Solo Travel Brazil – Local Insights for Tourists

solo travel brazil

After endlessly scrolling through web pages, and reading the same repeated articles about my Brazil, I felt a compelling urge to craft something authentic, something real. It dawned on me how criminally underrepresented the spirit of my country is in the universe of online travel guides. So, if you’re here for a quick roundup of the ’10 Best Things to Do’, I’m afraid this isn’t your stop. But if you’re yearning for a deep dive into the essence of Brazil, the culture, the people, the mouth-watering cuisine, and a guide that empowers you to create your own Brazilian perceptions rather than handing you a tick-the-box itinerary – then welcome you’re exactly where you need to be


Brazil Quick Overview

Monthly Budget for Brazil

  • Accommodation: $450 – $1,500
  • Food: $150- $600
  • Alcohol (pint): $30 – $150
  • Transport: $45 – $300
  • Workspace: $100 – $300
  • Internet/Sim: $20- $70

Visa Requirements

  • Nomad Visa?: No
  • Tourist Visa Cost: $40 – $160
  • Visa length: Up to 90 days
  • Extension: Possible for another 90 days
  • Extension cost: Around $100


  • WiFi
    • Upload: 10-20 Mbps
    • Download: 25-50 Mbps
    • Cost: $20 – $40 per month
  • SIM Card Brazil (1 month, unlimited)
    • Upload: 5-15 Mbps
    • Download: 10-30 Mbps (4G/LTE)
    • Cost: $15 – $30

Visa Requirements:

Brazil’s visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. Many countries benefit from visa-free entry for stays of up to 90 days. Always check the latest visa requirements from the Brazilian consulate or embassy in your home country before planning your trip.

Language and Its Necessity:

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. In tourist areas and larger cities like Rio and São Paulo, English is commonly spoken, but learning basic Portuguese phrases can enhance your travel experience, especially in rural or less touristy areas. Brazilians are a lot more welcoming when they see you’re trying to speak Portuguese, so give it a try, even if it’s not perfect!


Internet in Brazil, especially in big cities and well-populated areas, usually works pretty well. Getting a SIM Card is easy and cheap, and a lot of places have Wi-Fi connections as well.

  • Best SIM Card: Popular options include Vivo, Claro, and TIM. They offer good coverage and affordable data plans. You can buy these at the airport, drug stores, or the carrier’s physical store. I personally recommend Vivo
  • WiFi Quality: Most urban areas, hotels, and cafes provide reliable WiFi. In remote areas, connectivity can be sporadic.

Best Season to Travel:

The best season to travel to Brazil is from December to March (Summer). It is ideal for beaches and festivals like New Year’s Eve and Carnival. April to June and August to October also offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds. On top of that, prices in touristy cities will be much lower than during the summertime, so budget travelers can enjoy it better. July, which is winter time, is usually cooler and great for city tours and visiting places like the Amazon.

Packing Style:

Your Brazilian packing style highly depends on the season and your destination. For the basics, here’s what you need:

  • For Summer: Light clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
  • For Winter: Layered clothing is advisable, especially for southern regions.
  • Year-Round: Comfortable walking shoes, a rain jacket (for sudden downpours), and insect repellent if venturing into forested areas.

Pre-Trip Planning for Brazil: Essential Information

Visa Requirements and Travel Documentation

Check if you need a visa based on your nationality. Many countries enjoy visa-free entry for short stays, up to 90 days. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from your planned entry date. Consider carrying proof of accommodation, return tickets, and sufficient funds for your stay, just in case they ask for it in customs.

Travel Insurance

Opt for any comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuation, and trip cancellations.

What Vaccines Are Needed For Brazil?

Brazil does not universally mandate any specific vaccinations for entry for all travelers. However, certain vaccines are highly recommended due to health risks present in some regions of Brazil: Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and routine vaccinations. Also, requirements can vary based on your travel history and the regions of Brazil you plan to visit.

Non-Mandatory Vaccines and Associated Risks

  1. Yellow Fever Vaccine: Yellow fever is present in certain areas, especially rural and forest regions. It is recommended for travelers visiting at-risk areas, and some regions may require proof of vaccination for entry.
  2. Typhoid Vaccine: the risk comes from possible exposure through contaminated food or water, especially in rural or less developed areas. It is recommended for all travelers to lower the risk of typhoid fever.
  3. Hepatitis A Vaccine: Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food/water and personal contact. As it is relatively common in many parts of the world, it is recommended that all travelers get vaccinated before entering Brazil.
  4. Routine Vaccinations: Includes MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and the yearly flu shot. There’s a general exposure risk, especially in crowded conditions.
  5. Hepatitis B Vaccine: Hepatitis B is transmitted through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products. It is recommended for travelers who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual encounters, get a tattoo or piercing, or undergo medical procedures.
  6. Malaria Prophylaxis: Malaria-carrying insects are present in some areas, particularly in the Amazon region. Getting a vaccine is recommended for travelers visiting malaria-prone areas. Prophylaxis can be advised based on specific travel plans.

It’s important to consult a travel medicine specialist or a healthcare provider for personalized advice, ideally 4-6 weeks before your trip. They can provide the most current information and recommendations based on your health history, itinerary, and the activities you plan to undertake in Brazil.

What About Malaria Tablets in Brazil?

Malaria is a risk in certain areas of Brazil, particularly in the Amazon basin. However, the necessity for malaria tablets depends on your specific travel itinerary.

