Brazil is an amazing place to experience as an expat. It has everything that you can dream about – cultural heritage, incredible diversity, beautiful beaches, delicious food, an exciting lifestyle, and of course the warmest and most welcoming people. Inspired to relocate to Brazil? Then you surely need to know about the best places to live as an expat.
Top places to live in Brazil as an Expat are:
- São Paulo
- Rio de Janeiro
- Porto Alegre
Finding the right place to live when moving to a new country is one of the most important tasks you can have. Everyone has different expectations of the perfect place, but we can assure you that Brazil won’t disappoint when it comes to picking a city to live in. In this article, we present the top 9 places to live in Brazil as an expat, one of which will surely match your needs.
Moving to Brazil as an expat
Expats move to Brazil for many different reasons (because of job opportunities, study programs, or just for the sake of living in this country). It’s best when you have the freedom of choosing which city or region of this vast country you want to move to.
When moving to Brazil you need to consider the following:
- Cost of living and accommodation prices
- Availability of local amenities
- Leisure and entertainment options
With international investment moving in, Brazil is becoming an increasingly attractive place to live in as a foreigner or an expat. Moreover, with a growing economy, more companies are inviting international professionals to relocate. Many foreign companies establish their branches in Brazil and bring employees with them.
In the past six years, house prices in Brazil have more than doubled, showing growing interest in moving in. However, with an expat level of income, you won’t be struggling to live nicely in Brazil, as the average cost of living and local salary is much lower than western ones.
In terms of lifestyle and everything Brazil has to offer – you won’t be disappointed. Expats can enjoy beautiful beaches, amazing food and drinks, a chilled relaxed lifestyle, parties, and of course the charm of the country and people.
Furthermore, Brazil is a multicultural destination with ethnic diversity, incredible nature, and landscapes. It’s home to the big Amazon rainforest, after all!
Expats will also have a wide range of places to choose from. Whether you prefer to live by the sea or in a megalopolis, let’s explore what this incredible country has to offer!
When talking about different parts of Brazil, the country has four main regions that are recommended to expats:
The Southeast of Brazil has the three wealthiest and most populated states: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais, as well as its respective capitals of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte. All of these cities are huge and cosmopolitan, offering great job and business opportunities.
The Central-West and South regions, both of which are thriving areas with high standards of living. The rapidly growing economies of the Central-West state of Goiás and southern state of Paraná are particularly attractive for expats and foreigners nowadays.
The best places to live there are efficient, medium-sized cities such as the southern capitals of Curitiba, Florianópolis, and Porto Alegre where tourism is growing and living is easy.
The Central-West’s major city is the nation’s capital, Brasília. The city doesn’t have anything incredible in it, but because of its importance, it attracts a steady stream of foreign diplomats, journalists, and professionals involved in international businesses, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Previously the poorest region in Brazil, today the Northeast has the country’s fastest-growing economy. The Southeast and the Northeast have never drawn many expats. However, it has a great climate, culture, and relaxed lifestyle. For that reason, many expats and foreigners decide to live there.
In the Northeast, you can find cities like Salvador, Recife, and Fortaleza, all of which are economic and cultural hubs. The Northeast also has Brazil’s longest and most beautiful coastline.
- São Paulo
São Paulo is South America’s largest city and was ranked as the best city in Brazil for digital nomads to relocate. It can be a little overwhelming and stressful for some people that prefer a calmer environment. With a population of over 12 million, São Paulo isn’t just the largest city in Brazil, but also it’s financial center, making it Brazil’s most international city.
If you like cities like New York, you will surely fit in São Paulo. São Paulo offers expats better job opportunities and also the biggest international community. Besides that, the city is well known among expats from all over the world for its cultural diversity as well as for large Italian and Japanese communities.
Its strong economy and infrastructure have also attracted Brazilians from across the country. São Paulo is a huge metropolis that offers a little something for everyone.
Thanks to the cultural diversity, English is widely spoken, so you won’t necessarily need to learn Portuguese, although it’s always welcomed. Despite its size, São Paulo can be seen as a very affordable city, it’s at least 50% cheaper than London!
If you are looking for a job in Brazil, São Paulo can offer you some great career opportunities in the financial, telecommunications, IT, and health or science sectors.
Moreover, cultural, leisure and recreational options are limitless as are services and amenities.
Yet, expats should keep in mind that São Paulo isn’t a laid-back city. Many see Brazil as a relaxed and chilled place, but São Paulo has a totally different atmosphere.
People come there to build careers, so the lifestyle is respective to it. Finally, São Paulo isn’t a fascinating city, I really enjoyed the time there, but you need to love big cities to be able to live there happily.
- Rio de Janeiro
Of course, this list won’t be complete without the most well-known Brazilian city – Rio de Janeiro! With a population of around 7 million, it is the second biggest city after São Paulo. And for many expats thinking of living in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is inevitably the first place they consider.
The city is especially famous for its long stunning beaches and laid-back lifestyle. Rio de Janeiro has 24/7 action, and the party scene is amazing. If you are a young expat, this is definitely a place to be! Additionally, Rio has some world-class historic and cultural attractions.
However, the cost of living can be seen more as a negative side – it’s definitely not a cheap city. Moreover, you need to avoid certain neighborhoods in Rio if you value your safety.
Florianopolis is located on the Brazilian coast, it’s the city of the carnival, and also one of the very best places to live in Brazil as an expat. In fact, the city with a population of half a million, Florianopolis has some of the highest living standards in Brazil.
