Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and due to its colossal size it can seem like a challenging place to explore. The country ranges from the Andes mountains, the Amazon river, the Atlantic coastline and the spectacular Iguazu falls. This natural beauty the country has to offer, along with its renowned colourful lifestyle and festivals, makes the country a fantastic place to set off on a backpacking adventure. To make the journey as comfortable and smooth as possible, it is advisable to plan your trip and follow backpacking travel tips beforehand.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sun cream
- Mosquito repellent
Plan which time of year you want to spend in Brazil, depending on what you want to do. Backpacking around Brazil has a lot to offer at any time of year but be aware that summers can be humid and winters tend to be rainy. To experience the season of fun and bright festivals, visiting from December to January is the time to go. Just be prepared for prices to be higher in the most popular tourist season. Following Carnavale, from March to May, the summer weather and fewer crowds could be an attractive time to visit for a more relaxed experience.
Some people say that for a country as large and diverse as Brazil it is important to give at least a month to travel around it. But if time is limited then a 10-day period is recommended so that it is not too rushed.
Check passport requirements. To enter Brazil, your passport must be valid for more than six months and often you have to have a return ticket out of the country. Sometimes you may have to prove that you can support yourself during your stay, and depending on your nationality you may need a visa. Check on your embassy website for up-to-date information.
Check which vaccinations are required for anyone travelling to Brazil. The Yellow fever vaccination is needed for anyone travelling to certain areas, and malaria tablets are recommended. Hepatitis and typhoid immunisation is also recommended. Remember to double check with online sources and in a local tropical disease medical center for precise and up-to-date information.
Pack sensibly and cautiously, as in many parts of the country the tropical weather can bring storms and sunshine in the same day. A hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and mosquito repellent are all necessary items no matter where you may be travelling.
Accommodation can vary, so be sure to some research before heading somewhere to know what to expect in terms of prices and comfort levels. Family homes regularly rent out rooms and apartments which are know as pousadas. Alternatively, there are youth hostel equivalents known as albeurges. These are often cheaper and breakfast may be included. For those with a higher budget, luxury hotels are available in most cities, but may be harder to find in smaller towns.
Budgeting in Brazil can be difficult as the prices vary so much from place to place. The country is developing its tourist industry rapidly, and it is seen as one of the more expensive areas in South America.
It is wise to learn some Portuguese beforehand in order to communicate with local people who may not speak much English. This is a matter of courtesy, and is often very appreciated. It will also help to keep prices from being hiked up to tourist levels.
Buses are a good regular form of transport around Brazil, however you must be prepared for long and possibly uncomfortable journeys if you want to see a lot of the country. Buses are reasonably priced and are available in either economy or deluxe fares. Potholes can be common on parts of the road.
Preparing for your trip
Tips and warnings
- Check the embassy website and with your local doctor's surgery for up-to-date information about entry and health requirements.
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