  1. Risk Areas: Higher risk is primarily in the Amazon region, including states like Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, and parts of Maranhão and Pará. Lower or no risk in coastal cities (like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador) and other urban areas.
  2. Types of Prophylaxis: Various antimalarial drugs are available, including atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, and, in some cases, chloroquine. The choice of drug depends on several factors, including your health history, the duration of your stay, and specific areas you plan to visit.
  3. Timing: Prophylactic treatment typically starts before entering the malaria-endemic area, continues during the stay, and for a period after leaving the area.
  4. Other Protective Measures: Use mosquito repellents, sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets, and wear long-sleeved clothing, especially from dusk to dawn. These precautions are also effective against other mosquito-borne diseases like Dengue and Zika, which are present in Brazil.
  5. Symptoms Monitoring: Be aware of malaria symptoms, such as fever, chills, and flu-like illness, and seek medical attention promptly if they occur during or after your return.
  6. Travelers’ Specifics: Pregnant women, young children, and individuals with certain health conditions may have different recommendations and precautions.

Important Note:

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist for personalized advice and the most up-to-date information. They can assess your risk based on your exact destinations, activities planned, and duration of stay, providing the most appropriate recommendations for your situation. Always remember that no preventive method is 100% effective, so combining medication with protective measures is the best strategy to reduce your risk of malaria while traveling in Brazil.

I myself have never taken Malaria pills while traveling around Brazil, but for those who go into deeper zones of the Amazon, for example, they can be instrumental.

How Safe is The Water in Brazil?

In Brazil, tap water is not consistently safe to drink. It varies by region, with larger cities often having better treatment systems. It’s advisable to drink bottled or filtered water, especially for travelers to avoid gastrointestinal issues.

Some common water-born illnesses include:

  • Traveler’s Diarrhea: Caused by consuming contaminated food or water. You can prevent it by drinking bottled or boiled water, avoiding ice, and eating well-cooked foods.
  • Hepatitis A: Usually transmitted through contaminated food or water. Get the necessary vaccinations and consume safe food and water to avoid it.
  • Typhoid Fever: It is caused by bacteria in contaminated water and food. Prevent it by getting vaccinated and drinking safe water.

COVID-19 Regulations

Brazil has relaxed many of its COVID-19-related travel restrictions since the pandemic was contained. However, it’s essential to check the latest guidelines as they can change based on the global and local situation.

  • Current Status: Most COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted.
  • Recommendation: Stay updated with official sources for any travel advisories or health regulations.

Getting to Brazil and Transportation Options Within

Brazil, because it’s such a big country, has many access points, depending on where you’re coming from. Once inside the country, traveling around can also rely on different methods of transportation.

International Flights to Brazil

Brazil is well connected by air with major international airports in cities like São Paulo (Guarulhos International), Rio de Janeiro (Galeão International), and Brasília (Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International). These airports serve as primary gateways for international travelers, offering flights from various global airlines.

Domestic Transportation

Traveling around Brazil can be an easy breeze, with plenty of comfort, Wi-Fi connection, and a wide variety of prices that attend to different budgets. Here are the most popular methods of transportation inside the country:

Domestic Flights

  • Key Airlines: LATAM, GOL, Azul, and Avianca Brazil.
  • Coverage: Extensive network covering major cities and popular destinations.
  • Advantages: Time-saving for covering large distances, although it can be the pricier option.
  • Booking Tips: Book in advance for better deals, especially during peak seasons.


  • Network: Extensive and reliable, connecting virtually all cities and towns.
  • Comfort Levels: Range from basic to luxury with amenities like AC, Wi-Fi, and reclining seats. Companies like Buser have overnight trains that are extremely comfortable and perfect for those on a budget, since they cost about 1/5 of what a plane ticket would, depending on how much in advance you buy it. The trip is longer, and only worth if you’re traveling to close by cities like Rio to São Paulo.
  • Cost-Effective: Often cheaper than flying, suitable for budget travelers.
  • Booking: Tickets can be purchased at bus stations, online, or through travel agents.

Rideshare Services

  • Popular Apps: Uber, 99, and Cabify.
  • Availability: Widely available in large cities and urban areas.
  • Convenience: App-based hailing is practical and often safer than street taxis.
  • Payment: Can be linked to international credit cards.


  • Limited Network: Not a major mode of transportation in Brazil.
  • Scenic Routes: Some tourist-oriented scenic train rides are available.
  • Urban Trains: Available in major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro for commuting.

Car Rental

  • Options: Available at airports and in major cities.
  • Considerations: Useful for exploring remote areas; requires an international driving permit and adaptability to local driving conditions.


  • Availability: Widely available in cities and towns.
  • Safety Tip: Use reputable taxi companies; agree on fares beforehand or ensure the meter is used.

Ferries and Boats

  • Usage: Essential in some coastal areas and for exploring the Amazon region.
  • Variety: Ranges from local ferries to longer river cruises.

How Are the Roads in Brazil?

The condition of roads in Brazil varies widely depending on the location and whether the roads are federal, state, or municipal.

Highways and Major Roads

The major highways, especially those connecting big cities, are often well-maintained. Examples include the BR-101, which runs along the coast, and the BR-116, the longest highway in Brazil. Many of the best-maintained highways are toll roads, known as “rodovias pedagiadas.” These roads are usually in good condition because they receive regular funding from the tolls collected.

Urban Roads

In major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, main roads are typically in good condition. However, you can still encounter potholes and rough patches, especially in less affluent neighborhoods. Traffic congestion is a significant issue in large urban areas, which can cause delays regardless of road conditions.

Rural and Remote Areas

As you move into rural or less developed areas, road quality can deteriorate quickly. Potholes, lack of signage, and unpaved sections are common in these regions. During the rainy season, some roads may become impassable due to flooding or landslides, particularly in areas with hilly terrain or near the Amazon rainforest.

