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About Brazil (BR)

The largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world, Brazil’s (BR) staggering size, diversity of languages, culture, topography, and regional variations make it impossible to describe in such a brief space. In the fewest terms possible, Brazil is more like half a dozen countries sharing a national flag, with some differences so vast, they hardly seem related, or even belong under the same umbrella of a single name. From state to state, you’ll find a distinct set of characteristics that define each region worthy of its own individual country designation. But there are a handful of things that immediately come to mind in the context of Brazil, the country: the Amazon rainforest, football (soccer), Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, and the cosmopolitan urban jungle of São Paulo. And of course, the beaches found up and down the Atlantic coast from Fortaleza in the northeast to Puerto Allegro in the south. All in all, you’d need several lifetimes to experience and exhaust everything Brazil has to offer.

  Getting around

With over 1.5 million kilometers of roads, by far the best way of getting around is to rent a car in Brazil — it’s not even close to a question. The major routes in the east and south — particularly along the coast — are in the best condition, while inland highways to the capital city of Brasilia in the State of Goias are in so-so shape. Otherwise, the majority of rural routes are a combination of paved surfaces and gravel and dirt roads, and generally only suitable for all-wheel drive vehicles. Theoretically, road infrastructure and traffic conditions in Brazil are supposed to mirror that of North American transportation; in practice, all bets are off. The road network around the city centers of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are typically the biggest parking lots in South America. Meanwhile, carjackings, holdups and robberies in broad daylight are an ongoing concern, animals are all over the roads, pedestrians scatter about the streets like marbles dropped from a table top — that said driving in Brazil with the right precautions and an alertness can be fun, for sure - and there’s really no other option for travelers who want to explore this incredible country with flexibility.

  Choosing your car

Cheap car rentals in Brazil are supplied by Hertz, Sixt, Enterprise, Alamo, Avis, Europcar, and Thrifty. Select your perfect car hire from minicars, economy hatchbacks, fullsize 4-door sedans, premium and luxury vehicles, estate wagons, 7-12 seater minivans, and SUVs.

  Tips and advice


Keep your doors locked and windows sealed at all times, and do not drive at night in Brazil unless on major highways with moving traffic.


Be extremely cautious and defensive when encountering large trucks on the highways, many of which are carrying cargo that might as well be secured with masking tape. If you do get stuck behind a semi-trailer, keep a very safe distance, and overtake at the next available opportunity.


Brazilian drivers use their headlights and turn indicators to communicate with other drivers. An oncoming car flashing its headlights usually means “speed trap” ahead. On two-lane highways, a left-turn signal from a driver in front of you means “it’s not safe to pass me just yet”. A right flashing signal means “I’m going to slow down and pull over to the shoulder”.


Generally speaking, wherever there’s paid, secure parking, that’s where you should park your car rental in Brazil. Do not park on the street in major cities.


Lookout for massive potholes on rural routes, and be advised that tires and wheels are generally not covered by the Collision Damage Waiver.


Third-party liability insurance is necessary to rent a car in Brazil.

Urban Speed Limit


40 kph  | 24.9 mph
Rural Speed Limit


60 kph  | 37.3 mph
Motorway Speed Limit


80 kph  | 49.7 mph
Fuel Price




Road Driving


Driving Age


18 years of age
21 years of age to RENT
Emergency Services


Documentation requirements



Brazil Driving Ideas Guide

As the largest country in South America, Brazil has much to offer the intrepid traveller. It is a popular tourist destination thanks to the allure of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most famous cities in the world.

Brazil is a country of contrasts, however, as beyond the tourist cities lies abject poverty for many of its citizens. Tourism, however, plays a major role in bringing in much-needed revenue into the country.

Most tourists tend to spend their time in Rio. There are many attractions here including the Statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Sugarloaf Mountains and the world famous Copacabana beach. Visit in February and you can see the Rio Carnival, a festival of floats, colours, music and dancing.

There is more to Brazil than Rio however, so be sure to get in your rental car and explore a little!

Scenic Drive — Serra do Rio do Rasto via SC-438

This might be a little difficult to arrange, but it is well worth the effort.  Depending on where you spend your time in Brazil, a trip along the SC-438 road that hugs the Serra do Rio do Rasto mountain range is one of the great driving experiences in South America.

