Brazil

Home to the mighty Amazon River, the irrepressible party city of Rio de Janeiro, the world’s greatest carnival and some of the most beautiful beaches on earth, Brazil could be accused of being greedy. Luckily, nothing is wasted in brilliant Brazil where the spirited locals are known for embracing life to the fullest. Thankfully, they are happy to share their magnetic homeland with the rest of us!

Brazil Tours & Travel

Top holiday deals in Brazil

Departing Days Price USD
17 Sep 2016 Northern Brazil 14 $2800

All our Brazil trips

DAYS
7
FROM
USD $2,516
CAD $2,749
AUD $2,941
EUR €2,035
GBP £1,508
NZD $3,166
ZAR R27,132
CHF FR2,086
Experience the best of everything Argentina and Brazil have to offer on this fantastic, fast paced tour between two...
DAYS
22
FROM
USD $6,305
CAD $6,895
AUD $7,390
EUR €5,120
GBP £3,790
NZD $7,945
ZAR R68,120
CHF FR5,420
Travel from the city sights of Lima through to the vibrant beat of Rio via Machu Picchu, the Amazon Jungle, Buenos...
DAYS
27
FROM
USD $10,355
CAD $11,330
AUD $11,560
EUR €8,405
GBP £6,225
NZD $12,433
ZAR R111,840
CHF FR8,600
DAYS
17
FROM
USD $2,333
CAD $2,545
AUD $2,732
EUR €1,891
GBP £1,402
NZD $2,936
ZAR R25,177
CHF FR1,938
Experience Brazilian beaches, Uruguayan home cooking and vibrant Argentinean culture on this unplugged Buenos Aires...
DAYS
63
FROM
USD $8,455
CAD $9,256
AUD $9,909
EUR €6,867
GBP £5,085
NZD $10,656
ZAR R91,350
CHF FR7,024
Prepare yourself for the ultimate South American adventure starting in Ecuador. From the dizzying heights of the...
DAYS
56
FROM
USD $7,361
CAD $8,058
AUD $8,627
EUR €5,975
GBP £4,428
NZD $9,277
ZAR R79,543
CHF FR6,115
Explore stunning scenery, incredible natural sights and experience food, music, and culture like never before as you...
DAYS
6
FROM
USD $2,300
CAD $3,010
AUD $3,180
EUR €2,060
GBP £1,590
NZD $3,420
ZAR R36,540
CHF FR2,300
Carnival, the famous festival of Rio de Janeiro, is the greatest party on earth! Join the fun with Intrepid and visit...
DAYS
19
FROM
USD $2,035
CAD $2,644
AUD $2,621
EUR €1,839
GBP £1,344
NZD $2,819
ZAR R24,537
CHF FR1,978
Soak up the sizzling South American sunshine on an escapade through Brazil and Argentina's attractions. Hearts will...
DAYS
36
FROM
USD $5,635
CAD $6,165
AUD $6,600
EUR €4,570
GBP £3,390
NZD $7,095
ZAR R60,830
CHF FR4,680
Visit South America and travel through Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Visit Potosi, Salar de Uyuni, Buenos...
DAYS
3
FROM
USD $485
CAD $567
AUD $595
EUR €420
GBP £307
NZD $652
ZAR R5,595
CHF FR430