General Considerations

  • Signage: Road signs may not always be clear or consistent, especially off the main routes. GPS and local guidance are often necessary for navigation.
  • Driving Behavior: Brazilian drivers are known for being aggressive and sometimes disregard traffic laws, which can pose a risk to those unfamiliar with local driving conditions.
  • Maintenance: Even on main roads, maintenance can be irregular, leading to sudden changes in road quality.

For travelers, it is advisable to:

  • Use well-reviewed rental services if planning to drive.
  • Consider domestic flights for long-distance travel between cities, as this can be more reliable and time-efficient.
  • If driving, plan routes carefully and stay informed about local road conditions, especially when traveling to more remote areas.

Top Destinations for Solo Travelers in Brazil

Brazil is a country of impeccable wonders and many things to do and see. From the hundreds of destinations you can choose from, some of them stand out as being the most famous among travelers. These places are great because they are generally safer than remote areas of the country.

Here are some of the top destinations in Brazil:

  1. Rio de Janeiro: Renowned for its iconic Copacabana beach, exuberant street carnivals, the monumental Christ the Redeemer statue, and a pulsating nightlife. Offers activities like hiking, swimming, and indulging in delectable cuisine amidst celebratory gatherings.
  2. São Paulo: A hub of cultural diversity, highlighting a vast art scene, refined cuisine, and dynamic urban exploits.
  3. Salvador: Embodies a profound Afro-Brazilian heritage, showcasing historic architecture in Pelourinho, spirited music and dance. Being the inaugural capital of Brazil, and the genesis of Samba, it’s pivotal for understanding the heart of Brazilian culture.
  4. Brasília: A haven for modernist architecture aficionados. As Brazil’s contemporary capital, it’s steeped in political lore and features a distinct layout conceived by Oscar Niemeyer.
  5. Recife: Possesses a storied colonial past, an effervescent arts and music milieu, and offers proximity to pristine beaches such as Porto de Galinhas. A perfect amalgamation of natural beauty and urban energy, it is filled with festivities, sumptuous food, and myriad activities.
  6. Manaus: Serves as the entry to the Amazon rainforest, offering unparalleled wildlife experiences and a glimpse into the indigenous culture. Presents a contrasting Brazilian experience, emphasizing nature and indigenous traditions pivotal to Brazil’s heritage. It’s also the state of my home city, Belo Horizonte.
  7. Florianópolis: Located in southern Brazil, it boasts exquisite beaches, and popular surfing locales, and fuses modern urbanity with classic Brazilian ethos. Recognized as the country’s bohemian nucleus, it attracts digital nomads drawn to its laid-back and trendy ambiance.
  8. Foz do Iguaçu: Home to the magnificent Iguaçu Falls, which borders Argentina and Paraguay, complemented by verdant rainforest trails. A must-visit to witness one of the globe’s most awe-inspiring natural spectacles.

Behind The Travel Brochure | Off Beaten Path Local Gems

Aside from the main touristy spots in Brazil, there are hundreds of lesser-known, equally mesmerizing destinations.

Here are some great off-the-beaten-path destinations in Brazil:

  1. Jericoacoara, Ceará: A remote beach haven characterized by dunes, clear lagoons, and mesmerizing sunsets. Best known for kitesurfing, relaxation, and its simple accommodations and delectable seafood.
  2. Paraty, Rio de Janeiro: A well-preserved Portuguese colonial and Brazilian Imperial town. Boasts cobblestone streets and a picturesque coastline, providing a peaceful escape.
  3. Chapada Diamantina, Bahia: Recognized for its awe-inspiring landscapes which include hiking trails, waterfalls, and caves. A top choice for those passionate about adventure and nature.
  4. Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais: A historical colonial mining town renowned for its baroque architecture and ornate churches. Captures the essence of Brazil’s rich history and is a treat for enthusiasts of history and architecture.
  5. Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro: Offers lush forests, pristine beaches, and a unique experience due to the ban on motorized vehicles. A calm setting perfect for hiking and unwinding.
  6. Lençóis Maranhenses, Maranhão: A striking white-sanded desert in Brazil’s northeastern region. Unique in its vast dunes and crystal-clear freshwater lagoons. Best visited during May to September.
  7. Pantanal, Mato Grosso/Mato Grosso do Sul: One of the largest tropical wetlands globally. An exceptional location for wildlife observation, especially jaguars.

Accommodation in Brazil: Options for Every Traveler

Brazil offers various accommodation options catering to different budgets and preferences, from hostels and guest houses to luxury resorts.

Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Hostels: Budget-friendly option primarily for solo travelers and backpackers. Located in key cities and tourist destinations, they often have dormitory-style rooms, communal areas, social events, and some offer private rooms for a mix of social interaction and privacy.
  2. Hotels: Spanning from budget to luxury, available almost everywhere. Provide varying amenities with luxury hotels offering premium services. Hotels often assist with tour recommendations.
  3. Resorts: Cater to those seeking all-inclusive experiences. Mostly found near beaches, the Amazon, and popular tourist sites. Feature amenities like pools, spas, and organized activities.
  4. Homestays and Guest Houses: Offer intimate insights into local life and Brazilian culture. Ideal for those aiming for a genuine, home-like environment.
  5. Apartments and Vacation Rentals: Platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo allow renting of apartments, villas, and houses. Suitable for extended stays, families, or anyone wanting amenities like a kitchen.
  6. Eco-lodges: Popular in regions like the Amazon, emphasizing sustainable tourism and nature-oriented activities. They range from rustic to upscale.
  7. House-Sharing Apps and Experiences: Airbnb and similar platforms provide diverse options from shared rooms to whole properties, offering unique stays in diverse locations. Ensure to check reviews and prioritize safety.
  8. General Note: Brazil’s lodging landscape is versatile, catering to various travelers, from budget soloists to luxury seekers. When selecting accommodations, always weigh personal preferences, budget, and travel style.


