5 Reasons You Haven’t Traveled to Brazil...And Why You Finally Should

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What comes to mind when you close your eyes and picture Brazil? Sadly, for many, the image isn’t a nice one: crowded favelas, overwhelming poverty, unsafe cities, corruption, inequality, economic crises, and destinations that are better left unvisited.

But if that’s the case, why do travelers who have actually visited Brazil tell a different story - one filled with spirited cities, friendly locals, spectacular waterfalls and rainforests, canyons, sand dunes, well-preserved colonial towns, incredible gastronomy, endless beaches, otherworldly landscapes, and authentic adventures?

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The truth is, Brazil is an all-around epic travel destination. As for those “dark and dangerous” stereotypes? While there’s certainly some truth there, that doesn’t mean you should preemptively cross Brazil off your bucket list!

Brazil is a wild and beautiful country, with more to see and experience than you could begin to imagine. Travelers who take the plunge and visit - especially with a knowledgeable local guide - will discover a destination that’s enchanting, safe, and simply unforgettable.

Reason #1: There’s a High Crime Rate

Think Brazil is an unsafe destination for travelers? Think again! While Brazil does have some scary crime statistics - particularly in poor neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro - it’s actually a much safer destination overall than most people assume.

Our best safety advice: Get out of Rio, and head to some of the country’s lesser-known hidden gems. Brazil has a wide variety of cities, towns, beaches, parks, and other locations that are perfectly safe for travelers, without the high crime rates.

Need more proof? There are currently NO travel alerts, advisories or warnings issued for Brazil by the U.S. Department of State. They’re notoriously overcautious when it comes to issuing travel warnings, so it really makes a statement that Brazil has been given the “all clear.”

Reason #2: You’re Worried About Zika

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The Zika virus first began attracting international attention in late 2015, when Brazil was preparing to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Unfortunately for Brazil, misinformation began spreading even more quickly than the disease itself!

Many would-be travelers have mistakenly assumed that Zika: 1) Can be spread through food, water, coughing, or sneezing, 2) Will affect future pregnancies, or 3) Is absolutely unavoidable if traveling to an affected area. The good news? ALL of the above are false!

You can help protect against Zika virus by using a trustworthy repellent like this one (buy it once you arrive in Brazil!) to ward off mosquitos carrying the virus. Additionally, according to the CDC: “Currently, there is no evidence that a woman who has recovered from Zika virus infection will have Zika-related pregnancy complications in the future.”

You still don’t want to plan a trip to Brazil if you’re pregnant or expecting to become pregnant during the trip, but this is good news for women who hope to become mothers later down the line.

Reason #3: There’s Too Much Poverty

It’s true that Brazil has major problems with poverty and inequality, as evidenced by the crowded favelas on the outskirts of most of Brazil’s major cities. But it’s also true that most travelers who visit Brazil stay away from these poverty-stricken neighborhoods and areas.

Brazil is well-suited to a wide range of travel tastes and preferences, from luxury villas and 5-star hotels to off-the-beaten-path private excursions.

Lounge on gorgeous beaches of Fernando de Noronha, Trancoso or Jericoacoara, unwind at an exotic retreat in the Amazon rainforest, or drink, dine and dance in world-class restaurants and nightclubs.

Reason #4: It Takes Too Long to Get There

Brazil can sure feel like a world away - but as it turns out, it’s not as unreachable as you might think. To get to São Paulo, it takes roughly 8 hours by plane from Miami, 10 hours from New York City, and 15 hours from Los Angeles, including any layovers.

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Sure, that’s not exactly a short journey...but what about the flight time from those same destinations to Frankfurt? It takes 9, 8, and 11 hours, respectively - not much difference! And to Bangkok? You’re looking at 21, 19, and 18 hours. Whew!

For Europeans, it’s naturally much quicker and easier to fly to anywhere else on the continent. But when comparing a flight from London to São Paulo and a flight from London to Bangkok, they’re roughly equal in length.

And aren’t the best adventures worth a bit of jetlag anyways?

Reason #5: Brazil = Rio de Janeiro (And You’re Not Interested)

For many people, traveling to Brazil is synonymous with a visit to Rio de Janeiro. And they’re not all wrong - any Brazil itinerary should include a stay in this striking coastal city, with its breathtaking landscapes, incredible beaches, and vibrant urban culture.

But not venturing beyond Rio de Janeiro would be doing yourself a major disservice!

From trendy and fast-paced São Paulo to the wild, lush Amazon rainforest, and from kite-surfing in the state of Ceará to safaris in Pantanal, there’s so much to be seen and experienced in Brazil.

After all, it’s only slightly smaller in size than the United States (or slightly larger if you exclude Alaska), so you can expect to find a similar level of diversity in terms of landscapes, nature, cities, towns, and attractions.

Enjoy the beautiful beaches on the Cacau Coast near Itacaré, soak in the magnificent sights at Lençois Maranhenses and Chapada Diamantina, or escape into a paradise of art and nature at one of the world’s largest open-air museums.

Wherever you go, we have a feeling you just might change your mind about Brazil once you experience it for yourself!