Brazil and solo travel go hand in hand: big in size and party-loving spirit, the country has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the world’s most glamorous destinations for intrepid solo explorers. Latin America’s largest country has a vast Atlantic coastline of over 4,600 miles, stretching from the Afro-Brazilian vibes of Salvador, capital of the northeastern state of Bahia, to the fun-loving city of Rio de Janeiro and beyond.
Futuristic Brasília is the capital of Brazil, and the Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest – its lungs; a tantalising natural wonder, home to 10% of the Earth’s species. Meanwhile, Rio, with its world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, captures Brazil’s soul. Towered over by Sugarloaf Mountain and the watchful Christ the Redeemer statue, solo travellers in this effusive city can enjoy exploring Tijuca National Park, along with the buzzing café culture and samba clubs of creative neighbourhoods, such as Santa Teresa and Lapa.
Further down the coast, you’ll find hammock-swinging island hideaways in Ilha Grande, an urbane city in São Paulo, with its cosmopolitan architecture, art and museums, and boat trips and beach life in the free-spirited coastal town of Paraty, known for its colourful, characterful streets.
Swimwear at the ready: we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about group solo holidays to Brazil, from hotel and safety tips to the country’s best beach destinations and must-try food and drink spots. Frozen caipirinha, anyone?
Brazil travel facts
Brazil is a truly colossal country, spanning three time zones across a border that is shared with all other South American countries apart from Chile and Ecuador. From the wilds of the Amazon basin to the Brazilian Highlands, iconic beachside cities and the mighty Iguazú Falls (the planet’s largest waterfall system, shared with Argentina), Brazil is a land of contrasts: billionaire mansions sit side-by-side with shantytown favelas; São Paulo, the smartly-suited “New York of South America”, is a four-hour flight from Manaus, capital of the Amazonas region and gateway to a vast wilderness, roamed by jaguars, pink river dolphins and other endangered species.
Above all, Brazil is a place of enormous creative diversity and cultural expression derived from its rich blend of African, European and Amerindian influences – including over 300 indigenous tribes. Whether you’re coming for wildlife, world-class art, beachside bossa nova or the hypnotic beats of Carnival – the world’s best-known street party, which takes places in cities from Rio to Salvador – you can’t fail to be swept up by the warm welcome of this ever expressive nation.
Is Brazil good for solo travel?
Solo travel in Brazil is a joy: the people are outgoing, getting around by flight or private bus is easy and – from hidden islands to hip beach towns and healing luxury spas – there’s just so much to discover from a solo perspective.
On the flip side, the sheer level of choice and scale of the country makes planning your Brazil solo holiday a little bit of a headache. By joining a group adventure company like Flash Pack, you can get a taste for a few unique country highlights with zero hassle and everything arranged for you. Plus, you get the added support of a local guide and small crew of like-minded solo travellers, a great way to ease yourself into the country. Learn more about solo travel with Flash Pack.
Best places to visit in Brazil
What should you do on a solo trip to Brazil? Flash Pack whittles down the many options in carefully curated local adventures. In São Paulo, mosey around the historic Municipal Market for street food – hello, Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) – before exploring the city’s best rooftop bars. Over in Rio, cover all the highlights with Tijuca National Forest, Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado mountain, a cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain, and the rainbow-coloured Escadaria Selarón, along with a sunset volleyball lesson on Ipanema beach.
Down the coast in Unesco-listed Paraty, you’ll find colourful cobbled streets, boho art galleries and picturesque townhouses overlooking the bay. The Serra da Bocaina National Park beckons nearby with wild bathing waterfalls, jungle restaurants and hidden rainforest trails. Small boat trips to the surrounding islands are something of a rite of passage in Paraty, but island paradise also awaits in Ilha Grande (another Unesco site). Don’t miss bucket list snorkelling on the island’s Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon).
Where to stay as a solo traveller in Brazil
What are the hotels like in Brazil? From slick city centre hotels in business hub São Paulo to 19th-century pousadas (guesthouses) in Paraty and sea-surveying retreats with rooftop pools in Rio de Janeiro, you’ll find accommodation as original and varied as the country itself. Boutique details are very much part of the overall experience: think outdoor CrossFit studios, tropical pools with beach cabanas and impressive antique furnishings. Luxury is never far from reach, especially in celebrity hotspots around the southern city of Florianópolis.
Often, beautiful hotels stand beyond the reach of solo travellers, thanks to the single supplement fee that is typically added to single-room rates. But with Flash Pack, you can access the same beautiful stays by sharing a room with another solo traveller and swerving it. If you want to pay a little extra for a private room on your Brazil solo travels, that’s A-OK, too.
How to get to Brazil
There are various gateways into Brazil, depending on where you’re headed during your Brazil solo holiday: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, Rio De Janeiro’s Galeao International Airport, Brasilia International Airport and Salvador’s Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães Airport serve some of the country’s biggest cities – while visitors to the Amazon should head for the Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus.
