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The Perfect 2 Weeks in Brazil Itinerary for First Timers

Heading for 2 weeks in Brazil and don’t know where to start planning your trip? Check out the perfect Brazil itinerary for first timers!

Brazil is a large country. In fact, it is the world’s fifth largest country with a population of over 211 million people. Located in South America it covers close to half of that continent. Just to understand how big it is, it’s bigger than all of Europe! The country also has 60% of the Amazon forest, the world’s largest tropical rainforest.

Why visit Brazil, you say? Being such a large country, the country has a lot to offer its visitors. From beautiful beaches, amazing street carnivals, wild nightlife and some world famous architecture, Brazil has it all so you should be prepared to have loads of fun when you travel to Brazil.

As a first timer to Brazil, you may be overwhelmed by what to include in your travel plans and what to leave out. So we have done that for you and created a two-week itinerary for a trip to Brazil.

The plan will take you to some of the best places in Brazil including cities like Sao Paulo (which is Brazil’s largest city), Rio de Janeiro, Paraty and Foz do Iguacu. Let’s get into it!

Day 1-4: Rio De Janeiro

Try and fly into the country through Rio de Janeiro, as it makes the most sense for this two weeks in Brazil itinerary. Rio De Janeiro was the capital of Brazil until 1960, when the capital was moved to Brasilia. As Brazil’s second largest city, there is plenty to do here, but I’m sure you already know!

Start with visiting the world-renowned Christ the Redeemer statue. The open arm statue of Jesus Christ has been named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and attracts millions of tourist each year. It is located on Mount Corcovado and can be seen from every point in Rio De Janeiro. Ride the tram that takes tourist up Mount Corcovado to get a close look of Christ the Redeemer and enjoy a beautiful view of Rio .

Once you are done with touring this statue, head over to Copacabana or Ipanema Beach to soak up some sun. While at the beach you can just work on your tan, or surf or join in a game of beach football. Football is big in Brazil, they’re mad about the sport! So, while in Rio, try also to catch a football game at one of the local stadiums.

To enjoy a night out in Rio, head over to the samba clubs in Lapa. Other popular activities in Rio include visiting the Sugar Loaf Mountain, trekking in the Tijuca rainforest, and checking out the colorful Lapa stairs.

Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might also be able to take part in the world famous Rio Carnival. It is usually in February and there will be plenty of music, parades and colorfully dressed dancers on the city streets.

For accommodation, Rio has lots of hotels which are affordable, but keep in mind that if you are traveling during carnival season, Easter or New Year’s, prices will be higher.

Day 4-8: Paraty and Ilha Grande

After visiting the sights and partying hard in Rio, it’s time to get some relax on the beach, what do you think? Paraty and Ilha Grande, which neighbor each other, offer the perfect destinations for a beach holiday.

Ilha Grande is on your way to Paraty from Rio De Janeiro. You can stop over here for two days to enjoy the beautiful and unspoiled tropical beaches.

Also known as Parati, Paraty is a coastal town where the Portuguese settled in 1667. The city maintains its old charm with cobblestone streets and old churches.

Other than lying on the beach sipping caipirinha, which is never a bad idea, you can do some kayaking at the Jabaquara mangroves, or hike the local trails to see lovely waterfalls and forests in the area. If you are into seafood. there are plenty of great seafood restaurants in Paraty for you to dine at.

You can take a four-hour bus ride to get to Paraty from Rio, and enjoy scenic views of Brazil at the same time. Otherwise, you can rent a car for your 2 weeks in Brazil- it’s Brazil road trip time, babe!

Day 8-11: São Paulo

Your Brazil travel itinerary now brings you to Sao Paulo, Brazil’s financial center. Sao Paulo is just a four-hour drive from Paraty. Just like Rio, the city is vibrant. While in Sao Paulo, you can visit the numerous cultural institutions and see the rich architecture the city has to offer.

