Brazil Travel Itinerary and Expenses: 6 Days, 3 Cities, Countless Memories | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Feb 20, 2020

Brazil Travel Itinerary and Expenses: 6 Days, 3 Cities, Countless Memories

If you're given a week to travel to another continent, where would you go? 

Ed and I were caught up in this situation last year. We wanted to go somewhere we have never been, preferably to a visa-free country for us Filipinos. Given the short amount of travel time, Brazil which is a long airplane ride away from our current home base - Dubai, UAE - was a crazy idea... but we felt it would be crazy fun to finally set foot in South America. 

So we went!

And now, I am happy to share three things:
1. Visiting 3 cities in less than 1 week is tiring. But it's possible!
2. We made countless memories; zero travel horror story!
3. Brazil is MARVELOUS! Go if you have the chance! 

Brazil Travel Itinerary blog

Here are some travel tips to help you plan for your trip:

Philippine passport holders do not need a visa to travel in Brazil as a tourist for 90 days.

Brazil's official currency is Brazilian Real, also called Reias. As of this writing, 1 USD is equivalent to 4.30 BRL. For UAE-based readers, 1 AED is 1.17 BRL.

Money exchange counters and ATMs are available at the airport. We withdrew a few Reias, just enough money for street food and for places where we can't pay by card, from the red-colored ATM in GRU Sao Paulo Airport's arrival area. For safety, we opted to use Credit Card while traveling around Brazil. Let's talk more about safety later. 

Portuguese is the official and the dominant language in Brazil. Communicating was a tad difficult as only a few can speak English.

Basic and nice-to-learn phrases that you can use while exploring the country are:

  • Bom dia: Good morning
  • Olá: Hello
  • Tchau: Bye
  • Obrigado: Thank you
  • Por favor: Please
  • Nao: No
  • Sim: Yes

Airfare can take up a huge chunk of your travel budget, especially for international flights to The Americas. For Brazil, it is best to plan ahead and watch out for seat sales.

From Dubai, only Emirates fly direct to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Take note of the flight duration (15 hours from Dubai to Sao Paulo) and do consider the long plane ride in your travel plans. Hello, jetlag! If travel time is not an issue, flight with stopovers can be a cheaper option.

For our domestic transfers, we flew via LATAM airlines. Our flights from Sao Paulo to Iguazu and from Iguazu to Rio were good. We departed and arrived on time. Seats are comfortable and light snacks were served on board. Other airlines to consider when traveling around Brazil by plane are Azul Brazilian Airlines and GOL.    

We relied on Uber for land transfer most of the time, except in Iguazu where we took the public bus. We found it safe, convenient and affordable. Compared to the fare rate here in the UAE, Uber rides in Brazil cost a lot cheaper.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro can also be explored by train and bus. We were not able to try though due to time constraints and safety concerns. But I know a lot of people who took the subway in both cities and it turned out to be a good local experience for them.   

I got hooked to local specialties and I have to say that you must indulge while you're in there! Brazilian restaurants in Dubai are pricey!

Here are five dishes that you shouldn't miss:
  • Pão de queijo: Local cheese buns, best eaten warm!
  • Coxinha: Drumstick-shaped snack, savory dough with shredded chicken meat filling.
  • Feijoada: Traditional black bean stew with pork and beef, considered as Brazil's national dish.
  • Picanha: Watch out for this prized cut of meat when dining in churrascarias. It's the BEST!
  • Açaí: A superfruit that is so perfect for smoothie bowls topped with fruits and granola. 

"Don't listen to what they say, go see." This quote was constantly running in my head while I was planning for our trip. Basically, our desire to push through with the trip was stronger than the fear of experiencing an unpleasant incident which is most likely not to happen. So yeah, we were brave but we were so vigilant. 

Here are the basic do's and don'ts when traveling in Brazil:
  • Don't wear flashy jewelry. 
  • Don't leave anything unattended.
  • Don't visibly hold your phone and camera on the street. 
  • Know where you are going before you leave the hotel. 
  • Keep your valuables in the safe box in your hotel room.
  • Do not go out during the wee hours.
  • Do not bring all your travel money; only have enough for the day. Or use a credit card that you can easily block when lost or stolen. 

Brazil Travel Itinerary and Expenses

Day 1: Travel Day!
Flight from Dubai, UAE to Sao Paulo, Brazil via Emirates

Arrival in GRU airport in Sao Paulo

Uber from GRU to Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista Hotel
68 BRL
Check-in at Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista Hotel
Pre-booked: 464 BRL for 2 nights

Dinner: ordered from the hotel’s in-room dining menu
Pizza: 28 BRL
Water: 5 BRL each


Day 2: Lazy Day in Sao Paulo
Breakfast in a local bakery:
2 coffee, 1 pao de queijo, 1 coxinha, 1 yogurt, 1 water 1.5L
35 BRL
Walk to Mirante Sesc Paulista and enjoy the view from the terrace

Sightseeing in Avenida Paulista

Walk to Fogo de Chao Jardins

Full Churrasco lunch in Fogo de Chao
152 BRL per person
Uber to Edificio Italia
12 BRL
Visit Edificio Italia viewing deck
30 BRL per person inclusive of 1 alcoholic beverage or juice
Uber to Catedral da Se
Visit Catedral da Se
Uber to hotel
10 BRL
Dinner: Hotel’s complimentary fruit platter

Pack up and rest for the next day’s early flight to Iguazu

Sao Paulo Brazil
Hello, Sao Paulo!

