May 25, 2024


1. About pousadas

1.1. What is a pousada?

A pousada is literally a place to land, or, in this instance, a place to stay. The term includes places which in other countries would be termed bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, inns, eco-lodges, and boutique hotels.

1.2. How are pousadas diffferent from normal hotels and resorts?

Firstly pousadas are normally much smaller. The ones on this list have a minimum of 2 suites, and rarely over 15.
Secondly, pousadas are all individually owned, and the owners usually live on-site or nearby, so there is a more informal atmosphere.

1.3. So where do hotels and resorts win over pousadas?

Hotels are often better for business people who need reliable communications plus room and laundry service; resorts are sometimes better for families who want all-inclusive packages and lots of entertainment.

1.4. What facilities can I expect in a “hidden pousada” suite?

Hidden pousadas all offer en-suite shower rooms, (rarely a bath) plus double beds with good mattresses, wardrobe or shelves and bedside tables with lamps. In areas with mosquitoes there is often a mosquito net and most places in the north/northeast have hammocks available

1.5. Do pousadas typically have swimming pools?

Some do; some don’t. You can search for those that do under “attractions”.

1.6. Are special services available for guests on a honeymoon/anniversary trip?

Most pousadas will offer some kind of honeymoon deal, but this is more likely to be formalised for pousadas in categories $$$ and $$$$ and will definitely be available for those pousadas in the $$$$$ category.

1.7. Do I have to bring things like a hairdryer, towels, soap or shampoo?

Towels and soap are always provided, except on very rare occasions. However it is unlikely you will find a hairdryer or toiletries unless you are staying in a category $$$$ or $$$$$ pousada.

1.8. Am I likely to be able to book a king-sized bed or a twin-bedded room?

You are unlikely to find a king-sized bed in pousadas in this price range, but you can find twin bedded suites in most pousadas. Check the box on the booking form to make sure.

1.9. Is there always hot water in the shower?

There is usually hot water except in the Amazon, or where pousadas are truly off the beaten track. However where showers are electric and there is only one tap you need to be aware that the top switch should be on “inverno” for winter, and the less you turn the shower on the hotter it is.

1.10. What size/type are the typical beds?

The usual room make up is one normal sized double bed and one single bed. In some pousadas beds are queensized- which usually means it is two single beds joined together to make a double.

1.11. Is there anything that will surprise me?

You will be pleasantly surprised by lots of things, but you may find it strange that lights usually do not give enough light to read at night , and toilet paper usually has to be placed in the bin beside the toilet, rather than flushed away.

1.12. Are pousadas cheaper than hotels and resorts?

Pousadas are nearly always cheaper than resorts; normally they are similar in price to hotels of a similar category, except that you will find a one $ pousada infinitely more pleasant than a one star hotel

1.13. Do pousadas have restaurants or bars?

All pousadas offer a good breakfast, included in the price, but only a few actually have restaurants as such. There is normally a bar serving drinks and snacks, however, and where pousadas are close to the beach bar service usually operates there as well.

1.14. Are there a lot of pousadas in Brazil?

Thousands of them!. And many have great web-sites. That’s why it is so difficult to choose.

1.15. How are the pousadas in Hidden Pousadas chosen?

Initially we look for smallish pousadas of between 3 and 15 apartments,which not only offer a good all round quality, and value for money, but have personality. We research guidebooks and the internet, but most of the pousadas on the list come from personal recommendations.

1.16. Do you visit all the pousadas?

Yes. However where we have strong recommendations from trusted sources we may include the pousada temporarily with the comment “recommended- review pending”

1.17. Do you ever reject pousadas, and if so, why?

From those we visit ,we reject around 30%. Sometimes pousadas have changed hands, and no longer offer the same services; sometimes they are in the process of being sold; sometimes we find bugs and sometimes we just don’t like the atmosphere!

1.18. How do you ensure quality control?

One of the great things about pousadas is that they are all individually owned, so have their own individual personalities. However one of the difficulties is that they change hands and change staff frequently. We are in constant contact with all the pousadas, and encourage comments from returning guests. However we also send Hidden Pousada re-reviewers to check quality issues and give feedback on accuracy of information in the guide.

1.19. If I am accepted as a Hidden Pousada re-reviewer, do I have to pay anything?

Yes. You pay actual pousada prices less 25%. So you get less control over where you go and how long you stay, but get a much cheaper holiday in return.

1.20. How do I become a Hidden Pousada re-reviewer?

Just go to “Contact Us” and mark the box on the form. We will contact you when an availability occurs.

