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The Best Places to Visit in the South of Brazil

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There are so many amazing places to visit in the south of Brazil, that it can be hard to choose! We recently did a road trip through the south of Brazil, and experienced a variety of stunning beaches, cool art, and fun cities.


In this guide we're going to share with you the top places to visit in the south of Brazil, as well as some of the hidden gems that we found along the way.


We'll share how to best get around, some local adjustments, and all you need to know for staying safe. So without further ado, let's jump into our complete guide for the best places to visit in the south of Brazil!


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Where is Brazil?

Brazil is the biggest country in South America, and stretches from all the way near the equator to down towards the south fo the continent. The country is located along the coast of the Atlantic, and the south of Brazil borders Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina.

best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Brazil is an enormous country, and there are a ton of amazing places to visit in the south of Brazil.


How to Get to the South of Brazil

There are a number of ways to visit the south of Brazil. The two cheapest and most popular airports to fly into to start your trip are Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which have plenty of domestic and international flights.


Other smaller airports to reach the south of Brazil include Porto Alegre (the most south), Foz do Iguazu (bordering Paraguay and Argentina), or Curitiba.


Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Brazil". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly to. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for your destination!

Search for a flight to Brazil:

Getting from Argentina to the South of Brazil

If you happen to be traveling from Argentina, then we have a little trick for you! Domestic flights are usually the cheapest, and Iguazu has two airports- one in Argentina, and one in Brazil


In order to start traveling to some of the best places to visit in the south of Brazil, we fly to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. and cross into Brazil through the land border. From the airport in Brazil, it will then be much cheaper to fly to different destinations like Sao Paulo, Curitiba, or Rio de Janeiro.


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Entry Requirements for Brazil

Before traveling to a new destination, it's important to keep in mind any of the requirements that you may need to meet in order to enter. Here are both the visa and Covid requirements to put into consideration when traveling to the different places to visit in the south of Brazil.


Visa Entry Requirements For Brazil

The first time that I traveled to Brazil I actually needed a visa to visit. The last time I went though, I brought my visa, only to find out that US nationals no longer need them!


The different countries that are exempt from tourist visas in Brazil include AndorraArgentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Canada, ChileColombiaCosta RicaDenmarkEcuador, Finland, France, GermanyGreece, Japan, Iceland, IrelandItaly, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, The Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, SpainSuriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United StatesUnited Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.


In addition, people from the Mercosur region don't need to bring their passport, as they can simply bring their ID card. The countries which are included in Mercosur are Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.


Covid Entry Requirements For Brazil

All passengers who are over the age of 12 need to present either a Covid vaccination card, or a negative RT-PCR test. If you aren't vaccinated, you'll need to take a test within one day of traveling, and the results must be in either English, Spanish, or Portuguese.


Also, it's important to know that the security inside most of the airports will still require you to wear a mask, so it's better to have one just in case. No one actually enforces anything after security, or even on the flights, but simply to go through security we were asked.


There are no longer any specific requirements required for entering Brazil.


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Local Adjustments for Visiting the South of Brazil

Whenever traveling somewhere new there may be things that differ from where you are coming from. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to the different places to visit in the south of Brazil.


Language in Brazil

The official language in Brazil is Portuguese. We speak Spanish, and found that there were a pretty good amount of people that spoke either English or Spanish (mostly Spanish due to the number of tourists from Uruguay and Argentina). We do suggest learning some of the basics to get by though, as you may be able to haggle better in certain areas.


Currency in Brazil

The currency used in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. Currently (April 2023) the exchange rate is 5.14 Brazilian Real for every 1 USD or Euro, and 6.34 Brazilian Real for every British pound.


We found that some of the more popular places to visit in the south of Brazil accepted credit cards in restaurants and hotels, and even some for tours. 


However, if you go to smaller towns, or are shopping on the streets. it may be cash only. We do suggest having some cash on you for those selling things on the beach, for tipping, or other small expenses.


Electrical Outlets in the South of Brazil

Brazil is interesting because it actually has a mix of different outlets depending on where you go. The majority are the outlets have two round prongs and a grounding pin, which are for plug types C & N.


