Average distances and flight times between the major cities

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Often we hear people wondering how far one city is from another. In a map many of them look like to be quite close to each other, but the reality might be something different. That’s why we wanted to give you a clearer idea of the dimensions listing below examples of distances and average flight times between the major tourism destinations of Brazil. Please not that the numbers mentioned are air distances and driving from one place to another means, with no exception, many more kilometers on the road. The flight times, on the other hand are average times based on direct connections with domestic airlines. During rush hours more time might have been reserved for flying in between the cities mentioned.

Hope you will find this simple information useful when planning your trip in Brazil.

From São Paulo to:

  • Rio de Janeiro –  distance 350 km, average flight time 50 min
  • Florianopolis – distance 490 km, average flight time 1h
  • Iguacu – distance 837 km, average flight time 1h 40min
  • Belo Horizonte – distance 490 km, average flight time 1h
  • Brasilia – distance 870 km, average flight time 1h 40min
  • Salvador – distance 1450 km, average flight time 2h 40min
  • Recife – distance 2120 km, average flight time 3h
  • Natal – distance 2315 km, average flight time 3h 30min
  • Fortaleza – distance 2370 km, average flight time 3h 40min
  • Belem – distance 2450 km, average flight time 3h 45min
  • Manaus – distance 2680 km, average flight time 3h 45 min

From Rio de Janeiro to:

  • Florianopolis – distance 750 km, average flight time 1h 20min
  • Belo Horizonte – distance 340 km, average flight time 55 min
  • Iguacu – distance 1190 km, average flight time 2h
  • Brasilia – distance 930 km, average flight time 1h 30min
  • Salvador – distance 1205 km, average flight time 2h
  • Recife –  distance 1870 km, average flight time 3h
  • Natal – distance 2080 km, average flight time 3h 15min
  • Fortaleza – distance 2180 km, average flight time 3h 30min
  • Belem – distance 2440 km, average flight time 3h 40min
  • Manaus – distance 2840 km, average flight time 4 h

From Brasilia to:

  • Salvador – distance 1060 km, average flight time 2h
  • Recife – distance 1655 km, average flight time 2h 40min
  • Fortaleza – distance 2200 km, average flight time 2h 40min
  • Manaus – distance 1930 km, average flight time 2h 50min

From Salvador to:

  • Recife – distance 675 km, average flight time 1h 15min
  • Natal – distance 875 km, average flight time 1h 30min
  • Fortaleza – distance 1020 km, average flight time 1h 40min
  • Manaus – distance 1410 km, average flight time 3-4h (with stop but no change of aircraft)

From Recife to:

  • Natal – distance 255 km, average flight time 55 min
  • Fortaleza – distance 630 km, average flight time 1h 10min

From Fortaleza to:

  • São Luis – distance 645 km, average flight time 1h 15min
  • Belem – distance 1130 km, average flight time 1h 40min

From Belem to:

  • Santarem – distance 1370 km, average flight time 1h 20min
  • Manaus – distance 1720 km, average flight time 2h

For distances between any other city use the distance calculator.

Brazil Diversity wishes you Happy Travelling!


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Culture in São Luis and history in Alcântara, Maranhão

Historical center of São Luis

Historical center of São Luis

São Luis, the capital of Maranhão is a gateway to the wonders of the state. Nowadays the principal attraction of Maranhão is the national park of Lencois Maranhenses, which is located only 3-4 hours drive from São Luis. However if you arrive to São Luis, it’s worth stopping here for few days before heading to another destinations of the state. The state capital, that in fact is located on an island, has cultural value, an enchanting history and turns out to be an interesting place to start exploring the attractions of the region.

Streets of São Luis

Streets of São Luis

The main attraction of the city is the culture based on history and interesting architectural facts. Therefore we recommend you to stay overnight at the historical center of São Luis in stead of searching for accommodation from the beach side. The advantage of staying at the center is that you can explore a big part of the sights by walk, feel the spirit of the colonial era and enjoy the atmospheare of the squares with bars and restaurants at the night time. São Luis is famous for its’ buildings covered with colorful “azulejo” tiles brought from Portugal during the glory days of the colonial era. Due to the historical facades with azulejos the center of São Luis is part of the Unesco World Heritage sights as well. Some of the building are in better conditions than others, but the most important thing is that the value of these historical treasures has been recognized and hopefully during the coming years most of them will restored.

