Samba rhythms and wild landscapes

James Lowen

New edition!

South America By Bus

Highlights and recommended routes

Nowhere evokes the romance of a long, meandering backpacking trip quite like South America. The thrill of discovery; the edge of exploring a frenetic city; the grind of a long climb through cloud forest and mountain passes to reach jaw-dropping ruins. South America is truly the full package.

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Home of the Amazon rainforest, samba and O Joga Bonito (the beautiful game – football), Brazil is one of the world’s most fascinating places, with travel experiences to match any adventurer’s needs.

Such is Brazil’s vastness (it covers half of South America and its people make up half the population of the continent), that it’s hard to pinpoint what makes it so special. There are powdery white-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls at Iguacu and a biodiversity of creatures that borders on the ridiculous. Nearly four million species call Brazil home, from toucans to howler monkeys, pink dolphins to sea turtles.

Underpinning this natural beauty is the awe-inspiring Amazon river and rainforest. Home to more than 390 billion trees and covering more than 8 million sq/km, the Amazon Basin contains more than 60% of the world’s remaining rainforests, with half of this lying in Brazil. Visitors to the Amazon region can encounter some of Brazil’s most remote communities, as well as learning about the problems facing the region – between 2017 and 2018, an area five times the size of London was lost to deforestation.

Finally, there are Brazil’s cities: rhythmic Rio de Janeiro, sprawled between ocean and mountain; charming Old Town Salvador; and enormous Sao Paulo, a centre of business and culture to name but a few. In each, you’ll find that legendary, laidback Brazilian sense of fun. So pull up a chair at the bar, order a caipirinha and dive into Brazil – this is a country that has everything.

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  • Rio de Janeiro

    Rio de Janeiro

    Is there another city on earth that can match Rio's beauty? Mountain peaks, lush forests, beautiful beaches and playful inhabitants make Rio a must-see on any Brazilian itinerary...Read more
  • Paraty


    Paraty offers a mix of small-town colonial Brazil and excellent wildlife watching -- complete with beaches and a bay made for watching sunsets...Read more
  • Pantanal


    The Pantanal offers some of South America's finest wildlife watching...Read more
  • Amazon


    The Amazon rainforest is the world's most important ecosystem...Read more
  • Iguazu Falls

    Iguazu Falls

    The mighty Iguazu Falls are actually a chain of 275 smaller waterfalls, forming an awe-inspiring semi-circle of water and noise...Read more

A Taste of Brazil

A short trip to Brazil’s top highlights
Approx. 6 days
Rio de Janeiro (3 days) → Pantanal (3)
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Amazon & Iguazu Adventure

The classic route to Brazil’s most popular spots
Approx. 9 days
Amazon (4 days) → Rio de Janeiro (3) → Iguazu Falls (2)
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Paraty, Rio & Pantanal Trail

Explore the highlights of Brazil
Approx. 10 days
Rio de Janeiro (3 days) → Paraty (3) → Pantanal (3)
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Where to go in Brazil

Our recommended places

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