Hostels are ideal for budget solo travelers and backpackers. It is available in major cities and tourist destinations, with a lot of options to pick from depending on your budget and desires. These hostels offer dormitory-style rooms and shared facilities, often with social events and communal areas. Some also have private rooms that are as comfortable as hotels, which is my go-to option every time I travel somewhere new and want to meet people while still having privacy and comfort.


Hotel prices range from budget to mid-range and luxury. They feature a wide variety of amenities, with luxury hotels offering high-end services and facilities. Hotels are available in cities, tourist spots, and coastal areas, and they’re a great way of seeing the city while staying safe and comfortable. Many hotels offer tour recommendations and can guide you to the best places in any city.


Resorts are best for those seeking an all-inclusive experience. Predominantly in coastal areas, the Amazon, and near major tourist attractions, they are usually large and can offer all-inclusive opportunities for those who want a smart-budget experience. These accommodations often include pools, spas, restaurants, and activity programs.

Homestays and Guest Houses

Staying in homestays and guest houses can offer a more local and personal experience. It allows you to interact with hosts and get insights into Brazilian culture. These accommodations are great for cultural enthusiasts and travelers seeking a homely atmosphere.

Apartments and Vacation Rentals

You can rent apartments, villas, and entire houses on Airbnb, Vrbo, and local equivalents. The variety ranges from budget to luxury, offering privacy and a home-like environment. It is best for longer stays, families, or those seeking more space and facilities like a kitchen.


Eco-lodges are widely popular at destinations like the Amazon and other natural areas. They focus on sustainable tourism, often offering nature-based activities. The lodge’s design can range from rustic to luxury, depending on your budget, destination and desire.

House-Sharing Apps and Experiences

Platforms like Airbnb offer a variety of options, from shared rooms to entire homes. This grants you the opportunity to stay in unique places and neighborhoods. To find the ideal house-sharing experience, read reviews, communicate with hosts beforehand, and consider location for safety and convenience.

Brazil’s accommodation scene is as varied as its landscape, offering something for everyone, from solo budget travelers to those seeking luxury and relaxation. Homestays and guest houses can provide a more authentic and personal experience, while house-sharing apps have opened up a world of unique stays, from city apartments to secluded beachfront homes. Always consider your personal preferences, budget, and travel style when choosing your accommodation in Brazil.

Activities and Experiences in Brazil

Brazil’s diverse landscapes and culture offer a bunch of activities and experiences for every type of traveler.

Here’s a guide to what you can expect:

  1. Beaches: Brazil boasts globally recognized beaches like Copacabana, Ipanema, and Praia do Sancho. Activities include sunbathing, swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, and savoring caipirinhas. Experience the vibrant beach culture and relish fresh seafood at coastal shanties.
  2. Jungles and Rainforests: Home to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon, which can be explored via river cruises, treks, and eco-lodges. Witness unique wildlife, indigenous communities, and partake in canopy tours. Visit conservation hotspots like Chapada Diamantina and Pantanal.
  3. Urban Explorations: Explore metropolitan gems like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. Embark on city tours, museum excursions, and culinary discoveries. Witness colorful street art, historic districts, and pulsating music atmospheres.
  4. Adventure Activities: Hike in national parks, surf at pristine beaches, and wildlife watch in diverse regions such as Pantanal and the Amazon.
  5. Wellness and Spiritual Experiences: Discover healing spas, mineral-rich springs, and wellness resorts in hilly terrains. Participate in yoga retreats and spiritual healing sessions in tranquil locales like Abadiânia.
  6. Cultural Experiences: Revel in global phenomena like Rio Carnival and local festivities in Salvador. Relish the traditional foods and lore of events like Festa Junina and Parintins Folklore Festival.
  7. Culinary Adventures: Dive into Brazil’s rich culinary landscape, trying delicacies like feijoada, acarajé, and churrasco. Engage in culinary tours in major cities to sample local specialties.
  8. General Advice: Brazil’s plethora of activities caters to every traveler, whether for adventure, relaxation, culture, or nature. Prioritize local recommendations and safety, especially in natural settings or adventure pursuits. Embrace Brazil’s multifaceted nature for a memorable journey.


Brazil is full of famous beaches, like Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio, Porto de Galinhas in Pernambuco, and Praia do Sancho in Fernando de Noronha. You can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and beach volleyball, for example, as well as drinking some caipirinhas until the sun goes down. Enjoy the lively beach culture and savor fresh seafood at coastal shacks like a true Brazilian.

Jungles and Rainforests

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest rainforest. You can explore it through river cruises, jungle treks, and eco-lodges. Enjoy wildlife watching (including pink dolphins), visiting indigenous communities, and canopy tours. You can also visit conservation areas like Chapada Diamantina and Pantanal for exceptional biodiversity.

Urban Explorations

Brazil is not just about nature and coastal wonders. The country has a bunch of cities to explore, like São Paulo for its museums and nightlife, Rio de Janeiro for its iconic landmarks, and Salvador for its cultural heritage. Join city tours, museum visits, local markets, and culinary experiences. In these large cities, you can explore colorful street art, historic neighborhoods, and vibrant music scenes.

Adventure Activities

Go hiking on trails in national parks like Chapada Diamantina and Serra dos Órgãos. Surf in Florianópolis, Itacaré, and the northern coast of São Paulo. Go wildlife watching, exploring Pantanal for jaguars, Amazon for exotic bird species, and coastal waters for whale watching.