Brazil also shares land borders with nine South American countries: Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname. Of these, the crossings from Peru, Bolivia and Iguazu Falls are generally easiest. For a truly high-octane experience, you can also arrive in Brazil via cruise: most international routes dock at Rio de Janeiro’s passenger port.
How to get around Brazil
Because of the size of Brazil, many people get from A to B by domestic flight. The system is well-organised and very easy to use with flag carrier LATAM Airlines covering the main routes. A cheaper, more scenic, option involves travelling on Brazil’s fantastic inter-city bus network. Buy your bus ticket in advance from rodoviária bus stations (you can upgrade to Executive or First Class); or for the Rio-São Paulo route, jump on a shuttle running every 15 minutes. You can also easily book online through companies like Busbud.
Once you’re in a given city, metered taxis, not buses, are your best bet for getting around Brazil’s big hubs. There are also good ferry and private boat networks in all coastal destinations, as well as river regions, such as the Amazon.
An advantage of Flash Pack’s group solo trips to Brazil is that all country travel is arranged for you, via private minibus, and included in the price of the trip. So, you don’t have to worry about tickets or departure times: your bus will arrive and simply take you to wherever you need to be.
Best time to visit Brazil
Brazil is home to a tropical climate, with average temperatures of 28°C in the north and 20°C in the south of the country. Summer runs from December to March and is Brazil’s most popular season – although the heat is sometimes stifling (as high as 40°C) in cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Early October brings monsoons across the Amazon. Winter runs from June to September, and it can be especially cool in the south and southeast of the country.
Brazil’s annual Carnival season lands in either February and March, depending on the date of Easter, and lasts for five days; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it’s also crowded, expensive and difficult to travel around during this period. Aim to book at least a year in advance. The shoulder months of April and October are particularly nice for a Brazil solo trip as the landscape is lush and green with blue-skies and warm beach conditions, minus the crowds of later months.
Brazil travel itineraries
To dive headfirst into some of Brazil’s best sensory pleasures, look no further Flash Pack’s eight-day Brazil icons: São Paulo to Rio trip. Taking in the pristine beaches of Paraty, sea turtle snorkelling off Ilha Grande and a 4×4 jeep ride through Serra da Bocaina National Park, there are so many thrills in store. You can live life like a true carioca (local) in Rio, too, with beach volleyball, Brazilian aperitivos and live salsa music.
Flash Pack’s seven-day Buenos Aires and Rio adventure starts in neighbouring Argentina before taking in many of the Rio-based pleasures outlined above, along with beach barbecues, a hike up Morro da Urca overlooking Guanabara Bay and a caipirinha making workshop at sunset – the ideal itinerary for solo travel in Brazil.
What to pack for solo travel in Brazil
Bring your passport, visa, some local currency (the Brazilian real), debit/credit cards (ATMs are easily available in most towns and cities), and a secure money belt. You’ll also need sunscreen, a sun hat, sunglasses, a reusable water bottle, strong mosquito repellent and a type N plug adapter. Lightweight, comfortable clothing in muted colours are best for Brazil’s tropical climate, along with trainers for exploring, and flip-flops and a sarong for the beach. When travelling solo in Brazil, it’s best to leave all valuables, including jewellery and watches, at home or in your hotel safe. You might also want a waterproof purse to take a small amount of cash with you when swimming off popular city beaches.
Solo travel advice for Brazil
It’s super-easy to meet people in Brazil, whether you’re at a juice bar, on the beach or dancing the night away to a live salsa band in Lapa.
In the same breath, the scale of Brazil – plus the full-on nature of the cities, and in some cases, the language barrier (English is widely understood, but it’s not spoken everywhere) – makes travelling solo in a group an ideal entry point. Flash Pack’s group solo trips to Brazil provide a safe, smooth and irresistibly fun route into this magnificent country, with the added bonus of an experienced local guide and fellow solo travellers for company.
Is it safe to travel solo in Brazil?
Thousands of visitors travel to Brazil every year and most trips are trouble-free. However, do check out the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US) or your country’s local government guidelines for the latest advice before travelling. Once there, follow local advice and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
As a solo traveller, it’s worth being particularly vigilant in Brazil during Carnival. You should also avoid beaches and deserted streets in all major cities after dark. Similarly, use a taxi after sundown instead of a public bus or walking (they’re cheap and widely available). When you’re in Rio or similar large places, keep your wallet and phone hidden away. For extra support, along with a vibrant inside look at Brazil, join Flash Pack for a whirlwind group adventure.
Ready for your next adventure? Try group solo travel to Brazil with Flash Pack – designed exclusively for people in their 30s and 40s, seeking the independence of solo travel within the safety of a group.
A cool 98% of Flashpackers arrive solo to join our group adventures. So, you’ll be in good company – whether a first time solo traveller or a seasoned pro looking for like-minded new friends.
Images: Flash Pack, Unsplash