top of page


Image by Agustin Diaz Gargiulo

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America (fifth largest in the world) & home to some of the friendliest people. Brazil has something for everyone, wildlife lovers can go to the Amazon or head to the Pantanal in search of the illusive Jaguar. Sun worshippers can head to Rio’s iconic beaches, foodies can enjoy the cultural melting pot in Sao Paulo & of course you can’t forget Carnival for the world’s biggest party!!

Being such a large country, to suggest that a single visit to Brazil is enough would do it an injustice! We have put together some blog posts about some of our favourite destinations & top tips for travelling Brazil at the bottom of this page.

1 - Daily budget in Brazil

Brazil is often overlooked by backpackers as it has a reputation for being too expensive in comparison to its neighbours. Although Brazil is still one of the more expensive Latin American countries, due to a few political problems & financial instabilities the Real isn’t as strong as it once was, making budget travel a lot more realistic.

The Brazil average pie chart shows how the two of us spent our money whilst in Brazil. I’ve made the Pantanal a separate pie chart to avoid skewing the figures. As you can see a big chuck of this is eating out & drinking, so you could easily cut costs by cooking yourself & going out less. We averaged R$665.40 (£112/$135) per day over our 16 days travelling from Rio de Janeiro, along the coast to Sao Paulo.

Brazil mid-range budget, backpacker average daily spend pie chart
Brazilian Pantanal mid-range budget, backpacker average daily spend pie chart

The cost of visiting the Pantanal, especially if you are heading to the North Pantanal Jaguar spotting, is significantly higher than backpacking along the coast. This is mostly due to the travel expense of getting there & the excursions whilst there. In our time between the Northern & Southern Pantanal we averaged R$1,235 (£208/$250) per day. 

Typical costs

Large Beer in a restaurant/bar


A Coffee in a café

Main meal

Private double room

Dorm bed







2 - Currency in Brazil

The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real, last updated in January 2023 the exchange rate was

£1 = R$ 6.3 $1 = R$ 5.1

However it is always best to check up to date rates, I usually us XE to find up to date rates.

3 - Withdrawing cash in Brazil

What cards to use, how and where to withdraw cash & whether it is better to use cash or card for purchases abroad can be a bit of a minefield – read our Budget & Money tips for some general advice on managing your money when travelling.


When visiting in September/October 2022 Bradesco didn’t charge anything for us to withdraw cash using our UK cards. Santander however charged a painful 20R$ to withdraw if using anything other than a Santander bank card.

4 - Best time of year to visit Brazil

With Brazil being such a huge country it spans many different climates. In general though you are deciding between wet season & dry season… SUMMER (October to March) = Hot and rainy or WINTER (April to September) less warm and less rainy weather.

However this is not guaranteed as we visited in dry season & on the coast it rained pretty much the whole time!

Brazil can be split into 3 areas from north to south.

Northern Brazil has an equatorial climate. So it’s rainy and hot most of the year. There is slightly less rain from July to September. So if you are wanting to visit the Amazon Rainforest that’s the best time to visit.

The middle of Brazil has a tropical climate, the start of the year is hot and rainy, and the end is drier but still warm. As the country is vast, the seasons are a bit shifted.

Southern Brazil has a subtropical climate with hot and rainy summers and moderate winters. 

The wet season is called wet season for a reason. Normally, it rains every day, sometimes for an hour around 5/6pm, but sometimes for days.

The high season is from December to March because of the warmer temperature. Be aware though, like most countries high season attracts high prices, especially during Carnival!! Carnival is without a doubt the most expensive time to visit Brazil so if your budget is tight avoid late February. However, if you can afford it we'd highly recommend going then as it is known as the biggest party in the world for a reason!

5 - Perfect itinerary for 4 weeks in Brazil

Google maps image showing out 4 week itinerary of Brazil
Jaguar spotted in the Northern Pantanal, Porto Jofre

Hop on a flight over to Cuiaba to take in some of Brazil's Wildlife in the Pantanal.

  • Allow 5 nights for the Northern Pantanal

  • 1 night in Campo Grande

  • Then 4 nights in Bonito to take in all the south has to offer.

The Pantanal doesn't feature on many itineraries out there as many don't even know it exists or the cost restricts them. See our posts below to for ideas on where to go, when to go there & also ways to make your trip as budget friendly as possible!

Pantanal on a budget, where to go and when

North Pantanal, Brazil – Self Drive & why we chose this option

Bonito, Southern Pantanal, Brazil

The plan above allows you to take in a great range of what Brazil has to offer but far from all of it.

On our initial plan we had put some time aside for Florianopolis, a little further down the coast from Sao Paulo but as we had had such poor weather in Ilha Grande and Paraty, we decided to skip this beachy destination and have more time to spend in the Pantanal instead. However, Stephanie from Budget Bucket List loved it so much she loved it so much she ended up going twice and spending a total of 6 weeks there, read about Stephanie's time in Florianopolis here. If you opt to skip the Pantanal due to the cost, you could continue onto Florianopolis and Iguazu Falls* on the Brazil, Argentine border instead. If you are on a longer trip you can then head into Argentina or if not, there are flight connections out of Iguazu to Europe!

*We visited Iguazu falls on a previous trip to South America and would highly recommend it. As it was 7 years ago we don't want to give out of date information but we stayed two nights in Puerto Iguazu town, on the Argentine side, and visited the both the Argentine and Brazilian falls from there. We also went on a speed boat under the falls on the Argentine side, which was a lot of fun! We booked this bit whilst in the park and I know it still exists now as a friend did it just last week (Nov 22)! 