Lady in Avenida Paulista
Casually twirling around in Avenida Paulista :)

Ed in Edificio Italia
Soaking up the views at Edificio Italia

Need more details on our Sao Paulo itinerary?

Day 3: To a Wonder of the World
Uber from Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista Hotel to GRU Sao Paulo Airport
78 BRL

Breakfast in the airport: 1 empanada and 1 coxinha from a pastry stall near the boarding gate
20 BRL
Flight from Sao Paulo to IGU Iguazu Airport via LATAM

Arrival in IGU airport

Ride the Bus #120 from airport to the main bus terminal in the city (The hotel we booked is just along the way.)
Fare: 4 BRL per person
Check-in at CLH Suites
Pre-booked: 100 BRL for 1 night
Leave bags and lunch in an eatery nearby: 2 pastel (fried meat pie) and 2 cola
20 BRL

Walk to the main bus terminal

Ride the Bus #120 from terminal to Iguacu National Park
Fare: 4 BRL per person
Visit Iguacu National Park
Ticket: 70 BRL per adult

Light snacks inside the park
28 BRL
Ride the Bus #120 from Iguacu National Park to the city
Fare: 4 BRL per person
Dinner in an eatery nearby: All-you-can-eat pizza and pasta
70 BRL for 2


Lady in Iguazu Falls in Brazil
Hello, Iguazu!

Iguazu Falls 7 wonders of Nature
One of the New 7 Wonders of Nature!

Ed and Lady in Iguazu
Hands down, this the highlight of our Brazil trip! 

Planning for a trip to Iguazu?
I shared a quick travel guide here: Visiting Iguazu Falls in Brazil

Day 4: Ola, Rio!
Breakfast in CLH Suites: Not included in hotel rate
35 BRL for 2
Uber from hotel to IGU airport
20 BRL
Flight from IGU to GIG Rio de Janeiro airport

Arrival in GIG airport

Uber from GIG to B&B Hotel Copacabana
45 BRL
Check-in at B&B Hotel
Pre-booked: 284 BRL for 2 nights
Lunch in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant
2 rice meals: 40 BRL
1.5L Water: 8 BRL
Uber to Pao de Azucar
13 BRL

Visit Pao de Azucar
Ticket: 104 BRL each
Uber to hotel
15 BRL
Dinner delivery: acai bowls via Uber Eats
Acai Tradi: 16 BRL
Acai Tropical: 20 BRL


Day 5: Highlights of Rio
Breakfast in B&B Hotel: Not included in hotel rate
25 BRL each
Uber from hotel to Rio2Fly Helipad
60 BRL
Helicopter Ride at 10:30:
Arrived 30 minutes before the flight to sign up and settle payment
499 BRL per person
150 BRL for video footage (more like a dashboard video)
Uber to Trem do Corcovado in Cosme Velho
60 BRL
Visit Christ the Redeemer
Entrance: 70 BRL each
Light snacks in a small cafeteria:
2 coxinha, 2 water, 1 chocolate bar
28 BRL
Uber to hotel
20 BRL
Rest and head out to the beach

Stroll in Copacabana Beach

Sunset in Ipanema Beach

Walk back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner

Uber to Havaianas shop in Ipanema
Uber ride: 10 BRL
Havaianas price range: 20 to 60 BRL

Walk to Churrascaria Carretao

Full Churrasco dinner in Carretao
277 BRL for 2
Uber to hotel
10 BRL


Rio de Janeiro travel blog
Hello, Rio de Janeiro!

Sugarloaf Mountain
Sugarloaf Mountain: A must-visit in Rio

Lady in Christ the Redeemer
Immensely grateful for this trip! 

Day 6: Tchau, Brasil!
Uber from B&B Hotel Copacabana to GIG airport
45 BRL

Breakfast in the airport: 1 rice meal, 1 bread basket, 2 coffee at Mania de Churrasco restaurant
45 BRL
Flight from GIG Rio de Janeiro airport to DXB Dubai International Airport
          Travel tip: Flight arrival is at 5 AM the next day. Make sure to have enough rest days before going back to work because jet lag really really kicks!  

Read more about our short trip to Rio and some recommendations if you're spending more days in the city:
Highlights of Rio de Janeiro

Estimated Budget for this Brazil itinerary


In Brazilian Real
In UAE Dirhams
I couldn’t give an actual amount as we were flying on discounted airfares, but here's a rough estimation of prices during off-peak season:

Dubai to Sao Paulo: approximately 5,000 AED/person for a roundtrip direct flight and 4,500 AED/person for a roundtrip flight with a stopover

Sao Paulo to Foz do Iguacu: 300 AED/person for a one-way flight

Foz do Iguacu to Rio de Janeiro: 300 AED/person for a one-way flight

5,600 AED
2 nights in Sao Paulo: 464 BRL
1 night in Iguazu: 100 BRL
2 nights in Rio de Janeiro: 284 BRL

848 BRL for 2 people
713 AED for 2 people

Activities (prices per person)
Edificio Italia: 30 BRL
Iguazu Falls: 70 BRL
Pao de Azucar: 104 BRL
Helicopter Ride: 499 BRL
Christ the Redeemer: 70 BRL

773 BRL/person
650 AED/person
Transportation within the city
Uber and Bus rides

500 BRL for 2 people
420 AED for 2 people
Food and Drinks
Basic breakfast, 1 light meal, 1 fancy meal per day
1000 BRL for 2 people
841 AED for 2 people
Please note that we traveled in September 2019 and these prices are a rough estimation of rates during off-peak season in Brazil. Expect prices to shoot up on the high season, especially during Carnival.

7,300 AED/person

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