It went by so fast that sometimes I think it was just a really elaborate dream.
Before we had the opportunity to visit Brazil, I wouldn’t say it was on the top of my list of places to travel. I’ve certainly always been interested in exploring South America, but didn’t know that much about Brazil. To top it off, I was a little annoyed to have to pay for an expensive visa ($160 USD per person) to enter the country.
I’m super cheap about really weird things. I’ll splurge to travel any day, but I rarely go above and beyond the baseline needed to get there. When I travel home to Oklahoma, for example, I almost always fly Southwest. But no matter how cheap the flight, I refuse to pony up for the $12.50 Early Bird Check-In, despite the fact that I almost always forget to check in and get crappy boarding assignments. But… for two people to get early bird round trip, it adds up to $50, which could buy a pretty awesome bottle of wine. So I suck it up and sit in the back of the plane. But then I usually purchase in-flight internet. It makes no sense.
Anyway, the visa expense fits into the category of things I arbitrarily loathe paying for, but the opportunity to spend time in Brazil proved too tempting for my cheapness and we’ve since been to the country twice (the tourist visa is good for 10 years) and have fallen head over heels for its people and its beauty. I like to think we got our $160 worth!
* You guys are in luck! For a limited time from June 1st to September 18th, tourist visa fees are being waived for citizens of America, Canada, Japan and Australia to accommodate those who will be attending the Olympics, which run from August 5th to August 21st. Olympics tickets are not required to get the visa requirement waived. This is a great time to plan your visit! You can get more info here.
** No one paid me to say that.
Still on the fence? This master list of reasons to visit Brazil is guaranteed to inspire your wanderlust!
42 Reasons to Visit Brazil
- The colorful and exotic wildlife. With many diverse ecosystems, Brazil is considered to have the highest amount of biodiversity of any country on the planet. While my sightings were mainly limited to colorful birds and cuddly monkeys (and, thankfully, only one spider) there are countless species to search for in Brazil. Angela Travels gives a great overview in this blog post.
- You can sip wine in Brazil’s underrated wine country. Getting to Bento Goncalves takes a little effort, but this charming mountain town in the heart of the Serra Gaucha will win you over with its easy access to Brazilian wineries, its Italian influence and its cuisine.
- Off-the-beaten-path paradise in Jericoacoara. We didn’t make it to this little slice of heaven, but it’s at the top of my list for the day we’re able to return. Read this post by the Travelettes for more info.
- Adventures in Brotas. Located near the Jacaré Pepira River in Sao Paulo state, Brotas offers hiking, white water rafting and canoeing amount other adventures.
- You can visit the “Capitol of Happiness” and enjoy huge outdoor parties in Salvador. A Cruising Couple has all the details.
- The ultimate satisfaction for your sweet tooth – brigadeiros. We quickly stumbled upon these local delicacies not long into our stay in Brazil. Brigadeiros are essentially chocolate fudge balls that you’ll often see sold at cash registers at restaurants as well as in grocery stores and bakeries. They are essentially a cavity waiting to happen, but oh so good for an occasional treat (I recommend sharing one with a friend). If you can’t wait for your trip to Brazil to satisfy your curiosity, blogger From Brazil to You has a recipe for making them at home.
- Island hopping. One of my favorite memories from our Brazil trip, and my life thus far, was our time in Paraty. Although it was a bitch to get there, I never wanted to leave. If you’re planning to travel to Rio for the Olympics, I highly recommend Paraty as a side trip for a more relaxing and laid back experience.
- Panquecas. These are one of my favorite Brazilian foods. Panquecas are a sort of enchilada, with doughy crepe-like wraps filled with chicken, cheese and/or beef and topped with red sauce and cheese.
- Chill out at Trindade’s Praia do Cachadaco.
- Caipirinhas. No trip to Brazil is complete without a caipirinha, preferably consumed beach side.
- Take a guided motorboat tour down the Preguiças river in Maranhão. This post from the Travel Dudes gives the scoop.
- Explore the Caminhos de Pedra. This slice of history in Rio Grande do Sol shows how Italian immigrants lived in the 1800s.
- Cheap, fresh juice. If you walk into a restaurant in Brazil, the odds are very high that you will be able to get fresh squeezed orange juice with your meal. Many places have a large selection of other fresh fruit juices as well, ranging from pineapple to kiwi to cashew. It’s cheap too, often ringing up to around 3 reais, which is less than one U.S. dollar.
- Search out a secluded beach on Florianopolis. Although many locals I spoke to during my time in Brazil had negative things to say about Florianopolis (it gets colder than other parts of the country, and Brazilians take “cold” very seriously), it still looks stunning from photos. This post explains why it’s great for finding secluded beaches.
