Where to stay in Brazil ? Types of accommodation
In general, the
tourist infrastructurealong the beaten travel path in Brasil is very well-developed and good accommodation is available in almost all
destinations. Both the
businesstraveller are catered for in every price range. However, nightly rates differ greatly by destination. Naturally, accommodation in the popular cities, especially
Rio de Janeiro, tend to be much more expensive than in smaller towns in the country side.
|Furthermore, almost everywhere
hotelprices increase in the high season, which runs roughly from one week before Christmas until one week after Carnaval and in July/ August. In these times of the year, it is highly recommended to book your next bed in advance.
Around holidays (especially Carnival) often a stay of multiple nights is required, so keep this in mind when planning your trip. In this field it is also good to know that some destinations (beach resorts near the big cities for instance) are much more expensive in the weekends than on weekdays.
The most common types of accommodation are:
- Hotels: Purpose built accommodations with a reception and numbered rooms are available virtually everywhere and like anywhere else, they come in all price, quality and facility ranges. This applies as well to the chain hotels.
By the way, many international hotel chains have been around in Brazil only since a couple of decades. In the 20th century mainly national chains like Othon and Tropical were dominating the market. As a matter of fact, these days you can stay your entire trip in Formula One to Mariott and Ibis to Sheraton if you like (or in one of the still present Brazilian chains).
- Pousadas: Small, often family run guesthouses, roughly the Brazilian version of a Bed & Breakfast. Pousadas differ greatly in standard of facilities, quality and rates. They come as the very basic to the most luxurious. Some have shared bath facilities. Pousadas are popular among foreign travellers, because they are in general more personal and more charming than the average hotel, which can give an extra ‘Brazilian touch’ to one's travels.
- Backpackers hostels: Over the last two decades, travelling on a shoestring became increasingly popular among young people around the world. Brazil belongs to the backpacker favourite countries and special accommodations for this group popped up like daisies. Traditionally, most of them were associated with the Brazilian youth hostel federation, Federação Brasileira de Albergues da Juventude. However, more and more independent hostels are established, especially in the metropolitan areas and the beach destinations.
Hostels in Brazil are often run by veteran backpackers, both of Brazilian and expat origin. Accommodation in dormitories, shared facilities and common areas to meet each other are characteristics of the average hostel. Note that there are usually no age restrictions in order to stay in a hostel, you just have to be ‘young at heart’.
- Campings: Although camping is not very popular among Brazilians, there are quite a few campgrounds available in Brazil, often run by the federation Camping Clube do Brasil. These campgrounds have on average good facilities. When planning to camp in national parks, always inquire first with park authorities. Camping wild is also often possible, but you have to be sure you are not trespassing in order to avoid trouble. Moreover, beware of serious safety risks involving crime and unpredictable wildlife.
- Aparthotels: These hotels offer accommodation consisting of a small living room, one or more bedrooms and a kitchen or kitchenette: indeed, a small apartment. This is a good option when you plan on staying awhile in one of the larger metropolitan areas and are self sufficient. Aparthotels can differ in the field of facilities though; some come with restaurants, fitness facilities or a pool, others are more basic.
- Resorts: A fairly new phenomenon, but increasingly popular among Brazilian tourists. Resorts are huge complexes with all tourist facilities under one roof. Areas known as home for one or more resorts are Litoral Norte (North coast of São Paulo state), Costa do Sol (East coast of Rio de Janeiro state) and Linha Verde (North coast of Bahia). Also at the North-eastern coast, in the Fortaleza and Natal areas, some resort style hotels open shop. These ones cater mainly to the international tourist.
- Motels: In contrary to North American and European motels (accommodation along major roadways), in Brasil a ‘motel’ usually is a short stay hotel, often used for a romantic rendezvous... Mind you, in a country where large families live together and privacy is scarce, there is a huge demand for ‘love hotels’. It is not common staying in a motel more than one night (in fact, it will be discouraged).
- Jungle lodges: In the Amazon and Pantanal (and some national parks) there are purpose built lodges available where you can stay one or more nights. Some in the Manaus area are very luxurious, but more often this type of accommodation has only basic facilities (you are in those areas not to stay the whole day indoors anyway...). Note that you have to book lodge accommodation in advance and they are often used by tour groups (i.e. you cannot just show up at one and arrange a bed for the night).