Backpacking in Brazil on a Gap Year

Countries  »  Brazil

Backpacking in Brazil is growing in popularity, and rightly so. This South American country is a cultural, economic and wildlife powerhouse, and an amazing place to either base or kick-off your gap year in Brazil.

A rainbow over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The cities

Brazil is famous for samba, beaches, football and bikinis; sometimes combined. It’s a humid, exotic and sexy country, full of colour, flavour and adventure. All of these things and more make up Rio de Janeiro, a mainstay on any gap year bucket list. Here you'll find Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, the Copacabana, and the iconic Maracanã stadium. It's arguably the most vibrant city in the world; you might never want to leave. 

From there you can head along the coast to sprawling Sao Paulo, home to exquisite cuisine, countless cool hideaways. and a clubbing scene that never sleeps. You can also check out Salvador and Fortaleza to the north, sweltering Manaus at the mouth of the Amazon to the northwest, or head inland to capital city Brasilia. 

Don't miss out on Brazilian food. Sample a rodizio grill for a carnivorous fix, or try some traditional feijoada - a sort of meat and beans stew. Be sure to wash it all down with a local beer like Skol or Brahma. 

Sao Paulo, Brazil

The scenery

If you spend your whole Brazil gap year in cities you'll be seriously missing out. The most obvious natural attraction is the Amazon rainforest, which boasts the greatest biological diversity in the world. There are numerous tours and volunteering opportunities that take you under its canopy and give you a chance to see exotic animals like jaguars, sloths, monkeys, and a ridiculous amount more. It's also home to a number of indigenous tribes.

There's also the vast tropical savanna Cerrado, and you don't even have to be on the coast to find stunning beaches, as parts of rainforests offer up their alternatives to the Caribbean. Head out of the city and Brazil is still brilliantly untamed, offering endless chances for adventure.

What more do you want? Get started planning your gap year in Brazil, either as a complete gap year by itself or a jumping off point for the rest of South America. We promise that you won't regret it.