Brazil by Bus and Coach

Find out how to get around Brazil using the bus and coach networks...

Bus services are extremely popular in Brazil, with around 200 operators carrying over 140 million passengers each year. Busses are the preferred method of transport due to their relatively inexpensive cost and the lack of an established rail system.

The bus system in Brazil is run on three different levels:

  • Federal: travel across borders and between different Brazilian states
  • State: travel within a state
  • Municipal: travel within individual towns and cities

OniLinhas has a useful, if limited, list of some of the main bus service operators in Brazil. These include:

Note: These websites are in Portuguese, however they all have relatively easy-to-navigate journey planners.

  • The commercial website The Bus Station has a list of many more Brazilian bus companies, with links to their websites

International bus services operate to all of the border countries around Brazil. However, as many of these cover some distance, they can involve long journey times. Due to the size of the country, this is also true when traveling between certain cities in Brazil. For example, the trip from Rio de Janeiro to Florianópolis takes approximately 22 hours, and the journey from Rio to Belém lasts around 52 hours.

Long-distance busses, for example those that travel between states, have different classes of comfort, depending on how much a passenger wishes to pay. These range from regular (convencional) to luxury (leito). Regular busses tend to be more crowded and are often without amenities, whereas luxury busses offer refreshments, reclining seats, and more space. Online booking is available via some operators. Bus operators often require an Individual Taxpayer's Number (Cadastro Pessoa Fissical - CPF) to make a booking.

  • The Onilinhas website has full details of what can be expected from the different types of bus services

Children under six years of age that do not require their own seat do not need a ticket. Most bus companies have a baggage allowance of 30 kilos with a size limit on the dimensions of the suitcase. Arriving at the bus station 30 minutes before the bus is due to depart is advised.

Foreigners (including minors) traveling on long-distance busses need to provide the following documentation:
Permanent residents:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least six months) or Residence Permit (RNE)

Tourists or non permanent residents:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least six months with immigration control stamp)

Pets:

  • Pets may travel on busses or coaches with a recent health certificate form from a vet and a vaccination certificate.

Note: Only original documents are accepted. Photocopies, even if notarised will be rejected.

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