Worldwide Bus Travel Tips

What to know about bus traveling in Brazil

Brazil’s rich culture, varied landscapes, and famous beaches have won over travelers from around the globe. If you want an authentic, budget-friendly, and immersive experience, bus travel is a great choice. The country’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities make it perfect for bus trips, with many destinations to explore.

To help you plan your bus adventure, here’s a comprehensive guide to bus travel in Brazil.

The main bus companies in Brazil

Brazil’s extensive bus network is operated by numerous companies, each offering its unique blend of services and amenities. Here’s an overview of some of the most prominent bus companies in Brazil:

  •  Águia Branca is a bus company known for its modern fleet and comfortable buses. It operates mainly in the Southeast and Northeast regions. Their routes connect major cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, and Fortaleza.
  • Cometa has a strong presence in the Southeast and South. They have a wide network and reliable schedules. For various budgets and preferences, they offer different bus classes such as semi-cama, leito, and executivo.
  • Expresso Guanabara is a popular option for travelers exploring the North and Northeast regions. Their fleet includes semi-cama and leito buses. They offer many routes connecting major cities. These cities include Manaus, Belém, Recife, and Salvador.
  • Viação Itapemirim is known for its fancy bus options, like Double Decker and Premium leito buses. The company serves the Southeast and South regions. On select routes, they have comfy seats, personal entertainment, and meals on board.
  • Catarinense mainly operates in the South region. They are known for focusing on sustainability and the environment. They utilize eco-friendly buses and employ initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Their routes connect major cities like Curitiba, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre, and Foz do Iguaçu. Their buses also serve short trips within Santa Catarina, such as Florianopolis to Itapema, Balneario Camboriu, Itajai, and Joinville.
  • Andorinha is a popular choice for travelers in the South and Southeast regions. They offer a good balance of comfort and affordability. They offer semi-cama and leito buses, and their routes connect major cities like Curitiba, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Rio de Janeiro.
  • Cidade do Aço operates mainly in the Southeast and Midwest. They are known for their reliable service and affordable prices.
  • Brasil Sul serves the South and Southeast regions. It has a wide network and prioritizes passenger safety. The bus company has different classes of buses, like semi-cama, leito, and executivo. These buses travel between important cities such as Porto Alegre, Florianópolis, Curitiba, and São Paulo.

TIP: Brazil’s massive, and there’s no shortage of bus companies in all shapes and sizes. If you’re eyeing a trip around Brazil, you’re in luck – there’s probably a bus that can take you where you want to go. But don’t feel boxed in by our list; there are plenty of other options out there. 

To help you choose, check out what other travelers are saying on Busbud. Their reviews can clue you in and make picking the right bus a breeze.

Find bus tickets to travel in Brazil

SaoPaulo, SaoPaulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Types of seats on Brazilian buses

Brazilian buses cater to a range of budgets and preferences. Backpackers usually choose the Semi-Cama or Convencional class. It has comfy seats, air conditioning, bathrooms, and maybe snacks. Upgrade to Leito or Executivo classes for longer trips. These classes offer bigger seats, more legroom, and extra amenities.

Here’s how they compare:

Convencional: they are the most basic option, but they are still comfortable and provide the necessary amenities for a bus journey. They are a good choice for budget-minded travelers and for short trips.

Semi-cama: these seats are a good option for shorter journeys, as they are comfortable and provide ample legroom. They are also an affordable option.

Leito: these seats are ideal for overnight journeys, as they convert into beds. They also offer a variety of amenities, such as personal entertainment systems and on-board meals.

Executivo: these seats are the most premium option, offering the most legroom and amenities. They are a good choice for travelers who want to experience the highest level of comfort and service.

bed like seats
Bed seat at Aguia Branca’s bus

How to buy bus tickets in Brazil

For a smooth and worry-free bus traveling in Brazil, here’s what you should know:

Book online

Taking the online route when securing preferred bus tickets is advised. One of the reasons for that is the fact that it might be hard to find an English speaker at a bus station. To avoid confusion, use online ticket booking to plan your Brazilian adventure with ease.

It’s quite common for companies to require a CPF (the local identity number) to book tickets at the station. You can avoid that by booking online on platforms like Busbud. On Busbud, you can book in your language, pay in your currency, and get help whenever you need it.

Book bus tickets in Brazil

Choose your seats carefully

Choosing your seat when booking is a pretty standard practice for bus companies in Brazil. So if you want to get a nice place by the window or you’re traveling with someone and you want to sit together, then booking early is the way to go.

Many intercity buses have two levels. The top level has regular seats, and the bottom level has fancy executive seats. Yes, the price for the executive seats is higher, but the level of comfort of the bottom seats is definitely worth it.

Stops along the way

All buses in Brazil that travel more than 4 hours should have bathrooms on board. It’s common to stop every 4 hours or so at a rest station. If you get off the bus be sure to take your valuables with you, and check with the driver how long the break is so as not to get left behind.

