Brazil is the largest country in South America and in terms of travel is probably the most diverse too. It’s a mostly tropical country with outstandingly interesting cities and diverse landscapes.
It is not the cheapest destination in South America but the local currency has suffered pretty big fall of late making it more affordable now particularly if you are travelling with US dollars.
Solo Travel Safety in Brazil
We would normally address this subject at the end of an article but as a solo traveler then safety is going to be a concern. Of course if you read the travel advisories then you’d never likely go anywhere in Latin America. The US travel advisory is particularly nervous about recommending somewhere like Brazil.
Giving advise on travel safety in Brazil is no easy subject. Like all developing countries the gulf between rich and poor is significant, indeed some say that Brazil has the widest gap between the haves and have nots.
The general advise is to not carry too much in the way of valuables particularly if you are going for a longer times like over 31 days. In fact this is good solo travel advise to any country. Do you really need to take that brand new iPhone or Go Pro camera?
The cities of Brazil can be pretty unsafe in certain areas particularly at night. We’d advise that you take taxis particularly in cities like Rio and Sao Paulo where the gap between rich and poor is at it’s widest.
If you are really concerned about travel safety in Brazil then perhaps take a group trip like something offered by Intrepid Travel company.
When to go to Brazil
The best time to head to Brazil in terms of weather is probably during the US winter months of November through April however Brazil is such a huge country that in reality any time is a good time to hit up Brazil and take in it’s many natural wonders.
For instance during the months of May through October you may want to visit the interior and the Amazon as this is the best time here. If you want coastal cities and festivals then go Nov – Feb but be aware that this is high season and you’ll pay a lot more at this time.
Budget Accommodation in Brazil
It should be possible to get yourself a bed for around the US$20 mark, even in the main tourist areas. There are youth hostels in Brazil, run by the Federação Brasileira de Albergues da Juventude, who have a list.
Be aware that even getting a bed in a dorm room during Carnival is difficult and if you turn up any time near sans a booking then you could literally be sleeping out on the streets!
Pousadas are guest houses, hotel familia means sharing meals with the family and possibly the bath too, and hotels are categorised according to quality. They usually always include breakfast in the price.
A Solo Traveller’s Budget for Brazil
We cannot hide the fact that Brazil in many ways is no longer a true budget destination in the same way Peru or Bolivia might be. It’s roaring economy and speedy acceleration to first world status has taken it closer towards North America and European prices.
Because Brazil is reasonably large, fifth biggest in the world in fact, interior air travel is often the most practical way to go, but definitely not the cheapest. There are some air passes available which might offer a bit of a saving, worth looking into.
Bus services run long distance and the buses fall into three categories from comum, slow local transport which stops frequently, executivo, which are safer and faster as they don’t stop to pick up on the way, they’re also more comfortable and of course slightly more expensive, and leito or semi leito which are overnight services. Expect to pay more for these.
To eat cheaply take advantage of your accommodations breakfast, ask for the prato feito in restaurants, eat in lanchonetes where you pay first, or try to find a pay by weight place where you can also get thin according to how tight your budget is.
Brasil Activities for the Solo Traveler
Spending time in Rio de Janeiro, at the Carnival or otherwise
Drinking cocktails on Copacabana beach to a mental soundtrack of Wham!
Trekking, in national parks, outside Rio, Sau Paulo and various other places
Surfing anywhere along the 7000+km coastline
Hang gliding and Paragliding, there are a few spots, the most well known is Pedro Bonita at Rio
White Water Rafting – in various rivers in San Paulo state.
Brasil Travel – In conclusion
Brazil is as sexy as the day is long and we consider it a great solo destination assuming you take safety precautions. They have the Carnival, just one of many festivals, the most entertaining football team, dancing and partying the night through.
Then there’s the Amazon rainforest, the beaches, the colonial architecture from back in the day when the Portuguese were taking over everyone’s countries to pinch their gold and an amazing array of wildlife.
— NY Times Travel (@nytimestravel) October 20, 2015