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The 17 Best Places To Live in Brazil For Expats in 2023

Vibrant cultures, great food, a diverse mix of natural wonders, and plenty of opportunities for international professionals is what makes Brazil a fantastic destination for expats. Depending on your preferences and lifestyle, there are numerous best places to live in Brazil for expats.

In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we will go through a list of some of the top destinations for expats to live in Brazil as well as a few recommendations for digital nomads looking to stay in Brazil.

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Life in Brazil as an Expat

Living in Brazil as an expat or a digital nomad can be lively as you soak up the rich and vibrant culture the country has to offer but there are things that you should really consider before committing to relocating to Brazil:

  • Crime Rate – Brazil is a country with a high crime rate. Major cities such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro tend to be safer, but petty crimes can still be rampant. It is important that you adhere to basic safety tips to lower your risks.
  • Language Barrier – Popular tourist destinations and major cities may understand English, however, it is important to note that the common language in Brazil is Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese differs from European Portuguese and most expats take lessons to help adjust to life in Brazil.
  • HealthcareHealthcare in Brazil is one of the country’s leading attributes. The country provides quality healthcare services that are up to universal standards in major cities. Under the Brazilian constitution, locals and foreigners in the country can access public healthcare services.

Safety Tips

  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid wearing expensive jewelry or watches
  • Use licensed taxis or call through an app instead of hailing random cabs on the street as there can be fake taxis that scam tourists and foreigners
  • Photocopy important documents like passports, visas, IDs and keep the copies separate from the originals
  • Register with your country’s embassy upon arriving. Carry contact info for them and your travel insurance
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash, when using ATMs make sure to use ones in busy and well-lit areas
  • Avoid traveling alone at night and in unfamiliar areas, stick to the main roads and well-traveled paths

Rankings Explained

Before we start on the list of top places, let’s go through how these places are selected. Our rankings for this list is based on a combination of factors that affect the day-to-day life of an expat or a digital nomad in a foreign country including:

  • Cost of Living
  • Safety
  • Population
  • Culture

These factors are put together to create a livability score that rates the overall quality of life in each city.

Top Places to Reside in Brazil as an Expat or Digital Nomad

1. São Paulo – Largest Financial Center of Brazil

best places brazil expats

  • Livability Score: 65
  • Cost of living: USD $1,062
  • Population (approx.):12,400,000

As the financial center of Brazil and the largest city in South America, Sao Paulo offers expat professionals a top destination to live and work in. It has abundant high-paying career opportunities in various industries.

Sao Paulo has a strong expat community that makes settling in easier. As a modern metropolis, English is widely spoken in the city and expats can get through their day-to-day lives with English alone. The vibrant culture and cosmopolitan flair further enhances quality of life.

In particular, Vila Madalena is a popular area among young expats. The neighborhood features a variety of dining options and an abundance of bars and live music venues.

2. Salvador – Historical Coastal City of Brazil

best places to live Brazil expat

  • Livability Score: 58
  • Cost of living: USD $825
  • Population (approx.): 3,090,000

Salvador is a well-preserved colonial historic center full of colorful architecture and vibrant culture. The cozy coastal city features an Old Upper Town area that features historical architecture and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Salvador is becoming more popular among expats and tourists which has led to international hotspots springing up across the city. The Rio Vermelho beach is a suave neighborhood that offers a lively nightlife for expats in Salvador.

Expats who love the Brazilian atmosphere but also want a slower pace of life will find that Salvador can offer you the best of both worlds!

3. Recife – The Brazilian Venice

  • Livability Score: 57
  • Cost of living: USD $699
  • Population (approx.): 1,490,000

Recife is a beautiful port city in Brazil with numerous rivers running through the city, earning it the name of the Brazilian Venice. The city offers mesmerizing sceneries and the Olinda Historic City Center, which is recognized by UNESCO, shows off the city’s historic colonial architecture.

For those looking for a dynamic nightlife, Boa Viagem is a beachside area with a diverse selection of restaurants and bars.

For art-loving expats, the Espinheiro area is a bohemian enclave filled with art galleries and cafés that is perfect for a slow and relaxing weekend.