Enjoy a short but action-filled tour of Rio. Take in the iconic sights, including the stunning beaches of Ipanema,...
DAYS
11
FROM
USD $3,001
CAD $3,285
AUD $3,514
EUR €2,425
GBP £1,804
NZD $3,771
ZAR R32,431
CHF FR2,493
Experience the best of everything Argentina and Brazil have to offer on this fantastic, fast-paced tour of the South...
DAYS
19
FROM
USD $2,019
CAD $2,694
AUD $2,599
EUR €1,813
GBP £1,363
NZD $2,871
ZAR R27,225
CHF FR1,924
This tour captures the zesty culture of two amazing countries in South America. Between Rio and BA, visit Paraty, the...
DAYS
112
FROM
USD $7,955
CAD $10,720
AUD $10,250
EUR €7,152
GBP £5,334
NZD $11,099
ZAR R98,684
CHF FR7,965
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...
DAYS
112
FROM
USD $7,985
CAD $10,760
AUD $10,290
EUR €7,182
GBP £5,354
NZD $11,139
ZAR R99,044
CHF FR7,995
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...
DAYS
6
FROM
USD $1,420
CAD $1,860
AUD $1,970
EUR €1,280
GBP £985
NZD $2,120
ZAR R22,630
CHF FR1,420
Join Carnival, the greatest party on earth! The famous festival of Rio de Janeiro is an unmissable event. Amid...
DAYS
60
FROM
USD $6,960
CAD $9,298
AUD $8,973
EUR €6,252
GBP £4,710
NZD $9,910
ZAR R87,926
CHF FR6,458
Go Overland from Lima to Rio with Intrepid Travel. Uncover hidden treasures from Peru to Brazil via Bolivia and...
DAYS
2
FROM
USD $292
CAD $342
AUD $360
EUR €255
GBP £187
NZD $395
ZAR R3,385
CHF FR260
Spend the night in Foz do Iguazu, and enjoy day tours of Iguazu Falls. Visit both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides...
DAYS
16
FROM
USD $1,740
CAD $2,276
AUD $2,343
EUR €1,558
GBP £1,203
NZD $2,590
ZAR R27,647
CHF FR1,735
DAYS
15
FROM
USD $1,906
CAD $2,498
AUD $2,562
EUR €1,713
GBP £1,318
NZD $2,833
ZAR R30,297
CHF FR1,901
DAYS
28
FROM
USD $3,050
CAD $3,306
AUD $4,128
EUR €2,481
GBP £2,104
NZD $4,523
ZAR R46,631
CHF FR3,034
DAYS
14
FROM
USD $2,800
CAD $3,055
AUD $3,281
EUR €2,269
GBP £1,691
NZD $3,531
ZAR R30,251
CHF FR2,324
Travel from Rio de Janeiro to Fortaleza on a journey jam-packed with dazzling beaches, lively cities and spectacular...
DAYS
24
FROM
USD $6,415
CAD $6,995
AUD $7,525
EUR €5,195
GBP £3,865
NZD $8,090
ZAR R69,380
CHF FR5,335
Visit South America and explore the highlights of Argentina and Brazil. See the natural wonders of the Ibera wetlands...
DAYS
14
FROM
USD $5,690
CAD $6,225
AUD $6,665
EUR €4,615
GBP £3,430
NZD $7,170
ZAR R61,440
CHF FR4,725
Visit South America and travel through Chile, Argentina and Brazil on a tour from Santiago in Chile to Rio de Janeiro...

