BRAZIL SOLO TRAVEL GUIDE
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO! BRAZIL TRAVEL GUIDE 2023
PLAN AND BOOK YOUR BRAZIL SOLO TRAVEL
- BRAZIL: DID YOU KNOW?
- BRAZIL TRAVEL PLANNING
- BRAZIL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- BRAZIL TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
- CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
- HOW TO BOOK BRAZIL TRAVEL
- BRAZIL ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
- BRAZIL TRAVEL SAFETY
- BRAZIL BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
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BEM VINDO AO BRASIL!
Hi! I’m Gwen, and my passion is using my 27+ years of global travel and sustainability knowledge and experience to help the solo over 50’s be and stay adventurous through solo travel with their eco-friendly, responsible travel foot forward. Here is my travel guide to Brazil from my Brazil travel so you can book and realize your Brazil solo travel. What are you waiting for?
BRAZIL: DID YOU KNOW?
Brazil – home of the Amazon Rainforest (the largest rainforest in the world, 23 classified UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Copacabana Beach, Carnaval, Sugarloaf Mountain, Iguaçu Falls, the samba and bossa nova, cachaça and caipirinhas (the national drink), and futebol (soccer). Brazil also holds one of the 7th Wonders of the World, the Christ the Redeemer statue, located in the epic city, Rio de Janeiro.
Languages in Brazil
The official language is Portuguese.
Brush Up on Portuguese Basics for Brazil Travel
Brazil, the largest country in South America, is officially known as the Federative Republic of Brazil. It is primarily a Western derived culture influenced mostly from the Portuguese and African people; however, there are many indigenous cultures as well.
The majority of the population identify as Catholic and celebrate secular holidays as well as place importance on their familial time, leisure and barbecues. Brazilians are also notoriously late – they have a laid back attitude so placing punctuality on their list of priorities is not on the high end. If you are invited to a party, it’s quite alright to show up “fashionably late”.
Popular Activities in Brazil
Brazil holds the world-class city, Rio de Janeiro, to where thousands flock in February for the annual Carnaval festival. Soccer is also hugely popular in Brazil, but capoeira is the national sport. Brazilians also enjoy their leisure time with dancing and parties in the lively nightlife scenes of Rio and Sao Paulo to getting out to the national parks or nature reserves of the Amazonian region.
Popular Brazil Activities
BRAZIL TRAVEL PLANNING
Brazil uses the Brazilian real (R$) – exchange rates are very favorable for U.S. citizens.
Tipping in Brazil
Traveling in a new country is easier when you know the country’s tipping etiquette in advance as each country has its own rules. That said, country rules and norms can shift, so here is an international tipping resource for over 70 countries to use as a general guideline that I have found is constantly updated.
What’s not on there is how to tip a concierge, beauty salons or spas, travel or tour guides, etc. For these extras, it is acceptable to tip 10% at minimum. Remember, tipping is for good service only.
Additionally, you should always tip in the local currency (if tipping in cash), and do not be offended if your tip is refused as it may not be the norm. I feel it’s always better to offer a tip for good service than not, unless I know it will be considered offensive, like in Japan.
It’s a complete bummer to spend time and money on the holiday of a lifetime only to show up at a key attraction, or try to access travel or banking resources, only to find them closed due to a national or local holiday.
Therefore, a key activity to do in your early Brazil travel planning stage is to know the national and local holidays in Brazil.
BRAZIL TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
Travel Documents for Brazil
From the U.S., a Brazil travel visa is not required for visits up to 90 days. Make sure your passport expiration date is greater than 6 months from your return to the U.S. The U.S. State Department always has their link up to date with pertinent information when visiting Brazil. It is advised to always check there during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
Choose from Top Travel Document Holders
Vaccinations for Brazil
Brazil travel vaccinations may be advised or required depending on your Brazil destinations. The U.S. State Department provides up-to-date required vaccination information to plan your Brazil trip. It is advised to always check for any Brazil travel restrictions and required vaccinations during your planning stage and again before you leave.
If you are not from the U.S., please check your government’s website.
BRAZIL TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
Electronics for Brazil
Want to use your 110 V electronics while traveling in Brazil? Brazil’s voltages are 127V and 220V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. So, if you do not already have electronics (hair dryer, clippers, curling iron, etc.) made for Brazilian voltages, you will need to bring a voltage converter to use your electronics. Below are top-rated power converters for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Converter That’s Right For You
Most smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and similar electronics don’t require a converter (double-check your device(s) before you leave home), but you will still need a plug adapter.
Traveling to Brazil, a Type C or Type N adapter will fit Brazilian electronic outlets. I recommend bringing 2 of each adapter required. I do not recommend using those single adapters for 100+ countries. They have been known to break and/or cause a power short.
Be prepared before you visit Brazil. Bring a solid, reliable, and grounded power adapter to safely charge your electronics in Brazil. Below are top-rated US to Brazil power adapter options, from the only brand I travel with, for you to compare and buy.