4. Rio de Janeiro – Best for City Life and Entertainment

best places to live Brazil expat

  • Livability Score: 65
  • Cost of living: USD $972
  • Population (approx.): 6,,780,000

Rio de Janeiro is arguably one of the most exciting cities for expats in Brazil. Home to spectacular beaches, forests, and iconic landmarks like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio offers unparalleled natural beauty with hints of modern metropolis.

The city buzzes with a unique blend of soccer fervor, samba music, and celebrations year-round. Expats love the charm of Rio’s neighborhoods and the laid back beach culture. With plenty of job prospects in tourism, events, and entertainment, it’s easy for professional expats to find work.

Speaking of Rio, one must mention Carnival, one of the largest and most famous celebrations in the world. The endless music and parades of Carnival makes the top destination for expats looking to experience an authentic passionate Brazilian lifestyle.

5. Vitória – Tropical Paradise with a Colonial Heritage

best places to live Brazil expat

  • Livability Score: 49
  • Cost of living: USD $694
  • Population (approx.): 370,000

Vitoria is a modern port city with rich historical landmarks that offers expats a comfortable mix of big city amenities and coastal living. As the capital of Espirito Santo state, there are plenty of job opportunities for expats and the cost of living is lower than most larger cities in the country.

The location allows for enjoying nearby beaches and nature areas. The climate remains mild year-round. Expats thrive in its supportive community feel and high quality of life in a safe, less crowded environment than bigger Brazilian cities.

Because the city houses a number of universities, there are pockets of lively areas scattered across Vitória like Ilha do Príncipe. The area features restaurants with international cuisines and craft breweries, making it a great place for young expats to enjoy life in Brazil.

6. Florianópolis – The Island of Magic

best places to live Brazil expat

  • Livability Score: 56
  • Cost of living: USD $808
  • Population (approx.): 2,260,000

Known as the “Island of Magic,” Florianopolis is a coastal city filled with natural beauty. The city is made up of over 80 islands and features pristine beaches and Atlantic Forest. With mild weather all year allows water activities and outdoors exploration.

Florianópolis is also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, the geographical advantage of the city ensures that you can find fresh seafood and mesmerizing sceneries throughout the city!

One of the city’s most notable landmarks is the Praça XV de Novembro, a plaza built in the 1880’s. The iconic plaza sits on where the city is founded and is the site for many outdoor concerts and festivals.

7. Campo Grande – Best Choice for Adventurous Expats

  • Livability Score: 49
  • Cost of living: USD $648
  • Population (approx.): 916,000

Nestled near the world’s largest wetlands, the Pantanal, Campo Grande offers a welcoming community in Brazil’s center-west. As the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, it has an emerging economy and expats can benefit from the relatively lower cost of living.

Expats who enjoy exploring and wildlife will love the nearby scenic Pantanal region which is known for wildlife, making it one of the top choices for adventurous expats.

If you want to dive into the cultural heritage of Campo Grande, the Centro area features charming low-rise structures filled with boutique-esque shops, museums, and restaurants.

8. Campinas – Best for Expat Families

best places to live Brazil expat

  • Livability Score: 57
  • Cost of living: USD $780
  • Population (approx.): 1,210,000

Campinas is among the richest cities in Brazil. Despite being one of the major metropolitans, the cost of living in Campinas is relatively lower than São Paulo and Rio. The city has a growing economy and offers ample job opportunities in the technology industry.

The city is also known for having tree-lined avenues and gorgeous parks, making it one of the top places for expat families to reside in. The Parque Portugal – Lagoa do Taquaral is one of the city’s most popular parks that features an amphitheater and historic tramways to give it a unique flair.

9. Brasilia – A City for the Future

  • Livability Score: 59
  • Cost of living: USD $744
  • Population (approx.): 850,000

Designed as Brazil’s futuristic capital in the country’s central highlands, Brasília offers expats a thriving city with a growing economy and job market. Its unique architecture including its renowned wing-shaped residential and government zones provides a high quality of life.

The Galeria dos Estados is a cultural and commercial hub of Brasilia where expats can immerse themselves in Brazilian culture and enjoy live music and dance performances that take place regularly in the area.

