Mountain Skyline Ocean Rio De Janeiro

Best Places to Live in Brazil | 10 Coolest Cities for Expats

The largest country in South America is famous for its beautiful weather, friendly citizens, the Amazon rainforest, and its passion for football and carnivals.

Best Places to Live in Brazil for…

  1. Expats: São Paulo
  2. English Speakers: Rio de Janeiro
  3. Digital Nomads: Recife
  4. Solo Travelers: Salvador
  5. Couples: Brasilia
  6. Groups: Manaus

Tip: If you’re looking for places to live, Argentina is another great South American country to consider.

Top 10 Places to Live in Brazil

1. Rio de Janeiro

  Best Place to Live for English Speakers

Bay Mountain landscape

Cost of Living: $$$

The capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, is a seaside city famous for its beautiful beaches, raucous Carnival festival and the 38m Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado. The city is also infamous for its sprawling shantytowns known as favelas.

Tip: Don’t miss out on the biggest carnival in the world, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, which is held every year before Lent.

Who Would Like to Live There: English Speakers

Pros:

  • There are good executive salaries and career options
  • Rio is rich in culture
  • The best public facilities in the country.

Cons:

  • There are many people in Rio; overcrowding is a norm there.
  • It’s costly for a South American city.
  • There is a lot of crime, violent and sometimes sexual.

2. São Paulo

  Best Place for Expats

Lapa Sao Paulo

Cost of Living: $$$

Although not the capital city, the city of Sao Paulo is the financial center of Brazil. However, if no one told you that, you would never guess that considering how vibrant and culturally rich the city is.

Tip: Please visit the Parque Ibirapuera, a massive urban park rivaling New York’s famous central park.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats

Pros:

  • There are tremendous economic opportunities
  • The nightlife is second to none in South America
  • There are many museums, parks and

Cons:

  • Outside of international corporations, understanding Portuguese is necessary to get by.
  • The job market is highly competitive.
  • As the fourth biggest megacity in the world, traffic jams are hellish.

3. Bela Horizonte

  Great Place for Couples

Sail boat in the ocean

Cost of Living: $$$

Surrounded by mountains, its name means beautiful horizon in English is the perfect description. Bela Horizonte is known for the massive Mineirao Stadium that also houses the Brazilian Football Museum. Knowing how beloved football is in Brazil, this museum may be the most important one in the country in the eyes of the ordinary person on the street.

Tip: Visit the Praca da Liberdade, the main city square that museums and historic buildings surround.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples

Pros:

  • Substantially less crime than other major Brazilian cities
  • The food is exquisite, with a fusion of African, Portuguese, and indigenous food.
  • The people are friendly

Cons:

  • The city has a single subway line
  • There is a lot of income inequality
  • English is not commonly spoken at all

4. Fortaleza

  Great Place for Expats

Fortaleza cityscape

Cost of Living: $$$

Fortaleza is a seaside city known for its red cliffs, palm trees, dunes, and lagoons. It also has long-standing folklore traditions often presented in dance at the art nouveau Jose de Alencar theater.

Tip: Get lost in the Mercado Central de Fortaleza, which is a four-story giant market that opened in 1809

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats

Pros:

  • The harbor creates employment for locals in various industries.
  • There is plenty of entertainment with nightlife and cultural events
  • There are excellent universities

Cons:

  • Political tensions coincide with an increase in crimes
  • Real estate prices are high at the moment
  • It isn’t an old city, so it may come across as rootless without a solid cultural legacy

5. Salvador

  Best Place for Solo Travelers/Groups

Villa Bahia Salvador

Cost of Living: $$$

Salvador is known for its tropical coastline, Portuguese colonial architecture, and Afro-Brazilian culture. Salvador’s Baroque colonial churches are a thing of beauty, and the cardinal of Salvador is the leader of Brazil’s Roman Catholic church.

Tip: Make sure to go on a Historical African-oriented city tour to learn about the city’s African history and its people.

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo Travelers/Groups

Pros:

  • It has the most culture and history due to its solid African influence
  • The old city, Pelourinho, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
  • There’s a developing tourism sector

Cons:

  • The infrastructure and particularly the transit system, are poor
  • Hostile and slightly violent crime, especially towards tourists.
  • The city is quite dirty.

6. Curitiba

Great Place for Couples

Botanical Garden Curitiba

Cost of Living: $$$

Curitiba is the capital city of the Southern Brazilian state of Parana. It’s known as a cultural center for its contributions to Brazilian theater.

Tip: Visit the Opera de Arame – Vale da Musica, which is an opera house made of wire

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples

Pros:

  • There are a variety of theaters to visit
  • It was considered South America’s most sustainable city
  • The city actively looks after the poor through specific programs

Cons:

  • The people are extremely conservative
  • The city developed in an unplanned manner, so the town isn’t convenient
  • The city is expensive

7. Manaus

Best Place for Groups

Rubber Theatre Manaus

Cost of Living: $$$

Famous for being a vital point of departure for those interested in the Amazon rainforest and river, Manaus is on the banks of the Negro River, nearby is a place where the Amazon and the Negro rivers converge. It is known as the “Meeting of the waters.”

Tip: You need to see the Meeting of the waters. You will see the black waters of the Negro river and the brown water of the Amazon river combine in a beautiful and unique dance that only nature could design.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups

Pros:

  • There is less crime than in the bigger cities
  • It is an excellent city for those passionate about conservation
  • Manaus has a high concentration of native people giving it a different authenticity compared to the rest of Brazil

Cons:

  • The weather isn’t nice; It’s hot and wet.
  • The public transport infrastructure is not good
  • Prices are a bit high

8. Brasilia

Best Place for Couples

Square Crystal Brasilia

Cost of Living:$$$

Brasilia is most famous for being purposely built to be the capital of Brazil from the ground up in the 1960”s. The government decided to create a new city, and Brasilia resulted.

Tip: Make sure to visit the Santuario Sao Joao Bosco, a church famous for its blue floor-to-ceiling windows.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couple

Pros:

  • It’s safe
  • It’s a cosmopolitan city designed to accommodate the “future.”
  • The Pilot plan Area of Brasilia is now a UNESCO World Heritage site

Cons:

  • The city is designed to accommodate the few at the expense of the many
  • The town is designed for cars; it’s not pedestrian-friendly at all
  • It is an example of prioritizing form over functionality. It’s a cautionary tale for all urban designers.

9. Recife

Best place for Digital Nomads

Plaza Recife

Cost of Living:$$$

Recife is a beautiful city distinguished by its many rivers, bridges, islets, and peninsulas. Its Old town that dates back to the 16th century, Recife Antigo, is on its island by the harbor.

Tip: Visit the neighboring city Olinda, and see its beautiful pastel-colored houses and quaint colonial churches.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads

Pros:

  • Recife is affordable
  • Excellent internet speeds
  • Excellent secondary and higher learning institutions

Cons:

  • Can be dangerous because of crime
  • The climate is hot and damp
  • Not appropriate for raising a family

10. Porto Alegre

Great Place for Solo Travelers

River Mouth Porto Alegre

Cost of Living:$$$

Known as the “Joyful Harbor,” Porto Alegre is a beautiful port city with a distinctly European atmosphere in Brazil.

Tip: Visit the Praca da Alfandega square, which focuses on much of the city’s entertainment. It’s home to several museums, crafts shops, and even a shopping center. 

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo Travelers

Pros:

  • There’s an economic boom happening in the city
  • The city has excellent restaurants and hotels
  • The public health system is efficient.

Cons:

  • There’s a lot of overcrowding leading to traffic congestion
  • The property market is competitive
  • There has been an increase in crime and black market activities.

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