Streets of Alcântara

Streets of Alcântara

Once you are in São Luis a day trip to Alcântara is a must do. Alcântara is a small historic island just a short boat or catamaran drive away from São Luis. The vessels leave from the port right in front of the historical center and transport you to the island of Alcântara in about one hour. If you are travelling from July till December, when it wind is at its’ strongers, be prepared! The sea can be pretty rough causing nausea especially in the late afternoon when returning back to São Luis. Such as in case of São Luis, the main attraction of Alcântara is the history as well. When you walk along the streets of this tiny village somehow you will get a feeling that time has stopped moving, the laidback atmospheare and the tranquility of the old days are present even today. The attractions of Alcântara are located in a raither small area so it can easily be explored by foot. Walk on the streets, enjoy the atmospheare with colonial buildings and reach the square, where the ruins of the church of Matriz, a former prison and other historical sights can be found. If possible hire a local guide, so that you will get the maximum out of your visit and learn why the esclavitud has had such a big role in the history of Alcântara. If you have extra time during your visit to Alcântara, or if you decide to stay over night on the island, an another interesting place to visit the is the nearby island of Cajual with historical fossils. Some of these fossils has also been found from Africa, proving that long time ago there was just one continent. In the middle of the historical sights, there is something surprisingly modern in Alcântara as well. A space station located on the island is not really visible for an ordinary tourist, but the museum is open for public and is an interesting place to visit if you are into space science.

Ruins of church Matriz

Ruins of a church

São Luis is located at the coastline of Atlantic Ocean, but isn’t really a beach destination. However, if you are willing to stop by at the beach during your stay in São Luis, choose Cunhau, the best beach of the city. This wide beach is located just a short drive from the center, and has a lot of infrastructure with beach bars and restaurants. The color of the water is not spectacularly blue, but the beach works for anyone who is willing to have a relaxing day while staying in São Luis. In the evenings, enjoy the squares of the historical center or dine in one of the restaurants located at the margins of Lake Jansen.

For further information about the other attractions of Maranhão read our blog post about the Lencois Maranhenses and Caburé.

Main square of Alcântara

Main square of Alcântara

Our suggested itineraries including São Luis.

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Portas da Amazonia, São Luis – Portas da Amazonia is a pousada located in an old building at the heart of the historical center. This pousada is an excellent choice for a tourist, who is more into orginal rustic style than modern decoration. Portas da Amazonia offers a comfortable accommodation with traditional touch.

Neverending dunes of Lencois Maranhenses and a strip of white sand in Caburé, Maranhão

Now that we a done with the two initial posts dealing with Rio de Janeiro, it’s time to jump far away in the northeastern part of Brazil. We absolutely don’t want to underestimate the charm of Rio de Janeiro as a tourism destination and later on will most probably come back with new blog posts talking about the charm of this marvellous city. However now it’s time for us to lead our followers in the magical world of other less known Brazilian diversities. Sone of our favourites are Lencois Maranhenses and Caburé, both located in Maranhão, last of northestern states.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses is a large area, in fact a National Park as well, located south of the state capital São Luis. This flat area with almost 100km2 is predominated by flooded land overlaid with sand dunes. What makes Lencois Maranhenses so especial then? It’s the rare natural phenomenon occuring once in year when the heavy rainfall reaches the Amazon basin and impacts the surrounding areas, such as Lencois Maranhenses. This is when the desert kind of landscape changes and creates freshwater lagoons in between the sandy dunes. The rainfall occurs during the first months of the year meaning that the lagoons are their fullest between July and September.

