Brazil Travel, Backpacking & Gap Year Guide
Brazil is home to magnificent cities, exquisite waterfalls, lush rainforests, thousands of miles of pristine white sandy beaches and the spectacular Amazon rainforest. Get information, advice and inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in Brazil.
Activities & Things to Do in Brazil
Travel to Brazil
Whether you want to travel in Brazil, go backpacking, try your hand at capoeira, see Carnival or experience the highlights of the country - our website has some incredible experiences to ignite your wanderlust.
View our Brazil guide with travel tips, ideas for the best things to see and do when backpacking or on a gap year and advice about itineraries, costs, how to save money, and more!
We aim to give you all the information you need to have an amazing experience in this country. You can also find affordable travel and backpacking ideas with advice for amazing trips and programs where you can be more than just your average traveller.
Brazil at a Glance
Brazil's colourful diversity and abundance seem to embody everything that is best in South America.
- Population: 200,000,000
- Capital: Brasília
- Largest City: São Paulo 20,000,000
- Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL) £1 = 4BRL / $1 = 3BRL (approx)
- International Dailing Code +55
- Area: 850,000,000 km2 (approx)
- Language: Brazilian Portuguese
- Voltage in Brazil: 127/220V 60Hz AC
- Visa: A tourist visa is granted on arrival for most passport holders, you can stay up to 3 months (90 days) but must have a valid passport in date.
Why You Will Love Brazil
- Discover world famous cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
- See breathtaking sights like the Christ Redeemer
- Experience Carnival, the world's greatest street party
- Watch a live football game - one of the main passions of the country
- Enjoy the warm hospitality of the people and culture
- Get up close to the Foz do Iguazu waterfalls which are one of the most amazing places you will visit in your life
- Explore Fernando de Noronha - a UNESCO World Heritage Site with deserted beaches and idilylic scenery
- Go in search of the best beach - Ipanema, Copacobana, Guaraja or off the beaten track
- Sample the local tasty cuisine
Weather & Best Time to Visit Brazil
Brazil has a warm climate, even in winter - July to September, where the temperature is usually around 15-25 degrees. During summer - December to January you can expect the temperature to be well in the 30's. The north of the country is a lot warmer than the south and the weather can be unpredictable in places like Sao Paulo. There is no best time to visit this country, every month offers a different experience.
How to Get to Brazil
Brazilian cities are connected to a number of worldwide airports and most international flights arrive into Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. You can also cross the border by land from countries like Argentina or there are also cruises which stop off at ports in the country. Most Nationalities do not need to apply for a tourist visa in advance of arrival and you can stay for up to 90 days.
To get the best deals you will need to book in advance and also travel out of the busy summer season. We recommend searching flights on Skyscanner which is the best flight comparison website.
Where to Stay in Brazil
There are lots of options when it comes to places to stay including hotels, hostels, villas, apartments and AirBnB. If you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay, use Hostelbookers or Booking.com to search for budget accommodation and book well in advance to get the best prices.
Hotels and hostels are more expensive in Rio and Sao Paulo compared to other places in the country. Expect to pay around 25 reils for a dorm bed or 100 reils for a basic hotel room. You can find cheap guesthouses thoughout the country which are very good value. If you are looking to travel on a budget check our guide to the best cheap hostels in Rio.
Events & Festivals
- Carnival, nationwide (February)
- Festa de Iemanja (January 1)
- Lapinha, Salvador (January 5)
- Boi Bumba, Paratins (June)
- Festival of St Benedict, Central/Western Brazil (July)
- Virgin of Nazareth Festival, Belem (Second Sunday in October)
- Children’s Day, nationwide (October 12)
- Christmas of Light, nationwide (60 days throughout November and December)
Travelling & Backpacking in Brazil
With One World 365 you can get ideas and inspiration for things to do if you are keen to travel or go backpacking in Brazil. You will be able to find something to match your interest, you can choose between short one day, or one month and longer options. Our travel opportunities are authentic and you will get to travel like a local exploring incredible destinations like Recife, Olinda, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Salvador de Bahia, the Pantanal, Manaus and the Amazon.