As the road zig-zags along the mountains, you will find spectacular views, travel through beautiful canyons and see a number of magnificent waterfalls. Once at the top of the mountain (a height of 1,459m), on a clear day, you may even be able to see the Atlantic Ocean, over 99km away.

Scenic Drive — Transpantaneira via the MT-060

Another incredible drive through the State of Mato Grosso, the Transpantaneria links the city of Pocone to the town of Porto Jofre. Although the road can be a little rough at times, there is no need for a 4x4.

The journey along the Transpantaneira is a great way to see the wildlife in this area of Brazil. The road itself travels through areas with a lot of birdlife in particular but if you keep a lookout, you might spot the odd Jaguar as well. At night, a few creepy crawlies come out including the famed Tarantula spider.

The road crosses over many wooden bridges throughout the route, there are close to 150 of these in fact. These bridges can be bypassed in the dry season.  There are many traditional Brazilian plantations along the way. These are called fazendas. Some sections of the road can be a little scary with a number of potholes. It is imperative that you drive slowly here to avoid any flat tires or damage to your rental car.

Rio de Janeiro to Buzios

2 hours 30 mins  (176km) (109 miles) via BR-101 and Via Lagos

The town of Buzios, located a few hours east of Rio is well worth a visit. This has quickly become a very popular tourist destination and what was once a small fishing village, is growing rapidly.

Daytime attractions include beautiful beaches, excellent shopping opportunities and mouth-watering local food while at night Buzios comes alive with many bars, clubs and restaurants open till late.

Adrenaline junkies will also love Buzios. There are plenty of surf spots along its 23 beaches while kite and windsurfing are extremely popular. There are a number of snorkelling and dive spots along the coastline not far from the town.  The local Emerencias Reserve is also worth a visit, especially to see the endangered golden lion monkeys.

Accommodation in Buzios includes hotels, backpackers lodges and guest houses.

Brazil Driving Rules and Tips

Brazil can be explored by driving but before doing so there are many things that you need to know. The more informed you are about the rules of the road, the less you will need to ask later, when you’re already there and before it’s probably too late. Keep in mind that prior planning prevents poor performance. Follow this advice and it’s unlikely you’ll make a wrong move:


In Brazil, it is obligatory to carry these documents with you at all times when you’re in your vehicle:

  • IDP and valid driver’s licence
  • Owner’s permission (if the vehicle doesn’t belong to the person driving it)
  • Vehicle registration documents
  • Vehicle insurance documents, if renting a car

It is also advisable to have your passport in hand.

Age Restrictions

The age limitations that apply when driving in Brazil are as follows:

  • The minimum age for driving is 18 (eighteen)
  • Children under 10 (ten) must sit in the back
  • Children under 7.5 (seven and a half) have to be fitted in a car seat
  • Children that are too small to wear a seatbelt should be seated in the back

Driving Rules, Laws and Regulations

  • Driving is on the right-hand side of the road
  • Overtaking must be done on the left
  • Unless indicated, turning right at red lights is not permitted
  • Do not drive wearing flip flops
  • It is illegal to drive with your elbow hanging outside of the window
  • Right of way is given to vehicles on a roundabout
  • You must not run out of gas while driving
  • Continual yellow lines indicate that overtaking is prohibited
  • Broken lines indicate that overtaking is permitted in that place
  • A flashing yellow lights at traffic lights means that they are not working
  • Blocking an intersection and causing a traffic jam is illegal

Speed Limits and Fines

You should follow these general speed limits which are broken down into two categories:

  • 30km/hour (18mph) in residential/local streets
  • 60km/hour (40mph) in urban areas
  • 120km/hour (74mph) on open roads

Speed limits that vary to those above will be indicated by speed signs.

Marked radar traps and speed cameras are used in a lot of places to detect speed. If you are found to be breaking the speed limit you will be issued with a ticket and must pay the fine.

Drunk Driving

There is a zero-tolerance law in force in Brazil. The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.2g/100ml. This is a lot less than a small beer or small glass of wine.

Fines are issued depending on the amount of blood alcohol found in the driver’s system. A large amount will mean a larger fine, suspension and perhaps time imprisonment.

Police cannot force a person to be breathalysed but they can arrest them.


Safety when parking in some places in Brazil can be an issue therefore it is important to park securely and follow all the rules in force:

  • When parking on the street, you should not park facing traffic
  • It is illegal to block hospital or fire station routes


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