Brazil Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Brasilia tourist information, Brazil food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Brasilia. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Brazil Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republica Federativa do Brasil
Population: 191.5 million (2009 est.)
Capital City: Brasilia
Language: Portuguese
Religion: 70% Roman Catholic; also a significant proportion who either belong to various cults or practice Indian animism
Government: Federative Republic
Time Zone: GMT/UTC -4 (in the west), GMT/UTC -3 (in the east, northeast, south and southeast), GMT/UTC -2 (Fernando de Noronha archipelago), GMT/UTC -5 (in the far west)
Dialling Code: 55
Electricity: 110/220V, 60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Real
Average yearly salary: USD 10,200

Budget: R$15-30
Mid-range: R$30-40
High: R$40-60
Top: R$60+
Budget: R$15-60
Mid-range: R$60-200
High: R$200-500
Top: R$500+

After the long-expected devaluation of the real in 1999, many people anticipated explosive inflation. So far, however, exchange rates and prices have held steady. If you're travelling on buses every couple of days, staying in hotels for US$10 a night, and eating in restaurants or drinking in bars every night, US$40 is a rough estimate of what you would need. If you plan to lie on a beach for a month, eating rice and beans every day, US$20 to US$25 would be enough. Bear in mind that prices for accommodation increase 25-30% from December to February.

Credit cards are now accepted all over Brazil. Visa is the best card to carry for cash advances, finding an ATM that accepts your particular card can be difficult, though. Changing cash and travelers' checks is simple - there are cambios in all but the tiniest towns. It's worth having enough cash to tide you over the weekend, when finding an open change bureau, even in big cities, can be difficult. When buying cash, ask for lots of small bills as change is often unavailable for small transactions.

Geography: The largest country in South America, Brazil shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. The Amazon covers almost half of Brazil and is a huge system of rivers and forests and home to 15,000 species. The wide stretch of river known as Rio Amazonas runs between the cities of Manaus and Belém.

For a long time Rio de Janeiro has been recognised as the image of Brazil. It is divided into two parts, the northern zone and the southern zone by steep mountains. You can see the whole city from Corcovado, which is a 750m mountain peak with the statue of Christ the Redeemer at its summit. Rio de Janeiro is also home to the world's most famous beach, Copacabana. Ipanema is Rio's richest and most chic beach.

Salvador da Bahia is famous for its beaches, colonial history and is also Brazil's most Africanized State. Salvador da Bahia is definitely one of Brazil's most famous cities. While here you must visit Carnaval, the Museu Afro-Brasileira, the Elevador Lacerda, and some of the many beautiful beaches.

Brasilia is located in the Centre West, the modern capital of Brazil and a World Heritage Site. It was built in only 3 years, from 1957-1960 by millions of peasants working around the clock.

Climate: Varies from arid scrubland in the interior to the impassable tropical rainforests of the northerly Amazon jungle and the tropical eastern coastal beaches. The south is more temperate. Rainy seasons occur from January to April in the north, April to July in the northeast and November to March in the Rio/San Paulo area.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens with waterproofing for the rainy season. Warm clothing is needed in the south during winter (June to July). Specialist clothing is needed for the Amazon region. Warm clothing is advised if visiting the southern regions in winter time. The sunlight is extremely bright and sunglasses are recommended.

Social conventions:
In informal situations, it is common to kiss women on both cheeks when meeting and taking one's leave. Handshaking is customary between men, and normal European courtesies are observed. Frequent offers of coffee and tea are customary. Flowers are acceptable as a gift on arrival or following a visit for a meal. A souvenir from the visitor's home country will be well-received as a gift of appreciation. Casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather.

Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are reccommended for all travellers. Mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria are prevalent in Brazil. Insect repellent and protective clothing is essential. Malaria exists below 2,953ft (900m) in most rural areas, and outbreaks of dengue fever occur frequently. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for those travelling to rural areas and other parts of the country as a yellow fever outbreak occurred at the beginning of 2008. Visitors travelling from infected areas outside the country require a yellow fever certificate. Tap water is heavily treated resulting in a strong chemical taste; bottled water is, however, freely available for drinking purposes. Typhoid vaccinations are reccommended if travellers intend to spend a lot of time outside of major cities.

Food & Drink:
Brazilian food represents a variety of traditional recipes influenced by many cultures from its history.
The food is as miscellaneous as the country itself. The most popular `Brazilian' meal can include Portuguese olive oil, native manioc, Japanese sushi, African okra, Italian pasta, German sausage and Lebanese tabbouleh. Still, the cuisine can be reduced to three delightful principles: generosity, freshness and simplicity.

Given the richness and variety of fresh ingredients, Brazilians generally eat their food neat. They feel no need for fancy sauces or rarefied cooking processes. Meat is coated in salt and set on the grill, while veggies are steamed and served straight up. Simply add a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of salt to taste. That said, there are complex regional dishes that are well worth their careful preparation.
Caipirinha is traditional Brazilian drink prepared with cachaça; it is very popular in Europe and the U.S. You could say it USED TO be Brazil's best-kept secret, but it's the connoisseur's cocktail of choice from New York City to Miami, commanding hefty prices.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 18 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Jan 20* Founding of Rio de Janeiro
Jan 25* Founding of São Paulo
Feb 15 Presidents' Day
Feb 21-24 Carnival
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Good Friday
Apr 21 Tiradentes
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 10 Corpus Christi
Sep 7 Independence Day
Oct 11 Columbus' Day
Oct 12 Our Lady Aparecida, Patron Saint of
Nov 2 All Souls' Day
Nov 11 Veteran's Day
Nov 15 Proclamation of the Republic Day
Dec 24 Christmas Eve (half day)
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 31 New Year's Eve (half day)

Note: *Regional observances only.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

Schools & colleges listing on Learn4Good:Location
COPPEAD Graduate School of BusinessRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Casa do Caminho Language Centre, Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Caminhos Language Centre, Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro, Brazil
BridgeBrazil, Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro, Brazil
BridgeTEFL--BrazilRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Step1 Idiomas, FlorianópolisFlorianópolis, Brazil
Idioma - Escola De Português, SalvadorSalvador, Brazil
Fast Forward Language Institute, São PauloSão Paulo, Brazil
International TEFL & TESOL Training, NatalNatal, Brazil
Dialogo Language School, SalvadorSalvador, Brazil

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