Brazil has a wide range of lodging, covering all budgets. Reserve well in advance when booking during high season (December to March).
- Hotels From simple accommodations in cookie-cutter high-rises to boutique options with ocean views in luxury buildings.
- Pousadas Guesthouses running the gamut from basic to plush, with many family-run options.
- Hostels Dorms and a few private rooms with communal good cheer at locations across the country.
- Jungle lodges Found in the Amazon; prices are midrange to high and luxuries are few, but the wildlife-watching can be astonishing.
Camping has limited popularity in Brazil but it is a viable alternative in some parts of the country for those wanting to explore national or state parks. Obviously, you’ll need your own tent and other necessary gear. The biggest concern is safety. Many camping grounds are near urban areas and it’s unwise to camp in these spots, unless trustworthy locals have assured you it’s safe.
The Camping Clube do Brasil (www.campingclube.com.br) operates several dozen camping grounds as far apart as Fortaleza and Porto Alegre. Check its website for info.
Youth hostels in Brazil are called albergues da juventude. Hostelling International Brasil (www.hihostelbrasil.com.br) has more than 50 hostels in the country, all with links on the website. There are also scores of private hostels. Rio is by far the country’s hostel capital, with over 90 at last count. Quality varies considerably, but they’re generally good places to meet Brazilian and foreign travelers. A dorm bed in a hostel costs between R$40 and R$80.
Brazil’s hotels range from the good, modern and luxurious, to the shabby and moldy. At the more expensive places, taxes of 15% are often added to the price. Prices typically rise by about 30% during the high season, and room rates double or even triple during Carnaval and around New Year’s Eve. During those times, minimum stays of four to seven days are fairly common. Hotels in business-oriented cities such as São Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Brasília usually give discounts for stays on weekends.
One popular type of remote-area accommodations is the jungle lodge, which caters to tourists in or on the edge of the forest. Though they're sometimes pricey, you’re paying for the experience of lodging in the rainforest, rather than amenities – which are midrange at best. The largest number of jungle lodges are found outside of Manaus.
A pousada typically means a small family-owned guesthouse, though some hotels call themselves ‘pousadas’ to improve their charm quotient. Pousadas can cost as little as R$160 for a rustic double and as much as R$600 for a lavish option.
It’s possible to rent holiday, short- or long-term apartments through a local holiday-rental agencies. Airbnb has thousands of listings across Brazil.
In tourist centers, especially Rio, it’s wise to make reservations during July (school holidays), and from Christmas to Carnaval. The same holds for any vacation mecca (eg Búzios, Ilhabela, Morro de São Paulo) on weekends, and anywhere during major festivals. For prime peak times (eg Carnaval), make contact months ahead.