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Ultimate Packing List for Brazil: 12 Items You’re Forgetting to Pack

Traveling to South America? Then don’t forget to add these essential items to your Brazil packing list.

Tickets and accommodation are booked. Nice. You’re traveling to Brazil. You have an exciting trip to look forward to.

Now you have come to a point where you have to pack, but you don’t really know what to take with you. After all, Brazil is a faraway country with a (probably) much warmer climate. I get you.

Lucky you, I was born and raised in this giant country, so I can give you a tip or two on what to pack for Brazil.

For that reason, I’ve written down a few essential items that as a North American or European you’ll need to pack for many reasons—safety, bad WiFi, etc.

Packing list for Brazil

There are a few things that are good to know before visiting a place, especially when it’s a faraway country. Better yet if the one who is giving you those tips was born & raised there. Yay!

That’s also why I created this packing list for Brazil which is suitable for both men and women – except the Brazilian bikini part, of course. (Actually, who knows, right?)

So, wondering what to bring to Brazil? Read on!

Traveling to Brazil

The giant. Brazil is a massive country with incredible wildlife. The country is also full of beautiful places and joy.

Happiness is truly contagious here. Brazilian people like to talk and you easily become best friends with someone while waiting for the bus or ordering beer, for example.

It’s difficult to describe such a big country in one word because its regions are very distinct from each other in many aspects.

Food, music, clothes, weather, accent, everything. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are bordering states and yet they don’t look like each other at all, let alone its people.

I think there is one word that I can actually use to describe Brazil: diversity.

Brazil has the largest community of Italians, Japanese, and West Africans outside their homeland. It also has a quite large community of Germans in the south of the country.

We can call this diversity, right?

But fear not. This packing list for Brazil has essential items that you’ll need no matter where you go in the country.

Packing list for Brazil

Comfortable shoes

Packing list for Brazil: walking shoes

Brazil is not a flat country as the Netherlands is. There are up and down hills and some uneven terrains everywhere, from North to South.

For that reason, add a pair of comfortable walking shoes to your packing list for Brazil if you want to explore the beautiful corners of the country. It can be hiking shoes (like these), comfortable sandals such as Teva, or whatever you’re more comfortable with.

I’ve seen many bloggers advising people to buy the Havaianas flip flops online before going there. But honestly, with the actual 4-to-1 currency rate you’re better off buying them in Brazil.

It’s much cheaper in the country. For the same price you would pay online, you can get a pair with a much prettier design and print in Brazil.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, these worldwide famous flip-flops are a part of the Brazilian wardrobe, culture, and blood. I don’t think you’ll meet a Brazilian who doesn’t own at least one pair.

You’ll actually see many people wearing it on the coast because it’s obviously more practical. But in big inland cities, such as the business hub Sao Paulo, you might see more sandals, flats, and sneakers.

Pro tip: Planning to dance samba? Then choose shoes that are attached to your feet. It’s easier to dance this way.

Repellent with picaridin

Being a warm and tropical country, Brazil has and always will have many insects (aka mosquitoes).

And as a friendly warning: they’re ruthless in some coastal cities.

I’m allergic to them, so I know many techniques to avoid these beasts, but as a rule of thumb, start by getting a decent repellent.

Packing list for Brazil: insect repellent

No matter if you’re traveling to Sao Paulo, to Bahia or to Rio de Janeiro, it’s essential to pack a repellent with picaridin (not DEET as it’s too aggressive for you).

That’s very important, especially because there is no vaccination that prevents the Zika virus, which is currently active in Brazil, according to the WHO.

Also, dengue has also been a problem since last century (yes, you read this right) and this repellent repels both of these mosquitoes.

So, if you want to prevent getting infected (and possibly ruining your trip), make sure to include a repellent with picaridin to your packing list for Brazil.

I use and recommend this one: Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion – 4 fl. oz. | REI Co-op $8.95

Pro tip: If you do get sick and have to cancel your trip, having travel insurance will make all the difference as it saves you money and hassle.

Money belt

Packing list for Brazil: money belt

Money belts aren’t the most comfortable accessory, but they give you extra safety while in the country.

As a precaution, you’ll want to keep your money and documents out of sight.

For women, consider purchasing a travel bra instead. It works the same way as a money belt, but it’s much more comfortable.

Pro tip: Try to blend among the locals to attract less attention to you and avoid wearing expensive sunglasses, watches, and jewelry.


Packing list for Brazil: sunscreen

I can’t stress enough how important sunscreen is in Brazil!

The south of the country is the cooler region, but even there you’ll need it.

In most regions of Brazil, you’ll have the sun right in the middle of the sky, above your head. And the UV index is pretty high in the whole country. Be sure you wear sunscreen at all times not to harm your skin.

For reference, the UV index ranges between 4 and 12 in the south and southeast, while in the north and northeast it ranges between 10 and 12.

Just so you can have an idea of what these numbers mean, 6 is high, 8 is very high, and 11 is extreme. So please, add sunscreen to your packing list for Brazil.

Water purifier bottle

Packing list for Brazil: water bottle with filter

Brazil is fairly humid, which makes it even warmer, meaning we lose even more body fluids through sweat.

That’s why keeping your body hydrated is fundamental to deal with the heat.

While tap water in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is safe to drink, it might have an unpleasant taste.

