Should you visit Argentina or Brazil?Argentina and Brazil are two frequently visited countries that offer a diverse range of sights and activities. From the mountains of Patagonia to the exotic jungles of the Amazon River, sometimes the difference can make the decision quite difficult.
The top three destinations in Argentina are even more diverse as they include the romantic capital of Buenos Aires, the majestic Iguazu Falls on the border with Brazil, and Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia for the colossal Perito Moreno. In terms of spectacular scenery, Argentina perhaps has the edge here, being home to the Iguazu Falls, one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls and the Perito Moreno, one of the nation's top tourist attractions and a truly humbling sight. Argentina is perhaps a better destination for wildlife lovers, being home to one of the most celebrated spots. The Peninsula Valdes on coastal Patagonia provides habitats for a great variety of amazing creatures; a truly magical sight. Whales, elephant seals, sea lions and let's not forget the Punta Tombo Reserve, where the world's biggest colony of penguins resides.
If you decide to fly to Rio de Janeiro, you will discover a very different atmosphere. You can relax on the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, experience the Brazilian party scene, enjoy the view of the city from the Christ Redeemer on Corcovado Hill or learn more about Rio's historical past. And depending of the season, you can even take part in the Rio Carnival or the Oktoberfest. Rio de Janeiro is a large city, which can be a little overwhelming for visitors who are travelling for a getaway from a chaotic city or environment.
The Iguazu Waterfalls and Its 275 individual waterfalls spread over 3 km are a completely unique natural wonder. Just next to the waterfalls, you can also see visit the bird park and discover some beautiful birds such as the Hyacinth Macaw and toucans.
When is the best time to visit Argentina and Brazil?
Brazil is made up of several climatic extremes, none of which are severe enough to prevent travel to any part of the country at any given time. Across the country, the warmest months are November to March, also a perfect time for enjoying New Year and Carnival celebrations. The northeastern coast experiences some rain in June and July, but usually only in the form of afternoon showers. The Pantanal's driest months between April and October are a good time to visit Brazil, but like in the Amazon, its wetter months offer distinct wildlife spotting opportunities and experiences. While Brazil is an all year round destination, the time you decide to visit can be relevant depending on the activities you have planned. Mid-summer, between January and March has warmer days that are accompanied by the start of the rains in the Amazon and the Pantanal. February is a particularly popular time for Brazilians to travel, as the Carnival often falls in this month. April and May are a great time to travel as the high temperatures of the last few months are starting to decrease and the Pantanal enters in its dry season towards the end of April. In June and July, evenings are cooler, but the air is fresh and the sea is still warm, which makes it a perfect time to explore the Green Coast between Rio and Sao Paulo. As June arrives, so does Bahia's rainy season, but it is usually fine to plan your day around the few afternoon showers. The best time to visit Rio is perhaps in August, September or October, when spring is arriving, there are few clouds in the sky and the temperatures are on the rise. During the summer months you can expect high temperatures across the country. Rio de Janeiro tends to be hot and dry in November and December, but it can be particularly busy as visitors flock to the city to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Most of the northeast tends to experience similar hot and dry weather, which also makes the water levels in the Amazon very low in December.
Why is Argentina more expensive than Brazil?In recent years, the Brazilian economy has boomed. As a result, increased wealth and inflation have augmented the prices. However it is difficult for some to keep up with the prices and the country's economic expansion is not necessarily benefiting the lower classes. While some services are less expensive in other areas of the country, food and transportation are quite costly around many areas in Brazil and especially in big cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Therefore research, plan and budget accordingly as you don't want to find yourself short of money while visiting.
The last decade in Argentina has seen prices and currency exchange rates fluctuate greatly. Because of this, travel prices have generally risen as the overall economy is growing but economic uncertainty remains. It is best to plan ahead, do research into all options for accommodation, tours, and meals, and have a good understanding of the prices that lay ahead for your trip. But keep in mind that when travelling in Argentina, it's easy to be laid back about buying transportation tickets on the day of travel and it often makes no difference at all to do so, as prices are held steady usually by the overall price of fuel.
What are the most expensive and cheapest cities and regions in Argentina and Brazil?
Southern Patagonia tends to be cheaper than the North. However, travelling through this large piece of land requires a certain budget and certain cities are surprisingly expensive. In the small towns of Patagonia, costs tend to be cheap due to competition. However, sometimes transportation can get pricey and the more frequently visited a destination by tourists, the higher the prices can get. The time of year and festivals can also dramatically affect cost.
In Brazil, the Northeast and Southeast are the most expensive regions of the country. Northeast is the Brazilian region with the largest coastline of the country, which makes the region very appealing to tourists around the world. They are a very important source of income for the Northeast, thousands of foreign and Brazilian tourists visit the Northeast annually in search of beautiful beaches, views and sun. The Southeast is the vital center of the country, where the largest cities, the highest population density, and the best ports are concentrated. It's the most important industrial, commercial and financial region of Brazil.
How you can save money when visiting Argentina and Brazil?Don't fly domestically, as a two-hour flight can cost a lot. Unless you are in a rush, consider taking long distance buses when convenient.
You should also agree on taxi prices for your journey with the taxi driver before setting off but taking the bus is much better most of the time.
You can use couchsurfing for accommodation, which connects you with locals who will give you not only a free place to stay, but also a local tour guide who can introduce you to all the great places to see.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel get a double room. In Brazil, you will pay a premium for a single room, almost twice the cost of a double. Pair up with a friend to halve the cost of your accommodation if you're not keen on staying in a dorm.
Finally, if you can, travel off season if you want to keep prices low.