a view of the Brazilian beaches at night

How to Get Around in Brazil

Getting around inside Brazil can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be an unpleasant experience if you familiarize yourself with the best traveling options. Fortunately, there are many to choose from in Brazil.

Bus and Tram

Buses and trams are a great choice of transportation and the most popular, especially for longer distances. The buses are mostly well-serviced Volvos, Mercedes, and Scanias. Generally, the schedules are strictly adhered to, and the majority of the buses are comfortable and clean. All the big cities and most of the smaller ones have a main long-distance bus station, and most all major cities are connected by frequent buses. Every 15 minutes throughout peak hours a bus leaves from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo. Because bus travel can be quite pricey, be sure to shop around. There are plenty of bus companies, especially in the larger cities with several different agencies vying for your business. Getting on a local bus is a great way to get to know a city. With a few dollars and a map, you can obtain a general overview of the area. It is not advisable, however, to bring valuables while traveling by bus, as crime can sometimes be a problem on them.

Renting a Car

If you bring your own vehicle, make sure you have a vehicle registration as well as proof of insurance. If you plan to rent a car, be sure to have your valid drivers license and credit card in your name. While some companies have an age requirement of at least 25 years old, some offer rentals to 21 year-olds, including Avis. Also be aware that the majority of vehicles


Passenger-train services have scaled down in Brazil. While most trains are used only for cargo, there are still a couple of rides available on the popular steam trains in Brazil running as leisure attractions. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo both have wonderful metro systems providing affordable, safe, and efficient travel.


Another reasonably-priced ride is by way of taxi. This is great when in a hurry to get somewhere across town or around cities at night. However, keep a map handy and stay alert to avoid being taken on a wild detour. Finding the most suitable form of travel certainly helps with the enjoyment of your trip.

Traveling North

While you're more likely to enter the country via Rio or São Paulo, Brazil's northern regions are the gateway to its world famous tropical rainforests. However, getter from Rio to Manaus isn't as simple as renting a car. The dense jungles prevent any sustained road maintenance, leaving domestic air travel as the only reasonable way to explore the north of the country. The river is still used as a major highway between some of the smaller cities in the northern part of the country. Passengers are able to get around many parts of the Amazon Basin, where travel otherwise might not be possible. The passenger-carrying vessels come in many different sizes and shapes and travel up and down every creek and river that have residents living near.

Last Updated: May 09, 2016