Wellness and Spiritual Experiences

Brazil is filled with healing spas, where you find mineral-rich hot springs and wellness resorts, especially in the mountainous regions. Many yoga retreats are available in serene locations like Bahia, Santa Catarina, and Rio de Janeiro’s countryside. Visit places like Abadiânia for spiritual healing and retreats focusing on meditation and holistic wellness.

Cultural Experiences

Experience the world-famous Rio Carnival or local celebrations in Salvador. Enjoy the comfort food and folklore of Festa Junina and Parintins Folklore Festival, showcasing Brazil’s diverse cultural heritage.

Culinary Adventures

Brazilian cuisine is extremely rich, and every corner of the country has completely different culinary traditions and flavors for you to try. Taste feijoada (black bean stew), acarajé (street food in Salvador), and churrasco (Brazilian BBQ). There are many culinary tours available in major cities, offering a taste of local flavors and traditional dishes.

Brazil’s vast array of activities and experiences means there’s something for every traveler, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, cultural immersion, or ecological wonders. Always consider local advice and safety guidelines, especially when venturing into natural areas or participating in adventure sports. Embrace the diversity and vibrancy of Brazil, and you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Finding Great Places to Eat and Drink in Brazil

Brazil’s culinary landscape is as diverse and vibrant as its culture. From bustling street food vendors to charming local restaurants, there’s an abundance of delicious experiences awaiting solo travelers.

Overview of Brazilian Cuisine

Brazilian cuisine varies significantly from region to region, reflecting a melting pot of indigenous, African, and European influences.

Here are some must-try dishes in Brazil and some of my personal favourites:

  • Feijoada: Brazil’s national dish, a hearty stew of black beans, pork, and beef, typically served with rice, orange slices, and farofa (toasted cassava flour). This is something I recommend everyone to try when they visit Brazil, and it is the staple family Sunday lunch meal in many households.
  • Moqueca: A fragrant fish or shrimp stew cooked in coconut milk, tomatoes, and palm oil, popular in Bahia and Espírito Santo.
  • Acarajé: A street food favorite from Bahia, these are deep-fried balls made from black-eyed peas and stuffed with shrimp and vatapá (creamy paste made from shrimp, bread, cashew nuts, and palm oil).
  • Churrasco: Brazilian-style barbecue with a variety of grilled meats served in churrascarias (steak houses).

Ethical and Local Dining Experiences

To support local communities and enjoy authentic culinary experiences, look for family-run restaurants, which often serve traditional dishes with a personal touch. Farm-to-table eateries focus on locally sourced and sustainable ingredients and are also quite popular in many regions and cities of Brazil (although it is not heavily advertised). Some restaurants even support local initiatives, offering a meal with a purpose.

Finding Good Local Spots

The best way to find the best spots for local food is to ask locals. Taxi drivers, hotel staff, and local shopkeepers often know the best places where you can find traditional and authentic Brazilian dishes. Social media and apps can also help you find popular and hyped places– Platforms like Instagram and food-specific apps can be treasure troves of local recommendations.

Another strategy is simply walking and exploring. Sometimes, the best finds are stumbled upon while wandering through local neighborhoods.

Street Food

Don’t miss out on Brazil’s street food scene. Look for:

  • Pão de Queijo: Cheese bread balls, a snack found almost everywhere.
  • Coxinha: Teardrop-shaped fried snacks filled with chicken and catupiry cheese.
  • Pastéis: Crispy, deep-fried pastries filled with various ingredients, commonly found in markets.

Brazilian cuisine is an integral part of its cultural identity. Whether you’re indulging in a plate of feijoada, savoring a fresh acarajé from a street vendor, or dining in a family-run restaurant, you’re not just eating; you’re experiencing the heart and soul of Brazil. Remember to embrace the diversity, ask for local recommendations, and most importantly, enjoy the delicious journey!

Packing Tips for Brazil: A Guide for Every Region and Season

Traveling to Brazil requires a thoughtful packing strategy, considering its diverse climates, regions, and activities. Whether you’re heading to the Amazon rainforest or the beaches of Rio, here’s how to pack smartly and sustainably.

General Packing Tips

Brazil’s climate is generally warm, so pack light, breathable clothing. Make sure to bring rain gear with you, since this is a tropical country and sometimes rainfall can come unpredicted and out of nowhere. A compact, lightweight raincoat or umbrella is essential for sudden showers, especially in the Amazon and during the rainy season. Opt for sturdy walking shoes for city explorations and hiking, plus sandals or flip-flops for the beach.

Also, don’t forget to protect against the sun. Use high-SPF sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect against strong UV rays.

Region-Specific Packing

Brazilian weather can drastically change depending on the region and time of the year. Here is a general guide to what to bring, depending on your destination:

  • Amazon and Rainforests: Long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against insects, waterproof footwear, and a high-quality insect repellent.
  • Coastal Areas (like Rio, Salvador): Swimwear, beachwear, and a beach towel or sarong.
  • Southern Brazil (e.g., Porto Alegre): Warmer layers for cooler temperatures, especially from May to August.

Seasonal Considerations

  • Summer (December-February): It’s hot and humid, pack light clothing, swimwear, and sun protection.
  • Winter (June-August): Cooler, especially in the south. Bring layers and a warmer jacket.
  • Rainy Season: Varies by region but generally includes more frequent rains. Rain gear is essential.

Packing for Activities

Just like location and season can affect your suitcase, so does the type of activity you will be engaging in.

  • Adventure Activities: Quick-dry clothing, a good hat, and a sturdy backpack for hiking, birdwatching, or river excursions.
  • Urban Exploration: Casual, stylish attire is appropriate for cities like São Paulo and Rio.
  • Cultural and Nightlife: An outfit or two for dining out or enjoying Brazil’s vibrant nightlife.

