Driving Across Brazil? Buckle Up: You Are In For A Road Trip!

Road trips are always a fun experience. You get to see the scenery and explore places that you may not have seen if you were flying. You get to experience the little things that may have been missed.

Brazil has one of the best road trip experiences with the beautiful rainforests, beaches, and grasslands. You will get a diversity of surroundings while still being able to do things that everyone loves to do.

In this post, we’ll briefly go through all the topics and tools you’ll need for the best experience while road triping around the country. Enjoy!

The Best Routes

With the grasslands, cities, beaches, and rainforests, there are many great places to travel to and have a great view as you do it. Here are some of the best routes to take when you take a road trip in Brazil.


Credit: WikiMedia / HVL

This route follows the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. It is an amazing drive and the scenery can’t be beat. You can start or end in Rio, a beautiful place for sightseeing and a must when visiting Brazil.

This route reaches about 2,900 miles but you can choose the length of your road trip. There are plenty of beautiful cities to visit. When travelling this route, you should check out Paraty. With its historic sights and jungle-covered mountains, you don’t want to miss it. You can even go for a dip in their gorgeous blue waters!

You can find a swath of stores, sights, and tourist attractions along this route for the best experience. Or you can find yourself in remote areas for some tranquility. Stop at one of the beaches to take in the sound of the ocean and stretch your legs.

The Pantanal

Brazil has beautiful and diverse wildlife that you can enjoy whether it is hiking or just going for a drive. The Pantanal offers just that. You can witness Brazil’s natural environment on the Pantanal route through Transpantaneira, Estrada Parque, and the Interior.

It is best to plan your trip during the dry season. This not only increases your chance of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat but you don’t have to worry about any of the areas to be flooded by the rain, shortening your trip.

It is best to use a vehicle that can withstand off road conditions when taking this route. These conditions include shifting sand, potholes, and uneven surfaces that can be upsetting for new, inexperienced drivers. You can even partake in tours here if you would feel more comfortable. 

Beach Drive

If you are looking for a scenic route of the ocean, this is the best route. Starting in Northeast Brazil in Camocin to Fortaleza, you can find a beautiful route to take in the ocean. You can even find yourself camping along these beaches for a little privacy or you can stop at one of the beach towns for an upscale guesthouse.

It is accessible all year long so you don’t have to worry about visiting during a specific time of year. For the best experience though, you should visit during the dry season between the months of June and January.

The roads here can be a little demanding on your vehicle. With the hard sand and the shifting dunes, you may find yourself with a flat tire. Prepare yourself for these situations. You don’t want to get a flat in remote areas between beach towns.

National Park Da Bocaina

If you are one for more adventure and offroad conditions, this is the route for you. You can visit this park and experience where the term wild came from in wildlife. The roads are all unpaved so you will need to have an offroad vehicle for this route.

Because this is close to the jungle, you will find that all year round you will find slick spots and mud. When you camp here, you will find yourself “roughing” it more often than finding a cabin or guesthouse to stay in. Although these are available in certain spots if you plan out beforehand.

This drive stretches between Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro so if you want to experience nature before exploring the brick jungles, then this is a great trip to take. There are some great views of the mountains and breathtaking waterfalls that will add to the splendor of this road trip.

Cultural Road Trip

If you are looking for a more historic and cultural experience, the route from Diamantina to Paraty is a great choice! It contains colonial towns, baroque and rococo churches as well as beautiful beaches and wilderness.

This route is accessible all year long unlike some of the other options and although it has unpaved roads, they are maintained well. You won’t have to worry about renting or using an offroad vehicle to make it through these areas.

The Best Attractions And Itineraries

Brazil is a beautiful place to travel and so there are many attractions you can add to your itineraries. You can find yourself entertained in many ways. Here are some things to look into to add to your itinerary:

  • Shopping
  • Historical spots
  • Natural landmarks
  • Visit the beaches
  • Art and music



Shopping is a must when you travel to different cities within Brazil. You can find an array of items whether it is designer clothing or handcrafted items. You can get whatever you feel fits your unique style.

