Some of the world’s most exciting cities lie inside Brazil, and travellers don’t need to head to Carnival to experience the music, dance and revelry that fill so many Brazilian nights. The country is divided into several areas, each having its own distinctive flavour. Brazil’s geography and distinctive history have combined to offer a rich culture full of diversity and contradiction. It encompasses and maintains dominance over one of the greatest natural wonders, the Amazon River and Rainforest.

When to Visit

As most of the country enjoys temperate weather year-round, there's no bad time to visit Brazil. Cooler weather makes the country pleasant to visit from April to November, while treks to the Amazon and Pantanal are best experienced during the drier months from June to August.

Highlights

RIO DE JANEIRO Rio de Janeiro is nothing if not exhilarating. Marvel at the spectacular views over the city from Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer, feel the pulse of the local people, known as Cariocas, on the beaches of Copacabana.

AMAZON The Amazon is simply the world’s greatest bio-system. The Amazon River is the second biggest river in the world and passes through the region of Amazonia. At this location the black waters of Rio Negro mix with the claycoloured waters of Rio Solimoes.

SALVADOR The sultry city of Salvador is famous for its cultural heritage which is expressed in its passionate music and dance. Salvador is home to extraordinary colonial architecture, said to be the best preserved in the Americas.

PANTANAL The Pantanal is largely composed of swamp terrain and contains an abundance of wildlife, including marsh deer, giant otters, jabirus and the endangered jaguar. Locals travel around the area on horseback which is also popular with travellers.

PARATY & ILHA GRANDE Paraty is a preserved colonial town that still remains nearly as it was in the 17th century. Combine a stay in this beautiful town with a stay at Ilha Grand, famous for its tropical scenery and gorgeous beaches.

BUZIOS Originally settled by European pirates and slave traders, the town of Buzios, only two hours from Rio de Janeiro, has been nominated as one of the top ten most beautiful places in the world thanks to its amazing beaches.

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Useful Information

Communications

Country Code for Brazil: +55 Visa Global Assistance: 0800 891 3680 Emergency Services: Police - 190 Ambulance and Fire - 193 or 192 (some areas) Emergency services may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should have a local call on your behalf or contact the Australian Embassy.

Shopping

In general it should be noted that prices in Brazil are higher than in other parts of Latin America, and that the hunt for a dirt-cheap locally-crafted item will not be as rewarding on the pocket as you might hope when compared to Colombia, Bolivia, or Peru. However, there are good bargains to be tracked down in certain spots. A few cool Items to buy while in Brazil are Havaianas flip flops (you have entire shops dedicated to them) - The famous Carioca male swiming suit "Sunga" or female " Biquíni". - Cachaҫa: Be aware that this alcohol is infamous for driving drinkers crazy. - A Brazilian football jersey. - Brazilian music: listen to Bossa Nova, Samba and Forro. - Precious Stones: Cheap! Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 0900-1900. Supermarkets are open Mon-Sat 0800-2200. Major shopping centres also open on Sundays 1500-2100. All the above times are subject to local variations and many shops open until late in the evenings, especially in December.

Customs

Brazilians have less sense of personal space than North Americans and are not bothered being packed together in crowded public places. They are physically expressive and convey emotional information through touch. While in some societies touching has sexual overtones, Brazilians equate it with friendship and a show of concern. Women tend to touch more than men and greet others with kisses on both cheeks, but men also welcome each other with hearty pats on the back and bear hugs. Such informality extends to conversation. Brazilians usually address teachers, doctors, priests, and other professionals using their title followed by their first name—Professor João, Doutora Maxine or Presidente Henrique. Still, body language and terms of address vary with an individual's social standing. University graduates or, at times, even those who appear to be well educated, are addressed as doutor or doutora (doctor). Brazilians also have relaxed attitudes towards nudity and toward the body in general. Witness the scanty costumes of carnival performers which consist of little more than a wisp of fabric and a few feathers, and the tiny string bikinis—called "dental floss" (fio dental) in Brazilian slang—that women of all shapes, sizes, and ages wear on Brazil's public beaches.

Health

Yellow Fever occurs in Brazil and depending on a travellers itinerary, vaccination may be recommended and in some cases certification of this is required. Those returning to Australia within six days of visiting Brazil will be required to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk and requirements when travelling to Brazil. Australians travelling to Brazil should also ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. For further information please visit the Smartraveller website

Electricity

The electricity voltage in Brazil varies between 110V and 220V depending on the location. Many hotels offer wall sockets in both voltages, and it is easy to find portable voltage transformers in construction shops. To purchase electrical or modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au.

Visas

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by visiting Smartraveller.gov.au

Tipping

In most restaurants and bars a 10% service fee is added to the bill. More sophisticated places may add on 15%. If service is not included it will be stated at the bottom of the bill: "Serviço não incluído". Cab drivers do not expect a tip, but it is normal to round up the final price. You should be aware that the amount shown on the taximeter may not always correspond to the amount you are due to pay - look out for a separate sheet taped to the window which will tells you how much the amount on the meter equates to.

Getting around

Air service covers most of Brazil. Note that many flights make many stops en route, particularly in hubs as São Paulo or Brasilia. Brazil has the largest road network in Latin America with over 1.6 million kilometres. A car is a good idea if you want to explore scenic areas, e.g. the historic cities of Minas Gerais, the Rio-Santos highway, or the beaches in North-East Brazil. There are the usual car rental companies at the airports. Long-distance buses are a convenient, economical, and sometimes (usually if you buy the most expensive ticket), rather comfortable way to travel between regions. The bus terminal (rodoviária) in cities play a role akin to train stations in many countries.

Language

Portuguese