Besides that, you will enjoy beautiful beaches, museums, galleries, bars, restaurants, etc. Moreover, Florianopolis has a large expat community that is growing, so you won’t feel lonely.
The city is more affordable than São Paulo and Rio. It’s located roughly halfway between Curitiba and Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil. Florianopolis ranks very well in terms of quality of life and is one of the best cities in Brazil to live by the beach. Indeed, the city has over 60 beaches.
- Porto Alegre
Located in southern Brazil, Porto Alegre is a major port city and is popular with students and expats alike, thanks to its modern style and reputation as an education hub. With a population of 4,5 million, it’s the fourth-largest city in the country.
Porto Alegre is situated only around 400 km north of the Uruguayan border and within relatively easy reach to the Uruguayan capital city Montevideo. The latter is one of the most remarkable cities in South America.
The vast majority of the population in Porto Alegre is of European descent. It’s also one of the richest cities in South America. Also, the climate might remind you of Europe or some parts of the US, which is cooler than the Brazilian average. You won’t feel a huge difference when moving from Europe or North America.
Curitiba isn’t a very popular Brazilian city but should be on your expat radar anyway. The city has a population of 1,8 million and regularly ranks highly on every ‘best of’ list concerning Brazil.
Curitiba is considered to be the capital of the sustainability of Brazil. Parks are almost everywhere you look, guaranteeing plenty of green spaces for recreation and relaxation. The infrastructure is well developed and modern, and thanks to the compact nature of the center, getting around is easy.
Curitiba is one of the largest cities in southern Brazil. With an average high of 25C, the temperature is likely to be comfortable for most expats from Europe or the US. Curitiba can be compared to the previously mentioned Porto Alegre, where you can feel a strong European vibe and heritage. This city is considered to be very safe and has one of the highest standards of living in Brazil.
Indeed, Curitiba regularly ranks amongst the safest cities in Brazil to live in. Besides that, it’s one of the cheapest places in Brazil, at least amongst the bigger cities.
It might be a surprise to you, but Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. Whereas, many people think of Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo instead. Nope, Brasilia with a population of around 2 million people holds the title of most important Brazilian city politically speaking.
Moreover, Brasilia belongs to the UNESCO heritage site. Also, its economy and job market are booming, where private companies and financial institutions provide great job opportunities for foreign and local professionals.
In addition, its universities, schools, and colleges are among the best in the country and infrastructure is well developed and modern. Brasília is a real architectural masterpiece, especially if you like modern architecture. As the country’s economic, administrative and higher education hub, it attracts expatriates in large numbers every year.
Salvador da Bahia also known as Salvador is a port city and the capital of the Bahia state. With a population of 4 million people, this place is a symbol of mixing cultures. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Salvador is one of Brazil’s major cities and top destinations for expatriation.
Originally Salvador de Bahia was Brazil’s capital city and a major port. The history is also reflected in the culture and architecture, which is more Afro-Brazilian than many other regions. Moreover, it has some Portuguese influences that were established during the city’s founding.
By choosing to live in Salvador da Bahia, you will discover a great historical and cultural heritage and enjoy magnificent beaches, a unique cuisine, which will contribute to your enriching expat experience.
Furthermore, Salvador ranks as one of the most beautiful spots in Brazil. Its picturesque cobbled streets are abundant with cultural landmarks and historical architecture. The city is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Besides that Salvador has a large international student community which makes for a lively, vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great place to live as an expat.
With little over 2 million people, Fortaleza is the fifth biggest city in the country. It’s an affordable, coastal city in northeastern Brazil (bordered by the Atlantic Ocean).
Fortaleza emerged in the last century and became one of the best places to live in Brazil. The city is amongst the most popular with Brazilians and foreigners alike.
Its location close to the equator ensures you can enjoy a warm year-round climate with average high temperatures of around 30°C in all twelve months of the year.
Fortaleza has everything an expat might want in Brazil:
- palm-lined beaches
- dunes and lagoons
- all year round parties
- vibrant parties
- Brazilian atmosphere
- increasing number of expats and tourists every year
Furthermore, Fortaleza is a modern Brazilian city with many opportunities for expatriates thanks to its economical and industrial development.
Founded in 1535, Vitória with a population of 340 thousand is by far the smallest and the oldest city on our list. Nonetheless, it deserves its attention. The historic port city of Vitória is lively, blessed with some great beaches, a friendly, welcoming community, and might be one of the oldest cities in Brazil.
While living in Vitoria you will enjoy stunning colonial architecture, beaches but less of the expat community. Its center is cozy, compact, easy to navigate, and packed with bars, restaurants, and shops. Moreover, you won’t need much time to reach other important locations in Brazil, Vitoria is situated in proximity from most of them.
Cost of living in Brazil
How much should you estimate for the cost of living when moving to Brazil as an expat? Expenses in Brazil shouldn’t concern you much if you are an expat with a job in a foreign company.
You can live comfortably in Brazil for just a fraction of what you used to spend in the US or any other wealthy country. Even digital nomads with smaller budgets can live a very good life in Brazil.
|City||Estimated cost of living (monthly in US dollars)|
|Rio de Janeiro||$900|
How to become an expat in Brazil?
If you want to move as an expat to Brazil you will need to have a suitable job. We will recommend getting a remote job to live and work from Brazil.
Here, at Support Adventure, we hire talented people from around the world to give them the opportunity to become expats and work from anywhere. We are expat outsourcing company based in the UK.