The high season in Brazil follows the school holiday calendar, with December and January (summer) being the busiest months. New Year’s Eve, Carnival (which can be moved between February and March, see understanding above) and Holy Week are the peak periods and prices can soar, especially in coastal cities like Rio and Salvador. Also, during these holidays, many hotels limit bookings to a minimum of 3 or 4 days and charge in advance.
Hotels are plentiful in almost every region of Brazil and can range from luxurious resorts to very modest and cheap options. The Brazilian Tourism Authority imposes certain minimum requirements for each type of establishment, but as the star rating (1-5) is no longer applied, you should check in advance whether your hotel offers the type of services you expect.
Pousada means guest house (the local equivalent of a French hostel or British guesthouse) and are generally simpler than hotels and offer fewer services (room service, laundry, etc.). Pousadas are even more common than hotels.
In wilderness areas like the Pantanal, travellers tend to stay in fazendas, which are ranches with facilities for visitors. In the small towns of Minas Gerais, people like fazenda hotéis (farm hotels) where they can bathe, ride horses, hike, play football and camp, as well as sleep in quaint shacks.
It is also great fun to do a boat hotel that will take you to inaccessible places on the rivers and lakes for great fishing trips or just to relax and watch and photograph the wildlife that is very abundant in the Pantanal. The boats are large, safe and comfortable with air-conditioned rooms (very necessary). Several small aluminium boats with outboard motors, carried by the hotel boat and driven by an experienced fisherman/guide, take 2 or 3 tourists to the best spots.
Motel is the local term for a “sex hotel”. There is no social stigma per se to staying there, but the room service and rates are geared towards adults who stay for a few hours in privacy.
Youth hostels (albergues da juventude) are becoming increasingly common.