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We’re lucky enough that our location independent business means that we can travel extra slow. If this is an option to you, we strongly recommend that you take your time, really getting to know and appreciate each country you’re in rather than try to cram as many passport stamps as you can into a few months. We would advise at least one month in each country in Latin America, perhaps with the exception of Panama and Belize, which have less going on. However, that’s not always possible, as we are often asked by people who only have a 2 week holiday from their jobs where we would prioritise in the given time. So behold! Here is our 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary for anyone who is tight on time but still wants to soak up the best that this incredible country has to offer. Most visitors flock to the coastlines and landmarks of the South of the country, so by choosing to spend your in the North you’ll definitely being seeing some different spots to the usual Brazil itinerary.
This 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary will have you alternating from colonial cities to beaches in a whirlwind tour of the coastline, ending in an awe-inspiring trip to see the out-of-this-world sand dune lagoons of Lençóis Maranhenses in Maranhão. Even though I’ve been there, I’m still jealous that you’ll go!
Things to consider when planning a trip to North Brazil
Remember, Brazil is GINORMOUS, like almost the size of Europe, and plane or bus transport internally tends to be both long and relatively expensive compared to the Latin American average. It’s not unusual to see 20, 30 and 40-hour buses running up and down the country, but luckily we have guides for you on what to look for in a night bus in South America and how to stay safe and comfortable on night buses. When planning your 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary, you need to factor in these increased travel times, as well as the fact that routes between cities can’t always be assumed to exist, even if they are both major or they look close on the map. Brazil needs a bit more travel prep than other countries in Latin America, in our experience!
As you only have a fortnight in North Brazil, we highly recommend you fly as much as you can afford so as to save time – for the below 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary, this would mean flying from Porto Seguro to Salvador, then Recife to São Luis, and onto Rio de Janeiro to fly back home. However, if you’re on a budget you can save money on accommodation but taking some of the journeys via night bus – you just may feel a bit groggy the next day!
After this ideal 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary, I recommend also reading:
Even though this is a 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary, we’ll start you off from the most southerly point of the trip, but it’ll probably be in your best interest to connect through Rio de Janeiro as this tends to offer the cheapest flights from Europe or North America. If you’d rather stay around the Rio area, don’t miss out on our 2 weeks South Brazil itinerary, too.
2 weeks North Brazil itinerary:
Here’s a quick run-down of my suggested 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary with recommended places to stay; below I’ll tell you more about what to do in each of these destinations.
Where to stay
Fly into Rio de Janeiro, internal flight to Porto Seguro
What not to miss in your 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary
Days 1 to 3: Porto Seguro
Kick off your 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary with a stroll along the port edge to see all the beautiful houses. Take a bus or rent a car to visit the hilltop church of Santa Cruz Cabrália and then join the beach parties at Axé Moi and Tôa Tôa. on your way back. The next day, hop on the ferry to Arraial d’Ajuda and add a ribbon of Bonfim (Bahia wish bracelet) to the wall of the Matriz Nossa Senhora D’Ajuda church for good luck before spending an afternoon on the beach. Grab cocktails from one of the stalls on the Passarela do Álcool (alcohol catwalk).
Eat grilled cheese as you catch a sunset sitting under the lighthouse in the Barra district, browse Pelourinho in the daytime, have lunch on the balcony of Cafélier (you need to reserve a table in advance!), chill on the beaches of the Rio Vermelho district. This is the best point in your 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary to soak up some spicy city nightlife; the area around Rio Vermelho is a good place to be for it!
Days 6 to 8: Maragogi
Get a tour to Praia dos Carneiros to see some gorgeous beaches and check out the famous green chapel at the water’s edge. Back in Maragogi, swim in the Gales natural pools and walk the La Barra sand bar out into the sea.
Enjoy a quick city break by exploring the Recife old town and taking a walking tour to learn about the history. Visit the nearby town of Olinda, then when you get back make sure to check out the nightlife in the Pina district.
Days 11 to 13: Barreirinhas (for Lençóis Maranheses)
With absolutely zero doubts in my mind, this will be the highlight of any 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary. You have a few days here not only to get through the cumbersome transport necessities but also to have a chance to really appreciate the natural wonder of Lençóis Maranhenses. You can also grab some downtime on the sandbacks of Atins.
Ok, so depending on your flight times this will likely be a fleeting visit, but it’s a perfect way to sign off your 2 weeks North Brazil itinerary. Rio is an absolute hub of vibrance, and there’s a lot you can cram in during a one day stop-over before heading home. My parents actually hired a taxi driver during their 12-hour connection in the city and ticked off 4 or 5 activities from the list of fantastic things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
Got 3 weeks in North Brazil?
Even better! Definitely add in a trip to Natal (below) and Pipa in between Recife and São Luis, though note that the transport between those places isn’t great so your cheapest option afterwards may be to return to Recife to catch a flight or 27-hour (gulp) bus to São Luis. An easier beachy alternative is to extend your time in the vibrant city of Salvador, getting the ferry over to Morro de São Paolo for a couple of days. If you’re done with the beach life, catch a flight up to Manaus and take some tours down the Amazon river to explore the rainforest.
If you haven’t yet decided where in Latin America to spend your 2 weeks holiday, you might also want to check these out before booking those flights!