Sustainable Packing Tips

And here are some extra packing tips for the sustainable traveler:

  • Reusable Water Bottle: To reduce plastic waste.
  • Eco-Friendly Sunscreen: To protect marine life if you’re swimming in natural waters.
  • Biodegradable Toiletries: Reduces your environmental footprint.
  • Compact Shopping Bag: Handy for market visits and reduces plastic bag usage.

Remember, the key to successful packing for Brazil is versatility and preparedness for its varied environments. Prioritize comfort and practicality, and you’ll be well-equipped for an amazing Brazilian adventure.

Staying Connected in Brazil

Choosing & Purchasing A SIM Card

Brazil has several major mobile network operators, including Vivo, Claro, TIM, and Oi. Among these, Vivo and Claro are often recommended for their extensive coverage, including in more remote areas. I personally enjoy using Vivo, which has been my carrier since I first owned a phone. They offer pre-paid plans that are great for those looking for something temporary.

4G coverage is widely available in all major cities and towns. However, once you get into rural or isolated regions, it can be patchy. 5G is still in the rollout stages and is primarily available in larger cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Brasília.

Average 4G speeds in urban areas are decent, and you can expect download speeds from 10 Mbps to 30 Mbps. With 5G where available, the speeds can be significantly higher.

Purchasing Your SIM Card

You can get your SIM Card at the airport or local stores spread across all major cities in Brazil. Most of them have kiosks in malls. Drug stores are also great for buying temporary data plans, which is ideal for those only traveling in Brazil. While you can buy SIM cards at the airport, they might be more expensive compared to local stores or kiosks in the city. For better deals, it’s advisable to purchase one from a local shop or an official store of the chosen network, which are spread across cities in Brazil.

Be prepared to show your passport when purchasing a SIM card, as it’s a requirement in Brazil.


The cost for a prepaid SIM card with a decent data package usually ranges from 30 to 50 BRL (Brazilian Reais), though prices can vary depending on the provider and the data package you choose. Top-ups or additional data can be purchased at various stores, supermarkets, or directly through the provider’s app.

For a 30-day plan, unlimited packages are not common; plans usually come with a set amount of data. You can expect to pay around 50 to 100 BRL for a plan with a generous data allowance (like 10 GB to 15 GB) plus some calling minutes and texts.

Understanding Currency in Brazil: The Brazilian Real

Exchanging Money

Major banks like Banco do Brasil, Itaú, and Bradesco are trustworthy options for currency exchange, and they usually offer competitive rates. Casa de Câmbio or câmbio stores can be found in larger cities and tourist areas. Renowned chains include Confidence Câmbio and Travelex.

Best Places for Exchange

While convenient, airports often have less favorable exchange rates and higher fees. They should be used sparingly, ideally only for exchanging small amounts. Currency exchange kiosks in shopping malls can offer reasonable rates and are considered safe. Exchanging money on the street is not advisable due to the risks of counterfeit currency and the potential for scams. Always look for a formal establishment.

Research the current exchange rate (the commercial rate) before you go to have a baseline for comparison. Websites like or the Banco Central do Brasil can provide this information. At currency exchange bureaus, there’s often room for negotiation. Don’t hesitate to ask for a better rate, particularly if exchanging larger amounts. Always ask for a receipt when you exchange money. This is your proof of the exchange and is essential if you encounter any issues.

Some places might accept US dollars or euros, but you’ll generally get a better deal paying in the local currency. Using ATMs (Caixas Eletrônicos) for withdrawals can give you reasonable exchange rates, but be aware of potential fees from your bank and the Brazilian bank. It’s safest to use ATMs inside banks, drug stores, shopping malls, or other secure locations due to skimming risks.

Be prepared to show your passport when exchanging money; it’s required by law. Having some cash is essential, as not every place accepts credit cards, especially in smaller towns. However, using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees can be a wise choice for larger purchases. Carry only as much cash as you need for a few days to limit loss or theft.

Withdrawing From ATMs

Widely available in cities and towns, ATMs are a convenient way to withdraw Reais using a foreign debit card, but be aware of possible fees and withdrawal limits.

The best place to find ATMs is inside drug stores, and most of them will have a machine that accepts international cards. Although it is easy to take out money, many Brazilians barely use it since other, more practical payment methods have been introduced such as PIX. Because of that, a lot of shops and restaurants might not have change in case you want to pay in cash, especially if you carry large bills with you.

If you decide to use money, try to break down the bills into smaller ones, so you won’t have such a hard time.

Pix payment

To avoid the heavy fees on the ATMs, you load up Revolut with Reais, or use another international card. Another solution is to take out as much as possible whenever you visit the bank. Fees are around $20 Reais ($3-5 USD), and some ATMs charge more than others. For instance, “Banco de 24horas” ATMs charge a little more than “Bradesco” ATMs.

Unfortunately, ATMs don’t always accept foreign cards, so you might have to try a few. If you have no luck with any, you might have to Western Union transfer yourself some money and head to a place that accepts Western Union to pick up your money. One of our writers (Harry) had to do this in Pakistan, and it’s quite common for travelers to have to do this in a lot of countries around the world.

It’s also worth noting that at ATMs, you’ll have the option to pick a debit or credit card. If the debit option doesn’t work, it’s always worth trying the credit card option, even if your card is not a credit card. There are cases where it will let you use an international card if you select credit (no idea why).

Brazil also has a lot of HSBC and Santander banks. With Santander, you never have to pay a fee if you use one of their cash machines abroad. This could be the same for HSBC, so it might be worth opening a bank with them if you travel here often.

ATMs for foreign cards that usually work are:

  • Banco de 24horas
  • Bradesco
  • Banco de Brasil

Top tip: when you withdraw, the ATM asks you if you accept the conversion rate for your currency. If you decline, often you’ll still get your money but at Visa’s conversion rate, which is usually better.

