Brazil Transport

Get in

Air

By far the largest international airport in Brazil is São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, the hub of TAM airlines, which has direct flights to many capital cities in South America. Other direct flights include:

North America: New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D. C. , Houston, Dallas, Toronto and Mexico City.

Europe: Lisbon and Porto by TAP, Madrid by Iberia and Air China, Barcelona by Singapore Airlines, Amsterdam and Paris by KLM-Air France, London by British Airways, Frankfurt and Munich by Lufthansa, Istanbul by Turkish Airlines.

Asia: Seoul by Korean Air, Beijing by Air China, Singapore by Singapore Airlines, Abu Dhabi by Ethiad Airways , Doha by Qatar Airways, and Dubai by Emirates.

Africa: Taag Angola to Luanda, South African Airways to Johannesburg, Royal Air Maroc to Casablanca and Ethiopian Airlines to Lomé and Addis Ababa.

The second largest airport in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, the home of Gol Transportes Aéreos, which flies to many regional destinations including Santiago, Buenos Aires and Asuncion. Other direct flights include:

North America: Delta Air Lines flies to Atlanta, American Airlines flies to Miami, Dallas and New York, US Airways flies to Charlotte, and United Airlines to Washington, D. C. , and Houston.

Africa: Taag Angola to Luanda about 3 times a week.

Europe: Paris by Air France, Rome by Alitalia, London by British Airways, Madrid by Iberia, Amsterdam by KLM, Frankfurt by Lufthansa, Lisbon and Porto by TAP Portugal.

From Oceania there are services avaible to Brazil through connections in intermediate stops: Sydney and Auckland are served by LAN Airlines with a connection in Santiago. Qantas's direct flight from Sydney to Santiago has codeshare agreements with LAN and TAM Airlnes making it possible to get a connection to Brazil there. South African Airways links Perth and Sydney to Brazil via Johannesburg. Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Auckland are served by Emirates via Dubai. Sydney is also served by Ethiad Airways via Abu Dhabi.

In addition to the above, TAP flies directly to Salvador, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Porto Alegre. TAP Portugal is the foreign airline with most destinations in Brazil, from Lisbon and Porto, and provides extensive connection onwards to Europe and Africa. American Airlines has flights from Miami to Manaus, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Salvador. Copa Airlines flies from its hub in Panama City to Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Manaus, provinding a wide range of destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The cheapest airfares are from February (after Carnaval) to May and from August to November.

Train

Travel by train is not recommended. Train service within Brazil is almost nonexistent. However, there are exceptions to the rule, including the Trem da Morte, or Death Train, which goes from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to a small town just over the border from Corumbá in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Bus

Long-distance bus services connect Brazil to its neighboring countries, such as Buenos Aires, Asunción, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, and Lima. It should be kept in mind that distances between Sāo Paulo and any foreign capitals are significant, and journeys on the road may take up to three days, depending on the distance and accessibility of the destination.

Green Toad Bus offers bus passes between Brazil and neighbouring countries as well as around Brazil itself.

Ferry

Coastal shipping links widely separated parts of the country. Santos, Itajaí, Rio Grande, Paranaguá, Rio de Janeiro, Sepetiba, Vitória, Suape, Manaus and São Francisco do Sul are the most important ports. Amazon river boats connect northern Brazil with Peru, Venezuela and Colombia. The ride is a gruelling 12 days upriver though. From French Guiana, you can cross the river Oyapoque, which takes about 15 minutes.

Car

Brazilian roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic. The main border crossings are at Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana. In Foz do Iguaçu/Ciudad del Este/Puerto Iguazu, you do not need entry/exit stamps or other formalities for a daytrip into the neighbouring country.
Get around

Air

Air service covers most of Brazil. Note that many flights make many stops en route, particularly in hubs as São Paulo or Brasilia.

If you intend to visit various cities within Brazil, you should consider getting a Brazil Air Pass, offered by TAM or Gol - you purchase between 4 and 9 flight tickets which can be used at any time for any destination within Brazil served by the airline. A typical 4-ticket pass starts at around US$580 while a full 9 tickets will run around US$1150. In addition, Gol also offers a cheaper flight pass good for travel only within the Northeast of the country. These passes can only be obtained before arrival in the country, and you must prove that you have already purchased international return trip tickets or tickets for onward travel.

Train

There are few passenger lines:

The Serra Verde Express [66] from Curitiba to Paranaguá. The trip takes about 3 hours and has bilingual guides. Trains leave daily at 08:15 and prices start from about R$ 50 (round-trip).

From São João del Rei to Tiradentes - The trip takes 35-minute. The train operates Fri-Sun, with departures from São João at 10:00 and 15:00 and 13:00 and 17:00 from Tiradentes. The round trip costs R$ 16.

From Belo Horizonte to Vitória - Daily trains operated by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce leave Belo Horizonte at 07:30 and Vitória at 07:00. Travel time is about twelve and a half hours. Tickets are sold at the train stations and a single 2nd class fare costs about R$ 25. Seats are limited and it is not possible to reserve, so it is advisable to buy in advance.

From São Luis to Parauapebas - interesting because part of it passes through the Amazon rainforest.

Bus

Brazil has a very good long distance bus network. Basically, any city will have direct lines to the nearest few state capitals, and also to other large cities within the same range. Mostly you have to go to the bus station to buy a ticket, although most major bus companies make reservations and sell tickets by internet with the requirement that you pick up your ticket sometime in advance. All trips of more than 4 hours are covered by buses with bathrooms and the buses stop for food/bathrooms at least once every 4 hours of travel.

Most cities have extensive bus services. There is almost never a map of the bus lines, and often bus stops are unmarked. Be prepared for confusion and wasted time.

Bike

Cycling path are virtually non-existent in cities, except along certain beachfronts, such as Rio de Janeiro and Recife. However, in smaller cities and towns the bicycle is a common means of transport.

Boat

In the Amazon region as well as on the coast west of Sao Luis, boat travel is often the only way to get around.

Car

A car is a good idea if you want to explore scenic areas. Many roads are in good condition, especially in the east and south of the country and along the coast. In Brazil cars are driven on the right hand side of the road. There are the usual car rental companies at the airports. It is advisable to travel with a good map and to be well informed about distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time.

In other areas and outside the metropolitan regions there are also gravel and dirt roads for which an off-road vehicle can be strongly recommended.

Keep the doors locked whatever driving or parking, especially in the larger cities, and don't leave anything in the car.