It’s not an easy task to organize a trip to Brazil. We are talking about a country, the territory of which is larger than that of the whole European Union. So what to see in Brazil? It would not surprise you, if we tell you that in this country you will found everything: rainforests, mountains, spectacular beaches and waterfalls, wildlife both on land and underwater, beautiful colonial towns, large metropolis and small villages far from everything in the desert or in the jungle. Brasil has everything. It’s impossible to explore the whole country in a one single trip, hence we propose you an itinerary with the most essential things to see in Brazil in 3 weeks, where you will concentrate on the Southeast and Northeast of Brazil.
This itinerary, which can be called as the “classic route to travel in Brasil” starts from the wonders of Iguazu Falls, continues on the nice beaches of the Green Coast (Costa Verde), while you can also explore Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two most important cities of Brazil. The itinerary ends in Salvador de Bahia, the first colonial capital of the country, where you will also be able to relax in the fascinating beaches of Morro de Sao Paulo nearby.
What to see in Brazil in 3 weeks – The Classic Itinerary
Day 1-3. Iguazu Falls (visit to both the Brazilian and the Argentinean sides)
Day 4-5. Sao Paulo, the largest metropolis in South America
Day 6-8. Paraty, a nice colonial town on the Green Coast
Day 9-11. Ilha Grande, a tropical island with rainforest and paradise beaches
Día 12-15. Rio de Janeiro, a city that will make you fall in love with
Day 16-18. Salvador de Bahía, la capital del Brasil africano
Day 19-21. Morro de Sao Paulo, paradise beaches and total relax
Day 1-3. Iguazu Falls
One of the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World, Iguazu Falls are found on the border between Argentina and Brazil. It’s one of the most impressive natural things to see in Brazil and it’s also worth adding another day to see the waterfalls on the Argentinean side, too. On the Brazilian side you will have a more complete and panoramic view of the waterfalls, while on the Argentinean side you will be able to get more closer to them. The closest town to stay at on the Brazilian side is Foz do Iguaçu. Close to the waterfalls you can also visit the Parque de las Aves, a large bird park with hundreds of colorful exotic bird species.
Day 4-5. Sao Paulo
The city of Sao Paulo is a huge metropolis with more than 20 million inhabitants. It’s an immense city, which you might find a little bit intimidating at the beginning. Nevertheless, Sao Paulo has many neighborhoods, each of them with a different character, and it’s worth dedicating at least a couple of days to this city. Sao Paulo is full of contrasts: huge skyscrapers and helipads in the Via Paulista, many glamorous places, intense cultural life on one side, and poverty, decadence on the other. It’s a city that will not leave you indifferent.
Day 6-8. Paraty
Paraty is a pretty colonial town on the Green Coast (Costa Verde) of Brazil. The old town of Paraty is really charming and it’s worth walking around there to enjoy its special atmosphere. Near Paraty you will also find some really great beaches to relax at. We recommend you to do a boat excursion (boats leave from the port of Paraty) during which you will stop in nice beaches and great spots to do snorkeling. Another great option is to catch a bus that will take you in half an hour to Trinidade, where you will find long beaches without too many people there and even a natural pool with colorful fish.
Day 9-11. Ilha Grande
Ilha Grande for us is one of those places you must visit in Brasil. It’s one of those islands which make you want to stay not only because of the beautiful beaches, but also for the relaxing atmosphere. What is really cool in Ilha Grande is that there’s only one small village (Abraao) on the whole island, and you have to walk a few hours through the jungle to get to the nicest beaches. On the way you will have the chance to see wildlife, we even saw huge howler monkeys there. The most beautiful beaches on the island are Praia Lopes Mendes, which is one of the most famous white sand beaches in the whole country, but we also liked Praia de Dois Rios. If you want to get to know the other beaches too, it’s worth taking a full day boat excursion.
Want more info about the island? You can read here about the best things to do in Ilha Grande.
Day 12-15. Rio de Janeiro
If there’s one city to see in Brazil, there’s no doubt that it’s Rio de Janeiro. This beautiful city has everything to make you want to stay there for a while. The views from the Christ the Redeemer Statue or the Sugarloaf Mountain are simply marvelous, and you will never forget them. The beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana have a very special atmosphere. In the city you will also find the Tijuca Natural Park, where you will see monkeys and toucan birds. The neighborhood of Santa Teresa has a bohemian atmosphere and you can’t miss out on the Selaron Steps, one of the most colorful places we have ever been to. In Rio de Janeiro there are many dangerous favelas, where you’d rather not go, whereas there are also favelas that have already been pacified (Favela Santa Marta for instance) and you can visit them to see how people live in these neighborhoods.
Day 16-18. Salvador de Bahía
The city of Salvador de Bahia once was the capital of the colonial Brazil. This beautiful city is also known as the capital of the Afro-Brazilian part of the country where most of the inhabitants have black skin color. Pelourinho, the old neighborhood of the city was declared to be UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you walk in the cobbled streets of the old town, you will see many colorful old buildings and baroque churches. Unfortunately the city is also known for the high level of delinquency there, hence we really recommend you to be careful when you visit certain parts of the city at night.
Day 19-21. Morro de Sao Paulo
Salvador de Bahia is a big city and not exactly an island of peace. Nevertheless, not so far from this chaotic city, you will find a perfect place to end your travels around Brazil; the small village of Morro de Sao Paulo is found at the tip of Tinharé Island. In Morro Sao Paulo you will find a very relaxing atmosphere and dream beaches. The main beaches of the village are called Primera, Segunda, Tercera y Cuarta Praia (First, Second, Third and Fourth Beach). The farther you go, the more probable will be that you will completely alone. It’s also worth doing a boat excursion to know the spectacular beaches of the nearby Boipeba Island. We hope you will find this post useful to organize your trip to Brazil.
Useful tools to organize your trip
– ZZZ… BOOK YOUR HOTEL IN BRAZIL – find the best hotel for you.
– BRUM BRUM… RENT A CHEAP CAR FOR YOUR TRIP AROUND BRAZIL – find the best car for you.