Barreirinhas, a tiny village approximately four hours drive from São Luis, is a the most common and well known gateway to the National Park of Lencois Maranhenses. When Lencois Maranhenses became internationally known and started to receive more and more tourist, Barreirinhas quickly gained more accommodation options, restaurants and other services needed to serve tourists. An ideal time to stay at the village would be around two nights, as apart of the main attraction Lencois Maranhenses, Barreirinhas doesn’t have that much to offer. But, do not under estimate the charm of this natural phenomena, it’s definetely worth travelling all the way from the state capital São Luis to Barreirihas just to see the sparkling blue and green lagoons located  in between white sand dunes.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

Lencois Maranhenses

In Barreirinhas you fill find a number of travel agencies offering to take you to the National Park of Lencois Maranhenses. You will need their services, because entrance can be reached by car only and you are not allowed to wander there on your own. The heart of the national park can be discovered on foot only, therefore the tours take you to the entrance from where you continue walking with a local guide. Please note that basically there are no services in the area of the National Park, so you better take at least a bottle of water with you. We say basically, because in the edges of the National Park there are small fisherman villages offering even home stays for real adventures. The most common way to visit the national park is to make one or two day trips to different lagoons, but there are also longer hikes up to three days through the National Park area. Thanks to the heavy, but warm (during the day time) wind you will not feel the heat of the sand and when sun starts burning too much the best option is enjoy a refreshing bath in one of the many lagoons. An another interesting way to see the Lencois Maranhenses is a sightseeing flight over this immense area. This is basically the only way to understand why this large area of dunes and lagoons is called Lencois (=bed sheets).

Preguicas River

Preguicas River

Once you are done with Lencois Maranhenses, we recommend you to continue in direction of Caburé, a tiny piece of sand located in between of Rio Preguicas and the Atlantic Ocean. There are two options, either you take a day trip to Caburé or turn your day trip into transfer in case you decide to overnight in this heavenly paradise. Leaving from Barreirinhas, Caburé can be reached only by boat, via the river of Preguicas. The tour stops in Vassouras, so called small Lencois with yellow dunes and in the village of Mandacaru, where you have a chance to climb in a beacon and enjoy beautiful views over the area. Once you reach Caburé you wish you would have decided to stay over night. Here you will tear away from the everyday life, forget the hustle and bustle of the cities and feel the magical peace of the surrounding nature. There is no electricy in Caburé and during the day time the few resturants work with generator. Yes, if you decided to stay over night the lack of electricity means that there is not hot shower nor air conditioning. But don’t worry, if you have came this far you probably can stand one day with cold shower and thanks to the heavy winds during the night time you will not even feel the lack of air conditioning. In Caburé you can take a bath either in the Preguicas River or in the waves of Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy being far away from your daily routines and once the generator turns off (normally at 22 pm) don’t forget to look up on the sky of thounsands of stars.

Mandacaru and Caburé

Mandacaru and Caburé

After having experienced Caburé you have few choices, either retun back to São Luis via Barreirinhas, head towards Atins, an another small village with entrance to the National Park area or keep on travelling to south in direction of Parnaiba (in state of Piauí) and Jericoacoara (in state of Ceará). The main attractions of these areas will shortly be covered in another blog posts. Last but definetely least,  when visiting Lencois Maranhenses, there are entrancies where motorized tours are offered for tourists. Even if driving over the dunes may sound like an attractive idea, we kindly ask you not to be tempted, because in the long run such activities will destroy this fragile nature.

Our suggested itineraries with Lencois Maranhenses.

Bungalows Caburé

Bungalows in Caburé

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Porto do Buriti Barreirinhas. Just a short walk from the center of Barreirinhas Pousada Porto do Buriti offers an excellent value for money close to the dining options of the village.
  • Pousada Porto Buriti – Caburé. The bungalows are simple and as there is no electricity the amenities are limited as well. However staying over night in Caburé is an extraordinary experience for those who want to escape from city life and feel the simplicity of the surrounding nature.
  • Trekking – For real adventures with certain physical preparation we recommend unforgettable hikes through the National Park. The journey takes several days depending on the itinery and passes through small fisherman villages, where you will stay overnight in hammocks.
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