Spending New Year in Brazil? You should book now

. Aug 18, 2019
New Year celebrations at Copacabana Beach New Year celebrations at Copacabana Beach

Brazil’s New Year celebrations are world-famous. In coastal towns, beaches are covered with throngs of revelers and fireworks light up the sky. Not surprisingly, the country-wide party has become a notorious tourist destination.

However, with crowded hotels and expensive rates, first-timers are often unaware of some basic tricks that can make your experience that much smoother. To help plan your perfect New Year vacation, we came up with a few tips to upgrade your trip to Brazil. 

</p> <h2>Book in advance!</h2> <p>Although it seems miles away, you might already be late for the party. Prices for New Year celebrations, or <em>Reveillon,</em> as Brazilians call it, rise by the day. In fact, hotels in major destinations are often sold out in a blink of an eye. The safest time to book your trip is around the end of June or early July for the best prices and availability, but it’s certainly not too late to find cool spots around the country.</p> <p>Don’t believe us? In 2018, the prediction was that 95.35 percent of hotels in Pipa, a tiny beach town in the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte, were to be occupied. In fact, bookings surpassed expectations, according to the Brazilian Association of the Hotel Industry (ABIH), and the little beach town hit 100 percent occupancy.</p> <p>It’s also worth phoning hotels to discuss rates when booking your stay—you never know when you might come across a discount. For improved prices, travel agencies tend to offer New Year’s packages which bundle both your hotel and flight. Some useful websites to plan your trip include <a href=";prm=515&amp;utm_campaign=institucional&amp;utm_term=institucional-hu&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiaud-I2N5AIVhRGRCh0JkQSsEAAYAiAAEgIfPvD_BwE">Hotel Urbano</a>, <a href=""></a>, and <a href="">CVC</a>. Adioso is another handy online platform, as you can simply plug in “Brazil” as your destination and they’ll show you the cheapest flights to anywhere in the country.</p> <h2>Houses over hotels</h2> <p>A good alternative to hotels—which are often the first to fill up—is to rent a house or apartment, giving you more of a private and local experience. Airbnb is a good option, with a huge presence in Brazil, offering all kinds of accommodation often for advantageous prices. However, over the New Year period, it is common for Airbnb hosts to rent their places for a minimum of 10 days. Another great tool is the website Alugue Temporada, which is similar to Airbnb and features different homes available for short-term rentals.</p> <h2>Beat the traffic</h2> <p>When choosing where to stay, make sure you know <em>exactly</em> what you’re doing on New Year’s Eve. If you&#8217;re going somewhere more secluded, plan ahead and arrive a few days in advance, as Brazil&#8217;s highways can get extremely hectic during the holiday period. If you&#8217;re driving on the day, be prepared. Traffic jams can last for hours as people scramble to arrive at their celebrations. Be sure to take extra care on the road, too, as New Year is the peak time for drunk-driving incidents.</p> <h2>Pick the right celebration</h2> <p>Brazil has a multitude of options when it comes to Reveillon. While you can find sets of parties that last an entire week, there are also many quieter festivities on New Year’s Eve. A quick heads up— most New Year parties sell tickets in advance, and they go fast. Prices also increase the longer you wait, so buying them as quick as possible is the best way to go.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re looking for ostentatious fireworks displays, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza have the best spectacles. For an idea of scale, at last year’s New Year party, Rio’s Copacabana beach hosted an astonishing 2.8 million people.</p> <p>Before hitting the beach to watch the show, it&#8217;s a good idea to book a nice dinner at a restaurant or hotel, as many places organize outstanding meals for the special day.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&#8217;re looking for a longer, livelier holiday, you can also find package deals involving five to seven parties throughout the New Year’s week in places such as Boipeba or São Miguel dos Milagres, two small beach towns in the Northeast of Brazil. But, once again, prepare your wallet as prices can be hefty.</p> <p>For a bit of quiet relaxation with the family or your partner, the best bet is to head inland. Bonito is a small town in Mato Grosso do Sul which is famous for ecotourism, its crystal-clear lakes and caves perfect for diving make it a properly unique experience.</p> <h2>Gear for the New Year</h2> <p>After following our tips and booking your trip, it’s time to relax and look forward to what will be an incredible holiday. A quick tip that you might be unaware of: Brazilians wear either white, gold or silver on Reveillon to welcome in the new year. These colors represent peace and luck for the future.</p> <p>But underneath all of that, there&#8217;s another clothing tradition which many Brazilians swear by. On the night of New Year&#8217;s Eve, the story goes that the color of your underwear will predict what&#8217;s in store for you in the coming 12 months. If you&#8217;re looking for peace and tranquility, pick something white or blue. For wealth and riches, go for yellow. If you want to find true love, it&#8217;s pink, but if passion is what you are after, wear red.

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Martha Castro

Martha Castro worked as an intern at The Brazilian Report in 2019. She is a Brazilian journalism and political science student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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