Air Travel to Brazil

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world with territory spanning across 3 million square miles (8 million square kilometers). Needless to say, getting around Brazil takes time, and air travel is the most efficient way to minimize travel time so that you can spend more of your Brazil holiday relaxing with a caipirinha on Brazilian beaches or cruising on the Amazon River or trekking through the Amazon jungle.


The principal airport hubs are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. International flights arrive and depart from Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) in São Paulo, as well as Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and Salvador. For domestic and regional service, flights arrive and depart from Congonhas- São Paulo Airport (CGH) and serve Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Brasilia. Other important airport hubs in Brazil are: Salvador (SSA), Recife (REC), Fortaleza (FOR), Brasilia (BSB), Porto Alegre (POA), and Curitiba (CWB).

Travelers moving by air through Brazil will find that the Rio de Janeiro is the hub for domestic flights. In Rio, Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim (GIG) is the internal airport, and Santos Dumont is the domestic and regional airport. The shuttle flight between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is just under 1 hour. Between Rio and other popular Brazil destinations, flight times are as follows: Foz do Iguaçu – 3 hours, Manaus – 5 hours, Porte Alegre – 2 hours, Salvador – 2 hours.

Carriers and Passes

Brazil has 3 main carriers: TAM, Varig, and Vasp. Low cost carriers include: Gold, Fly, and Ocean Air. These carriers usually sell an airpass, which is a good investment for travelers who will be traveling to multiple destinations within Brazil or South America. Passes are sold outside Brazil and are available to non-residents who have a return ticket. Usually passes are valid for a limited number of days and are the price varies by mileage.


It is generally a good idea to book flights well in advance, as last-minute bookings for international and domestic flights can get very expensive. Flights costs can also get quite expensive if booking directly through airline companies. Online travel agencies, such as Expedia or Travelocity, usually offer the most competitive prices for flights to Brazil.


If you have booked your Brazil tours through a travel agency, you will usually be picked up from the airport for the transfer to your hotel or lodge; the transfer agent will have your name on a sign. If not, you can catch a taxi or bus outside the airport baggage area. Metered taxis are the safest option, and these are identifiable by their marked roof lights. Look for fares on the meter or on a fare chart on the rear side window.

Note: When entering Brazil, travelers going through foreign customs will fill out a migration form and receive a migration card. The migration card (really just a sheet) and the passport will be stamped. Hold on the migration cardArticle Search, you will need this to exit the country or face a fine.