What you should know before you rent a car
Where to rent a car in Brazil?
The South American country of Brazil is known for its football, beaches, dance and wildlife. Its capital city of Brasília (served by Brasília–Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport) is a modern metropolis, having been built in 1960 specifically to serve as the country's capital. However, it is Rio de Janeiro which regularly sees the highest visitor numbers, as tourists flock to its white sand beaches, such as Copacabana Beach, and to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Visitors to the city will likely land in Rio de Janeiro–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. São Paulo is another popular city, and is served by São Paulo/Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport. Traveling to Brazil by air is the easiest way to reach the country; for those wishing to rent a car, companies such as Avis, Movida, Hertz and Budget operate at many of Brazil's major airports. With so much to explore, renting a car in Brazil is a great way to experience as much as possible!
What are the driving rules in Brazil?
Driving in Brazil can be a different experience for those not used to its busy, sometimes less safe roads. As well as paying attention to the usual road rules – such as sticking to the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, and driving on the correct side of the road (which, in Brazil, is on the right), drivers will also need to be aware of a few additional safety tips when renting a car in Brazil. Ensuring car doors are kept locked at night, and in busy cities, is an important step to take; it is also a good idea to keep windows rolled up in cities, especially at traffic lights. A valid US driver's license is acceptable in Brazil, and most car rental companies will only rent out cars to those over the age of 21 (some require drivers to be over 25 years old, so check ahead before booking). Outside of the cities, road conditions in Brazil can be hazardous so avoid driving in the dark, and be sure to keep all your attention on the road.
Road trips in Brazil
With a limited railway network, traveling around Brazil by rental car is the best way to explore the country while enjoying its spectacular scenery along the way. With city breaks and beach retreats, there are a number of road trips to enjoy in Brazil – these are just three to put on the bucket list.
From Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo
This road trip begins in Rio de Janeiro, where visitors can enjoy time spent relaxing on Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, and enjoying the city's famous nightlife (especially if you're visiting during Carnival!). Then, it's time to take to the road to travel the five and a half hours to São Paulo. Upon arrival, be sure to visit attractions such as the São Paulo Museum of Art; the São Paulo Cathedral; and the Ibirapuera Park.
Road Trips Around Brasília
Founded in 1960, Brasília is known for its architecture. The Cathedral of Brasília, for example, was created by architect Oscar Niemeyer - who was responsible for a number of buildings in the city. His name can also be attributed to the Itamarty Palace, the Palácio do Planalto, and the National Museum. Around Brasília, a number of destinations can be visited by rental car. The town of Cristalina; the Parque Nacional de Brasília; and the Itiquira Falls are just a few of those accessible by car from Brasília.
Salvador and the Bahia Coast
Located on the east coast of Brazil, in the country's Bahia region, Salvador boasts sea views and interesting architecture aplenty. Reminders of its Portuguese colonial past can be seen in the UNESCO-listed Pelourinho district, which is home to landmarks such as the São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador. Bahia's coastline is dotted with numerous white sand beaches, and these are the focus of our road trip from Salvador by rental car. To the north of the city, drive along the Coconut Coast, while to the south, the Dendê Coast is waiting to be explored.