Brazil is extremely big and there’s so much to explore, but where to start? In this article I give you my Brazil itinerary for three weeks or longer.
Rio de Janeiro: 6 nights
Your Brazil itinerary will start with Rio de Janeiro. Not very safe but very exciting. What you can’t miss during your stay? Sugarloaf Mountain, Jesus, a bicycle tour, the area Copacabana, the famous colorful stairs, a party and of course the beaches. Stay for at least four nights if you want to take it easy.
Ilha Grande: 2 nights
I love Ilha Grande, because it’s so laidback. It’s a great escape from Rio de Janeiro. Have dinner on the beach with some live music, hike along the coast, relax on the white beaches and watch the sunset from the top of a mountain. Make sure you have two full days in Ilha Grande to explore all the highlights.
Paraty: 2 nights
I didn’t go to Paraty because I didn’t have enough time, but I know Paraty is a lovely place. It seems like a very good stopover from Rio de Janeiro to other places and the town is very colonial.
Rio de Janeiro: 1 night
We continue the trip with the Iguazu Falls, but that’s so far away. That’s why it’s better to take the airplane from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu. You can travel by bus, but that takes about two days. Go back to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and fly from there.
Iguazu Falls: 3 nights
The Iguazu Falls was definitely one of the highlights during my trip through Brazil. It’s so spectacular to see how much water falls down. It’s unreal to stand in front of the waterfalls. To make sure you experience the Iguazu Falls the right way, you have to see the Brazilian and the Argentinian side. They’re so different but both so awesome!
Bonito: 2 nights
Bonito is still a bit unknown and that’s why I loved this place even more. You come to Bonito to snorkel in a river, which is so cool. The river is very clear, the stream is very strong and you see the most beautiful fishes. It’s such an amazing experience to snorkel in a river. It felt like a fairytale. But there’s more to do: snorkel in a very deep cave and relax at one of the lakes.
Pantanal: 3 nights
I absolutely LOVED the Pantanal. This is by far my favorite place in Brazil. The Pantanal is the biggest wetland area of the world and you can spot so much wildlife over here. The chance of seeing wild animals is so much bigger than in the Amazon. Think about caimans, jaguars, parrots, toucans, anaconda’s, monkeys, capybaras, armadillos, otters and beautiful birds. It’s soooooo cool.
Campo Grande: 1 night
You don’t go to Campo Grande to have fun, because it’s an awful city. I really hated it and this city felt so unsafe. Just go there to take the airplane to the next destination. We had to stay here for a couple of hours at night, but try to fly in the afternoon so you don’t really have to sleep here.
Salvador: 3 nights
And that flight brings you to Salvador, my favorite city in Brazil. The vibe is so different: Salvador has an African background so you see a lot of African people. Salvador is pretty unsafe, so make sure you don’t show too much stuff and don’t walk through quiet streets at night. Salvador is all about drinking, partying and having a good time. But it’s also about art. A lot of artists live in Salvador and you can definitely feel this vibe. Oh, and all the buildings and old churches are so colorful and gorgeous. It’s beautiful!
Morro de São Paulo: 2 or 3 nights
This is the last destination of the trip through Brazil: Morro de São Paulo. This small island is located close to Salvador, so you can reach it by boat and bus. Go to the beach, check out the whales, drink some cocktails, buy some great souvenirs and walk around the island. The vibe is lovely and the street parties are so much fun. I really, really loved this place.
This itinerary is for 3,5 weeks but you can definitely skip some nights in Rio de Janeiro. Do you have less time? My advice would be to skip Ilha Grande and/or Paraty. Do you have more time? That’s awesome! Spend some more time in these places or check out Fortaleza, Chapada Diamantina and the Amazon!
Read all my travel guides and practical information about Brazil in my Brazil archive.