Backpacking is taking off in a big way in Brazil, with a large number of backpackers coming into and leaving Brazil. Where once backpacking was seen as a ‘low class’ activity, the Brazilian tourism industry is realizing the potential revenue even low budget travelers can generate if they come in numbers high enough. There are hostels, the active Brazilian culture and atmosphere, as well as beautiful beaches with more accommodations and tour packages available for backpackers.
The costs and requirements of a tourist visa to Brazil vary and are subject to frequent changes. British citizens don’t require a visa prior to arrival at the airport but other EU citizens as well as Americans do. The cost will run from $50-200 depending on your nationality (the higher range for Americans) and your visa must be valid for at least 6 months prior to arrival. You must also have an onward ticket to somewhere outside of the country and be able to prove you have enough money to survive while you are there.
- Visas are generally granted for 30-90 days depending on your application.
- They take about 10 business days to process.
- As we mentioned, fees and requirements vary frequently especially in the case of Brazil. Make sure to check the embassy requirements for the latest information.
Hostels and Places To Stay
In Rio and Sao Paolo you’ll find a large number of backpacker hostels. There are definitely a lot of “party” hostels in Brazil so make sure when booking on Hostelbookers to read the reviews and descriptions carefully. (Whether you want to party or not.) Here are some hostels in each of those cities that are somewhere in between, highly rated, and in pretty good locations around their respective towns.
Rio de Janeiro
Getting Around Brazil
If you’ll be headed to Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paolo, make sure you’re careful of your possessions and surroundings. Sao Paolo has a high crime rate and is a fun place but you just need to follow some general rules. Don’t wear or carry any expensive jewelry or electronics and make sure you know the parts of town you’ll be going and what they are like before you arrive. Again, the hostel or hotel reception is a good place to find this information and you can save yourself a bit of trouble by asking before you head out.
- Check out your map in a private place, and not in the streets. This is especially important in Sao Paolo.
The bus system in Brazil is excellent and you can catch a direct route from almost any two cities in the country. The prices are moderate and are about $30 from city to city but comfortable plus a cheaper way to see some of the bordering countries if you’re looking to take a few road trips.
- In each city you can hop a local bus which are plentiful. Get on from the back, it’s usually where the meter and tickets are and walk off the front. Pickpocketing on buses is common so don’t wear or bring valuables. If you must, hide them in your bag and keep it close by your side.
If you’re in Sao Paolo or Rio learn the metro and subway system as it’s the best way to get around town. It’s not expensive and you can get day passes which are cheaper and best in the first few days when most backpackers tend to hop around the city most. The subways are pretty safe just be mindful of pickpockets and follow the usual best practices mentioned above.
It’s not your best bet to rent a car in Brazil usually since there are easier ways to get around most towns. Car rental is expensive and finding parking can be difficult unless you’re willing to shell out some extra cash to leave your car in a garage.
Climate and Weather
Rio is warm almost year round as it is close to the Equator. You can bring along plenty of beach gear and some good walking shoes if you’ll be in the regin but towards the south and Sao Paolo you’ll find more of the typical 4 seasons. Temperatures are still fairly moderate however and more than a light jacket won’t be necessary in either city.
Things To Do
- Carnival – There are Carnivals across Brazil in various cities but arguably the most famous is in Rio de Janeiro. Held every year 40 days before Easter it’s large celebration with street dancing, food, and partying.
- Explore The Amazon – Take a guided tour in the world’s largest rain forest before it disappears due to excessive logging.
- More Festivals – In Brazil you can find a festival in most cities around various times of the year. The best ones are in smaller towns where the celebrations take on a local feel.
- Copacabana – 4 kilometers of one of the world’s most famous beaches and home to some of the best New Year’s parties anywhere.
It’s humid and warm across most of Brazil, which is more true the further north you are. A good backpacks that breathes well against your back to prevent excessive sweating is recommended.
Backpacking The Region
If you’re considering a regional backpacking trip try combing Argentina with:
| Argentina | 123| 123