I am coming to Brazil and flying into Sao Paulo and would like to take a bus from Sao Paulo to Recife!.Friends in Brazil tell me that it is dangerous and i am looking for trouble. I would love to take the three or four days traveling and practicing my Portuguese and see the sights. Give me any advice you may have..?


How are things in the Pacific Northwest these days? I am a Canadian (most recently from Vancouver BC) who has been living in Brazil for ten years now.

I don't know who your friends in Brazil are, but I think they are overstating any dangers of bus travel here in Brazil. While certainly there have been some rare cases over the past few years where armed gangs have stopped highway buses and robbed the passengers, these have happened mostly with privately owned charter buses and not with the interstate buses operated by the major carriers. I must point out the use of RARE was intentional since it is a rather unusual thing even here.

I have travelled extensively by bus and rather enjoy it. I have also never had, or even seen, any problems for that matter. So, you can rest assured that you will too. The biggest danger involved in bus travel here in Brazil comes from the deplorable condition of some of the Brazilian highways and from the imprudence of drivers in this country. Accidents are frequent especially on statutory holidays. Accidents involving highway buses do happen, but again they are mostly involving the private buses which for the most part are poorly maintained. Those involving the major carriers are few and far between since their drivers are well trained, experienced and their work hours regulated and monitored.

Come to Brazil, take your trip to Recife by bus... you will enjoy it a lot.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator

Hi again,

I did a quick check online, there is daily service between São Paulo and Recife (except Sunday) the two major carriers are Viação Itapemirim and Viação São Geraldo/Gontigo. The trip is about 18 hours by bus, usually longer. The fares each way should be about R$378,50 São Paulo/Recife and R$342,00 Recife/São Paulo or US$211.65 and US$194.32 respectively, with Itapemirim.

It is a rather long trip so you might want to consider breaking it down into shorter trips with stops in some other cities. While this will probably cost considerably more when you consider accommodations it would be well worth the extra expense. You might want to consider São Paulo/Belo Horizonte MG, Belo Horizonte/Porto Seguro or Salvador BA and then Porto Seguro or Salvador/Recife PE. You could then choose to return direct or stop off in other cities on the return trip and see even more of the country.

Given that return airfares between São Paulo and Recife can range from a low (promotional) of R$700 to R$1200, what you save by taking the bus would absorb most of the extra cost of taking a longer and more relaxed bus trip with stopovers.


Not surprisingly, I agree with Mr. Woodward again!   I have traveled extensively, by bus, and the only problems I ever had were traffic related delays and occasional breakdowns, causing a several hour delay, but these are uncommon.   Bring something to read and the distance to far. 

Cheers, Douglas

thanks guys, i appreciate all your input...I am planning to come to Brazil in June or July and would love to take a bus from SAO Paulo to Recife. or even to Fortaleza. Of course, this is a scarey undertaking because I DO NOT UNDERSTAND nor speak Portuguese. and when i flew into Sao Paulo i found very very few Brazilians that speak english. I am sure it is going to be even less at a BUS.
1. when i get to the bus , how do i know what bus company to take?...and get i get off the bus and stay over night along the way...kinda like a bus pass?
2. IS the bus route ALONG the coast or are they all inland...?
3. I was under the impression that the bus was more like 30 hours to recife and not 12-15 hours...?
4. Suggestions on what do with my luggage from the long trip from the U.S.?
keep giving me any input ....
greatly appreciated..
and anyone can tell me good teaching jobs.

Sorry I made a typo in my last message, it's about a 38 hour trip SP/REC. If you want to travel via the coast then you would go SP/RIO, RIO/VITÓRIA, VITÓRIA/SALVADOR, SALVADOR/ARACAJU, ARACAJU/MACEIÓ, MACEIÓ/RECIFE. These are all long stretched between departure and destination and will therefore take a lot of time to complete this trip with stopovers.

You still have a few months to get into a basic portuguese course, you really will need to speak some of the language in order to take a trip of this nature. On the bus you are unlikely to find many people who speak English.

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