGD is the specialist for travel vaccinations and inoculations in the Netherlands. The specialized vaccination nurses and doctors advise and vaccinate more than 35.000 travelers every year.
Obtained vaccinations can be put in an official vaccination passport (yellow booklet).
In most cases, the vaccinations can be reimbursed via the health insurance - contact your health insurer for this.
- Low prices
- Often fully reimbursed
- Evenings and weekends
- Yellow booklet / passport
- Locations throughout the Netherlands
Safety in Brazil
Unfortunately, Brazil, and especially the big cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Salvador, are not always known as the safest places on earth. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of crime here, such as robberies, which are often accompanied by violence. This is especially common in Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo you will also encounter a lot of bums. Now, bums are often not 'annoying', however in São Paulo the atmosphere could sometimes be grim because there are so many bums who come together in certain places. Despite the crime / poverty, you should certainly not let that stop you from making a trip to Brazil. There are a number of things you can take into account to prevent the risk of unpleasant situations (this applies mainly to the large cities):
- Do not travel after sunset. Try to plan it so that you arrive in the big city during the day. If this is not possible, take a taxi or Uber directly to your accommodation from the airport or bus station. Don't roam the streets.
- Do not go to the beach after sunset.
- Do not take any valuables with you to the beach. And I mean absolutely nothing, not even a phone. All you need is a towel, sunscreen/sunglasses and a small amount of money to buy a sun bed or something to eat/drink. See if you can carry the key to your accommodation with you when you go swimming, bury it under your towel in the sand or leave it at your accommodation if possible.
- Carry your bag on your stomach on public transport.
- Check with your accommodation if there are places you should avoid. Locals know best!
- Do not roam around in the slums (Favelas) yourself. By the way, do visit them! Very interesting but with a guide.
- Do not travel alone at night.
- Do not wear eye-catching expensive jewelry or watches.
- Keep your passport / debit / credit card in a safe at your accommodation. At least you won't lose it if something happens. Do you need money? Then withdraw from your accommodation and first walk back to return your debit/credit card.
- Are you traveling with several people? Then take 1 mobile phone with you when you go out. If something happens, you always have a phone on hand.
- Should you end up in an unpleasant situation? Then don't resist. Your own safety is worth more than a few things.
After reading this you might think.. never mind Brazil, but please don't let this stop you! Brazil is a fantastic country and there is so much to discover. Crime is especially prevalent in the big cities and you have to be extra careful here. This is less the case in the smaller (coastal) towns such as Ilha Grande, Ubatuba, Paraty, Bonito, Iguazu Waterfalls or in the Pantanal/Amazon. However, don't be fooled. You don't get robbed on every street corner and you don't have to look over your shoulder non-stop. Be vigilant but enjoy
especially of all the beauty that the country has to offer! Rio de Janeiro is truly one of the most amazing cities I have ever visited.
Brazil is an immense country. So big that you can't escape a domestic flight for some parts. For shorter distances you can use the bus and in the major cities you can travel by metro or taxi. If you want to use the latter, go for Uber. Easy and cheap!
For domestic flights it is best to use Latam Airlines or GOL. These are the cheapest airlines in Brazil for domestic flights. If you have plans to make a lot of domestic flights, take a look at the option of an Airpass. With the Brazil Airpass you can make up to 9 domestic flights at a reduced rate. The disadvantage of an Airpass is that you have to record all flights in advance and you are therefore less flexible.
Travel by bus
Traveling by bus is also an excellent option in Brazil. You can book buses for longer distances that are a great place to stay. These are usually large tour buses. Dress warmly because the air conditioning is on freezing. You can buy tickets on the spot at the bus station or buy them online in advance. You can then use the website busbud† Here you can easily buy tickets. Keep in mind that you have to print these tickets in advance. You can often arrange this at your accommodation.