Also, we did find a few places throughout the south of Brazil that had international outlets, which accepted both US and European appliances. Brazil operates on a 127/220V supply voltage and 60Hz.


Water Potability

The water isn't really safe or advised to be consumed throughout most of the places to visit in the south of Brazil. We suggest buying large jugs of water, and refilling a reusable water bottle so that you can always stay hydrated.


Tipping Culture in the South of Brazil

The tipping culture in Southern Brazil is pretty similar to many different countries around the world. We suggest tipping an average of 10% while in restaurants, and to do so in cash.

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The Best Places to Visit in the South of Brazil

Now you know almost everything you need to know about the basics of traveling in Brazil. Here are the best places to visit in the south of Brazil.


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The best places to visit in the south of Brazil pin
The best places to visit in the south of Brazil pin

Rio de Janeiro

Our number one pick for the best places to visit in the south of Brazil is definitely Rio de Janeiro. If it is your first time visiting the south of Brazil, then this is the perfect place to start.


While many argue this isn't technically considered the south of Brazil, we'd like to include it since it's a great city that you can start from if you plan on doing a southern itinerary.

Sugarloaf mountain Rio de Janeiro, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Sugarloaf Mountain has some of the best views of Rio de Janeiro, and is connected by sets of cable cars.

Rio de Janeiro is one of our favorite cities, and it has so much to offer for all types of travelers. You can find beautiful beaches, do amazing hikes, see colorful street art, and even visit on of the seven wonders of the world. While it technically isn't considered the south, it's definitely a great gateway to the best places to visit in the south of Brazil.


mural in Rio de Janeiro, best places to visit in the South of Brazil
Christ the Reedemer, Rio de Janeiro, the best places to visit in the south of Brazil
Pedro do Telegrafo, Rio de Janeiro, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Rio is one of our favorite places to visit in the south of Brazil.


We've been to Rio de Janeiro 3 times already, an never get sick of this amazing city! Want to learn more about all fo the great things to see in do? Make sure to take a peak at our Rio de Janeiro travel guide.


Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is also another city that technically is not considered the south, but is huge connection to the best places to visit in the south of Brazil. The city is the center of business in Brazil, and is one of the most popular and crowded cities in the country. Not only that, but it's actually one of the most well-connected airports in Brazil and in South America.


Sao Paulo makes the perfect place to start or end your trip around the south of Brazil, and is great for a day or two. Head to the colorful area of Beco do Batman, get epic views at the top of the skyscrapers, or have a wild night out at their bars and clubs. This city is vibrant, fun, and a great addition for places to visit in the south of Brazil.


Sao Paulo, best places to visit in the south of Brazil
Sao Paulo, best places to visit in the south of Brazil
Sao Paulo, best places to visit in the south of Brazil


Iguazu Falls

When it comes to nature. this is definitely the top of the list for the best places to visit in the south of Brazil.


Iguazu Falls are one of the natural wonders of the world, and are shared by both Brazil and Argentina. Both sides are stunning in their own way, and deserve a visit. 


Iguazu Falls, best places to visit in south of Brazil
Iguazu Falls, best places to visit in south of Brazil
Iguazu Falls, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Iguazu Falls is one of the top places to visit in the south of Brazil.


In order to get here you can take a short flight to Foz do Iguassu airport, or take an overnight bus from Curitiba like we did.


Want to learn more about the incredible Iguazu Falls? Make sure to check out our complete guide:


Paraty

Located half way between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Paraty is a true hidden gem of a destination. Full of lush jungle, waterfalls, and a large collection of tropical islands, Paraty has it all for nature lovers. The Old Town is full of color and charm, and you can also visit a number of cacacharias. Paraty is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation, and can be easily reached by bus in just 4-5 hours from either Sao Paulo or Rio.


beaches of Paraty, places to visit in the south of Brazil
things to do in Paraty, places to visit in the south of Brazil
Old town of Paraty, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Paraty has a ton of great things to do for all types travelers.


Want to learn more about Paraty? Check out our full travel guide we've written!