Using Credit and Debit Cards

Credit and debit cards, especially Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops in urban areas. Before traveling, inform your bank to avoid any security blocks on your card when used internationally.

Tipping and Small Transactions

While not obligatory, tipping in Brazil is appreciated for good service in restaurants (around 10% is standard) and for other services like hairdressers and taxis. It’s handy to keep some small changes for minor purchases, public restrooms, or tips.

Budgeting Tips

Using apps to track your expenses can help you manage your budget effectively. For safety reasons, avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Navigating currency in Brazil is straightforward, with some preparation. Understanding the denominations, using ATMs wisely, and being aware of where and how to use your cards will ensure a hassle-free financial experience during your Brazilian travels. Always keep some cash for smaller expenses and embrace the vibrant economy of this diverse country!

Budgeting Solo Travel for Brazil

Here’s a rough daily budget for all styles of travel in Brazil:

  • Budget – $35 – $65/day
  • Mid-range – $90 – $180/day
  • Luxury – $230 – $470+/day

Your daily budget in Brazil highly depends on how much you’re willing to spend, where in the country you’re staying, and the time of the year. Big cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are usually more expensive, while other residential cities like Belo Horizonte (where I’m from) are easier on your pockets.

Eating out in Rio and São Paulo takes a heavier kick on your wallet. While in Belo Horizonte, spending 200 Reais ($40) on a meal means you’re splurging; that’s just the average price you should expect to spend on an OK meal in São Paulo, for example. However, there are amazing places you can find cheap and delicious meals.

Local tip: try out self-service restaurants that charge you by the weight of your plate. These are usually very cheap (I tend to pay 35 Reais for those, while my boyfriend, who eats more than I do, usually spends 50 Reais). This is also an excellent opportunity to try out authentic Brazilian food, which is what we eat daily.


  • Accommodation: Hostels, budget guesthouses ($15 – $30 per night)
  • Food: Street food, local markets, self-catering ($10 – $20 per day)
  • Activities and Transportation: Public transport, free activities ($10 – $15 per day)
  • Total: Around $35 – $65 per day


  • Accommodation: Mid-range hotels, comfortable Airbnbs ($50 – $100 per night)
  • Food: Mix of restaurants and casual dining ($20 – $40 per day)
  • Activities and Transportation: Guided tours, taxis/ride-sharing ($20 – $40 per day)
  • Total: About $90 – $180 per day


  • Accommodation: Luxury hotels, upscale resorts ($120 – $250+ per night)
  • Food: High-end restaurants, gourmet experiences ($60 – $120+ per day)
  • Activities and Transportation: Private tours, luxury transport ($50 – $100+ per day)
  • Total: $230 – $470+ per day

Safety Concerns for Solo Travelers in Brazil

Traveling solo in Brazil, as in any country, calls for awareness and precautions, especially for solo female travelers. While Brazil offers vibrant experiences, it’s important to stay informed and vigilant to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Solo Travel as a Female

Stay Informed and research your destinations thoroughly. Understand the cultural norms and expected behaviors in various parts of Brazil. When choosing where to stay, pick well-reviewed accommodations, preferably in safer neighborhoods and close to public transport. Trust Your Instincts– If a situation or place feels unsafe, leave immediately.

Brazil can be a fun and safe country to visit as a solo female traveler, but it is always good to be prepared and take the necessary precautions to avoid anything bad. Although it has its safety zones, Brazil is still an undeveloped country with a lot of criminality. Being aware of your surroundings, not entering dangerous neighborhoods, not walking alone at night, and always making sure to double-check shared ride cars and drives are a few of the precautions that can keep you secure.

Now, unfortunately, Brazil is still a men’s world, which means that the occasional catcalling and staring are likely to occur. When it happens to me, I just ignore it, and it have never caused me any trouble. I would advise you do the same, just ignore and move on. If you are being followed or feeling on edge, drop into a shop or somewhere public nearby.

Scams to Look Out For

Be wary of taxis or vendors who might charge exorbitant prices, especially near tourist spots. Use metered taxis or rideshare apps with fixed fares to guarantee a fair price. Also, be cautious of situations where someone tries to distract you, as it could be a ploy for pickpocketing.

Occasionally, individuals pose as police officers or officials to extract bribes. Always ask for identification. Although it doesn’t happen very often, it is always good to be prepared.

A Note on Favela Tourism

Favelas, the urban communities in Brazil often characterized by their lower-income populations and informal housing, have become a subject of interest for many tourists seeking an authentic and raw glimpse into a different side of Brazilian life. However, favela tourism is a complex issue, blending concerns about safety, ethics, and the socioeconomic impact on the communities involved.

The Reality of Safety in Favelas

While the media often portrays favelas as inherently dangerous, the reality is nuanced. Safety can vary greatly from one favela to another, even within different parts of the same community. Many favelas are peaceful, with vibrant cultures and tight-knit communities, but others may be troubled by crime and gang activity.

Are There “Safe” Favela Tours?

Yes, there are favela tours that are considered “safe,” operated by responsible tour companies that have built relationships with the local communities. These tours often have the following features:

  • Local Guides: They are led by residents who know the community and understand the dynamics of the neighborhood.
  • Community Relationships: Ethical tour operators partner with the local population, ensuring tours are welcomed rather than intrusive.
  • Safety Precautions: Reputable tours are conducted in daylight hours and avoid unstable areas.

The Other Side’s Opinion

Many locals have mixed feelings about favela tourism. Some see it as an opportunity for economic development and a way to break down stereotypes by showcasing the cultural richness of their communities. Others view it as a form of “poverty tourism” that can feel exploitative if not managed with sensitivity and respect for the residents.

