When you’re thinking of planning a holiday in Brazil, there are some questions that come up time and time again. On the other side of the coin, there are some tips that for some reason never seem to filter through into the general knowledge of Brazil and holidays in Brazil. Sure, everyone’s heard of the famous Rio Carnival, but how many people know about the Carnival Winners’ Parade a week later? Everyone has heard of Copacabana, but why don’t people know more about the deserted tropical beaches of Fernando de Noronha? Here we’ll be answering all those questions, and sharing our top 10 tips for your holiday in Brazil!
1. Pack Your Dancing Shoes
If you leave Brazil without dancing, you can’t really say you’ve been to Brazil. Music is everything and everywhere in Brazil and whether it’s dancing the night away to samba in a packed club in Rio, or enjoying some axe in a beach bar in Itacare, you simply have to dive in and enjoy it on your holiday in Brazil. We’ll also let you into a little secret: Brazilians always think of themselves as great dancers and some of them are, but don’t be self-conscious: we personally know several who have two left feet, and you’ll find that a couple of caipirinhas are a great leveller…
2. Check the climate in Brazil before you go
Brazil is a BIG country and so the climate and weather will vary hugely depending on where you want to visit on your holiday in Brazil. For example, the far south of the country can get quite cold in the southern winter, so if you’re planning on some surfing in Florianopolis then July might not be the time to do it. Further north the climate is more settled but you will get a lot more rain in our spring and summer. It’s warm rain so not too much of a problem, but you still might want to pack a raincoat. Inland, the Amazon rainforest climate is different again, and you will see temperatures in the thirties for most of the year. However, we’d still recommend long legs and sleeves to keep those pesky insects off…
3. Jabs and immunisations for Brazil
This is a really common question, but luckily it’s fairly straight-forward. Obviously the first thing to say is that you should speak to a medical professional, whether that’s your doctor or a specialist travel clinic: advice changes all the time so you should make sure yours is up-to-date. However, most doctors will tell you that for a holiday in Brazil you need to make sure that all your usual boosters are valid: tetanus, typhoid, hep. A and polio are all recommended. Further to this, you will almost certainly be advised to get a yellow fever jab. Anti-malarials, however, are only usually advised if you are going to visit the Amazon or the Pantanal as part of your holiday in Brazil.
4. Tell your bank when you’ll be on holiday in Brazil
This is one that people often forget, but it’s always a good idea to let your bank know the dates you will be on holiday in Brazil. That way they will know not to block your cards if they see any transactions in Brazil. Sadly, card crime is an increasing problem in South America, so you may like to advise them of a daily limit you’d like to set, although not all banks will do this, unfortunately.
5. Learn some Portuguese
Brazilians are very proud of their language, and so although you will find plenty of English spoken in Brazil, particularly in tourist areas, it’s definitely worth learning a few key phrases so that you can order a beer, ask where the beach is and buy a metro ticket! Apart from anything else, you’ll find Brazilians very appreciative that you’ve made the effort and so even friendlier than usual!
6. Drink plenty of caipirinhas!
The national cocktail of Brazil, caipirinhas are available everywhere, from beach stalls to high-end restaurants, and a holiday in Brazil isn’t complete without a few here and there. Made with a cane liquor called cachaça, crushed ice, sugar and freshly-squeezed lime, they are incredibly refreshing, pretty darn intoxicating and definitely a taste of the real Brazil.
7. Eat Sushi in Sao Paulo
It’s a little-known fact that some of the best sushi in the world is available in the city of Sao Paulo. Because of the large population of Japanese immigrants that arrived in the city from the early 20th century, the largely Asian area of Liberdade offers a huge variety of Japanese eateries, from quick street food to fine dining, and the sushi on offer is simply the best, as you can tell from the crowds of Japanese backpackers desperate for a taste of home. If you’re at all into Japanese food, this should definitely be a stop on your Brazil holiday itinerary.
8. Go surfing in Florianopolis
Although Brazil and beaches go hand in hand for most people, it’s not always a destination that brings surfing to mind. However, surfing in Brazil is huge and anyone who has more than a passing interest will be able to tell you that Florianopolis on Brazil’s southern coast is an absolute surfing Mecca, with large, regular and reliable waves. In fact, it’s the only permanent South American stop on the APS world tour, which is testament to just how good it is. Luckily, not just pros are catered for, with dozens of surf schools on Florianpolis’ many beaches, so if you fancy having a go at some surfing on your holiday in Brazil then dive in!
9. The desert island of Fernando de Noronha
Another beach destination that’s not widely known outside Brazil, but which certainly repays closer inspection, is the desert island of Fernando de Noronha. Lying just off the north-east coast of Brazil, this small island is everyone’s ideal of a perfect tropical getaway. The white sand beaches, the crystal-clear waters, the palm trees swaying in the breeze… It all adds up to the perfect beach break and makes an easy addition to any holiday in Brazil.
10. Rio Carnival Winners Parade
The Rio Carnival is famous the world over for the extravagant floats and costumes, the amazing dancers, and the sheer passion and exuberance that fills the streets of Rio every Mardi Gras. Unfortunately the fame also has its downside: hotels are booked out weeks, if not months, in advance; room rates skyrocket; and tickets for the best seats in the Rio Sambadrome also sell out quickly despite their high prices. What’s not widely-known outside Rio is that the main carnival parade is also a competition and the next weekend, the winners of the parade get to strut their stuff one last time at the Winners Parade! Not only does this mean that you’re getting to see the very best samba schools and floats, but the prices for both hotels and tickets are much lower than for the Carnival itself. Rio residents will tell you that the Winners Parade is more relaxed and friendly without the pressure of competition and that, combined with the chance to save you some money, is why the Rio Carnival Winners Parade is our top tip for your holiday in Brazil!