If i think of Brazil there is immediately the Sugar Loaf Mountain, half-naked woman and beautiful beaches in my head. Typical stereotypes, which are cultivated by the tourism industry. I was not much interested in the biggest country of South America, but it was on my way to Uruguay, so i had to cross it from north to south. The more i appreciate that i got really suprised by Brazil and it´s diversity. Not even about the landscape, but also about the people. A really exciting country, which however might not be the best adress for hitchiking.
Comment about the log: The listed time is the same like in Venezuela Log. I crossed around 3 timezones and the local time differs from the log time. In general it was around 2-3 hours later than my logged time.
Log can be found here.
Hitchhiked distance: 6550 kilometer
Number of lifts: 44
Average waiting time: 15 minutes 16 seconds
Waiting time total: 35 hours 12 minutes (in log you have to add 24 hours)
I started at the venezuelian border in the north and hitchhiked to Manaus. After that i had to take a ferry to cross the amazonian river to Santarem. The alternative route along another street in the south would have been 2000km longer and my last information was, that the road is not existing anymore. The second part was from Santarem to Maraba via the Transamazonica and later on the BR-153 all the way south to Sao Paolo to hitchhike further to Chuy at the uruguayan border.
As i said above, i was very suprised by the immens diversity in Brazil. Brazil has a huge immigration history, people are as different, as you can imagine. For my suprise there have been also alot of asian people in Brazil, but also Africans, Southern Europeans, some German Speaking People (with a weird dialect), but also russian enclaves, polish people and of course some aboriginals are existing.
Regarded to hitchhiking it is a bit difficult to evaluate. Brazil is very big and hitchhiking in the different parts of the country worked variable good. In the north i had long waiting times and the people stopped rarely. However i also discovered, that the cars are often just full with family and friends. From Las Palmas i was on the transit highway in direction south and could, even with my poor Portugese, manage to talk to the people. The hitchhiking went really well from here on. Until Porto Allegre i had a very good run. In the deep south it became terrible again, especially in the region around pelotas i had ridiculous long waiting time. People seemed not very sympathic, also of Germans and Polish people around and everything a bit more conservative.
What i else can say about brazilian people is, that they care alot about cleanness. You can have a free shower almost everywhere. I also recognized people riding a motorbike and carrying a heavy parfum smell with them. Never experienced that before. I general it seemed a bit neurotic to me, if you include this permanent fear which seemed taking over whole brazilian society. This might also be a reason why people don´t stop easily. They are afraid of hitchhikers.
There is a highway infrastructure in whole Brazil. BR is the notation. The condition of the roads is very divers. This is depended on the different states, because in Brazil the states take care about the roads, not the Federation, like in Germany. Behind venezuelian border the street is in good condition, new, on laned and nice. This is changing after Boa Vista. The road is still in good condition, but there are some short and mean parts, which are blessed with deep potholes or mud road passages, before the street goes on normal. I don´t understand this. Furthermore there aren´t much vilages in the north, but alos of farms and short distance traffic, which is very annoying to hitchhike.
From south of Santarem starts the Transamazonica. I will write a specific article about this road, it was one of the most amazing roads i ever took. Everytime when you think: „Wow, this part was really nice, this hill was really steep, that was really fucked up and ah, this beautiful picture i cannot find again“, the raod suprises you and gets after the next hill even more fucked up, amazing, beautiful or nice. In general you can compare the Transamazonica country road that got plowed two times, filled with some big heavy stones and on top of that some red earth. And then the steady up and down along the hilly amazonian area. In best case the raod is „just“ dusty, but when it begins to rain it shows its bitchy shape. But later more about this.
In the interior everything gets better, as soon as you get to the first Auto Posto Station. These are kind of big gas stations. Trucks have to stop here to get some stamp, but i didn´t get the system. You get shower and coffee for free, 24/7 tatsy meals for moderate prices. It is deluxe hitchhikers infrastructure. Especially in Sao Paolo and Guiania the roads as the Auto Postos are very well and no comparison to the amazonian area. In the south the roads get tighter and the quality decreases if you head forward to the uruguayan border.
Okay, i spend some kilometers and days in Brazil and the hitchhiking was a real challenge. The waiting times in the first two days have been quite stressing. Day 1; (1) 26 min, (2) 1h31min, (3) 1 min. Day 2; (1) 2h 48 min, (2) 59 min, (3) 4 min, (4) 1h 41min. But the waiting time was rewarded with long-distance-lifts. In Brazil i had the longest lift in my life with 1582 km.
The problem in the north have been the full cars and the short-distance cars, that where going to the farms and wouldn´t stop. My solution: Walking. I developed quite fast the habit, to go 2-3 kilometer into the middle of nowhere. If you are more outside the cars are stopping sooner, at least in my opinion. Roads are long and straight in general, which provides a good vision for the driver, also if they are going fast.
Beside that there are the well known bumpers like in Venezuela. Everytime a good choice.
Especially in the interior and in the south are alot of Toll-Stations and military checkpoints. The Toll-Stations are a good choise for the night hitchhiking, cause there is light all the time and you catch the whole traffic of the highway. In daytime there is a bit too much traffic, but hitchhiking works.
With a little portugese you can speak with the people at the gas stations, which worked quit good for me. With some charme and clumsiness even the brazilians will lose their fear and it is similar to hitchhiking in Germany.
What i realized later is, that the number plates in Brazil are perfect for hitchhiking, cause they are featured with alot of information. You can find the state as the place of register. A perfekt reference point to get cars in the right direction and very useful if you ask at the gas stations.
Also to add might be, the „Familia“ or „Family“ trucks. They got, ironically, only one seat and can´t take hitchhikers. I never saw this before. Also really charming is, that some trucks have explicitly written on their outside that they aren´t allowed to take someone. „Carroña prohibide“ or something like this. Weird.
Will add something later.