8 Tips to Travel to Brazil on a Budget

October 1, 2023

People tend to assume a vacation to Brazil must be expensive, but that is far from the truth with so many ways to budget your trip. HOW you travel is key.

Traveling to Brazil on a budget is possible with some planning and smart choices. Brazil is a diverse and beautiful country with a wide range of attractions, and by following these tips, you can enjoy your trip without breaking the bank:

1. TRAVEL WHEN BRAZILIANS DON’T
International travel to Brazil is relatively low, which means the tourism industry relies on the enormous domestic market, which has a particular quirk: Brazilians all seem to travel at the same time, from December to March, during summertime. Even more between February and March, to enjoy Carnaval by the beach. From January 10th to Carnaval, prices typically drop as locals have emptied their bank accounts to be on the beach during New Year’s and must begin to save for Carnaval. Traveling during the off-peak can save money on accommodations and activities. So plan it wisely

2. AVOID THE BIG CITIES
Rio, São Paulo, and Salvador tend to be more expensive and challenging to negotiate prices on accommodation, for example. It’s just the same as any other big city. Even if you want the true urban experience, there are ways to save. Stay in Rio but in a less tourist-ridden neighborhood (Flamengo and Tijuca are good ones). You can also spend a few days and move on to a cheaper destination close by, visiting one of numerous other fascinating small towns such as Paraty, a 3-hour drive from the always-crowded Rio de Janeiro. It will save you money without sacrificing a memorable trip


3. TRY ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATIONS
Consider staying in a pousada, which is similar to a guesthouse or inn. It is a popular lodging option for travelers looking for a more intimate and locally-oriented experience than what larger hotels or resorts might offer. They are way cheaper than chain hotels and can be found in various settings, including coastal towns, historic cities, and rural areas. Pousadas often have a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, and they may offer amenities such as breakfast, personalized service, and local insights from the owners or staff.


4. STICK WITH A MAIN DESTINATION
Brazil’s dimensions are huge and the distance between tourist destinations like Rio and Salvador, for example, is over 750 miles, a 2-hour flight. Instead, tour through the country by exploring different cities around your main destination. It will give you a better taste of the local culture and save you some money on transportation. Also, in the end, you can say you know pretty well a certain part of Brazil.


5. USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Take public transportation whenever possible. Brazil has a well-developed bus network that can take you between cities and towns at a fraction of the cost of domestic flights. In cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, use the metro and buses to get around.


6. EAT WHERE LOCALS EAT
Don’t go to those restaurants around the sights. Instead, ask locals where they eat, and don’t be afraid of trying Brazilian street food like coxinha (chicken croquette), pastel (crispy fried pie with assorted fillings), and acarajé (black-eyed pea fritters) — they are delicious and affordable options.

7. HAGGLE AND NEGOTIATE
In markets and with street vendors, it’s common to negotiate prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle a bit to get a better deal.


8. CHECK OUT DEALS
Many places such as museums and national parks offer discounts or a free visit day. Check out their online calendar and plan your visit according to the deals. You can also enjoy sightseeing with a tour guide at FreeWalkerTours.com, paying only tips.

Remember that while traveling on a budget, it’s essential to maintain safety and take care of your health. With careful planning and some flexibility, you can enjoy an affordable trip to Brazil and experience its rich culture and natural beauty.

Photos: Pixabay

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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