We recommend visiting the São Paulo Museum of Art. The museum opened in 1968, and has a good collection of art done by Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, Manet, Debret, Picasso, Miró, along with 73 works of bronze sculpture by Degas. Other popular places to visit in Sao Paulo include:

• Teatro Municipal (City Theater)
• Ibirapuera Park, which is a green space with monuments, museums, playgrounds, gardens, trails, lakes, and performance spaces. This is Sao Paulo’s equivalent to Central Park in New York.
• Museu de Arte Contemporânea (Contemporary Art Museum)
• Sé (Cathedral)
• Avenida Paulista

Day 11-14: Iguazu Falls

Once you’re done with Sao Paulo, take a flight to Foz do Iguacu, which will get you there in two hours. The major attraction in this multicultural city which borders Argentina is obviously its giant Iguazu Falls, one of the best places to visit in Brazil.

The waterfalls on both the Brazilian and Argentina side make up the world largest waterfall system. Iguazu Falls was chosen as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World, so you can imagine how breathtaking they are.

READ ALSO: The Top 24 Ecotourism Destinations for 2019

You can get up close to see the waterfalls by walking on a footbridge, but be prepared to get wet as you walk up to this magical site. If you want, you can also cross the border and also view the falls from Argentina. Remember to carry your passport if you plan to do this!

If you love bird watching, be sure to make a stop at Parque Das Aves where you’ll see incredible birds like the toucan, macaw, cassowary and pink flamingo.

As I said at the start, Brazil is a huge country and two weeks is not enough to see all of it, it would take you months!

If you have more time you can extend your stay and visits other cities like Salvador, Fortaleza, or Manaus for a trip to the Amazon, one of the best ecotourism destinations in the world.

Brazil Travel Tips for First Timers

• If you’re a citizen of the United States, Canada, Australia or Japan, to enter Brazil you will need an e-visa. You can easily make a Brazil visa application online. The application takes less than five minutes and you should have your visa within 5 days. The visa allows travelers to spend 90 days a year in Brazil for multiple purposes, over a 2 year period.

• To move around in Brazil you can use buses, rent a vehicle, or fly to your destination. Domestic airfare in Brazil is affordable, for example a flight from Rio De Janeiro to Foz Do Iguacu is about $100 each way.

• Brazil is an all year round travel destination with warm temperatures most of the time. However, the best time to visit Brazil is probably February so you can be part of the world’s largest party the Carnival in Rio (if you don’t like crowds, though, go any other time).

One Week, 10 Days, or 3 Weeks in Brazil Itineraries

• If you only have one week in Brazil, we suggest you head to Rio de Janeiro and then skip the rest of the itinerary until the incredible Iguazu Falls. These two destinations will keep your 7 days in Brazil pretty busy!

• If instead you are looking for a 10 days in Brazil itinerary, follow this Brazil two week itinerary but skip Sao Paulo, which is a mega city with many interesting cultural attractions, but can be overwhelming from how big it is.

Looking to spend more time in Brazil? Lucky you! For a 3 weeks Brazil itinerary, these are our two favorite options:

• Fly north to Salvador de Bahia, a culturally diverse and colorful city full of colonial buildings, markets, and beautiful churches. This is also where Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian art that combines dance with martial arts, was born. Spend two or three days here and then fly directly to Fernando de Noronha, this stunning island pictured above here.

You might have never heard of it, but this remote island 350 km off the coast of Brazil has the best beaches you’ll find in the country, and incredible snorkeling and diving.

• Otherwise, fly to Manaus, the door to the Amazon. This, together with Iguazu Falls, is something unique that really shouldn’t be missed. Go on a jungle tour and relax at some of the wonderful eco-lodges surrounded by nature. I can’t wait to do this next year as I loved my Borneo jungle safari so much and this looks similar.

There you go! Hopefully this itinerary is useful for planning your trip to Brazil. Boa viagem!

  • Stefania Guglielmi

    Stefania Guglielmi is the founder of Every Steph. Originally from Bologna, Italy, she's been traveling full-time since 2016 and has visited over 50 countries across 6 continents. She believes sustainable travel and luxury travel can go hand in hand and has been advocating for responsible tourism since 2014. Stefania's advice and travel experiences have been featured in important publications such as Business Insider, Refinery29, and Yahoo Money.