For expats who want a bit of excitement, Asa Norte, or the North Wing area of Brasilia is a bustling part of the city that features upscale dining options, hip bars with live music, and clubs!

10. Balneário Camboriú – Top Choice for Digital Nomads

  • Livability Score: 52
  • Cost of living: USD $809
  • Population (approx.): 149,000

Known as Brazil’s premiere beach resort town, Balneário Camboriú offers expats and digital nomads breathtaking coastal scenery and abundant outdoor activities. Miles of white sand beaches and trails through the Atlantic rainforest provide the perfect setting for an active lifestyle.

The city’s climate ranges from 15°C to 25°C all year-round which boosts its strong tourism-based economy and ensures plenty of work opportunities alongside cultural attractions. Just two hours away from Florianópolis, expats and nomads can find a high quality of life Balneário Camboriú.

11. Manaus – Top Choice for Rainforest Access

  • Livability Score: 55
  • Cost of living: USD $845
  • Population (approx.): 2,260,000

Located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, Manaus offers expats opportunities to live alongside this natural wonder. As the capital of Amazonas state, the growing city also features a free trade zone which offers expats abundant opportunities.

Expats with an adventurous spirit will be able to get in touch with nature through nature trails and mountain biking at Tarumã Ecological Station, which sits at the outskirts of the city. Animal lovers can also go on tours and stay at the eco-lodges at the Amazon Ecopark!

Despite being close to nature and wildlife, expats can still find upscale dining options whilst enjoying the city’s waterfront promenades at Negra Beach.

12. Natal – Diver’s Choice in Brazil

  • Livability Score: 50
  • Cost of living: USD $573
  • Population (approx.): 897,000

Situated on Brazil’s northeastern coast, Natal features a sunny, tropical climate and a laid back culture. The coastal city offers broad sand beaches alongside a burgeoning economy centered around tourism and commerce.

Expats can catch up on the latest trends in the Lagoa Nova area which is the commercial center of the city. The area features diverse shopping options from global brands as well as sophisticated dining choices and entertainment.

To take full advantage of Brazil’s northeastern coast, the Ptimbu area is known for its beaches that are loved by surfers. The area also features handcraft markets and you can find restaurants serving some of the freshest seafood!

13. Porto Alegre – Brazil with a European Charm

  • Livability Score: 58
  • Cost of living: USD $884
  • Population (approx.): 1,490,000

Located in southern Brazil, Porto Alegre is a cosmopolitan city filled with European influences and vibrant culture. As the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, the city offers opportunities across various industries including technology, finance, and agriculture.

Porto Alegre is a city that is rich in culture. The Redenção Park frequently features live concerts that are free and the city’s historic downtown area still retains its tree-lined squares that brings you deep into Porto Alegre’s heritage.

14. Fortaleza Top Choice for Beach Living

  • Livability Score: 52
  • Cost of living: USD $794
  • Population (approx.): 2,700,000

Located on the northeastern coast of Ceará state, Fortaleza offers expats sweeping beaches and warm tropical climate. Its historic districts blend European and Afro-Brazilian influences providing expats with a culturally rich city life with a relatively lower cost of living.

As a major economic center, the city offers career opportunities in industries including commerce, tourism, and energy. The city has its own international airport for global connections making it a convenient choice for digital nomads to relocate to.

Beach lovers will want to settle in the Meireles area, a prime beachfront area with high-rise apartments. What makes this area great is its vibrant neighborhood which offers upscale shopping and dining.

Digital nomads will find the Pirambu area a great location to stay in. Pirambu is a cozy riverside area with small art galleries, music venues, and a collection of co-working spaces that gives you the perfect work-life balance.

15. Belo Horizonte – The City of the Horizon

  • Livability Score: 52
  • Cost of living: USD $784
  • Population (approx.): 2,700,000

Belo Horizonte is known for its bustling culture and green spaces. As the capital of Minas Gerais state, the metropolitan city offers career opportunities in various sectors spanning from mining to finance.

