Rio De Janeiro Aerial

It’s not just Carnivals and Caipirinha’s, you know? And yeah – since this year’s half way over, next year is fine too.

As travellers, we deserve to be stunned when we put our hard earned dollars towards a trip. Like, looking out your breezy hotel window and seeing Sugarloaf Mountain from one side, with blue ocean waves crashing just out of focus. Brazil is one of the few places that stuns even the most frequent travellers, thanks to outrageous natural beauty, welcoming people and a highly addictive culture.

For years though, it’s been a pain in the ass for many people to actually get there. A trip to Brazil not only involved an expensive airline ticket and hotel booking, but a trip to an embassy to buy a slow and expensive visa. Not fun – at all. Thanks to a new initiative by Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, that is now a thing of the past, and that’s just one of the reasons this is the year to add Brazil to your map.

a road with palm trees and people on itNo More Visas

Citizens of the USA, Japan, Australia and Canada no longer need pre arranged visas to enter Brazil. That’s no longer an idea, but an actual policy, so if you find a flight today, you can take off today. This is a huge step and apparently it’s already paying off. Flight searches from these four countries to Brazil are up 30% on average already. Side note: UK citizens already have visa free entry, just FYI.

More Flights From Everywhere

Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo draw most of the tourist attention, but Manaus and Brasilia don’t get nearly enough play. With Virgin Atlantic adding direct London to Sao Paulo flights, GOL and other airlines adding more regional connectivity to the USA and increased frequencies from all around the world, getting there is easier in 2019-2020 than ever before. In fact, there’s at least 7 cities in the USA with direct flights, and at least 7 more in Europe. You may not even need a connection.

a pile of different currencyBetter Bang For Your Buck

In a way, Brazil is a very manageable budget destination – but if you like the good stuff – like all you can eat steak buffets, it can add up. Fortunately, most international currencies are trading near their five year highs against the Brazilian Real, which means your money should take you further than it might have done a year, or two years ago. Be sure to save some for a Caipirinha, which is warm, tropical sunshine in a glass.

Safety Is On The Rise

I can say first hand that I’ve never been afraid in Rio De Janeiro. I’ve typically found that if you stay on flat land, you’re almost always very well protected. If you go drunk up into the favelas, or any elevated area, that can change. To put it into words: I feel no more at risk in Rio De Janeiro than I do in Chicago, USA. All the standard street smart rules of not wearing obnoxious jewellery or flaunting wealth apply. At the same time, Brazil has statistically seen a 23% drop in the homicide rate in 2019, which means it’s quantifiably safer than in recent years too.

Buzzing Food Scene

Thanks to chefs like Alex Atala and Helena Rizzo, Brazilian food is finally being showcased and celebrated on an international scale. It should be, because it’s damn delicious. From high end dining at places like D.O.M in Sao Paulo or ORO in Rio to bohemian food stalls like Feira Nordestina all over the country, there are great eats at every budget. And yes, if you like red meat, you’re in for a real treat. But if you like veggies, fish or any of the other things that are abundant in the rainforest or sea, you’ll also be spoiled for choice.

Side note: here’s how to spend 48 perfect hours in Rio De Janeiro.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Agree that Brazil generally, and Rio in particular, are incredible and if you haven’t been yet, you should go and experience them as soon as possible given the new visa policy. Unfortunately the direct flights are almost all to GRU, with almost none to Rio — at the moment not a single flight from NYC until AA starts the single seasonal flight, and none anytime of the year from LAX/ORD/YYZ. Insane!

  2. Just came back from Brazil. I took cruise tours so that is different than doing on your own but the talk in Brazil is things are changing for the better because of Bolsonaro focusing on security and even sending in the military to police the bad areas. I had to get the E-Visas which were much easier to get than having to go to the consulate like before. This is great news for tourists to have one less impediment to their travel.

    Hopefully Bolsonaro is able to get his eased gun restrictions passed by Congress. Everyone bad already has guns yet decent citizens are defenseless.

  3. You should visit Brazil! There are a lot to see, every city has is own singleness! One city you did not mention is Belem, north of Brazil…it has nonstop flight from Miami and Fort Lauderdale. One of the cities where you can eat incredibly good (I really mean incredible food) and pay really cheap. Also, you can visit a total different landscape inside the Amazon River. Good post!

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