Each year, about 6.6 million visitors head to Brazil. With its tropical climate, beautiful diversity of plants and animals, exciting culture and history, there is so much to lure people to the largest country in South America.
As with any country, however, there are some things you do need to be careful about. Here are eight things you should never do on a Brazil road trip.
Don't worry—they're all straightforward, and some are even quite fun.
1. Not Learn a Little Portuguese
Portuguese the official language of Brazil. That means it won't always be easy to get along, especially on a road trip, with just English. And, no, your Spanish skills won't help you much either. The languages may be similar, but they’re not always mutually understandable.
You don't have to go overboard, but before you board the plane, take a few days to study the basics. Download Duolingo and maybe take a few lessons online. The locals will appreciate the effort, even if you don’t pronounce perfectly.
2. Connect to Public WiFi Networks
This is good general advice, but particularly true in Brazil. Both during the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, hackers created fake WiFi networks used to steal user data, including credit card information.
While it may be completely impossible to avoid public WiFi, especially if you don't have cellular service, be sure to use a VPN.
What is a VPN? A VPN protects and encrypts your internet connection as you use the internet and web-enabled apps. For greatest safety, you should use one anytime you connect to the internet. Click here for more information: https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/
3. Not Go Off the Beaten Path
Brazil may be most famous for Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon rain forests, and some other very popular spots, there is so much to see and do there. It's full of incredible things a little off the beaten path that are well worth exploring.
Here just a few recommendations:
- Santa Catarina
- Ilha Grande
4. Give Yourself Enough Time to Travel Brazil
Brazil is a huge country. It's the fifth largest country in the world or about 87% of the US's size.
You need to give yourself enough time to travel between destinations. While you can fly between cities, many budget travelers will likely take a bus. Bus travel in Brazil is great and very comfortable.
Just remember that less is more. Give yourself enough time to enjoy the locations you visit. You can always come back next year!
5. Not Budget Enough
Brazil isn't cheap. Many western tourists assume because the destination is in South America that it's inexpensive. While many places aren't as expensive as traveling in the US or Europe, it's still a pricy place to visit.
This is doubly true if you're traveling during Carnaval or New Year’s when there are major price hikes.
Most experts advise budgeting at least $55-70 per day that you're in Brazil—not including accommodation.
6. Be Paranoid About Your Safety
As with any other country, there are safe places and not so safe places in Brazil. There may be some horror stories out there. But don't let that dissuade you from heading to Brazil.
While crime may happen, especially in big cities, if you follow essential safety tips and locals' advice, you can enjoy a fantastic holiday without worrying.
7. Expect Perfect Scheduling
Brazilian time is a little slower than you might be used to. The same relaxed cultural feeling you'll come to enjoy is also why some things may always start 20-30 minutes later than their scheduled time.
It may be a little strange at first, but the casual nature of not rushing and stressing for no reason will win you over very quickly.
8. Not Expecting a Variety of Cultures
Remember how we mentioned that Brazil is huge. This means there's no exact Brazilian culture in all parts of the country.
Local cultures vary. Also, Brazil has a long history of immigration. In fact, German is the second most spoken language in the country. There are even large Korean, Japanese, and Chinese populations.
As you move across Brazil's regions, you'll see how different the north is from the south and how lifestyle changes throughout the country.
So be ready to enjoy all the exciting things that come with such a variety of cultures.
Brazil is an amazing country and sure to delight any travel. Whether you soak up the sun, sip on a caipirinha, hike through the rain forest, or explore the cities, there are so many amazing things to savor there. Follow these tips, and you'll have the Brazilian adventure of a lifetime.