Getting around in Brazil: Travelling and Transportation

Travelling in Brazil would be so simple, if the country were not that huge as it really is. This means that to discover Brazil, a lot of time and patience are needed. Once you have decided to travel around the country you basically have two choices, either you take a bus/transfer/car or you decide to fly. Below we have listed few tips and opinions of ours, just to give you an idea of what would be the best choice in each situation.

Alternative transportation

Alternative transportation

Many times hiring a transfer will end up to be the best option to reach your final destination. This means you don’t need to worry about the arrangements and you reach your accommodation in minimum time without any stress. At some parts of Brazil, especially in the northeastern coast hiring a car can end up to a good option, especially if you are heading from airport to smaller villages and keep on discovering the region by car. The traffic varies depending on the place, but in general Brazilians drive fast and do not always respect the traffic rules.  Big cities suffer major traffic jams especially when the locals are heading to work or returning back at home. If possible avoid driving in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, often a public transportation (especially metro) is a quicker way to reach your final destination. The condition of the roads vary as well. If possible try to travel during the daytime, which is not only safer, but you will also face less heavy traffic, such as trucks and haulers.

When it comes to regular bus services, the long distance buses in Brazil are in fact surprisingly comfortable, with wide and inclining seats, plenty of leg space and air conditioning, which generally tends to be really so cold that you better be prepared with long sleaves if you pretend to travel longer distance by bus. Well, when it comes to buses there is just one little problem, the distance and the time it takes to get from point A till point B. Travelling by bus during 12 hours, 24 hours, 36 hours or even more within Brazil is not rare at all. You will also find buses of different standards operating in the same routes, and naturally the more money you pay, the more comfortable will your journey be. Usually you will be given a tag when you luggage is stored in the hold, so make sure that you keep it safe as the tag will serve as a receipt when claiming your luggage.

Tam Linhas Aéreas

Tam Linhas Aéreas

If you are not into sitting hours and hours in a bus to reach your destination, and most importantly if you are lacking time the only option is to take a domestic flight. When it comes to flights the same rules apply, travelling within Brazil takes time even if you are flying. The distances are long, there are several time zones in the country and the delays are not rare at all. Lately the air traffic has been slightly calmer and more stable than during the last few year, but still never ever book youself with too tight separate connections. Doing this will only increase your blood pressure once you find out that the schedules are not working out as expected. There are two main companies operating in Brazil, TAM and Gol. Both of them fly international and domestic routes, but Gol mainly concentrates in operating within South America while TAM flies to Europe and North America as well. There are also many other regional companies operating widely around the country. The most useful ones for a traveller might be Trip, covering a large number of smaller airport and Azul, so called low cost company bringing more competitive prices for domestic markets. Domestic routes tend to include many stops without that a change of aircraft is needed. This means that your flight departing from São Paulo may stop for example in Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza before reaching São Luis. This obviously takes time and may not be the most comfortable way to travel. So when booking flights always keep an eye on the number of stops and prefer as straight flights as possible. Domestic flights can be purchased with major credit cards in the sites of both TAM and Gol.

Gol Linhas Aéreas

Gol Linhas Aéreas

Don’t expect domestic flights to be cheap, they are not. If you are planning to travel around Brazil, so before leaving your country the wisest thing to do is to book an airpass provided either by TAM or by Gol. When it comes to airpasses there are several rules and they are sold only together with your international ticket. This means that you have to arrive to Brazil with certain co-operative airlines in order to be able to purchase an airpass. TAM for example has two different price levels, the lower price is available for travellers who arrive to country by TAM and the higher price on the other hand for those arriving by co-operating airline. The price of the airpasses varies also depending on the number of flight segments purchased. Please note that many domestic connections include more than one flight segment, which has to be taken into account when planning a trip. Same leg cannot be flewn into same direction more than once either. In addition to a traditional Brazil airpass Gol offers also an another airpass covering the northeastern part of Brazil. This northeast airpass turns out to be a very good deal for travellers willing to explore this part of Brazil. Check out also TAM’s South American airpass if you are planning to travel widely around the continent, and Gol’s Mercosur airpass if in addition to Brazil you are heading to Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru and Bolivia. Please note that the maximum time of any airpass tends to be 30 days after the first flight. For bookings and further information contact the airline or your travel agency.

Last but not least, when travelling long distances in Brazil, remember the attitude. Travelling is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, so after all it’s the attitude that matters!

A regional airline

A regional airline

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