If you love shopping, there will always be stores along your route but the top cities to visit for the best shopping experience are:

  • Salvador
  • São Paulo
  • Rio de Janeiro

Both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have paved the path for shopaholics both locally and internationally. They provide anywhere from large malls to small markets that offer more than you can fathom. 

Salvador is a wonderful place to stop if you are looking for bargain deals. They have been rising in their tourism with low prices in shopping and historical landmarks. You will find that you can’t go wrong here.

Historical Spots

Many large cities have historical districts and landmarks that you can go see. There are even many historical towns that make for a great detour on your road trip. You won’t be able to hit every single one as you take your road trip.

One of the most clever things to do is to figure out your route and research towns and cities on that route. There will be plenty for you to do and to see while entertaining you. You can even spend days at your carefully chosen spots.

Whether you are travelling through the wilderness or going from city to city, here are some historical landmarks that would be worth seeing if you were nearby:

  • Arcos da Lapa in Rio de Janeiro
  • Sao Paulo Museum of Art
  • Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in Bahia
  • Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro
  • Montserrat Fort in Salvador.

Natural Landmarks

Credit: WikiMedia / Ccarelo

With all the different landscapes, you will find a plethora of landmarks that you can visit. Whether it is a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a forest or the Atlantic Forest, you will not get bored with these natural wonders.

Here are a few popular natural landmarks that are a must see when in Brazil:

  • Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro
  • Iguazu Falls in Parana (One of the Seven Wonders of the World)
  • Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro
  • Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro
  • Lencois Maranhenses National Park
  • Fernando de Noronha

Visit The Beaches

If your route takes you close to the beach, try to incorporate a day where you spend it near the ocean. You don’t want to miss the magnificent beaches of Brazil and spend a day relaxing out in the sun. Plus, it gives you a great excuse to stretch your legs and have some fun!

Art And Music

Brazil’s culture is intertwined with music and art. There are many art districts within each large city so make sure to visit one while you are there. You don’t want to miss out on the dancing and seeing the culture through a painting or sculpture or even a dance!

What Are The Costs

There are many things you will have to consider when you are planning your road trip in Brazil. This country is considered to be more expensive than many others. This is due to the tourist attractions and beautiful terrain.

Your price per a day for this road trip can go up or down depending on what you put into your budget. Here are some things to consider:

  • Shopping
  • Eating at restaurants
  • Camping vs. hotels or guesthouses
  • Rental vehicles
  • Entertainment
  • Fuel
  • Other expenses
  • Length of trip

On average you will be spending about a hundred dollars a day per person. If you are great at budgeting and finding the best deals, you can be spending as little as $80 a day. If it takes you a week to complete the trip, then you may find yourself spending anywhere between $560 to $700 for one person.

These costs do increase if you add rentals and this is with the assumption that you have your own vehicle to drive on these routes. You can find great deals online that will give you bundle packages whether if it’s for the trip as a whole or any entertainment you were wanting to participate in.

Things To Know About Car Rentals

Credit: Dicas do Nosso Brasil

If you don’t have a car of your own, you can always rent a car. It may not be worth the trouble if you already have one but if you don’t, you will need to take a few things into consideration:

  • Costs
  • Type of vehicle
  • Where you are going
  • Where to rent
  • Requirements for renting a vehicle


Rental cars can cost as little as ten dollars a day which doesn’t drain your wallet too quickly but it can become quite costly. The more perks or luxuries you want, the price will increase and this also depends on what type of vehicle you are renting.

Basic vehicles will be the first pick but if you need a specialized vehicle like one to go offroad in or something with four-wheel drive instead of front or rear, you may find yourself reaching in your savings to fork up more money.

If you own a vehicle and are just renting it for the trip, make sure to tell the company that you have insurance on that. When you have full coverage, your insurance company will cover any rentals that you purchase and so you won’t have to pay extra to cover the rental.

Type Of Vehicle

If you need something to just drive the route you have set forth, then you may want to stick with the basic vehicle. These often get decent gas mileage and you will be saving a lot more each day. The more things you ask for like air conditioning, specific transmission, and so on, the more you will be paying.