Traveling with the Metro
In Rio de Janeiro you can also use the metro. Beneath this huge city is a huge metro network. MetroRio is a safe way to travel in the big city. Avoid the metro during the evenings. You can buy tickets at one of the many stations. Here you have the choice of a ticket per ride, or you can buy a pass that you can then top up. A ticket per ride will cost you about €0,50 (per person, one way). You enter this ticket at the gate of the platform and you will not receive it back. If you choose a top-up card, you can top it up with money and you will receive it back after entering it at the gate. This actually works just like an OV chip card. You can use 1 pass for several people, you can just pass this on to each other.
Budget and Currency
In Brazil you pay with the Brazilian Real. At the moment 1 euro is equal to about 6,7 real. Brazil is unfortunately not the cheapest country to travel in South America. To determine a budget, you can divide your trip into a number of categories:
Prices for accommodations can vary quite a bit depending on the destination. For example, the big city like Rio de Janeiro is much more expensive than ecological Bonito. When you choose a private room in a hostel, you can find a great room for an average price of around €25 per night. You can stay in a dormitory from around €10 to €15 per night. Are you looking for slightly more luxurious and cozier hostels with more facilities, then you can count on about €40 to €50 per night. For a stay in Rio de Janeiro, also consider an AirBnB. Here you can often find nice apartments in a good location for a good price.
Unfortunately, South America is one of the most expensive continents to fly to. For example, for a return ticket to Brazil you pay on average about €500 to €600. These are often flights with a layover in America. Do you prefer a direct flight? Then you can add about €200 to the price. By the way, keep in mind that if you have a flight via America you also need an ESTA for this. A You can easily apply for ESTA online† For longer distances by bus you can count on about €4 to €5 per hour driven (per person).
If you choose to cook a lot yourself, you can count on prices like in the Netherlands, slightly cheaper. Try to score cheap fresh products on the market, for example. Would you rather eat out? Then you can score an excellent main course for about €10 to €15. Furthermore, in Brazil you also have the
concept kilo restaurants. Sounds very uncomfortable, but it's actually great. As the name suggests, you can serve yourself what you want to eat here, with a huge buffet. And your plate is then weighed. Cost? About €1 per 100 grams.
In general, the excursions in Brazil are not very expensive. Most excursions cost between €10 and €15. There are a few exceptions to this. For example, an excursion to the Pantanal or the Amazon is seriously expensive and the tours in Bonito are also very pricey. For example, our 4-day trip to the Pantanal cost €825 (for 2 people) and in Bonito you will quickly lose €100 + for a tour such as rafting or snorkeling. So it's up to you what you choose!
For Wereldreizigers.nl I recently wrote an article about the highlights of Brazil. So be sure to check out this article! Below I mention 2 highlights during a trip through Brazil:
Rio de Janeiro
Despite the negative stories about crime, Rio de Janeiro is an amazing city! This city has so many highlights that you can easily stay here for a week. Think of the world famous Copacabana Beach, the statue of Cristo Redentor, Sugarloaf Mountain and we could go on and on. On my blog I wrote an extensive article about Rio de Janeiro and what you can do there.
Animal watching in the Pantanal / Amazon
One of the many reasons to visit Brazil is the many animals that you can spot. Brazil has no less than 2 beautiful nature reserves that lend themselves to spotting animals. The Amazon is the best-known area for spotting animals, but is the Pantanal arguably the best area for spotting wildlife. This is because the Amazon is so green that the animals can easily 'hide' among all the greenery. In the Pantanal, nature is more open and you can spot the animals more easily. Your choice can also depend on which other destinations you want to visit during your trip through Brazil. The town of Manaus from where you can make excursions in the Amazon is in the North-West of the country and the Pantanal is in the South-West of the country. To visit either location you will most likely need to catch a domestic flight & bring your wallet!
Are you curious about more of my travel experiences? Then you can follow me on my website www.travelaway.nl or you can find me on Instagram at @travelaway.nl† I look forward to seeing you there!
Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!