However, smaller cities in the countryside might not have potable tap water. For that reason, bring your own water purifier bottle.

This bottle has a carbon filter that makes water ready to drink in seconds. I think it’s worth the money for two reasons. 1) It’s good for the environment and 2) for your pocket as you don’t have to buy many water bottles along the way.

The bottle itself is pricey, but if instead of buying new bottles every day, you have your own bottle for the whole trip, it definitely pays off.


Packing list for Brazil: cap

Again, the sun is fairly strong and if your skin is light, you’ll burn pretty fast in Brazil.

Even wearing sunscreen, any shade you can find will help. Big time. That’s why having a cap with you will do the trick.

I could recommend those beautiful instagrammable hats, but with this cap, you would blend way more with the locals.

Solar charger

Packing list for Brazil: solar charger

Well, Brazil is such a sunny place that you will want to take advantage of so much free energy.

This way you can charge your smartphone at all times.

My solar charger is not really useful in the Netherlands because I can barely charge it for 6 months a year.

But in Brazil…pfff. You most likely won’t miss the sun!

Granted, it’s not sunny every single day, but even in cloudy days, you can feel the sun burning there.

Wifi Hotspot

Packing list for Brazil: pocket WiFi

Brazil has plenty of good aspects, but good wifi isn’t one of them.

In most places, the internet is slow, when available, and it’s expensive, unfortunately.

So instead of being frustrated trying to connect with your friends and family, purchase or rent a wifi hotspot with Solis.

This way you don’t have to worry about roaming fees, SIM cards, and bad wifi anymore.

What I like the most about it, is that you can connect up to 5 devices which means you can share wifi (and the costs) with your friends.

Pro tip: Use this code to get a nice discount MAPSNBAGS

Rain jacket

People call Sao Paulo the drizzly city. Although it’s often sunny in town, Sao Paulo’s weather is a bit unpredictable.

On some days, I would leave home to work wearing a sweater and a jacket, and as the day went by I would layer off to a summer outfit.

Finally, at the end of the day, it would get chilly and rainy. On the next day, it would be completely warm. And so on.

In Rio de Janeiro, it’s usually warmer than Sao Paulo, but it happens to drizzle too. On the other hand, many cities in the northeast don’t see rain that often.

After you have your itinerary defined, check the rainfall averages. For instance, some regions have a rainy season for seven months.

If the precipitation is considerable in the cities where you’re going to, pack a rain jacket.

Brazilian Portuguese phrasebook

Packing list for Brazil: Brazilian Portuguese phrasebook

This might come as a surprise to you, but most Brazilians don’t speak English.

You might find some people who speak it in bigger cities, such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, but don’t be so hopeful about it in smaller towns.

Also, plenty of people I meet around the world doesn’t know that we Brazilians speak Portuguese and not Spanish, like our neighbor countries.

That’s why you can save yourself the hassle and learn the most common sentences, words, and expressions to talk (at least a little) with locals.

Brazilian Bikini or just your own

Packing list for Brazil: bikini

A bikini is a travel essential for any woman visiting Brazil.

Maybe one of the first things that come to people’s minds when they think about the beaches in Brazil is the Brazilian bikini.

Yes, it’s small. Actually, it’s tiny for many cultures, but that’s not a problem here, as you’ll see in Copacabana, Ipanema, and beyond.

It doesn’t matter what body shape they have, many Brazilian women wear that famous microscopical bikini full of confidence.

Of course, you don’t have to wear it if you’re not comfortable with it, which is also just fine. Plenty of my friends don’t wear them and that’s the beauty of it.

You can choose whatever you prefer, such as this beautiful bikini. Huge, large, small, tiny. Just pack what you feel glorious in and enjoy the Brazilian vibes.

Travel Towels

Packing list for Brazil: travel towels

Imagine backpacking Brazil and carrying a bulky towel around?

It’s not gonna work!

Instead, purchase some lightweight travel towels as you know you’ll need them.

You will need them either on the beach or just to take a shower. These towels I mentioned above are very soft on the skin and fold small, perfect for light packers.

Where to pack all these things?

I love Osprey. They have high-quality backpacks in all sizes.

For my needs, the Farpoint 40L, which is a carry-on backpack, is more than enough.

But if you’re planning to pack a little more than on this list, I suggest you purchase the Osprey Farpoint 55L which comes with a daypack.

I’d say the Farpoint is unisex. Although they market it as a backpack for men, I use it and am very satisfied with it. But, they released a female version of it, the Fairview 40L and Fairview 70L.

Packing Lists for Brazil

Men’s Packing List for Brazil

Women’s Packing List for Brazil

Note that the items above are a general indication of what most people wear in Brazil. But it all depends on how cold or warm the place where you come from is as well as where you’re going to.

The northeast of Brazil is MUCH warmer than the south. So first, know your itinerary and the places you’re going to visit, to know if the weather will be a bit chilly and in this case you’ll need a vest, for example.

Final words on your Brazil packing list

Brazil is a lovely country, where you can learn a lot about a beautiful culture. Embrace the differences and enjoy your trip there.

The items I mentioned above are essential for any trip to Brazil, so be sure to pack them.

Now tell me, what other items would you include in this packing list for Brazil? Drop your suggestions in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Psst: For perfect hair while traveling, I recommend you take a look at the Brazilian Keratin Blow Dry.

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