Catch a ride to Paraty:


Buzios

Formally known as Armacao do Buzios. this is a beautiful area on an ocean peninsula east of Rio de Janeiro. Just a couple hours from Rio, it's known as an upscale vacation destination with a number of beaches and resorts to enjoy. This area is particularly popular amongst locals, as well as Argentinian tourists.


Look for a place to stay in Buzios:

Booking.com

Ilhe Grande

Located just 2 hours south of Rio de Janeiro is a low-key tropical paradise called Ilha Grande. This island may seem small, but it's full of trails, lush greenery, and great beaches for both surfing and relaxing, making it the perfect getaway from the busy city of Rio de Janeiro.


Ilhe Grande can be reached by ferry from Angra das Reis (no cars allowed), and you can get a direct bus from Rio de Janeiro to Anrga das Reis.


Another thing that Ilha Grande is known for is for its trekking trips. There are plenty of different great ones that you ca do, and these last anywhere from 5-7 days typically.

Florianopolis

Florianopolis is another one our favorites places to visit in the south of Brazil. This island is so much more than we imagined. Tropical beaches, beautiful views, and exclusive parties are just some of the things that you can expect in this popular Brazilian island.


We suggest saving at least 4 days to visit here, as there are so many things to do! Florianopolis has a small airport, and can also be reached by bus from Porto Alegre, Curitiba, and other big cities in the area.


Joaquina beach, best places to visit in the south of Brazil
pink building in Florianopolis, best places to visit in the south of Brazil
Island of Campeche, best places to visit in the south of Brazil
viewpoint in Florianopolis, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Florianopolis is one of the most popular places to visit in the south of Brazil.


Want to learn more about Florianopolis? Make sure to read our full guide!


Balneario Camboriu

Located just an hour north of Florianopolis, Balneario Camboriu is an awesome city with skyscrapers towering along the beach. Walk along the picturesque jetty, enjoy the scenic cable car views or soak up the sun at one of the beautiful beaches. We suggest coming here for 2 days to make the most of this awesome place.

Balneario Camboriu, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Balneario Camboriu has a skyline along the beach that you can admire from the jetty.

Curitiba

Curitiba is the capital of the southern region or Parana, and was the city we flew to Iguazu Falls from. While the city isn't huge, it is known for its notable botanical gardens. If you happen to spend a night here we suggest you to check out Janela Bar. It's actually a big chain in Brazil, but the original is here. With an edgy vibe, delicious burgers, and great cocktails, this place is such a great time.


If you do go, make sure to ask for Diego. He manages this branch and he is an incredibly good time. 


One thing to note about Curitiba is that the weather is unlike any of the other places to visit in the south of Brazil! It is significantly colder, and even in January (the height of the summer) it was pretty chilly at night.

Look for a place to stay in Curitiba:

Booking.com

Blumenau

Looking for one of the most unique places in the south of Brazil? Well, this one will truly shock you.


Blumenau will teleport you right to Germany. That's right- this city was settled by Germans, and the town has historic German-style buildings, and even a touristic village full of rides, restaurants, and shops to enjoy. It's the perfect stop to make for an afternoon on a road trip, or to take a day trip from Balneario Camboriu or Florianopolis .

Blumenau, best places to visit in the south of Brazil

Blumenau is a German inspired town in the south of Brazil.

Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre is the capital of the most southern state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. While it's not at the top of the list for our favorite places to visit in the south of Brazil, it is a big city, and can be very cheap to fly into to start your south Brazilian adventures.


Porto Alegre has a cathedral, museums, and some great restaurants and bars to hang out in. If you're into culture, then Porto Alegre is a great place to add to your list.


Here are a few fun tours that you can sign up with:

Look for a place to stay in Porto Alegre:

Booking.com

The Best Places to Visit in the South of Brazil: Hidden Gems

We love a good hidden gem, and truly found some great ones while road tripping around the south of Brazil! Here are a few fun ones to add to your list.


Camping do Morro Sao Bernardo

Hidden in the mountains an hour outside of Blumenau is one of the most beautiful camping spots you'll ever see.