Choose the Brazil Adapter That’s Right for You
Type N Adapters
Type C Adapters
If you are going to another country in addition to your trip to Brazil, you can check this international travel adapter guide to make sure you’re prepared.
Cyber Security While Traveling
Having a virtual private network (VPN) service and portable WiFi is always a good idea to not just stay connected, but stay connected securely in your hotel and all public spaces, like airports, train stations, and restaurants.
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CITY GUIDES & ITINERARIES
Buzios is a fishing village not to be missed if traveling Brazil alone. Rio de Janeiro to Buzios is only a few hours, which makes Buzios a nice weekend getaway from Rio. Read my Guide to Solo Travel in Buzios to learn about where to stay in Buzios, Buzios things to do, and more.
How about a little visual on visiting Buzios, Brazil? Take a quick spin to see some of what Buzios solo travel has to offer. Then go! I would love to be able to go back to Buzios.
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Buzios Brazil
Reserve a Rio to Buzios Transfer
Rio de Janeiro
Don’t think Rio de Janeiro is safe for solo travelers? Think again. Rio is an ideal solo travel destination and has much to offer the Brazil solo traveler. Read my Guide to Traveling Rio de Janeiro Alone to find out why.
Book Now, Pay Later – Top Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Angra dos Reis
I stayed in Angra dos Reis, a 3 hour drive from Rio de Janeiro, with a friend and her family. It’s hard to beat Angra dos Reis for beach relaxation and water activities. I highly recommend this coastal area of Brazil.
Here are my recommended things to do in Angra do Reis (from what I’ve already enjoyed or would do when I revisit).
Recommended Things to Do in Angra dos Reis
Reserve a Rio to Angra dos Reis Transfer
HOW TO BOOK BRAZIL TRAVEL
It’s important to book the top three travel necessities early: flights, accommodations and ground transportation.
No Brazil travel guide would be complete without the booking tools below. These, along with fun Brazil things to do and ecotourism ideas, will allow you to realize your solo trip to Brazil.
Cheap Flights to Brazil
With the ever-growing demand for airline tickets to Brazil, flights book quicker these days. Find cheap flights to Brazil now.
Don’t Wait to Book Your Flight to Brazil
Places to Stay in Brazil
Second in importance to buying airline tickets to Brazil is finding the best place to stay in Brazil for your Brazil solo travel. Develop your Brazil travel itinerary now and find the best Brazil solo travel accommodations to knock one more travel planning item off your solo travel list.
Find the Best Solo Travel Accommodations in Brazil
Getting Around Brazil
Brazil has all forms of transportation, including Uber, Carpoolworld, and other possible regional ridesharing services and apps (research in advance if they are in your destination area).
There are also taxis, of course, and you can easily find a rental car in Brazil if that better suits your Brazil travel itinerary.
Find the Best Deals on Brazil Rental Cars
Brazil also has regional buses, multiple city and light rail services, and the Vale train service operates two passenger systems: Vitória a Minas Railroad and Carajás Railroad.
Things to Do in Brazil
Here are some of the top things to do in Brazil to book for your Brazil solo travel.
Popular Food and Drink Activities in Brazil
BRAZIL ECO-TRAVEL IDEAS
There are ways to reduce your carbon footprint on your trip to Brazil through air travel, accommodations, tours, and activities in Brazil. To help avoid greenwashing businesses, here are some eco-friendly or sustainable travel (also called responsible travel) tips and resources, you can use to book your travel.
Air Travel Tips
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Purchase carbon offsets through your airline or through a third party, like MyClimate.org, Carbonfund.org, or terrapass. Carbon offsetting allows you to buy a certificate to reduce carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change, which in turn contribute community projects across countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The best eco-friendly forms of ground transportation in Brazil are public transportation, walking (if it’s safe), or renting a bicycle or electric scooter. They are also apt to cost less than other ground transportation.
Explore Brazil Bike and Electric Scooter Rentals
Try to avoid renting a car or flying in Brazil by using a regional bus, light rail service, or one of the two passenger train systems: Vitória a Minas Railroad and Carajás Railroad.
When booking an Uber in Brazil, select the Uber Green option, instead of a traditional rideshare, to support the use of electric cars for cleaner transportation in Brazil.
Lime also has electric scooters to rent in Brazil for fast and clean commuting in select cities.
Look for Brazil accommodations with the following self and third-party assessed certifications when you book:
Green Globe – Green Globe certifies hotels, resorts, conference centers, transportation, attractions, tour operators, and other tourism businesses globally on sustainable operations and management. Look for Brazil Green Global members.
Green Key Global is an internationally recognized environmental certification for the lodging and meetings industries, including hotels and hostels, campsites and holiday parks, restaurants and attractions in 65 countries. Search for Green Key awarded sites.
Living Building Challenge – if you want to stay in a true, sustainable building, find one certified by the Living Building Challenge. LBC’s certification directory shows all project types globally. Hopefully they will put in a filter soon to allow searching by hotels or hospitality type.
