BRAZIL TRAVEL GUIDE

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INTRODUCTION

Brazil can truly be called a land of passion - the people of Brazil are young, vibrant, energetic, and full of an irrepressible zest for life. To get a true sense of the essence that is Brazil you absolutely have to visit during the Carnival.

 

Brazil is a country of great diversity, from the bustling urban mosaic of São Paulo to the infinite cultural energy of Alagoas, Pernambuco and Bahia, the wilderness of the Amazon rain-forest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, there is plenty to see and to do in Brazil. The thick Amazon forests, the pristine tropical beaches, the long winding rivers and the people themselves make Brazil a land full of beautiful mystery and wonderful surprises. Brazil is a young country and promises to be an exciting one.

COVID-19 TRAVEL STATUS

Updated:

Brazil has lifted its coronavirus-related entry regulations and reopened its borders, except at airports in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraiba, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul and Tocantins. This is subject to regular entry requirements.Foreign nationals staying for up to 90 days must have proof of medical insurance coverage for the duration of their stay.Students attending Brazilian institutions and Brazilian residents are exempted from this requirement.

 

TRAVEL ADVISORY

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QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)
  • Area: 8,514,877 km² - Occupying almost half the continent, Brazil is the largest country in South America. It ranks fifth largest in area and sixth in population when compared to other countries in the world. Distances in Brazil are enormous and should not be underestimated when travelling.
  • Population: 209,500,000 (2018 estimate) - Its population is over half that of all of South America ---over 65% of the population is below 30 years of age.
  • Language: official: Portuguese; recognised in some States: Talian, Pomeranian, Hunsrik, and German; also spoken: +180 indigenous languages, English, and Spanish.
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 64.6%, Protestant 22.2%, none 8.0% (2010 Census)
  • Electricity: In Brazil there is no standard voltage. Most federative units (about 60 per cent of all Brazilian households) use 127 V electricity (North American plug), but some other – mainly northeastern – states are on 220 V ( European plug).
 

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PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 21 April, Tiradentes Day
  • 1 May, Labor Day
  • 7 September, Independence Day
  • 12 October, Our Lady Aparecida
  • 1 November, All Saints Day*
  • 2 November, All Souls Day
  • 15 November, Republic Day
  • 8 December, Immaculate Conception

* All Saints Day is not an official holiday but may be taken, especially in villages.

Although Carnival is only 5 days long officially, it may be difficult to do business during the whole of Lent due to the combination of Carnival and school holidays. Also, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Corpus Christi.

FESTIVALS

Carnival

The biggest party in the world takes places across the country every year, lasting almost a week in February or early March. It is celebrated in a wide variety of ways, from the giants boneco masks of Olinda and the trios elétricos of Salvador to the massive samba parades of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For a relatively more subdued atmosphere, check out the university-style street party of Ouro Preto or the sporty beach party at Ilha do Mel.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Brazil is one of the biggest countries in the world, so it is only natural that the climate systems would vary from location to location. Nearly 59% of the Amazon, the largest humid equatorial rain-forest and river basin in the world is in Brazil, contributing to the country’s rich biodiversity, various climates, and extraordinary wealth of ecosystems. Within the Amazon Basin, the average temperature is 27.9˚C during the dry season and 25.8˚C during the rainy season. The Amazon region surrounding the mouth of the Amazon River experiences an excess of 3,000 mm of rainfall annually, whereas the northwestern region of the Brazilian Amazon is drier, with annual rainfall between 1,500 and 1,700 mm.

 

The peak tourist season is the summertime (December till March) at which time in most of Brazil it is very hot and the temperature may rise upwards of 40 degree Celsius. The summer is also considered the wet season. During winter months (June and August) usually one experiences cool temperature and a fair amount of rain.

 

This peak holiday season starts before Christmas and lasts until Carnival (which usually is held in February through March) and this season tends to be incredibly crowded. Booking for accommodation and flight should be done well in advance if you plan on visiting during this time. In addition, the prices also tend to be much higher during the New Year’s and Carnival season.

 

Another ideal time to visit Brazil and enjoy its pleasant weather is during the spring season of September till mid-November, as well as the autumn season which occurs right after the carnival, between March till May. Visiting during these months is recommended as prices tend to be lower and you may avoid the throngs of crowds.

 
Brazil

TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

FEBRUARY

HOT

COLD

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DRY

WET

MARCH

HOT

COLD

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DRY

WET

APRIL

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

MAY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
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WET

JUNE

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
DRY

WET

JULY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
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WET

AUGUST

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
DRY

WET

SEPTEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
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WET

OCTOBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

NOVEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

DECEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET
 

SPORT & ACTIVITIES

HIKE & CYCLE:

You can enjoy outdoor activities in Brazil throughout the year. The peak season is from December to March although this is also the hottest and wettest time of the year! May to November are significantly drier and there will be less tourists.

BEACH:

You can visit Brazil's beautiful beaches any time of the year, although the busiest peak tourist season is between December and March.

WIND:

Brazil is a true kitesurfing paradise with some of the world’s best waves and many flat water lagoons. You should find good wins from June to February with winds almost guaranteed from July to January.

For more details on kite surfing in Brazil expand this section!

SURFING:

Brazil is a year round surfing destination. The surf season in Southern Brazil is best from April to September, while in Northern Brazil it's best from November to March.

 

LGBTQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Brazil are among the most advanced in Latin America and the world. Same-sex unions had already been legally recognised since 2004 and LGBT people have been having marriage rights in Brazil nationwide since May 2013.

 

Today same-sex relationships are widely accepted and Brazil proudly hosts the annual São Paulo Gay Pride Parade.