2. About Brazil

2.1. Where are the best places to go?

2.2. When is the best time to go?

2.3. When is high season/ low season?

2.4. Is the weather usually better in high season?

2.5. Are there any advantages to coming in low season?

2.6. Can I expect hurricanes, monsoons, tornados or earthquakes at any time of the year?

2.7. Is there any terrorism in Brazil?

2.8. Is Brazil safe?

2.9. What language do people speak?

2.10. Is English widely spoken?

2.11. Are there a lot of bugs/ mosquitos?

2.12. What is the quality of medical care like?

3. About your trip

3.1. Do ATMs and cashpoints work?

It depends. The best banks to try are Bradesco and HSBC, but it is wise to bring various cards with you (and to remember the PINs). Visa is the most widely accepted card at pousadas, but frequently the cards will not go through, so again it is wise to keep cash on you.

3.3. Where are the best places to go in Brazil?

Brazil is a huge country with some 6000 miles of coastline. Just to fly from Rio to Manaus takes 5 hours, for example, and the country has mountains, rivers, waterfalls, jungle, beaches, historical cities- an amazing variety of things to see and do. The most famous city is Rio de Janeiro, of course, with its carnival, Maracana football stadium, Sugarloaf and statue of Christ the Redeemer, but there are many other places to see, such as the Iguaçu falls and the Amazon river, and a million and one places in between. Check out

3.4. Is Brazil safe?

Brazil has a very bad press in terms of violence and certainly there are no-go areas where you would be ill advised to go. However, it is nothing like as bad as it is made out to be. Normal precautions like not standing out as a tourist apply, e.g. no expensive jewellery, no camera slung round your neck, no computers taken out in public. It is also wise to carry a xerox copy of your passport, medical insurance and card insurance on you, as well as keeping money in different pockets. (See useful links for insurance)

3.5. What is a pousada?

Literally speaking a “landing place”, or a place to stay. There are thousands of them throughout Brazil, of all different types: guest houses, small hotels, eco-lodges and inns.

3.6. How is a pousada different from a hotel?

The main differences are size and atmosphere. Most pousadas have fewer than 20 suites and they are all individually owned and managed, so have their own personality. All pousadas here have clean and comfortable rooms with en-suite shower facilities, so in that sense they are like hotels, and there will often be a fridge stocked with cold drinks. You may even find wi-fi internet, but you won`t ever find 24 hour room service, or a business centre!

3.7. Can I use my credit card or should I take cash?

Some pousadas will accept international cards, but many still only take cash, so it is wise to always have enough with you, particularly if going to smaller places and islands where there are no cash machines.

3.8. Do you need to speak Portuguese?

In most of the pousadas there will be someone who speaks English, (and other guests will help translate if in difficulty) but if you are taking public transport you may find it quite difficult to get around, so it is useful (and more fun) to try to learn the basics before you come. If you prefer to stay in a pousadas where they speak your language then search by language under the map on the home page.

3.9. Sometimes airports given are a long way away. Is there really nothing closer?

Airports given, with the exception of Santarem, are international airports. Often there are local airports, and these may be more convenient ,but flights are generally expensive and need to be booked in Brazil.

4. About bookings

4.1. What options are there for booking?

You can book all pousadas through Hidden Pousadas, except those which quote prices in currencies other than Brazilian reais. Where pousadas have English speaking staff there is usually also an option to book direct. Options are indicated on the right side of each pousada page.

4.2. Which is the best booking option?

Booking through Hidden Pousadas is best if you need help planning your trip, you want to have everything planned and paid for before you go, and you want to have backup support whilst in Brazil. Booking direct is better for seasoned travellers who know where they want to go, and don’t need any support in-country.

4.3. How does direct booking work?

Just click on the direct booking symbol and that will take you straight through to the pousada. After that all contact is direct.

4.4. And if we book through Hidden Pousadas?

Click on the symbol and you will be taken to the booking form. On receipt of this we will contact the pousada(s) to check availability and confirm the price. Once you accept this we will normally ask for a 30% deposit. The balance is due 8 weeks before your travel date.

4.5. What happens if I book less than 8 weeks before my trip?

The total amount is payable on booking.

4.6. What methods of payment are accepted?

You can pay by credit card, via PayPal or make a bank transfer to Hidden Pousadas. There is a 4% discount available to those choosing to pay by bank transfer.

4.7. What rate of exchange is used?

The rate of exchange used is the quoted buying rate for reais on the day of the money transfer. With the present volatility in the currency markets you may find that the exchange rate is different when you pay the deposit from when you pay the balance.

4.8. What happens if I need to cancel, or curtail my trip?

The deposit is non-refundable. Return of any balance paid will depend on each pousada’s cancellation policy, less any associated bank charges. It is strongly advised that all travellers take out travel insurance to cover such eventualities.

4.9. Do you have a recommended travel insurance partner?

We recommend Worldwide Insure as offering the best value for UK and EU travellers. US travellers may well get cheaper deals elsewhere.

4.10. What documentation will we receive before our trip?

On payment of the deposit you will receive email confirmation of your reservation; when the balance is paid you will be emailed a voucher which gives a statement of account as well as pousada details and emergency numbers.