LEED Certified – the USGBC’s LEED Certified label on buildings, like many of the Marriott’s hotels, are those that have verifiably employed multiple and varying green building strategies to improve human and environmental health. Search the LEED directory for Brazil certifications.
Green Lodging Program – Audubon International has an environmental stewardship certification through third-party verification. Search its certified members directory.
GSTC Certified – the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, as well as international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies. Booking sites that offer GSTC certified sustainable are bookdifferent, EcoHotels, and Transat.
Another way to find accommodations in Brazil implementing eco-friendly or sustainable practices, certified or not, is to reserve a Booking.com Travel Sustainable accommodation. Booking.com started the Travel Sustainable program in 2022.
Find Your Travel Sustainable Stay in Brazil
Eco-Friendly Things To Do
Brazil has ecotourism ideas available to explore for your next vacation.
Search Green Global and Green Key awarded members for eco-friendly activity providers in Brazil. Some may also have the GSTC Certified logo.
Top Brazilian Ecotourism
There are more ways to do your part for the planet in your responsible travel, like bringing sustainable and eco-friendly products to protect Brazil’s environment.
For more ideas on how to travel with the planet in mind, read my 10 Easy Eco-Travel Tips and view my suggested Eco Travel Resources to learn more.
BRAZIL TRAVEL SAFETY
Before You Go To Brazil
Always consult your government’s Brazil travel advisory for your Brazil travel destination in the beginning travel planning phase and up to your departure date.
Buy Brazil travel insurance and international medical insurance for your Brazil solo travel to protect yourself and cover for emergencies.
Safety in Brazil
In Brazil, it really depends on where you’re going to know if one area is more of a safety concern than another. Keep in mind, Brazil is a very large country. Theft or pickpocketing, which could happen in most places to be honest, could be a concern.
Be careful not to wander or bike at night by yourself. If you do walk at night, make sure it’s in well-lit areas and with plenty of people. If need be, take a taxi or a rideshare.
Of course, my standard travel tips for female travelers and solo travelers also apply:
- always carry photo ID with you; if you don’t want your passport on you at all times, at least carry a copy of it.
- always be “street wise”.
- always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you feel the need to imbibe or feel the need to “let loose” – you’re on vacation so have fun!
- never leave your food or drink unattended.
- keep your belongs on your person, or at least in your view in close proximity, at all times.
- be open to meeting and talking with new people – that is where a lot of the travel experience lies – but be careful on how you divulge personal information.
- research places in advance, if possible, so you know what to expect (i.e., “have a familiar view” – I like to Google the street view of new addresses I’m going to first).
- if something, someone or someplace makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut – leave.
BRAZIL BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
Best Time to Visit Brazil
Brazil’s summer is December to March and it can get quite hot no matter where you go. Winter is June to September, which is considered their high season but still holds good travel fares. Considering that the weather is still warm (lowest temperatures remain round 20oC/70oF in July) during their winter, I consider this still a good time to go, especially if you are headed to the Amazon and Pantanal regions.
March and April are considered the cheapest time to visit Brazil. If hot and humid is not for you, stick to visiting between March to October, if not June and July.
Staying in Brazil hostels could save you a lot of money on accommodations in Brazil, especially if you stay in a dorm-style room. Save more money by booking well in advance.
Many hostels offer private rooms, which I choose from time to time. Private rooms in hostels could possibly be cheaper than hotels in Brazil – it depends on where you stay and how far in advance you reserve.
Don’t overlook exploring hostels in Brazil if you’re on a budget.
Reserve Your Brazil Hostel
Additionally, if you love to shop, Brazil’s exchange rate and lower prices, depending on the product, could make you very happy shopping on a budget.
Best Time to Book Travel
Ready to book Brazil solo travel? Well, the sooner you book your reservations, the more you’re likely to save money and get the best flight, accommodation, and rental car choices and deals.
Don’t miss out and find the best Brazil travel deals. The best time to book travel is now. Bundling flight, hotel and/or transportation reservations may even save you more money when traveling to Brazil.
Book Brazil Travel Early to Save Money
I have had the good fortune to make several Brazilian friends living in California. I loved the birthday, holidays and barbecues they would have with meat galore and caipirinhas. Music is non-stop and there could be dancing or card games. Casual events like these could go well into the night, considering also that they would inevitably always get going late. For example, if the party starts at 3pm, then show up at 4 or 5pm.
Brazilians are much fun to hang out with – they have a great sense of humor and are very hospitable. When you’re with them you feel like one of the family. I’m ashamed to admit it took me many years to get to Brazil – yah, life gets in the way sometimes. I finally made it to Brazil in 2018 to visit one of my Marin girlfriends and her family in Rio and Angra dos Reis, as well as do my first international dive in Buzios. I’ll share soon my Brazilian tips and ideas.
Brazilians are some of my favorite people, and my Brazilian friends are some of the best people I know. Period.