Gap Year in Brazil
Thinking about taking a gap year in South America? Brazil is a huge country with lots to see and do - you really need to add this country to your itinerary.
Brazil covers nearly half of South America and with a population of over 190 million people - no wonder they are so good at football! This country has great nightlife, friendly people who have a real passion for football and life.
Just mentioning the name Brazil seems to perk imaginations more so than most other countries. It’s renowned for its natural beauty, exotic ecosystems and diverse culture. It’s also rapidly developing and gaining in popularity as it hosted the 2014 FIFA world cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. But above all, the most important factor to remember when planning on backpacking or travelling around Brazil is: it’s HUGE.
There is a dazzling string of great cities along its coast - the pulse-pounding resort of Rio de Janeiro; sprawling, metropolitan Sao Paulo; and, further north, entrancing canals and bustling piers of Recife. The locals are football crazy, try to engage them in conversation and they will love chatting to you. Try to learn Portuguese phrases to help your experience.
Essential things to do on your gap year in Brazil include seeing:
- Bustling cities like Rio De Janerio, Bahia and Sao Paulo
- The Foz De Igazu falls is a long journey from anywhere but the waterfalls are some of the best in the world
- The Amazon and the Pantanal is highly advised if you like nature / wildlife
- Bahia and Natal are also recommended
- Underrated destinations include Curitiba, Fortaleza, Jericoacoara and Belo Horizonte
If you do not speak Portuguese and would like to see the highlights we highly recommend a gap year experience which includes transport, accommodation and selected meals. You will experience the best of Brazilian culture - eat the food, drink the drink & enjoy the music and atmosphere of this country. There are lots of different gap year programs available to join all year round and you can search options and book a dream experience today.
Discover new destinations, embrace new experiences and find incredible things to do in Brazil on our directory.
Brazil Travel Tips
Brazil is one of the most expensive places you can visit in South America - but this country is worth spending the money to see - you will not regret it. Currently £1 is around 4 Riel ($1 is 3 Riel) and you will find Rio and Sao Paulo the two most expensive cities in terms of accommodation, going out and sightseeing. View our
Transport & Getting Around
A reliable public transport system runs in Brazil but due to the size of the country durations can be long. Distance should never stop you from seeing the best of Brazil though, therefore, we suggest buying multiple flight tickets with one of the local airlines, or an air-pass if you have a set itinerary. Flights are frequent and can be relatively inexpensive if you choose right and book ahead. There is also a relatively cheap bus service which runs throughout the country and stops in most towns and cities. There are different levels of comfort depending on what your budget is.
Travelling in Brazil on a budget can be difficult, try to avoid the period around Carnival in February as accommodation, food and general activities all go up in price. If you travel during winter around May - September this will be the quietest and cheapest time. In summer expect to pay more for accommodation. If you are taking a taxi always try to agree a price or have a rough idea of what it is going to cost.
Food & Drink
Be open to trying the local food, it is very tasty and healthy. Options include feijoada, rice and beans, tacacá, acarajé and coconut. Eating out can be expensive in Brazil and this can quickly eat away at your budget. Fast food outlets are expensive, some basic burger meals can cost around 18-25 Riel (£8)! Avoid expensive tourist areas like Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro as some of the bars and restaurants charge a small fortune for food and drink which you can get elsewhere for a fraction of the price. If you are looking to save money try to eat and drink at locally run places and avoid big chain restaurants, there are also pay per kilo restaurants located throughout Brazil which are great if you are looking to eat on a budget. You pay for how much food you get and then pay per kilo - usually you can eat a big plate of food for around 7-10 Riel (£3 / $4.50). If you would like to save money try to eat food at street stalls or local cafes instead of mainline restaurants.
What you spend really comes down to where you are and what you do. You can get back on around 50 - 100 reils (approx £12-£25) per day if you stay somewhere cheap and don't spend too much on sightseeing activities.