Belo Horizonte offers expats a diverse lifestyle. Architect buffs will love the historic district of Lourdes which features Portuguese colonial architecture and charming churches whilst expats seeking a more modern lifestyle can find bustling nightlife venues at Santa Tereza!

A mild climate and affordable cost of living allow for an active lifestyle alongside historic architecture and art scene amid the surrounding mountains. Belo Horizonte is perfect for expats with an active lifestyle!

16. Curitiba – The Greenest City in Brazil

  • Livability Score: 58
  • Cost of living: USD $817
  • Population (approx.): 1,960,000

Curitiba features an innovative public transportation system and expansive green spaces, earning it the title of the greenest city in Brazil. As the capital of Paraná state, various sectors like technology, education, and automotive provide career opportunities.

The city has abundant parks and cycling lanes and bike paths that makes it a pedestrian and cyclist friendly city. Combined with the city’s 19th century to early 20th century architecture.

Nature lovers will want to settle in the Batel area of Curitiba, a gorgeous riverfront area with high-rise apartments. The area is close to a number of parks and offers fine dining options for a romantic evening.

17. Belem – Top Choice for An Authentic Brazilian Rainforest Experience

  • Livability Score: 45
  • Cost of living: USD $831
  • Population (approx.): 1,150,000

Sitting on where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Belém provides an authentic experience of Brazil’s rainforest culture firsthand. As the capital of Pará state, the city offers culture blending Portuguese colonial history with Afro-Brazilian and indigenous influences.

The city has a low cost of living and provides easy access to remote jungle landscapes and river beaches making it a great choice for digital nomads who want to experience Brazil’s rainforest first hand.

Adventurous digital nomads can also escape to Cotijuba Island, a quiet island approximately an hour away from the city filled with beaches lined with thatched-roof cabins and nature trails.


Brazil is a beautiful place to live in for expats. From mesmerizing coastal cities to modern day metropolises that sit in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest, Brazil offers great relocation options for expats and digital nomads.

Despite its vibrant culture, Brazil is not the safest country in the world. The country has a high crime rate and despite major cities being safer, petty crimes can be rampant in certain cities. As such, it is important to pay attention to your personal properties especially in crowded areas.

Brazil’s national healthcare system provides services to all residents and foreigners in the country. However, the healthcare system faces challenges such as overcrowdedness and long wait times that affect the quality of the healthcare provided.

As such, expats are recommended to secure a health insurance plan to access private healthcare. The private healthcare sector in Brazil is recommended for expats as they do not suffer as much from challenges the public sector faces.

If you are looking to secure a health insurance plan in Brazil, Pacific Prime Latin America can find the right plan for you! With over two decades of experience in the industry, Pacific Prime’s experts can shortlist plans based on your healthcare requirements and budget.

Contact us today and get a free obligation free quote!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Brazil a safe place to live in?

Although the overall crime levels in Brazil is high, expats are still safe in the country as long as they adhere to common safety precautions such as not traveling alone at night, sticking to the main roads, and not flaunting expensive jewelry.

What is the cost of living in Brazil?

The cost of living in Brazil is typically lower than Western nations. The cost of living can be higher in major cities like Sao Paulo (USD $1,062) and Rio (USD $972).

What is Brazil’s healthcare system like?

Healthcare is a leading attribute of Brazil. The country provides quality healthcare services that are up to universal standards especially in major cities like Sao Paulo and Rio.

What is the main language in Brazil?

The main language spoken in Brazil is Brazilian Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese differs from European Portuguese and most expats take lessons to help adjust to life in Brazil.

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Vista is a content creator at Pacific Prime. With over 8 years of writing experience for online platforms on various topics such as luxury lifestyle and digital entertainment. He enjoys diving into complex and otherwise confusing topics, and creating easy-to-understand content for the readers to help them navigate through the topic - something that’s perfectly aligned with Pacific Prime’s motto of ‘simplifying insurance’.

Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong, and having studied at an international school, Vista has developed a multicultural perspective that he uses in his writing and strives to connect to people of different backgrounds.

In his free time, Vista enjoys immersing himself in different worlds, from video games to light novels and movies. His hobbies help him expand his writing style by putting himself in the point-of-view of different people and characters.
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