A massive country that contains coast, mountains, jungle, desert and thriving metropolises, Brazil is home to equal parts adrenaline-rush adventure activities, pristine natural landscapes, and lively cultures. Brazil tours making it possible to experience a little bit of each.
Wildlife lovers will be drawn to the incredible natural habitats of the Amazon and Pantanal, while beach bums could spend months exploring paradisiacal islands and coastline (and even then, probably not see them all). Outdoor lovers will find countless mountainous regions waiting to be trekked and climbed over, with impressive rivers and lakes throughout. And of course, interspersed throughout all these stunning landscapes are people and cultures who are equally vibrant and larger-than-life (if not more). Brazil has something for every kind of traveler!
Here are a few of the many adventures you can have while in Brazil. From canoeing in the Amazon to rock climbing in Rio, every visitor will find their own unique experience in this beautiful country. Organized tours tend to pick a region (such as rainforest/islands) or an activity (hiking/biking/nature exploration) to make itineraries manageable and enjoyable.
Canoeing, Boating & Sailing
Since Brazil is such a big country, there are many opportunities for adventurers to go canoeing or boating, whether it be a leisurely activity along a gentle river, or a more adventurous activity in a lake or the ocean.
One place adventurers can go boating is the Amazon Rainforest, which is the largest rainforest in the world. It covers a vast amount of northwestern Brazil, and even expands into neighboring countries. There's adventure around every corner in the Amazon Rainforest, with its expansive rivers, exotic animals, and beautiful flora and fauna.
Coasting along the Amazon River, the most voluminous river on Earth, on a canoe in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest is something that every traveler must do when visiting Brazil. You’ll be surrounded by thick jungle and wildlife that can't be found anywhere else.
Brazil also has over 300 islands, so sailing is the perfect water sport adventure for ocean lovers! Beginners can take sailing lessons, while more advanced sailors can rent boats and explore the beauty of Brazil.
Hiking & Trekking
Brazil boasts some of the most beautiful hikes in the world. The country covers a large area of South America, so it's no wonder that there are so many hiking trails, whether through national parks or rainforests.
The highlands of Chapada Diamantina are a wonderful hiking location for adventurers. There are waterfalls, rivers, and canyons throughout Chapada Diamantina, and each offers beautiful views. There are also biking trails and rock climbing opportunities for travelers wishing for even more adventure.
For those with less time, don't rule out the major cities as adventure travel hubs. Right within the city of Rio de Janeiro, and as little as an hour outside of concrete jungle Sao Paulo, travelers will find some of the best trekking in the country. Beginners in Rio will love the views from the Dois Irmaos hikes, while advanced climbers won't want to miss Pedra da Gavea. Within Sao Paulo state, don't miss the scenic Trilha da Pedra Grande.
Some of the most exotic species on the planet are in Brazil. The Amazon Rainforest is the biggest wildlife hub, with many rare and endemic species. Also of note is the Pantanal wetlands, often said to be even better for wildlife watching than the Amazon, due to the thinner brush in which the animals live. The largest tropical wetland area in the world, the Pantanal hosts a vast array of wildlife and aquatic species, and dramatically different flora and fauna in each season.
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Visit Brazil
Because Brazil is such a massive country, the temperature and climate varies from region to region, and depending on the time of year. The climate in the north is different from that in the south, for example. Below the equator, temperatures tend to be quite high, although areas near the equator tend to stay the same throughout the year. Snow and frost can be seen in the mountains and south of the Tropic of Capricorn in the winter. Cities like Rio de Janeiro have a warm climate, Sao Paulo has a subtropical climate, and the Amazon is generally very humid,.
Brazil's rainy season is also it's hottest season (in most areas, this is from October-May), so factor this into your trip. If you'll be visiting during the dry and cooler season (May-September), make sure to check actual temperatures. It isn't always warm enough in every part of the country for that quintessential Brazilian beach trip you may be envisioning.
What to Look For in a Trip
The number one question to ask yourself as you start planning is: how long of a tour would you like to take? For a set price, a tour will take you on a trip lasting anywhere from one day to a week and longer, depending on the activities and locations covered. Pick a tour that best suits your needs.
Always travel with a reputable company and read reviews and safety standard requirements before choosing one. By going with a knowledgeable guide, you will learn more about your environment than you otherwise would as an independent traveler. Depending on the activity, going with a guide can make your trip safer and more enjoyable as everything will be planned for you, leaving you just to enjoy yourself.
Lastly, look for tours which provide transportation and accommodation. Housing may include hostels, homestays, hotels, camping, or guesthouses. If your tour does not provide housing or transportation, you will have to make your own arrangements.
Typical Tour Costs
Tours in Brazil run the gamut, from top-end multi-day trips to much more affordable day trips. Tours run in English are more expensive than those run in Portuguese, so if you know any of the language, taking a Portuguese tour could be a good way to save some money. For an all-inclusive 7+ day tour in English, expect to pay upwards of $800. However, you don't have to fork out this much to enjoy some of the benefits of a guided tour. A day tour within a city (such as around the historical sites) will cost upwards of $30.
Flights to Brazil from the U.S. can be as expensive as $1000 one way, depending on when you fly and from where. Once you're in Brazil, using local transportation will be cheaper than taking taxis or private buses. Keep in mind that domestic flights are fairly expensive, as the distances are large.
One factor to consider when booking a tour is the standard of food, accommodation, and transport that they provide. Like anything, you tend to get what you pay for, and budget or more luxurious tours can both be had.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
During the dry season, make sure you pack for warm temperatures. Always dress respectfully and don’t wear clothes that are too revealing, even though it may seem in some places that more-revealing outfits are popular.
Pack a rain jacket and boots if you’re visiting during the wet season so you’re prepared for any type of weather.
Health & Safety
Because of the risk of yellow fever in Brazil, the Centers for Disease Control recommends travelers get a yellow fever vaccination, although is not required. There are no required vaccines for Brazil, but it's always wise to be up-to-date on routine vaccinations. Talk to your health care provider to decide what is best for you.
Make sure you only drink bottled water, and that all food you consume is carefully and thoroughly cooked. Be cautious of seafood and meats sold on the beach that have often been sitting out in the sun.
While Brazil is quite safe, there is still a lot of crime and travelers should take precautions. Assaltos are a common crime in Brazil, especially in the major cities, where someone will hold up a knife or gun and demand your possessions. The safest thing to do is to not resist, and avoid looking the attacker in the face or eyes.
To prevent muggings, don't walk around at night, especially alone and/or with your possessions. Even during the day, leave valuables at home or carry them discreetly. Do not flash designer clothing or accessories and avoid making it obvious that you have a phone or a laptop on you, especially after leaving the airport. Keep your belongings locked in a safe in your hotel room and never carry them around with you, especially at night. Be wary of theft on public transportation as well.