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Brazil Solo Travel Guide

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Solo Travel Brazil Guide

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 traveling 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.

brazil travel safety alone

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 beach vacation

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.

Every four years, the attention of sports fans around the world focuses on one particular city: the host of the Summer Olympics. The 2016 Olympic Games took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and it is not too soon to start planning your visit if you want to see the games in person – or if you just want to have an outstanding holiday. Opening Day is 5 August and the lavish Closing Ceremony will be held on the 21st. Tickets were no longer that easy to come by, but the experience promises to be unforgettable, in equal parts for the stunning venues, the exciting sporting events, and all that Rio has to offer.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the largest cities in Brazil, second only to São Paulo, and it draws millions of tourists every year. The main language is Portuguese and the currency is the ‘real.’ Olympic events will take place in four neighbourhoods: Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracana, at 34 state-of-the-art competition venues, with most of the events held in Barra. Brazil is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means that August is towards the end of the winter(!) in Rio. Nonetheless, the weather is expected to be mild, with temperatures in the 70’s – nothing like winter in the UK. Rio is a coastal city and it is famous for its fabulous beaches, which are glorious even in the “winter” months. Anyone traveling to Rio for the Olympic Games, should put aside some time to just enjoy the attractions that make Rio de Janeiro such a beautiful destination.

Some of the top destinations near Rio that are definitely worthy of being on the ‘to visit’ list include the Big Island, Ilha Grande, some 90+ miles from Rio, a haven for those who like tropical forests and untouched beaches. Another beach resort is Buzlos, which sports nearly two dozen glorious beaches! For a bit of history mixed with the sea, picturesque coastal town Paraty features cobblestone streets and lovely shops, but it located some 160 miles from the events taking place in Olympic Village.

Essential Travel information for Brazil

Getting to Brazil and around

Brazil is one of the main gateways to South America, and Rio is the busiest air space in the country. Many airlines from North America, Europe and in some cases Asia / Pacific fly direct to Rio. Expect airfares to be high this year, in fact it might be cheaper to fly into another part of Latin America and then fly onwards.

Solo Safety in Rio and Brazil

Ok, lets be honest, Rio and Brazil doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to travel safety, and if you are on your own, you’ll need to be on your guard even more. However, do not let reputations put you off, many people visit Rio, even alone, and have a great time and are not victims of petty crime or worse. The same precautions should be taken as any other big city. Rio needs to be no more dangerous than your average European or North American city.

Where to stay

Rio is going to be jam packed during the Games, and on top of that it will be summer vacation time. It could be as busy as the carnival time. Our advice is always have something booked in advance and perhaps consider hostels, rather than hotels, as they’ll be a whole lot cheaper. Air Bnb is becoming popular in Brazil, so it might be worth checking out your travel dates on their site.

After the Olympics?

If you have time to spare, then you should consider heading north towards the big coastal cities, such as Recife. Also consider a trip inland to see the mighty Amazon and experience a totally different side of this fabulously diverse country.