It is good to understand where you are going and what the drive will be like so you can get the best vehicle for that trip. You don’t want to rent a basic car when you are going to be traveling through National Park da Bocaina. You may find yourself getting stuck in the mud.

Where Are You Going

You always want to consider where you are going and what route you will be taking. If you will be in cities more often than in the wilderness, you may want to focus on more compact vehicles. This will allow you to move around more easily in those busy streets and still have a decent drive down the highways.

Where To Rent

If you have a company that you normally go with, then go with whomever you are comfortable with. Thankfully, rates don’t change much between companies but there are sometimes better deals in different areas.

Figure out where you need to pick up your rental so that you can plan transportation to the place. You will find clusters of car rental companies near airports and larger cities. Some smaller towns and cities may have one but you won’t have a variety of options like you would in more populated areas.

Requirements For Renting A Vehicle

When you decide to rent a vehicle, there will always be terms and conditions you have to agree to but more importantly, there are requirements for you to even rent it. Here are some requirements that each company will have:

  • 21 years of age and older
  • Valid driver’s licence
  • Passport (if from out of the country)
  • Insurance

Some companies may be a little more lenient than others, like Avis, who will rent out to anyone that is 21 years of older. The age may change depending on the company. Some companies may not rent to you if you are younger than 24 while others will give you a rental if you are 21. 

It is important to do your research on these requirements before reserving a car and putting down a deposit. You might find yourself in a bind and some companies aren’t as giving when you request your deposit back.

Is It Safe To Road Trip Brazil?

Like any road trip you take whether you’ve taken it before or it’s your first time, you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Just like anywhere you go, there will be the good and the bad things that happen. 

Don’t think that just because you only see the beautiful attractions doesn’t mean crime and bad luck just took a break. Have a safety plan in place just in case because things do happen. There are many tips you can follow to better your safety:

  • Be aware of the weather.
  • Keep safety resources in your trunk.
  • Get familiar with the area.
  • Know when shops and stores close.
  • Be alert when travelling at night.
  • Watch people not just to be alert but see how the community interacts.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to the locals.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Discover the local spots.
  • Pack light.
  • Always bring a backpack around with you.
  • Sync your card to your phone.
  • Make sure there is a lock or passcode on your phone.

You can never be too sure about anywhere you go. If in the end you just feel like something is off or your instincts are telling you to be alert, follow those instincts. A new place can cause some anxiety but deep down, you know what makes you comfortable and you don’t want to experience a novel city while your anxiety is running high.

If you decide to travel through the forests of Brazil, prepare yourself for anything that will happen while out in the wild. It is best to familiarize yourself with any dangerous or venomous animals so you know how to react if you cross paths with them.


Driving across Brazil can be an exciting and fun experience. You will be exposed to so much wonder, beauty, and diversity that you won’t have enough memory in your phone to document it all! 

The planning can be exciting yet exhausting and anxiety-ridden but remember, while you’re on your trip, you will experience the present like never before. You will see things that many hope and dream about. Don’t let the scenery and culture dissipate with your worries.

While you are here, I think we might interest you with these:

Traveling inside Brazil: a guide to transportation in the country – when you are traveling abroad, it’s smart to know how you’ll be moving around in the country, but don’t worry, we got your back! Here’s everything you should know about transportation in Brazil!

Driving in Brazil: The Ultimate Guide (Foreign Licenses, Laws, Rent) – whether you are planning a road trip around the country or just want to drive freely wherever you want to go, here are the main things you should know about driving in Brazil.

Traveling to Brazil with a DUI record: all you need to know – worried that a DUI on your driving record might affect your trip to Brazil? We gathered all the info you should know right here, so take a quick look!

Cover Photo: empty Brazilian road – Credit: ID 69122604 © Sergey Mostovoy | Dreamstime.com

Bruno Reguffe

What's up, everyone! I'm Bruno, and I'm a nutritionist living in Rio de Janeiro. I've been a longtime friend of Ana's, and I'm excited to help her expand on all things Brazilian with y'all, as well as sharing some of our culture and a few personal experiences while living in the country!

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