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Brazil - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

The Metro is an efficient means of transport in large cities. Taxi drivers speak very little English, Spanish or French but it is enough to state the place where you want to go. Late at night and for a woman alone, it may be useful to ask for the taxi's official number. In the daytime, outside the shanty towns, buses present no danger; you should just have your destination confirmed by the "cobrador", the ticket inspector, or another passenger. A bus journey costs 2 BRL, as opposed to 12 on average for a 10 to 15 minute taxi ride.
Maps of urban networks: Plan of the São Paulo metro

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

The safest and fastest is the airplane. Prices are within European standards. If you have time and a more limited budget, there is an excellent bus network all over the country. The train is almost nonexistent. There is an airport tax for travelers leaving Brazil by plane, which has to be paid in local currency at the day's rate, in dollars or in euros for a foreign company. Unless this is paid, the boarding card is not issued.
Rail companies: SuperVia
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
TAM Major company Yes Yes
GOL Low cost company Yes No
BRA Low cost company Yes No

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: An extensive road network over 1.5 million km, but only 10% is asphalted. Expressways are rare, the roads are in bad condition and there are practically no road signs outside towns. Be careful and avoid driving at night.
Find an itinerary: Addresses and itineraries

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: Brazil has a very rich historical heritage, dating from colonial times, especially in the Nordeste (Salvador, Recife, Olinda, São Luis).
Cultural: A more contemporary artistic dynamism can be found in São Paulo, where the country's main museums are located. Modern art is also expressed in architecture, on the scale of a capital like Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer's Brasilia. Musical wealth is expressed everywhere.
The Carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
Nature: There are many natural parks, in particular the "Chapada Diamantina" in Bahia, the "Chapada dos Viadeiros" around the Federal District and the magnificent Pantanal region in the west of the country, not forgetting the entire Amazon basin.
Religious: There is a strong Catholic tradition: churches dating from colonial times in all the historic towns of the Nordeste. It is also worth noting the Cathedral and the San Francisco Church by Niemeyer in Brasilia.
Thermal: There are several hot springs such as Caldas Novas, Rio Quente, Águas Mornas, Santo Amaro da Imperatriz.
Beach: There are thousands of kilometers of beach in the country. Some urban beaches, with crowds of people; others are more for families, or there are developing seaside resorts where people are banking on a pleasant, simple life style such as Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte) or Jericoacoara (Ceara).
Outdoor activities: Sport is widespread (jogging, body building, football, volleyball), as well as seaside activities (surfing, fishing, sailing) or walking in the natural parks.
Shopping: Beautiful craftsmanship in the north and Nordeste essentially. Foreigners generally buy wooden decorative items, stone jewelry, musical instruments, cloth, hammocks, off-the-rack beachwear.
Tourism organizations: Brazilian Tourism portal

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: There is no major health risk if you are traveling in large Brazilian cities. If you go to the interior, particularly in the Amazon region, you must be vaccinated against yellow fever and protected against malaria. For further information, consult the World Health Organization's dossier: International Travel and Health.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Ministry of Health

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Recife, Brasilia, Rio, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre (GMT-3 in winter, GMT-2 in summer), Salvador, Fortaleza (GMT-3), Manaus (GMT-4)
Summer time period: Summer time from October to February.
Climate: A tropical area but there are 5 different climatic regions in Brazil. The climate is very mild in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, on average 19°C, and it is hot in Rio de Janeiro. It is better to visit the south of Brazil between September and November. The tropical climate in the north allows visiting all year, but be careful of the rainy season from December to March and the very high temperatures which go with it. The ideal time to visit Amazonia is the dry season, from June to September.

Eating

Food specialties: Arroz (white rice), feijão (black beans) and farofa (cassava flour) : the Brazilian staple diet. In addition there are three other components: carne (beef), peixe (fish) and galinha (chicken).

The feijoada, the national dish, is a stew of pork and black beans.
In the north there is strong Indian influence, with many fruits and tubers.
On the north-east coast, the cuisine has a more African flavor: chilis, spices and the delicious dendê oil (palm oil).
The moqueca, a sort of sea-food based sauce or stew, is a specialty of Bahia.
The acarajé, composed of peeled red beans, fried in palm oil and stuffed with vatapa (dried shrimp, with chili and tomato), is sold by the Baianos on street corners.
In Minas Gerais, they prepare the comida mineira, pork and vegetable based cuisine with kuiabo (a sort of bean) and tutu (fried bean paste).
In the south, the comida gaucha is prepared with meat.
Drinks: The Brazilians are very fond of beer. Cachaça, sugar cane spirit, is a strong liqueur of which there are many varieties. The cheapest and most common strong alcohol in Brazil, it is the basis of many delicious cocktails including the famous caïpirinha. Wine is not so common and is generally only served in international cuisine restaurants.
Dietary taboos: There are no dietary restrictions in the country.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Use travlang.
Free translation tools:
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