Brazil trip reviews

Our Brazil trips score an average of 4.07 out of 5 based on 41 reviews in the last year.

Northern Brazil , July 2016

Louisa Helene Stefanou

Rio de Janeiro Stopover , March 2016

Katherine Maywood

Articles on Brazil

What’s hot in South America? We ask the world’s best travel bloggers

Posted on Wed, 17 Aug 2016

We asked a few of our favourite bloggers to give us their must-sees in South America. Here's a few suggestions from travel pros with their fingers on the pulse...

Read more

10 reasons you’ve got to get to Rio de Janeiro

Posted on Mon, 15 Aug 2016

Rio de Janeiro is a city of icons. But they're only one part of the story.

Read more

The 15 most beautiful waterfalls in the world

Posted on Tue, 10 May 2016

What makes the perfect waterfall? Height? Water volume? Sheer volume? We put the world's best through their paces.

Read more

Carnaval beyond Rio: 3 other places to join the world’s biggest street party

Posted on Tue, 9 Feb 2016

Thing is, much as Cariocas (Rio locals) would love have you think it elsewise, Rio isn’t the only town to which Carnaval comes.

Read more

Transport

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Depending on which trip you're on while in Brazil, you may find yourself travelling by:

Accommodation

Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.

When travelling with us in Brazil, you may find yourself staying in a:

About Brazil

At a glance

Capital city: Brasilia (population 1.8 million)
Population: 203 million
Language: Portuguese
Currency: BRL
Time zone: (GMT-03:00) Brasilia
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin) Type I (Australian/New Zealand & Chinese/Argentine 2/3-pin)
Dialing code: +55

Best time to visit Brazil

In most parts of Brazil, temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, regardless of the season. The summer months between December and February can be hot and humid, bringing temperatures to the high 30s – perfect weather to enjoy Brazil’s famous beaches. It’s also festival season, so it’s well worth visiting during this time.

Rainfall varies greatly around Brazil so depending on where you’re travelling, you could experience some rain. Around the Pantanal, Manaus and the Amazon basin, expect patches of rain all year round. Rio and the areas around Foz de Iguacu don’t have distinct rainy seasons and are typically drier than some other areas of Brazil.

The south of Brazil experiences extreme seasonal changes, so pack accordingly.

Brazil weather chart

Culture and customs

Happy local kids Rio carnval
Brazilians are universally known for their infectious enthusiasm and lust for life. The wild celebratory atmosphere of Carnaval isn’t a one-off —impromptu street parties, heaving nightclubs and busy dance halls all display the same vibrant energy and passion all year round. Travellers will find that music, dance and good times are all passionately pursued by most Brazilians, regardless of income, gender or age. But it doesn’t stop there. Fun is not limited to the dynamic bars and clubs of the big cities - the natural world is also enjoyed by most Brazilians. With so many spectacular beaches, national parks, mountains and forests, there are plenty of places for Brazilians to enjoy their favourite past times – football, surfing, swimming, hiking, volleyball and capoeira (a Brazilian blend of martial arts and dance). Brazilians are also known for being one of the most open, friendly and affectionate nationalities – personal space isn’t regarded as highly in Brazil as in most other countries, so expect to be hugged and kissed by new and old friends when travelling here.

In contrast to the exuberant, modern life that Brazil's city dwellers live, are the humble, traditional ways of the indigenous tribes that live in the Amazon and surrounds. Despite modern advances, many still live off the land – hunting for wild animals and gathering fruit and berries - although sadly this is rapidly changing due to deforestation and urbanisation. In the face of this, many tribes still cling to their ancient culture through traditional clothing, dance and song.

Eating and drinking

Caipirinha

Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.

Brazil’s major cities feature a wide range of international cuisine, so it’s possible to eat a western-style breakfast, Mexican for lunch and Italian for dinner, with a few traditional Brazilian snacks in between.

Things to try in Brazil

1. Churrasco

This traditional Brazilian barbecue is a true pleasure for meat eaters. Beef, pork, chicken, duck, lamb and fish are all skewered and cooked to perfection over hot coals, creating a smoky flavour and tender texture.

2. Seafood

Brazil’s coastline is home to a bounty of marine life so when on the coast, be sure to eat seafood while it’s at its freshest. Fried baby octopus, king prawns and fragrant, seafood stew are great options.

3. Feijoada

This stew of beans and beef is Brazil’s national dish, and reflects its rich immigrant history. The flavours and style are a mix of African, Indian and Portuguese food traditions, making it a direct culinary link to Brazil’s past.

4. Caipirinha

This refreshing cocktail made from cachaca (a spirit derived from sugar cane), sugar, crushed ice and lime is the Brazilian national drink, and the perfect accompaniment to a beachside sunset.

5. Fruit

Brazil has plenty of tropical fruits and berries – so for a quick snack, head to the markets and buy fresh bananas, limes, oranges, guava, jackfruit and acai berries.

Geography and environment

Iguazu falls Lizard
Being the fifth largest country in the world, Brazil shares land borders with many other countries including Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Suriname and French Guiana. Home to many different landscapes and ecosystems, Brazil’s natural environment is one of the most famous in the world. From the steamy tropical rainforest that surrounds the Amazon River and the swirling torrents of white water at Iguazu Falls, to the stunning beaches, reefs and islands of the coast, Brazil is certainly blessed with the very best of Mother Nature. Home to many of the world's most rare and endangered species, travellers will be able to see the full spectrum of colourful bird life, curious mammals, gigantic snakes and unique marine life.