This place is perched so high up, that you can actually find yourself above the clouds! The owner even places two swings with lights there, so you can actually feel like you are swimming in the clouds. It truly is a magical place, and one of our favorite hidden gems of southern Brazil.

camping Morro do Sao Bernardo, places to visit in the south of Brazil
camping Morro do Sao Bernardo, places to visit in the south of Brazil
camping Morro do Sao Bernardo, places to visit in the south of Brazil
camping Morro do Sao Bernardo, places to visit in the south of Brazil

This campground is situated above the clouds.


Parque Estadual Turistico do Alto Ribeiro

This is one of the spots that we happened to stumble upon on accident. While driving from Sao Paulo to Curitiba we saw a waterfall sign, so we continued to follow.


Tucked away from the highway was actually a state park! It had beautiful views, and a set of waterfalls that you could admire from several different platforms. Additionally, in the area there are other really great spots like caves and other waterfalls.


waterfall in the south of Brazil
waterfall in the south of Brazil
waterfall in the south of Brazil
waterfall in the south of Brazil


Penha

We actually came here because our friends have a house here. Just north of Balneario Camboriu is a small beach town that is away from the crowds of the other busy each cities in the south of Brazil.


Penha is perfect for relaxing. and also has some beautiful viewpoints in the area to admire the coastline from.


Praia de Maguaratiba

When we were driving from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty, we wanted to stop for the sunset, so we decided to stop at a beach. We had to park at the gas station and walk 7 minutes to get there. When we arrived there was a massive empty beach surrounded by green hills. We couldn't believe we were the only ones there, and definitely think it was worth a stop if you need a break on your road trip.

Praia de Maguaratiba, places to visit in the south of Brazil

Praia de Maguaratiba is located on the way to Paraty from Rio de Janeiro.


Getting Around the Best Places to Visit in the South of Brazil

When we were trying to make our itinerary for visiting the top places to visit in the south of Brazil, we had quite a few places that were on our list.


Renting a Car in the South of Brazil

Because of having limited time, we decided that renting a car was the right decision for us. We rented a car in Rio de Janeiro, and dropped it off at the airport in Curitiba before our flight to Iguazu.  However, we did have a friend join us in Paraty, and we found that the bus system was also pretty good.


A pro of having a car was that we were able to find some hidden gems along the route, and not have to worry with the huge amount of luggage that we had. The roads were overall pretty good, and driving wasn't;t too stressful.


The cons were that the drives were long, so we used a lot of time traveling, and spent a lot on gas. Finding safe parking was also a challenge in some places, so we suggest searching for hotels that have private parking to keep your vehicle safe.


Rent a car in the south of Brazil:

Traveling the Different Places to Visit in the South of Brazil Via Public Transport

When it comes to traveling around the south of Brazil, distances are rather long, so our suggestion is to take the overnight buses. This way you'll be able to save on accommodation, and not waste your days on the road. Buses are also a great option if you're one or two people traveling, and want to save a bit of money.


Here are some popular bus routes that you can book in the south of Brazil:

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Food & Drink in the South of Brazil

Brazil is an enormous country, so the cuisine varies quite a bit! We found that the south of Brazil had a lot of fried foods, meat, and seafood in the coastal towns. Here are some of the Brazilian specialties you should try:

  • Acai: super refreshing and healthy frozen treat made from berries of the Amazon
  • Cocos: Fresh coconuts can be found pretty much on any beach for around 10 Real
  • Coxhina: fried teardrop shaped dough with shredded chicken inside
  • Pastel: fried pastries which are similar to empanadas, and great for on the go
  • Brigadeiro: small and round traditional Brazilian dessert with creamy chocolate inside
  • Churrasca: Brazilian Steakhouse where they slice unlimited amounts of meat at the table- this is an absolute must! (unless you're a vegetarian of course)
  • Casquinha de Siri: Our favorite seafood dish! Creamy crab cakes served inside the shell
  • Ostras Gratinadas: Oysters baked and smothered in cheese
crab, Brazilian foods