6 - Travelling around Brazil by bus

For our route we used buses to get to each destination. We found there were not many options when it came to companies who serviced each route so this made the decision of who to travel with easier. Rome2Rio and busbud are useful for checking whether your route is possible and seeing which companies service that particular route, but we found buying our ticket in person at the bus station was always a cheaper option

For the overnight journeys we always opted for the higher class seat referred to as Semi-Cama or Cama which were roomy and reclined a comfortable amount to allow you to get some sleep. For the shorter journeys such Rio to Conceicáo de Jacarei (Ilha Grande port town) and Angra dos Reis (Ilha Grande port town) to Paraty we found ourselves on either a normal coach or local bus, nowhere near as comfortable but fine for a few hours journey. For more information on the different classes of seat see our South America bus classes explained  as the different classes can seem like a bit of a minefield to start with.

7 - Public transport, taxis & Uber in Brazil

Ubers in Brazil are cheap and tracked, so use them. Whilst there are some public transport options (see below) there are most definitely areas of the cities you should not walk, day or night. So if you are unsure as to whether public transport is the right option for your journey, use Uber instead. For short journeys and, or, if there are a few of you it can even work out cheaper. Check the registration number of the car before climbing in to make sure it is in fact your driver.

Buses - we avoided buses in Rio as we were unfamiliar with the routes and as the favelas are located in the city here we didn't want to risk straying into them on a bus by accident. However, in Sao Paulo the favelas are out in the suburbs and so the city buses are perfectly safe and easy to use. There is a set fare of 4.40R$ per ride, regardless of how far you travel and you can pay using cash or card on the bus itself.

Metro - the metro in both Rio and Sao Paulo is extensive and brilliant. It is perfectly safe to use and also has a set fare like the buses. It is 6.50R$ in Rio and 4.40R$ in Sao Paulo. Again you can pay using cash or card at the ticket desks or even tap on using a bank card depending on which bank you use. As it is a set fee, there is no tap off. We used the metro in both cities.

Whilst safe, always be aware of pick pockets when using public transport.

8 - Is Brazil safe to travel?

Traveling anywhere comes with a certain element of risk and in any busy town or city in the world you need to be aware of petty theft and pickpockets. We thankfully never encountered any dangerous situations whilst travelling Brazil and although there were times when my own mind played tricks on me… “does that guy over there look dodgy?”… “should we be walking down this street?” we never actually felt in danger or threatened by anyone. However, there are definitely real stories of travellers running into trouble, so you do need to have your wits about you and follow advice to keep safe.

Read our Tips for safe travel in Brazil post.

9 - Brazilian food & drink

Brazil is a meat lovers dream and vegetarians may struggle a little here. Read our Brazilian Food & Drink post to hear what to expect.

10 - Language spoken in Brazil

Brazil is the only Latin American country with Portuguese as it's official language. Portuguese is spoken by over 95% of the population. Brazil has loads of minor languages spoken from different indigenous groups & also, Japanese, German & Italian, due to the large number of immigrants in certain areas of the country such as São Paulo.

English isn't widely spoken in Brazil but the people are really friendly. So try to learn some basics & get your best smile ready.

11 - Buying a SIM card in Brazil

We found this process relatively straightforward in other South American countries but sadly in Brazil it is a little more complicated. The first problem you will encounter is Brazilians have a CPF number, similar to a National Insurance number in the UK and Social Security number in the US and many of the phone companies will tell you that without this number, which you obviously don’t have, you are unable to register a SIM card.

We were told that Claro & TIM were two providers that would be able to register a SIM card for a foreigner using your passport number. The day we were sorting it out TIM told us their system was down and actually advised us to go next door to Claro.

At Claro we were handed a small piece of paper that told us in English to go to the street vendor across the road and buy a Claro SIM card – very strange, not sure why they couldn’t provide the SIM but anyway that is what we did, paying 13R$ each for a SIM card. 

Back in the Claro store they offered us a package for 100R$ that would be valid for 30 days and included unlimited WhatsApp and 12GB of data. The man in the store set the SIMs and package up for us on our phones and mine worked fine. Unfortunately, Dave’s package didn’t seem to work correctly and despite us going back a few days later we were unable to explain well enough what the problem was. They basically put the 100R$ of credit on your phone and then use it to purchase the bolt on/package so make sure you receive the confirmation text before leaving the store. 

The second issue you need to be aware of is that as Brazil is such a huge country their mobile numbers have area codes. We didn’t realise this and although our SIMs worked fine from Rio all the way down to Sao Paulo, when we headed inland to the Pantanal they became invalid. We queried it in a Claro store in Cuiaba and the only solution was to purchase a new SIM and package. Therefore, when purchasing your Claro SIM try and establish whether it will work for the duration of your itinerary. 

12 - Brazil visa requirements

When visiting a new country we would always refer to the GOV.UK website before travelling as we find we can rely on them being up to date & we have found some foreign governments websites entry requirements page a little confusing at times. The UK government Brazil entry requirements page currently states

"You can travel to Brazil without a visa as a tourist for up to 90 days. If you wish to extend your tourist visa, you should contact the Policia Federal."

13 - What vaccinations do you need for Brazil?

There is no specific vaccinations requirements to enter Brazil, we always check Fit4Travel & Travel help Pro.

The current ones to advised are;

For everyone

  • Diphtheria

  • Tetanus

For some, depending where you are going in Brazil;

14 - Brazil plug type

There are two plug types,

Type C (two round pins)

Type N (two round pins and a grounding pin)

Brazil operates on a 127/220V supply voltage and 60Hz.

​I recommend buying this universal adapter, as it is the best one we've had.

Brazil blog posts

bottom of page