Staying Safe During Favela Tours

If you decide to participate in a favela tour:

  • Choose Ethical Tours: Research and select tours that prioritize the community’s welfare and have transparent practices.
  • Follow Guide Instructions: Always stick with your guide and follow their instructions and advice.
  • Be Respectful: Remember that you are a guest in someone’s neighborhood. Be considerate of residents’ privacy and dignity.
  • Avoid Flashy Displays: Keep expensive cameras, jewelry, and electronics out of sight.

Safe Favelas to Visit

Visiting favelas can be a sensitive subject, as safety can be variable, and the situation in any given favela can change rapidly. However, some favelas have become known for community-led initiatives and have established a safer environment for tourists through local tours.

Here are a few “safer” favelas that have gained a reputation for being accessible to tourists, thanks in part to community efforts and tourism projects:

  1. Santa Marta (Rio de Janeiro): Known for its colorful buildings and a statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed a music video there. Santa Marta has been pacified since 2008 and often features guided tours by local residents.
  2. Rocinha (Rio de Janeiro): Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil and offers organized tours that provide insights into the community’s culture and daily life. The favela has a mixed reputation for safety, so it’s essential to visit with a reputable guide.
  3. Vidigal (Rio de Janeiro): Situated on the slopes overlooking Ipanema Beach, Vidigal has become somewhat gentrified recently, attracting artists and tourists alike. It’s relatively safe to visit with guided tours, and many visitors stay in local guesthouses. I have a few friends who visited it and went to local parties, which was pretty fun, according to them.
  4. Paraisópolis (São Paulo): As the second-largest favela in São Paulo, Paraisópolis has gained attention for its cultural initiatives and community projects. Guided tours can help visitors understand the community’s vibrant cultural scene and social development efforts.

“Well, if he went to “Lapa”, which is a bit of a rough neighbourhood, but sometimes good for nightlife, for a “favela tour”, this guy doesn’t have half a brain. You do “favela tours”, if you have to, in Rocinha, and that’s nowhere near Lapa, it’s usually safe, go with a reputable guide or tour company. You can also go to Vidigal, with a guide, but that’s about it. You don’t go making “favela tours” in Lapa. So yeah, it could have been a setup, especially if the robbery was like he said it happened, which is uncommon, I posed some questions on another post and he got all salty”

Reddit Comment about Favleas and safety

General Safety Tips

  1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings: Keep your belongings secure and be mindful of your environment, especially in crowded places.
  2. Avoid Flashy Displays of Wealth: This includes expensive jewelry, gadgets, and large amounts of cash.
  3. Night Travel: Avoid walking alone at night, especially in less populated or poorly lit areas.
  4. Emergency Numbers: Keep local emergency numbers handy, including the tourist police, who are often more equipped to assist travelers.
  5. Keep Copies of Important Documents: Have digital and physical copies of your passport, visa, and other vital documents.
  6. Learn Basic Portuguese: Knowing essential phrases can help in emergencies and day-to-day interactions.
  7. Stay Connected: Regularly inform someone you trust about your whereabouts and plans.
  8. Transport Safety: Use official and well-reviewed transport services. Avoid unofficial taxis or rides from strangers.

Specific Areas to Exercise Caution

  • Favelas (Slums): While some favelas are safe with guided tours, others are best avoided due to high crime rates.
  • Nightclubs and Parties: Be cautious with drinks (risk of drink spiking) and in choosing nightlife venues.
  • Certain Beaches at Night: Beaches can be unsafe at night due to lower security and fewer people.

Safety Gear

  • Consider carrying a personal safety alarm or a whistle.
  • Use anti-theft bags or money belts to secure valuables.
  • A small first-aid kit can be handy for minor injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Brazil Safe for a Solo Traveler?

Brazil can be a safe destination for solo travelers with the right precautions. Like any large country, it has areas that are safer and some that are less so. Staying informed, sticking to well-traveled areas, and following local advice are key to a safe experience.

What are Some Things Tourists Should be Careful About in Brazil?

  1. Petty Crime: Be vigilant against pickpocketing and snatch-and-grab theft, especially in crowded areas.
  2. Scams: Be aware of common tourist scams, including overcharging.
  3. Transport Safety: Use reputable taxi companies or ride-sharing apps.
  4. Health Precautions: Follow recommended health guidelines, including vaccinations and water safety.

What Advice for Tourists in Brazil?

  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with local news and travel advisories.
  • Learn Basic Portuguese: Knowing key phrases can greatly enhance your experience.
  • Embrace Local Culture: Be respectful and open to the diverse cultural practices and norms in Brazil.
  • Travel Insurance: Always travel with comprehensive insurance.

Is Rio Safe for a Woman Alone?

Rio de Janeiro, like many major cities, has areas that are safer and others less so. Solo female travelers should stay in well-populated areas, avoid walking alone at night, and be cautious of their surroundings.

Is it Safe for a Woman to Travel Alone in Brazil?

Many women travel safely and have great experiences in Brazil. It’s important to stay in secure accommodations, be cautious about nighttime travel, and follow general safety advice.

Is Sao Paulo Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Sao Paulo can be safe for solo female travelers, especially in areas popular with tourists. It’s advisable to be mindful of personal belongings and avoid less secure neighborhoods, particularly at night.

Does Brazil Welcome Tourists?

Absolutely! Brazil is known for its warm hospitality and vibrant culture. Tourists are generally welcomed with open arms and find the country a fascinating and diverse place to explore.

Are Hostels Safe in Brazil?

Hostels in Brazil are generally safe, especially those that are well-reviewed and located in reputable areas. Look for hostels with good security measures like lockers, 24-hour reception, and good guest reviews.

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