 

HEALTH

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Brazil

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

 

WHERE TO GO

Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil) is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world. Brazil is famous for its football (soccer) tradition and its annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. It is a country of great diversity, from the bustling urban mosaic of São Paulo to the infinite cultural energy of Alagoas, Pernambuco and Bahia, the wilderness of the Amazon rain-forest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, there is plenty to see and to do in Brazil.

 

CITIES

Brazil has many exciting cities, ranging from quaint colonial towns and coastal hideouts to hectic, lively metropolises; these are a few of the more prominent travel destinations:

 

Brasília - The capital of Brazil, and an architectural spectacle. Noteworthy buildings include a basket-shaped cathedral, the beautiful Arches Palace (seat of the Ministry of Justice) and others.

Florianópolis - The city is located on an island in the Atlantic Ocean in the southern state of Santa Catarina, with lakes, lagoons, amazing nature and more than 40 clean, beautiful, natural beaches. A major destination for Argentines during the summer months.

Fortaleza — The 4th biggest city in Brazil, blessed with beautiful beaches and home of the Iracema Beach street market. A good base for exploring the beaches of the northeastern coast, including Jericoacoara. Famed for forró music and comedians.

Manaus — Located in the heart of the Amazon, is the capital of Amazonas State and it is also the biggest city of the Amazon. At Manaus the rivers Negro and Solimões meet to became the Amazonas River. The best place to go to visit the Amazon rainforest. It is a gateway to the Anavilhanas and to Jaú National Park.

Porto Alegre — a major city between Argentina and São Paulo and gateway to Brazil's fabulous Green Canyons.

Recife — A major city in the Northeast region, originally settled by Dutch colonisers. Nicknamed "The Brazilian Venice", it is built on several islands linked by many bridges. Rich in history, art and folklore. Do not miss neighbouring Olinda and Porto de Galinhas. The city is also a gateway to the amazing archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.

Rio de Janeiro — World famous, beautiful city that welcomes visitors with that big statue of an open-armed Jesus atop Corcovado Hill.

Salvador — The first capital of Brazil is home to a unique blend of indigenous, African and European cultures. Its Carnival fun is famous, and the influence of African culture and religion is remarkable.

São Paulo — Brazil's largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city, where you can find strong influences of several ethnicities, including Italian, Korean, Japanese, German, Russian, Caribbean and Arab. 

NATURAL WONDERS

Amazon Rain-forest - The Amazon River Basin holds more than half of the world's remaining rain-forest, and over 60% of that lies within the North of Brazil — approximately one billion acres. The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, over 40 000 plants species, 2200 fish species, and more than 2,000 types of birds and mammals. One in five of all the bird species in the world live in the rain-forests of the Amazon, and one in five of the fish species live in Amazonian rivers and streams.

 

Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) - A region of tropical and subtropical forest which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the Northeast to the Rio Grande do Sul state in the South. The Atlantic Forest has a wide variety of vegetation, including the many tree species such as the iconic araucaria tree in the south or the mangroves of the northeast, dozens of types of bromeliads and orchids, and unique critters such as capivara. The forest has also been designated a World Biosphere Reserve, with a large number of highly endangered species including the well-known marmosets, lion tamarins and woolly spider monkeys. Unfortunately, it has been extensively cleared since colonial times, mainly for the farming of sugar cane and for urban settlements — The remnants are estimated to be less than 10% of the original, and that is often broken into hilltop islands. However, large swaths of it are protected by hundreds of parks, including 131 federal parks, 443 state parks, and 14 municipal parks, most of which are open to visitation.

 

Pantanal - A vast tropical wetland expanse, one of the world's largest, sprawling over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometres. 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping support a dense array of animal species.

 

Waterfalls (Cachoeiras) - Brazil has an amazing range of impressive waterfalls of all sizes and shapes. Iguaçu Falls, in eastern Parana, is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, truly a sight to see. The 353-meter Cachoeira da Fumaça in Bahia's Chapada Diamantina National Park is the country's second-highest waterfall after the Amazon's almost inaccessible Cachoeira do Araca. Other famous waterfalls include Caracol Falls, in the Rio Grande do Sul state park of the same name near Canela, Itaquira Falls, an easily accessible 168-meter fall near Formosa, Goiás, and the gorge at Parque da Cascata near Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais. Aside from the nationally famous falls, in many parts of the country, particularly the South, Southeast, and Central West regions, you are rarely far from at least one locally-famous, named waterfall worth a short hike. 

BEACHES

Almost the entire coast of Brazil is lined with fabulous beaches, and the beach lifestyle is a big part of Brazilian culture. Nowhere is that more true than in Rio de Janeiro, with its laid-back, flip-flop-footed lifestyle and famous beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana. Beaches in other areas of the country may not have the instant name recognition but are no less amazing. The Northeast has jewels like Jericoacoara, Praia do Futuro, Boa Vista, Porto de Galinhas, and Morro de São Paulo which bring in throngs of travellers, particularly Europeans. In the South, weekend revellers flock to Ilha do Mel or Balneário Camboriú, while the 42 beaches of Santa Catarina Island draw in thousands of Argentinian tourists every year.

 

WHERE TO STAY

Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Authority, which rates the hotels from five to one star, regulates most hotels in Brazil. These hotels must have a price list with an Embratur label. Even so, you could strike a good deal by bargaining directly. Look around for at least one YHA (youth hostel association) hostel in state capitals and tourist areas. If you’re not a YHA member, you pay more. Dormitories are the cheapest places to stay and motels are ideal for couples - there is no stigma attached and staying there is good value for money.

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