- Take a cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. This tourist attraction is considered by many to be a must when visiting Brazil.
- Take a fishing boat through Brazil’s only tropical fjord.
- The sunsets will stun you.
- Taste the flavors of the Amazon in Sao Paulo at Brasil a Gosto. This place offered one of our most memorable meals during our time in Brazil. If you can’t make it to the Amazon, this is the next best thing.
- The Olympics are in Rio this year. Personally, I tend to avoid big crowded events like this, but I have to admit attending the Olympic games would be an amazing experience and I can’t think of a more beautiful backdrop than Rio.
- See amazing street art. Street art is everywhere in Brazil, though my favorite was definitely Batman’s Alley in Sao Paulo.
- Hike Morro Da Urca in Rio. This was one of the best experiences I had in Brazil, and it was free!
- Celebrate Carnival. Perhaps the most common reason travelers visit Brazil, next year’s Carnival dates are February 5 through February 10. This post gives recommendations of which cities to visit to celebrate.
- Surf at Sao Miguel Do Gostoso. This is only one of 7 adventures you shouldn’t miss in Rio Grande do Norte, according to The Tourist of Life.
- The food in Rio is delicious. Enough said.
- See quirky architecture in capital city Brasilia. This is a more divisive choice. Most Brazilians I talked to about Brasilia said to skip it, but it’s a popular choice for those interested in unusual architecture. I’ve heard it’s best to visit during the week when people are there working. Most of the locals leave the city on the weekend.
- There’s a restaurant in Sao Paulo that is an homage to Pulp Fiction. The burgers are bigger than your face.
- See one of the world’s most elegant coffee shops in Rio’s Centro. Along with architecture, restaurants and street art, Confeiteria Columbo is a delight to the senses.
- Visiting the Christ the Redeemer statue is a life changing experience for many. Unfortunately, we haven’t checked this off of our to-do list yet, but hopefully someday. Read about Naomi in Wonderland’s story about her visit here.
- Parque Ibirapuera in São Paulo. This massive urban park is truly a sight to behold. There are running trails, city views, vendors selling fresh coconut water and often free events and concerts.
- Visit the underrated Pantanal. The Amazon is not the only place to spy wildlife and get in touch with rugged nature. The Pantanal, which like the Amazon is not for the faint of heart, is part of the world’s largest tropical wetland area. For more information about what it’s like to visit, read this post by Angela Travels.
- The exchange rate is great for most. The exchange rate from USD to Brazilian reais is very favorable, which was great in allowing us to stretch our food and travel budget while we lived in Brazil. We did try to shop locally and support the local economy as much as possible, since the economy is making things very difficult for many Brazilian citizens.
- Take your pick from the 25 beaches of Fortaleza. See one or all 25! For more information about Fortaleza, read this post.
- An easy hike on Morro do Leme. This approachable hike offers access to the Fort of Duque de Caxias and gorgeous views at the top. Stephany at Quarter Life Epiphany offers more information here.
- Visit Buzios. If you’re in Rio for the 2016 Olympics, or just because, tack on a relaxing weekend trip to Buzios.
- You can fly all over the country for cheap. Think you have to be a budget backpacker to see all of Brazil? Maybe not, with Azul Airlines’ $300 all-inclusive air pass. Can I just say how bummed I am that they debuted this AFTER we got back to the states? Sigh.
- Get wild in the Amazon. I had my malaria pills packed and ready to go, but sadly we never made it to the Amazon. It remains on the bucket list and I hope to visit one day. This post by the Travelettes will have you aching to go as well.
- It’s a must for football fans. The kind with the round ball.
- Try a unique snorkeling experience in Bonito. While most thing of the Caribbean when it comes to exotic snorkeling, the Rio da Prata offers a fresh water snorkeling experience in a beautiful river.
- Cool off with the freshest coconut water. Coconut stands are a common sight in Brazil. Feeling dehydrated? Pay a small price for a fresh coconut, and drink up!
- You can slip down a 193-foot-tall water slide. I have no idea why anyone would want to do this, but if you’re crazy enough to try then go right ahead on the Killmanjaro at Aldeia das Águas in Rio de Janeiro. If you want the adrenaline at a little less altitude, try Insano, a 134-foot slide in Fortaleza. But really, it sounds dangerous, so maybe don’t?
- See the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Rio. Nature lovers will swoon over this attraction located at the base of Corcovado Mountain.
- See Ouro Preto, Brazil’s gold rush town and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ouro Preto is great for history buffs and architecture fanatics.
Now what are you waiting for? Grab your flip flops and book a flight!