With such a large population, Brazil’s major cities are busy, crowded and chaotic. It can take some getting used to, but once you’re working with the flow of the Brazilian way of life, you’ll begin to enjoy the pace. With a widening gap between the rich and the poor, housing can vary from large mansions in upscale neighbourhoods and modern apartments right in the heart of the city, to humble tin sheds in the sprawling favelas. In some ways, Brazil’s major cities are full of contrasts but the universal appeal of partying, dancing and drinking seems to cross all cultural and social barriers.

History and government

Local girls in Rio

Early History

Indigenous tribes inhabited Brazil for centuries before the arrival of the first European settlers from Portugal in the 1500s. Colonisation brought agriculture and crop growing to Brazil, resulting in extensive land clearing which dispossessed much of the indigenous population. The growing of sugar cane resulted in an influx of new residents, mainly slaves who brought rich African traditions with them. Remnants of this can still be seen in much of today’s music, dance and food. By the 19th century, coffee had taken the place of sugar as Brazil’s most valuable crop. The increase in coffee production brought a new wave of migrants to Brazil, mainly from Europe, and Brazil’s economy continued to flourish until the military coup of 1889.

Recent History

Brazil’s more recently history has also been characterised by wide spread immigration – especially during and after World War II - with large numbers of Jewish people choosing to flee persecution to live in Brazil, as well as significant numbers of people from the Middle East and other European countries.

In 1989, Brazil held its first democratic election in almost 30 years after decades of military rule. More recently, a stable government has resulted in increased economic prosperity, although many of Brazil’s residents are still impoverished, living well below the poverty line.

Top Picks

Copacabana beach Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil

Top 10 Beach Spots of Brazil

1. Praia do Rosa

The big surf and relaxed vibe of this hip holiday haven in Southern Brazil makes it a firm favourite with visitors and locals alike. Praia do Rosa manages to balance development with tradition - elegant small-scale hotels and eco-lodges provide the perfect place to rest after hiking, whale watching or surfing.

2. Ipanema

The cosmopolitan charms of this world-famous beach make it popular with people from all walks of life. Expect to see enthusiastic travellers, smug millionaires, bohemian artists and indifferent locals all enjoying Ipanema’s magnetic magic.

3. Jericoacoara

Far away from the showy extravagance of Rio lies this secluded spot only accessible by 4x4. Strictly protected from overdevelopment, the slow pace suits the windsurfers and kite surfers who prefer to get their thrills from the ocean's wild tides.

4. Lopes Mendes

This beach, located on the island of Ilha Grande, is considered one of Brazil’s best. The killer combination of fine white sand, great waves and clear, blue water guarantee perfect conditions for swimming, surfing and sun-worshipping.

5. Canoa Quebrada

This mellow hippie haven boasts stunning sand dunes and a deep blue-green sea. Horse riding on the dunes at sunset or cruising the coast on an old fishing boat are great ways to make the most of this picture perfect piece of Brazil.

6. Buzios

Put on the world map by Bridget Bardot back in the 1960s, Buzios is the epitome of Brazilian sophistication. The designer boutiques, glam hotels and cool bars attract the celebrity jet set – but it’s the beautiful bays and beaches that are the true superstars of Buzios.

7. Copacabana

One of the world’s most famous urban beaches, Copacabana, is a top spot to indulge in a bit of people watching. Watch an eclectic mix of people play football, work on their tans and strut their stuff on this busy meeting spot that attracts all walks of life.

8. Praia da Mole

Soft white sand for lazing in the sun and a year-round supply of waves for surfing make this beach in Florianopolis a top pick. Paragliding, wakeboarding and other water sports provide more thrills, while the nearby bars and clubs ensure good times when the sun goes down.

9. Maragogi

Found on the Coral Coast of Brazil, Maragogi’s calm waters offer some respite from the big breaks found on many other Brazilian beaches. Colourful offshore reefs make snorkelling or scuba diving a must for visitors looking for aquatic adventures.

10. Tambaba

One for the free spirits of the world, Brazil’s only official nudist beach is flanked by steep, dramatic cliffs and dotted with swaying coconut palms. Choose to get cheeky and take advantage of lying on Brazil’s only sanctioned nudist beach in all your glory, or keep your kit on and stick to the “non-naturist” side.

