As well as the national airlines mentioned in the next section the other major airlines serving Brazil include: Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, Alitalia, American Airlines, AeroPeru, British Airways, Continental Airlines, KLM, LAN-Chile, Lufthansa, South African Airlines, Swissair, TAP Air Portugal, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Pluna and United Airlines.
Your arrival in the country will probably be into either Aeroporto Galeao in Rio de Janeiro and Aeroporto Sao Paulo-Guarulhos. These are the country’s main international airports and both have regular connections with all the other airports in the country. If you fly into Rio, the airport is 21km north of the city centre but airport buses operate to the city between 5.30am and 11.00pm and the journey will take you between thirty and forty minutes. Sao Paulo airport is 25km north of the city and buses operate every half hour during the day and every hour in the evening taking between thirty and fifty minutes to get to the city centre. Taxis are also easy to find at both airports.
Brazil also has numerous land border crossings with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Finally, if you’re looking for a true adventure why not enter the country by river on the Amazon route between Islandia in Peru and Iquitos in Brazil.
The favoured option for travel within the country is by air and compliments of a recent deregulation, the good news is that air travel in Brazil is getting cheaper. The four main national carriers are VASP, Varig, TAM and Transbrasil and all the major cities are served by at least one of these particular airlines. If you do avail of this form of transport you should shop around for promotions as you can get some really good offers. There is also a Brazil Airpass which provides air travel for five flights to anywhere in the country. This will cost you just over US$540 and must be used within twenty-one days.
The more common option for budget travellers, however, is the country’s bus service which, with the exception of the Amazon Basin, is generally excellent. Buses are punctual, clean and comfortable and this form of travel is very cheap. All the major towns and cities are served by frequent services and it is unusual to have to change buses when traveling between destinations which is always a good thing when you are in a foreign country where you probably don’t even speak the language. There are two types of long distance bus – the comum and the leito. The former is the economy service and is cheap and comfortable and is usually air-conditioned. The leito is the sleeper train and while it is a great deal more impressive, it is also much more expensive and usually takes just as long to reach its destination as the comum. If you do intend to travel by bus you should buy your ticket a day in advance particularly at weekends or festival times.
There is also a train service in Brazil but it is extremely limited and is becoming more so all the time. The one thing that attracts tourists to travelling by train in the country, however, are the fascinating views and journeys which they offer. Other than this, it is makes much more sense to avail of either air travel or the bus system in the country.