Brazil Panorama Photo

Guide to Brazil

Where is Brazil?

Brazil is the largest country in South America and it is bordered by every other country in South America apart from Chile and Ecuador. That includes Argentina to the south, Peru to the west and Venezuela to the north. To the east Brazil had thousands of miles of coastline with the Atlantic Ocean. Other parts of Brazil include the island territories of Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, Martim Vaz, Fernando de Noronha and the Rocas Atoll.

What is Brazil?

The Federative Republic of Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. The country has taken recent plaudits for a stunning economy boom which has placed it at the forefront of the world economy. Brazil is very much divided according to economic, as well as cultural and natural borders. There are 26 states and more than 5,500 municipalities. Brazil currently has a female president called Dilma Vana Rousseff. She has just succeeded the wildly popular and successful Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Why go to Brazil?

Brazil is a huge and diverse country and it is famous for the free spirited nature of the people who express themselves through samba music and football.  Brazilians are widely acknowledged to have the most aesthetically pleasing football team in the world and they have also won the most world cups. Samba music, costumes and partying all find full expression during the famous Rio Carnival which takes place before Lent.

Brazil has a fantastic range of cities, from the multicultural might of Sao Paolo to the wonderfully named Florianopolis with its natural lagoons and lakes. Don’t miss Recife which is known as the Venice of Brazil with its interconnected waterways, and the beach capital of Brazil - Fortaleza.

The Amazon rainforest region of Brazil is widely regarded to be the most important place on the planet in terms of its value to the ecosystem with millions of species of plants and animals living there. However this faces an ever present threat from loggers and eco-tourism to Brazil helps the country to fund itself in a way which is not harmful to the environment.
National parks like Pantanal contain all of the animals that give South America its character including giant anteaters, anacondas, caiman and jaguars.

Who lives in Brazil?

More than 190 million people live in Brazil and they are Portuguese speakers owing to the fact that Brazil was a former colony. The Portuguese landed in Brazil in 1500 when they staked their claim to the country. Brazil is very multicultural with 48% whites, 44% brown, 7% black and a smattering of Asian and Amerindian. The majority of the population are Roman Catholics.

How do you get into Brazil

1)By Air
Brazil operates a reciprocal visa system so if your country imposes a visa on Brazilian visitors then you will have to pay a visa to visit Brazil. Although tourist visas can be extended you will never get more than 180 days and there are penalties for overstaying your welcome. The two main airports are the São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo and the Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro. If you fly after carnival cheaper tickets are available. There are regional domestic flights across the whole of Brazil between its many airports. Gol and TAM are the two main carriers.

2)By Land
There are six border crossings with Argentina, six with Uruguay, four with Bolivia, three with Paraguay, and one border crossing each with Peru, Columbia and Guyana.  There are long distance bus services between Brazil and the capital cities of the surrounding South American countries. However hardly any train services run apart from the unappealingly named Trem da Morte or Train of Death which connects with Bolivia.

3)By Sea
You can travel by boat along the Amazon River from northern Brazil to Venezuela, Colombia and Peru if you are feeling adventurous and have two weeks to spare.

What to do in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is a jaw-droppingly beautiful city. Head for the hill that supports the giant Christ the Redeemer Statue and enjoy the view.

See the stunning Iguaçu Falls in the south of the country at the border with Argentina. The Devil’s Mouth is the main attraction.  

The north east of Brazil has the best beaches and is also home to most of the black population. Head to the Cabo de Santo Agostinho for amazing churches, plantations and white sandy beaches.

What to do in Brazil

Have an Amazon jungle experience by travelling to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira where the highest Brazilian mountain is to be found. There are still many Indian tribes living here.

The capital of Brazil, Brasilia, is an architectural wonder with a range of strange, modernistic buildings. The city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For an alternative to the Rio Carnival, head to Salvador where musicians of all ethnicities make beautiful music in the streets. 

Christ the Redeemer statue

Christ the Redeemer statue

Brazilian rainforest

Brazilian Rainforest

Quick facts
Government  Federal presidential constitutional republic
Prime Minister  
Population  190,732,694
Date Format  dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the  Right
Internet TLD  .br
Dialling Code  +55
Time Zone  UTC -2 to -4
Currency  BRL - R$

Brazil Public Holidays

Labor Day

Dia dos Namorados (Valentine's Day)
Festa de São João
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