Recently, Gol launched an airpass that offers cheap internal flights in Brazil for international tourists. This guide explains how the Gol Airpasses work, and how to book them.
Gol has three different airpasses - the Gol Brazil Airpass, the Gol Mercosul Airpass and the Gol Northeast Brazil Airpass. Depending upon what domestic flights in Brazil you are looking for, one of these airpasses may well be the cheapest option.
Below are some route maps demonstrating where Gol and Varig fly - click to enlarge these images.
Gol route map
Varig route map
Gol Brazil Airpass
This is Gol’s standard airpass, and works in a very similar way to the Tam Brazil airpass. It’s based on coupons - 4 coupons costs $532+tax, 5 coupons costs $672+tax, all the way up to 9 coupons for $1152+tax. So basically, any 4 Gol (or Varig - you can mix them up) flights/coupons costs $532+tax (you must catch at minimum 4 flights). If you have to change planes somewhere like Sao Paulo, it would count as one coupon (but only if the connecting time is less than 4 hours). All the flights have to be taken within 30 days of eachother. A maximum of two connections can be made in the same city, and no route can be flown in the same direction more than once. Tickets for children cost the same as the adult fares. The airpass is only available to non-residents of South America, who have an international flight booked to South America, from outside of South America. The ticket must be purchased outside of South America - so you won’t be able to book this locally when you arrive. The tickets are fully refundable if you decide to cancel before travelling, date changes cost $30 and re-routing of the itinerary (ie. changing your destinations around) is not possible once the ticket has been purchased. Here’s an example of a possible Gol Airpass itinerary:
Rio de Janeiro to Salvador (1 coupon)
Salvador via Brasilia to Cuiaba (1 coupon, assuming the connection time is less than 4 hours)
Cuiaba to Sao Paulo (1 coupon)
Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro (1 coupon)
The cost for these 4 coupons would total US $532+ tax.
Gol Northeast Brazil Airpass
This airpass works in a very similar fashion to the Gol Brazil Airpass, but the Northeast airpass focuses on North East Brazil (with it’s many beach destinations). The Gol Northeast Airpass can be used for domestic flights with either Gol or Varig between the cities of Sao Luiz, Fortaleza, Natal, Salvador, Recife, Maceio, Aracaju, Ilheus, Porto Seguro, Imperatriz, Senador Petronio, Joao Pessoa, Petrolina, Campina Grande and Juazeiro do Norte.
The Northeast airpass has a minimum number of 3 coupons (at a cost of $390+tax), and maximum of 6 coupons ($690). The maximum stay is 30 days, so all your flights must be taken within 30 days of each other. All the other rules are much the same as the rules are for the Gol Brazil airpass (see above). A typical itinerary might be Fortaleza to Natal; Natal to Recife; and Recife to Salvador - 3 coupons costing a total of $390+tax.
Gol Mercosur Airpass
The Gol Mercosur airpass is different from the Brazil airpasses as one can also incorporate flights outside of Brazil. Gol operates international flights to Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru - these can be incorporated into your itinerary. This airpass is a great value means of flying from a country such as Peru, or Argentina to Brazil, and catching various domestic flights within Brazil in addition. Gol also has flights between Lima (Peru) and Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Buenos Aires and Santiago (Chile) that can be incorporated into the airpass. The rules are much the same as for the other Gol airpasses, but in the case of the Mercosur airpass, only 3 stopovers are permitted in any one country (so you’d only be allowed to stop at 3 different destinations in Brazil, for example). The airpass has to include travel to at least two different countries. Four coupons (which is the minimum number of coupons one can purchase) costs $632, 5 coupons costs $772, all the way up to the maximum of 9 coupons at a cost of $1252. A typical itinerary might look like:
Lima (Peru) to Santiago (Chile) -1 coupon.
Santiago to Buenos Aires (Argentina) - 1 coupon.
Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro - 1 coupon.
Rio to Salvador - 1 coupon.
Salvador to Fortaleza - 1 coupon.
These 5 flights would cost just US $772+tax - a remarkably reasonable price.
That’s all three of Gol’s airpasses described. See the earlier article about airpasses in South America for advice on how to go about booking an airpass. I’ve also written articles on the Tam Airpasses (similar in nature to the Gol airpasses as the focus is on Brazil), as well as the LAN South America airpass (which focuses on Chile, Argentina, Peru and Ecuador). You might also want to read the section on Brazil flights for details about all the domestic airlines in Brazil and their route maps.