I spent 18 days in Brazil, but could have spent much longer in this vibrant country
I started off my trip by spending 5 days exploring some of Florianopolis’ 42 beaches before heading to Rio for 8 crazy days over Carnaval. From there, I flew to São Paulo for 3 days– a city that exceeded my expectations and is worth spending a few days exploring for those of you who enjoy big cities, especially if you’re a foodie (like me)– before finally heading to Foz do Iguazu to check out the jaw-dropping waterfalls.
What I would have done different
I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much time in Brazil. After spending nearly three weeks there, I had only scratched the surface.
Of the seven countries I visited in South America, I found it to be the easiest place to make friends with locals, who are fun (maybe a bit too fun at times) and genuinely interested in getting to know you, making it a particularly great destination for solo travelers.
Someday, it is my dream to go back and explore some of Brazil’s lesser-known destinations– especially in the north– like Salvador and Porto de Galinhas. A gentleman from Buenos Aires once told me the beaches in Florianopolis were a 7, but the beaches in northern Brazil were a 10; well, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’d sure like to find out.
Ihla Grande (Big Island) and the charming coastal town of Paraty, both just a couple of hours from Rio, are also high on my list of places to visit on my next trip to Brazil.
The US Department of State website gives Brazil a level 2 out of 4 (4 being most dangerous) travel advisory rating, which means “exercise increased caution” when visiting. In the Global Peace Index, which measures various safety attributes such as homicide rate, violent crime, terrorism, and internal and external conflict, Brazil is ranked #106 out of 163. That doesn’t sound so great, until you notice the United States in ranked even lower at #121.
Corruption is one of the country’s largest problems, plaguing much of South America, but this has little effect on tourists. The biggest threat to tourists is theft, and unfortunately cases of armed robberies aren’t uncommon in Brazil. However, I would not let concerns over this stop you from visiting this stunning country, which has so much to offer.
While I met several people who’d had phones or wallets stolen in Brazil, I had no issues myself. In fact, I accidentally left my passport and $400 USD (I’m talking cash money, people) on an airplane in Foz do Iguazu, sending me into full-panic mode, and it was all returned to me. Not a dollar was missing!
It really all comes down to luck, and you have to be pretty unlucky for something to happen to you. With that said, you can minimize your own risk by keeping your valuables in a money belt, or better yet, leaving them locked safely in your hotel or hostel.