Brazil’s largest airline, TAM, has come up with an ingenious, not to mention, inexpensive way to hop, skip, and fly your way across this enormous country. TAM’s Giro program allows you to purchase a round-trip plane ticket from one end to another of Brazil and make stops at three cities along the route for free (although regional airport taxes are added).
For example, if you’re in Rio de Janeiro and you want to go to Belém, Pará (at the mouth of the Amazon), you purchase and pay for a round-trip Rio-Belém ticket, and then choose three stops along the way – say, Salvador, Fortaleza, and São Luis, for example. In essence, this means you get four flights for the price of one!
Not only does Giro TAM serve as an open invitation to explore additional regions and enrich your travels, but it also is an amazing deal in a country where distances are far-flung and airfares, while generally affordable (if booked in advance), can nonetheless add up if you’re taking multiple planes.
Are there any catches? Well, a couple. You have to choose all your stops (and your dates) when you purchase the initial round-trip ticket (in Brazil) and you can’t use either miles obtained from TAM or any Star Alliance members mileage programs.
Moreover, at the moment, the round-trip flights must begin in one of four cities: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, or Salvador. Destinations, however, are more numerous and include the majority of the country’s state capitals as well as tourist hubs such as Foz do Iguaçu (home base for those who want to visit the mighty Iguaçu Falls) and Porto Seguro (gateway to the stunning beaches of southern Bahia).
To check out possible itineraries and destinations, log onto the Giro TAM’s interactive web site. Although to date, tickets can’t be purchased online, they can be bought at all TAM airport kiosks and travel agents.
Alternatively, those traveling to Brazil from abroad can also consider purchasing the Brazilian Air Pass (which is only sold outside of Brazil). Offered by both TAM and GOL airlines, it gives foreign visitors the chance to fly between any four destinations within Brazil for US$538 (another bargain if the destinations in question are all somewhat farflung).