What to expect from your bus trip

All buses in Brazil traveling over four hours are equipped with onboard bathrooms. Rest stops are common every four hours, offering a chance to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, or stock up on snacks.

Be prepared for the notoriously strong air conditioning on Brazilian buses. Pack a blanket or sweater for your comfort, even if traveling through warm regions. Avoid the front seat, often positioned directly under the cooling vents.

When it comes to handling luggage, companies typically employ a systematic approach to guarantee the safety of passengers’ belongings. Here’s how the process works: the bus driver attaches a sticker with a unique number to the luggage intended for the hold compartment and provides you with a corresponding slip of paper bearing the same number. To reclaim your luggage when you get to your destination, simply present the numbered slip to the driver, who will verify you’re the owner before handing over the item. This simple system ensures a secure and organized method for managing passengers’ belongings throughout the journey.

Iguazu Falls, a popular destination to visit in Brazil

Tips for a nice bus trip in Brazil

1 – Amenities are common

All buses in Brazil traveling over four hours are equipped with onboard bathrooms. Rest stops are common every four hours, offering a chance to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, or stock up on snacks.

2 – Your luggage will be safe

Companies have a system for handling luggage to keep passengers’ belongings safe. This is how it works: the bus driver puts a sticker on your luggage and gives you a slip of paper with the same number. When you arrive at your destination, give the driver the numbered slip to get your luggage back. The driver will check that you’re the owner before giving you the item. This easy system helps keep passengers’ belongings secure and organized during the trip.

3- Secure your belongings in a money belt

If you’re going on an overnight trip, a money belt is your best friend—though a fanny pack/waist bag can work too. Place your documents and wallet in it and enjoy a safe night of sleep.

4 – Be careful at bus stations

Bus stations, or rodoviárias, can be busy with people, especially in big cities. Be extra vigilant against pickpocketing and bag snatching. Stay aware of your surroundings, secure your belongings, and maintain a keen eye on your personal space.

5 – Stay alert

Throughout your journey, remain aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts, and if something feels off, take the necessary precautions. Staying alert enhances your ability to respond effectively to any unforeseen circumstances.

6 – Book in Advance

To make sure you have a seat, especially on busy routes and during busy times, it’s best to book your bus tickets ahead of time. This not only guarantees your spot but also helps in planning your itinerary with confidence.

7 – Pack Light

Carrying big luggage in the scorching summer in Rio de Janeiro is no fun. Your safest bet is to avoid excessive luggage and prioritize essentials. This not only makes your trip more comfortable but also makes boarding and getting off easier.

8 – Brink a blanket

When traveling in the jungle during summer, bring a blanket or sweater for the cold buses in Brazil. Try to avoid the front seat, which is usually right under the cooling vents.

9 – Dress Comfortably

Long bus journeys go with comfortable clothing and footwear. Opt for breathable fabrics and shoes suitable for long periods of sitting. Dressing comfortably will make your travel experience much better.

10 – Enjoy the Ride

Don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Take in the scenic views, admire the diverse landscapes, and make the most of the travel experience.

Best destinations for your Brazil trip

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, which means there’s a vast territory for you to explore. For first-time visitors, the Eastern region offers a wealth of attractions. There, you can immerse yourself in Rio de Janeiro, explore the bustling São Paulo, or delve into the culture of Minas Gerais.

In the far South, you can discover the charming city of Florianopolis, experience the vibrant energy of Porto Alegre, or witness the awe-inspiring power of Iguacu Falls. Alternatively, head to the Northeast and explore the sun-kissed beaches of Recife, Natal, and Fortaleza.

Here are some of the most popular bus routes in Brazil, connecting major cities and captivating attractions:

  1. Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo: The route from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo connects Brazil’s biggest cities.

  2. São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu: Journey from the urban jungle of São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu, home to the world’s largest waterfall system.

  3. São Paulo to Florianópolis: Escape to the island city of Florianópolis, known for its stunning beaches and relaxed atmosphere.

  4. São Paulo to Curitiba: Discover the cultural and architectural gems of Curitiba, the capital of Paraná state.

  5. Rio de Janeiro to Paraty: Travel back in time to the colonial town of Paraty, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  6. São Paulo to Belo Horizonte: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state.

  7. Rio de Janeiro to Buzios: Escape to the idyllic beach resort town of Buzios, famous for its pristine beaches, luxurious accommodations, and lively nightlife.

  8. Recife to Natal: Travel between the coastal cities of Recife and Natal. Both are known for their stunning beaches, colorful architecture, and lively atmosphere.


RiodeJaneiro, RiodeJaneiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Bus travel in Brazil is convenient and affordable, thanks to a wide route network and comfortable buses with safety measures. Head to Busbud to book your stress-free trip now!