Southwest Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, and where to stay in Southwest, Brazil. Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know before you go.

Introduction to Southwest

Southwest is located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the southern region of Brazil. Known for its stunning natural landscapes, charming historic villages, and rich cultural traditions, Southwest offers visitors a unique experience unlike any other in Brazil. From exploring historic museums and monuments to hiking through lush forests and gazing at breathtaking waterfalls, there’s something for everyone in Southwest.

List of Places to Visit in Southwest

If you’re planning a trip to Southwest, here are the must-visit places to check out:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • São Miguel das Missões: This UNESCO World Heritage Site features the ruins of a Jesuit mission dating back to the 17th century.
  • Teutônia: Founded by German immigrants in the 19th century, Teutônia is now a charming town that celebrates its European roots with festivals, architecture, and cuisine.
  • Rio Grande: Founded in the 1700s, Rio Grande is one of Brazil’s oldest cities and boasts a rich history that can be explored at the Museum of the City of Rio Grande.

Natural Attractions of Southwest: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Cascata do Chuvisqueiro: This waterfall is located in a state park and offers visitors a chance to hike through lush forests and swim in natural pools.
  • Serra do Mar: This mountain range offers stunning views of the surrounding forests and is home to several hiking trails.
  • Lagoa dos Patos: This lagoon is famous for its sunsets and is a popular spot for kayaking, fishing, and bird watching.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Southwest

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are many hiking and biking trails throughout Southwest. Here are some of the best:

  • Trilha do Rio do Boi: A challenging hike through remote terrain that includes river crossings and steep inclines.
  • Trilha do Inferno Verde: A moderate hike that takes you through a lush forest and past several waterfalls.
  • Caminho dos Cânions: A multi-day trek through breathtaking canyons and forests.

Best Things to Do in Southwest: Activities and Tours

If you want to experience the best of Southwest, here are some activities and tours not to miss:

  • Cultural Immersion Tour: Explore the region’s unique blend of German and Brazilian culture with a guided tour of Teutônia and surrounding towns.
  • Wine Tasting Tour: Sample some of Brazil’s best wines with a visit to local vineyards and wineries.
  • Adventure Tour: Go canyoneering, white-water rafting, or paragliding with a guided adventure tour.

Week-Long Itinerary for Southwest

Day 1: Explore the historic center of São Miguel das Missões and visit the ruins of the Jesuit mission.

Day 2: Take a cultural immersion tour of Teutônia and learn about the town’s German roots.

Day 3: Hike to the top of Serra do Mar for stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Day 4: Explore Rio Grande and discover the city’s fascinating history at the Museum of the City of Rio Grande.

Day 5: Take a wine tasting tour and sample some of the region’s best wines.

Day 6: Go canyoneering or white-water rafting for a thrilling adventure.

Day 7: Relax on the shores of Lagoa dos Patos and enjoy the stunning sunset views.

Food and Drink Scene of Southwest

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chimarrão: a traditional hot drink made from yerba mate leaves.
  • Churrasco: Brazilian-style barbecue featuring a variety of meats and sides.
  • Cuca: a sweet bread with a crumbly topping, often filled with fruit.

Local Beverages

  • Cachaça: a sugarcane-based spirit often mixed into cocktails.
  • Vinho: Brazilian wine made from various local grape varieties.
  • Cerveja: Brazilian beer, often served ice-cold.

Where to Stay in Southwest: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Pousada dos Plátanos: A charming guesthouse located in Gramado, offering cozy rooms and a garden with a pool.
  • Eco Hostel Alecrim: A sustainable hostel in Porto Alegre, featuring private and shared rooms and a communal kitchen.
  • Hotel Sky: A modern hotel in Sao Leopoldo, offering spacious rooms and a rooftop pool with panoramic views.

What to Buy in Southwest: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Leather Goods: Rio Grande do Sul is known for its high-quality leather products, including shoes, bags, and jackets.
  • Wine: Bring home a bottle of local Brazilian wine as a tasty souvenir.
  • Artisan Crafts: Find unique handmade items like pottery, textiles, and woodcarvings in local markets and shops.

Local Culture and Customs of Southwest

Southwest is a region with a blend of Brazilian and European cultures, particularly German. The region is known for its festivals and traditions, including Oktoberfest in Blumenau, which is one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany.

Best Time to Visit Southwest

The best time to visit Southwest is during the southern hemisphere’s spring and summer months (September through February) when the weather is warm and dry.

Do’s and Don’ts of Southwest


  • Try the local cuisine and beverages.
  • Learn about the region’s history and culture.
  • Explore the natural beauty of the region.


  • Ignore local customs and traditions.
  • Litter or damage natural attractions.
  • Disrespect wildlife or their habitats.

Safety and Health

Safety in Southwest

Southwest is generally a safe region with low levels of crime. However, it’s always wise to stay alert and cautious, particularly in urban areas.

Health in Southwest

Brazil requires certain vaccinations when entering the country. Check with your doctor before traveling to ensure you have the necessary vaccinations and medications.

Getting to Southwest: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Southwest

  • Salgado Filho International Airport: Located in Porto Alegre, this is the largest airport in the region.

Bus Stations Near Southwest

  • Porto Alegre Bus Station: The main bus station for the region, with connections to major cities throughout Brazil.

Other Options

  • Car Rental: Renting a car is a popular option for those who want to explore the region at their own pace.
  • Private Transfer: Private transfers can be arranged from Porto Alegre to other cities in Southwest.

How to Get Around in Southwest

Public transportation in Southwest is limited to buses and taxis. Renting a car or hiring a private driver is the most convenient way to explore the region.

Where to Go Next from Southwest: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Canyons National Park: This stunning park is located just over the border in Uruguay and features breathtaking canyons and waterfalls.
  • Florianopolis: A popular beach destination located in the state of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis offers a mix of city attractions and natural beauty.
  • Curitiba: The capital of the neighboring state of Parana, Curitiba is known for its innovative urban planning and architecture.


Southwest offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural traditions, and thrilling adventures. From exploring historic museums and monuments to hiking through lush forests and savoring delicious local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this captivating region of Brazil.