Beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife and excellent riding all comes together to make Brazil a playground for motorcyclists, Gisele Boxer tells us why you should tour the South American country this year
ABR: Tell us about Brazil and what it has to offer as an adventure motorcycling destination
Gisele Boxer: Brazil is a giant tropical country (the fifth largest in the world) with a huge diversity of landscapes, mountains, twisty roads, deserted areas, flooded areas, canyons, paradisical beaches, forests, wildlife, you name it! Foreigners are usually impressed by the country’s natural resources and the typical behaviour of the people whose genuine willingness to talk to ‘strangers’ is usually remembered by all as one of the best experiences in the country.
ABR: Is Brazil a safe place to ride?
GB: Yes! People are usually nice and the country has no major conflicts or natural disasters. Criminality is usually located in the non-tourist neighbourhoods of big cities, as in most countries.
ABR: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Brazil is hot weather, football and rainforests – how do these impact motorcycle touring?
GB: These factors are very present in the country along with the others that I mentioned earlier. About the weather, again the continental size of the country makes it very diverse in climate. While there is no real winter in the north (you have a rainy season there, but not low temperatures), in the south, in the mountains, you can sometimes get snow, even if it is short-lived.
ABR: When is the best time to ride Brazil?
GB: As a tropical country Brazil offers year-round sunshine and good weather regions.
ABR: Is the wildlife dangerous in Brazil?
GB: Only if you get too close to it! In fact, wildlife is located in protected areas.
ABR: How cheap is fuel in Brazil?
GB: Around 72 pence per litre, as of February 2015.
ABR: Is motorcycling popular in Brazil?
GB: Very much. And it is a fast-growing market for big bikes. BMW Motorrad installed its first manufacturing plant outside Germany in Brazil in 2011.
ABR: Are other road users in Brazil good drivers? Or are there lots of accidents?
GB: In general they are good drivers. Accidents are more likely at night, in rainy days and during holidays due to high traffic.
ABR: What are the hospitals and other medical facilities like in Brazil?
GB: Again as the country is very big and diverse, it all depends on where you are. You might be close to an international high standard hospital or have a very poor service nearby.
ABR: Is it an expensive country to travel in?
GB: Not really. From my experience, travel costs in Brazil are similar to an average European country, and you’ll find a range of service costs; from low budget hostels to luxury resorts, for instance.
ABR: If my bike breaks down while I’m riding in Brazil, is it easy enough to find a mechanic with knowledge about motorcycles?
GB: Small motorcycles (e.g. up to 300cc) mechanics and shops are spread all over Brazil as they are very popular in the country. For bigger bikes there are fewer professionals and shops available, which means the problem could be solved in a small city or your bike may have to be transferred to a bigger city for specialized services.
ABR: What are the most suitable bikes for riding in Brazil?
GB: Definitely the big tralies as the country has all kinds of terrain to ride on.
ABR: Are you allowed to ride off-road in Brazil?
GB: Oh yes! For those who are experienced off-road, Brazil is like a playground. In the Pantanal region, for instance, all attractions are reached via dirt roads.
ABR: What about camping? Are there any laws about wild camping?
GB: There are areas where you’re allowed to camp, and also areas where you are not. One should find out if you can camp in a certain location before you do.
ABR: Conversely, are there any areas I should avoid?
GB: Although the Amazon area is a must-see in Brazil, I would not recommend going there on a bike. It is much better to hire a local boat and take a trekking tour as the region has almost no roads to ride (mostly rivers) and the temperatures and humidity are very, very high.
ABR: What’s the food like?
GB: Food is very well appreciated both by locals and foreigners. Tropical fruits are everywhere, meat quality is well recognized in the south and fish along the coast.
ABR: What else is there to do, other than ride?
GB: As mentioned, Brazil is like a big, huge natural playground, very much appreciated by people who love to go outdoors. I strongly recommend riders to dedicate some days to also explore the country off the bike. There are unique places and moments that can only be experienced on foot.
ABR: What’s the benefit of going on a guided tour of Brazil rather than touring by yourself?
GB: I believe that with a proper guided tour anywhere in the world the experience can be rich and pleasant when it gives the opportunity to go deeper into the country’s stories, details, hidden places and local customs. Naturally, having a support car and spare bike can always be handy when having mechanical problems.
ABR: How many different tours do you offer?
GB: During a season, BOXER Moto Adventure usually offers six to seven pre-dated tours both in Brazil and abroad (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Morocco etc.) and also works with customized and private groups with specific dates and routes.
ABR: How long do they last?
GB: From three up to 15 days.
ABR: What do they include?
GB: Rental of new BMW motorcycles, quality lodges, tour leader and support vehicle.
ABR: What riding abilities are your tours for?
GB: For asphalt tours, the participant should have at least three years of riding experience. For adventure tours, we do not ask for experts but it is necessary to have some off-road experience.
ABR: Is there any preparation you need to do in advance of riding Brazil?
GB: No specific preparation.
Gisele Boxer runs a tour company based in Brazil called BOXER Moto Adventure (visit www.english.boxermotoadventure.com.br). The company offers five guided tours (four in Brazil and one in Peru) all averaging about nine days riding and take in some of the best roads and experiences these South American countries have on offer. You get a choice of bikes (BMW G650GS, BMW F800GS or Triumph Tiger 800XC), a support vehicle is provided and all hotel stays are included, plus tickets for local tours at various attractions.