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Road trip from Rio to Salvador

1 post
2 reviews
Road trip from Rio to Salvador

I’m planning a honeymoon to Brazil in November, and exploring the idea of renting a car and road tripping from Rio to Salvador (and perhaps beyond). Can anyone provide insight to if this would be a scenic drive (at least for part of the route)? Are there ample places to eat and stay on the road between the two?

Any insight or suggestions are welcome!

4 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
Level Contributor
25,619 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Road trip from Rio to Salvador

Driving on Brazilian highways can be problematic.

Up to 40,000 people a year die on Brazil's roads—a toll blamed on poor driving conditions, inexperienced motorists and high levels of drunk-driving. Brazil needs to improve road signs, poor-quality roads and poorly designed motorways. And emergency services are mainly available in larger cities.

Driving in Brazil:



The Foreign Office of Brazil advises tourists to be wary of straying into favelas while driving.

"All favelas are unpredictably dangerous areas, and remain high risk given the level of violence within them and the severe strain on police resources," its website says.

"Take extra care when using GPS navigation in Brazilian cities, particularly Rio de Janeiro, that the suggested route doesn’t take you into a favela."

Two years ago, a 70-year-old businesswoman was shot dead after using a mobile phone app which made her take a wrong turn into a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

A senior U.S. diplomat in Brazil was shot during an attempted robbery on a highway near Rio de Janeiro.

Rio carjackers took Brazilian football player’s Range Rover at gunpoint (video):


Police in Rio de Janeiro said they shot dead a Spanish tourist after the car she was in failed to stop at a police roadblock in the Rocinha favela.


British woman shot as gang opens fire on family after straying into favela near Rio:


Petropolis, RJ
Level Contributor
717 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Road trip from Rio to Salvador

It's a very long pack, not popular to be done by car.

It is a lot more interesting to go from Rio to São Paulo. Infinite wonderful places visit in a lot shorter way.

Edited: 05 July 2018, 03:29
Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
6,924 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Road trip from Rio to Salvador

take a look at google maps... you will see that the main road (BR-116) is inland... even the "coastal" road (BR-101) is largely inland; you need to take detours all the time on secondary roads to actually reach the coast... there would be long stretches of not much interest inland...

i would fly between certain points, and if really keen to drive, rent a car in these base cities to drive around (also be aware that drop off fees for car rentals in Brazil are based on distance between pick up and drop off points... picking up a car in Rio and returning it in Salvador would bring probably about 1500-2000 reais only in drop off fees; not to mention daily rental).

also take a look where it tends to rain in November... link below has historical rainfall avgs for Brazilian beaches (in yellow) in November.


one possible idea:

fly from Rio to either Porto Seguro (BPS airport) or Ilheus (IOS)...

around BPS you can go to Trancoso, Arraial d'Ajuda etc.

if you choose IOS instead, then Itacaré, the Maraú peninsula etc become options...

then return car and fly to Salvador (SSA)... spend time in the city (w/out a car on those days), then maybe go to Morro de Sao Paulo etc

then maybe a car again going north of Salvador (some places on the way: Guarajuba; Praia do Forte; Sauipe)... if more adventurous, continue on BA-099 all the way to Mangue Seco (well, you have to leave car in parking lot in a tiny place and then catch boat to get there...).


you could stop on some places on way north and others on way back before returning car in SSA.

of course, all of that only makes sense after good due diligence of whether or not you should drive in Brazil (what experience do you have in similar situations? language skills? no one on the road likely to speak any English...)

Dakar, Senegal
Level Contributor
158 posts
4. Re: Road trip from Rio to Salvador

I'd suggest flying to Salvador and spending some days in and around there. Then take public transportation (catamaran or ferry to Bom Despacho on Itaparica/bus to Valenca/small boat) to Morro do Sao Paulo, and/or Boipeda and/or the Marau peninsula from Camamu. Marau is still relatively untouristy because of the effort to get there. Explore those places. The far end of Third Beach and Fourth beach in Morro is pretty out of the way and there are romantic pousadas. Then return to Valenca or Camamu and take a bus to see Itacare, a surf destination, and Colonial Ilheus. Take a bus further down the coast to Porto Seguro/Arraial D'Ajuda/Trancoso and fly back to Rio from P.S. (Flights are usually reasonable for it being such a small town.)

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