Practical information : Sightseeing Brazil
The most frequently observed opening hours of shops are from 8am to 9pm, sometimes with a break from 12pm to 2pm. Some shops, especially food shops, are open 24 hours a day, even on Sundays
Museums, as in France, are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8am or 9am to 5 or 6pm. However, this is only a very general indication because depending on the season, the city... or the museum, the opening hours are very variable. The Sugarloaf Park in Rio is open from Thursday to Monday from 10am to 7pm. During the high season (school holidays in December for example), the tourist areas, museums and monuments are very busy
The city centres in general, including those of Rio and São Paulo or the lower town of Salvador, should be avoided in the evening and from Saturday afternoon. Little frequented, they are dangerous
To be booked
Some places, some events, have a very restricted attendance and the number of visitors is limited. It is therefore strongly advised to make reservations. Throughout the guide, these particular events will be described. For the most emblematic event, the carnival (whatever the city, Rio, Salvador or Olinda), plane tickets and hotels of course, but also tickets for the sambodrome in Rio or participation in the carnival must be booked well in advance (at least six months, sometimes a year!). Reservations for boat trips to the Iguaçu Falls or for football derbies (e.g. Flamengo - Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro) are also highly recommended. The Easter celebrations in Ouro Preto are also very popular with Brazilians; hotels are fully booked, so either book in advance or avoid Ouro Preto for these few days.
Budget & Tips
In monuments, public transport and museums, people over 65 (60 in some states) and children under 5 do not pay admission. One of the expenses is often the price of the plane ticket(s) to see the most countries. For those who want to cross this vast country in a short time, while neglecting their carbon footprint, the "Brazil Air Pass" is a good alternative. Of course, we advise you to take the bus, but the inter-city distances are sometimes so important that the plane is a good alternative. The companies Azul and Gol propose passes at respectively 399 and 505 US$ for 4 coupons. It is necessary to take them from France or from the countries of departure as soon as you have your ticket for Brazil.
Brazil can be visited all year round. The major events are spread throughout the year
In January , the Bonfim washing ceremony is one of the most important religious and popular festivals in Bahia. About 200 Bahian women wash the stairs of the church of Bonfim in homage to the Oxalà deity.
In February, sometimes in March, the carnival madness invades the whole country. The most famous carnivals are those of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia and Olinda, the latter being perhaps the most authentic.
At Easter, in April, the streets of Ouro Preto are coloured with flowerbeds that the brotherhoods of penitents will walk through.
In May, the São Paulo cultural festival celebrates culture and music, with Brazilian singers performing for millions of people
In June, the "juninas" parties rock the Brazilian and Northeastern nights, especially in Campina Grande and Caruaru, immortalized by the singer Luiz Gonzaga. They dance the "quadrille" in a colorful atmosphere.
In July, the FLIP, International Book Festival of Paraty, honors books in all their forms and a different Brazilian author each year.
In October, the month of the Oktoberfest, of course, Blumenau, in the state of Santa Catarina, rivals the Munich festivities with the sound of the oumpapa musick
In December, the Three Kings' festival is one of the most important events in Brazilian folklore. Present in many cities of the country, it is undoubtedly that of Muqui, in the state of Esperito Santo which is the most spectacular.
Going through the tourist offices or the guide offices is always relevant when you want to benefit from a guide, whether you are alone or in a group. It is the guarantee to be taken in charge by an accredited, trained and competent guide. This generally avoids the scams of tourist catchers. Nowadays, many tourism structures offer tailor-made tours, adapted to the travellers' needs, far from mass tourism and which allow the meeting with the Brazilian people and nature. French organizations, such as ARVEL-Voyages, offer organized trips, in small groups, with latitudes for travelers who do not necessarily want to permanently follow the group. For nature visits, in the Chapadas, the Pantanal or the Amazon, it is often the guarantee of a safe and successful experience.
As in France, Brazilian legislation prohibits smoking in public places and on public transport. The sale of cigarettes is prohibited to minors.
To be sure of the quality of the guides, it is necessary to systematically go through the "real" local guides' offices. They guarantee the accreditation of the guides, which is itself linked to a quality training. Serious pousadas generally propose guides they know and trust. Avoid touts in public places, such as bus stations or airports in the Pantanal, for example.