Shopping

Buying a hammock

While not the cheapest South American country to travel or shop in, there are plenty of markets and weekend fairs full of interesting antiques, artisan wares and jewellery at low prices. You'll also find modern shopping malls and boutique shops in Brazil’s major cities.

It's also a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.

Things to buy in Brazil

1. Precious Stones

Rio is known as the gemstone capital of the world, so make the most of the wide variety of topaz, tourmaline, emerald and aquamarine on offer in markets and shops.

2. Hammocks

Take a piece of holiday relaxation home with you by buying a brightly-coloured hammock at one of Brazil’s open-air markets. Set it up at home to extend the holiday vibe!

Festivals and Events in Brazil

Rio Carnaval

One of the biggest, boldest and brightest events in the world, Rio Carnaval is a time of dancing, drinking and delirium. While the main event is a flurry of music, make up, glitter and feathers, the month-long street parties and other gatherings may be smaller in scale, but are no less fun.

Boi Bumba

Giant puppets with serpentine heads, floats of women dressed in native-inspired costumes, rousing drum orchestras and troupes of frenzied dancers make Boi Bumba an unforgettable extravaganza. Held on the remote island of Parintins, this festival is less frequented by tourists due the isolated location, but is well worth the journey.

FAQs on Brazil

BRAZIL TOURIST VISA
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Yes - in advance
Tipping is up to the individual when travelling in Brazil. It isn’t expected but will be happily received by service workers like taxi drivers and waiters. Restaurants in Brazil add a 10% surcharge, which is included in the bill. Feel free to leave spare change or tip extra if the service is particularly good.
Internet access is widely available in cities and tourist areas like Rio and Sao Paolo, where there are many internet cafes. Internet access is less frequent in rural and remote areas.
You will be able to use your mobile phone in most urban areas of Brazil, although some of the more remote areas may not have network coverage. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile while in Brazil.
Toilets in Brazil will vary depending on what area you are travelling in. Flushable, western-style toilets are common in the cities large hotels, malls and clubs but more modest squat toilets are the standard in rural areas and while camping. Either way, carrying a supply of toilet paper and soap is a good idea, as these aren’t always available in public toilets.
Cup of coffee in a café = 2 BRL
Beer in a bar = 3.5 BRL
Budget meal = 10 BRL
Three course meal in a restaurant = 60 BRL
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Brazil. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water and fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Major credit cards are widely accepted by large shops, hotels and restaurants in Brazil. However, they may not be accepted by smaller vendors such as small family restaurants, market stalls or in remote towns and rural areas. Make sure you carry enough cash for purchases, since credit cards aren't always an option everywhere in Brazil.
ATMs are found widely throughout Brazil and withdrawing cash shouldn't be problematic in most areas. Some smaller villages and rural areas may not have ATM access, so prepare for this before venturing too far from a city or major town.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1 New Year’s Day
Jan 20 Founding of Rio de Janeiro *
Jan 25 Founding of San Paulo *
Feb 9 Carnival
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 21 Tiradentes
May 1 Labour Day
May 30 Corpus Christi
Sep 7 Independence Day
Oct 12 Our Lady Aparecida, Patron St of Brazil
Nov 2 All Souls’ Day
Nov 15 Republic Day
Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 31 New Year’s Eve
* These holidays are only observed regionally

Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/Brazil/public-holidays

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:

From Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

Brazil Travel Tips

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

Top responsible travel tips for Brazil

1. Be considerate of Brazil’s customs, traditions, religions and culture.

2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.

3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.

4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.

5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.

6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.

7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.

8. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

Roupa Suja Project (UMPMRS)

Working to improve the lives of the families living in the favela in the Roupa Suja neighbourhood, through education. Run by local residents, UMPMRS is providing supplementary education for the disadvantaged local children, family support, a women's group and vocational training in a challenged area of Rio.

Image supplied by UMPMRS.

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Accidental President of BrazilFernando Henrique Cardoso
The BrothersMilton Hatoum
The War at the End of the WorldMario Vargas Llosa
The SeamstressFrances De Pontes Peebles
Gabriel, Clove and CinnamonJorge Amado