Planning Your Trip to Brazil – Information About Brazil
Discover Brazil has assembled Basic Information about Brazil. We have Travel Information divided into several sections for easier viewing. These sections are: About, Cuisine, History, Culture, Weather, Natural Aspects and Travel Tips.
Brazil Travel and Tourism Information
Discover Brazil has assembled Basic Information about Brazil. We have Travel Information divided into several sections for easier viewing. These sections are: Summary, Cuisine, History, Culture, Weather, Natural Aspects and Travel Tips.
Brazil – the largest country in South America, encompassing around half of the continent’s land area and population. Brazil and its more than 165 million people share:
- the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon;
- the world’s richest swampland ecosystem, the Pantanal;
- the spectacular waterfalls of Iguassu Falls, shared with Argentina;
- the island archipelago and diving paradise of Fernando de Noronha;
- the culturally and historically rich state of Bahia with its many sub-destinations like Salvador, Praia do Forte, Chapada Diamantina (including Lencois and Mucuge), Itacare, Morro de Sao Paulo and Porto Seguro (including Trancoso and Arraial DAjuda); and
- the world’s most sensual cosmopolitan destination, Rio de Janeiro with its sub-destinations – the City of Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Paraty and Itaipava.
We hope you enjoy all the information about Brazil, its Cities and Tourism Destinations that we put together for you
Information About Brazil Cuisine
Brazilian versatility is also expressed by its cuisine, which will delight your senses with delicious regional Brazilian treats. Bahian cuisine is regarded as the most diverse of the regional menus, beginning with its famous spiritual snack food, acarajé (black eyed peas mashed in salt and onions, deep fried in dendê palm oil in the shape of a crispy golden bun, then filled with dried shrimp and optional delicacies, pepper sauce or salad, and served at street corner stands by Bahianas in their white candomblé garb). The vatapá (ground cashew nuts with dendê oil, dried shrimp and coconut milk) and carurú (okra cooked in dendê oil with dried shrimp and seasonings) dishes are also spiritual foods and classic accompaniments, often served inside acarajés.
The northeast region as a whole is famous for the moqueca (seafood lightly stewed in palm oil, coconut milk, tomatoes, onions and herbs), which is classically served over white rice with dendê fried manioc flour, or farofa, on the side. Red snapper is the preferred fish for a moqueca, though pompano, grouper, swordfish and others are also very good. Options for moquecas include shrimp, soft shell crabs, oysters and various shell fish. The eclectic seafood lover can venture to try octopus and squid, which is always served fresh from the sea. Depending where you are, a diver will even fetch your octopus or lobster out of the ocean on request.
Rio de Janeiro offers a wide variety of international and Brazilian regional restaurants; though it is renowned for its feijoada carioca (black beans stewed with different meats, herbs and seasonings, and served over white rice with farofa, greens, orange slices and fried bananas on the side).
Brazilian barbecue means churrasco, a tradition which originated in southern Brazil?s Gaucho country (South American version of the cowboy and the west), famous for its beef. If you are a meat lover, lunch (it is too heavy for dinner) at a churrascaria restaurant is a must. A small army of waiters circle your table with every cut of beef, pork, and chicken imaginable on a meter long skewer, all of them hot from the grill. They serve you small slices or portions until you raise the white flag. There is also a complete self service buffet of side dishes and salads.
The large central State of Minas Gerais (named for its mineral wealth) has one of the greatest food varieties of the country. Being an interior state with no major river running through it, all its food dishes are based on pork, chicken and beef, as well as dairy and vegetable items. Minas culture is based on small self sustained farms, so its food is made of simple ingredients yet is uniquely and deliciously prepared. Those who visit Minas and enjoy pork should, order a Leitão à pururuca (braised piglet) accompanied by tutu mineiro (refried beans with coconut milk). While waiting, drink a cold Brazilian lager, or a fresh fruit juice. For those that enjoy alcoholic drinks, don’t forget that the world’s best spirit made from sugar cane is made in Minas: cachaça (kashahsah), or pinga. A sip of straight Minas cachaça is as smooth as it gets.
Most of the dishes of the northern region are related to Amazon Indian culture and seafood. In the north they have an old saying: All fish are different; each is unique in its own way. The good cook knows all the possible ways to prepare a specific fish, and is aware that it may not be repeated with a different one. Fruit is also an integral part of the region?s diet. Cupuaçu is the region?s signature fruit, a delicious meaty fruit with a slightly tart taste.
Vegetarians will also find new pleasures in Brazil. If you were to discover two or three new fruits per day, it would take a month to discover most of the native fruits. Listed here are just a few to whet your appetite: Jaca (which is similar to breadfruit), carambola, tamarindo, graviola, caja, abacaxi (pineapple), manga (mango), melancia (watermelon), cupuaçu, açai, the list goes on. All over Brazil there are 24-hour juice bars which will make you up fresh juice with the fruit of your choice. Salads also partake of different leaves and herbs that are unique to local menus.
World famous are the caipirinhas of Brazil. This exotic cocktail is a blend of cachaça mixed with crushed limes, sugar and ice. Brazilian barmen tend to be generous on the alcohol, so watch out, these drinks are not only delicious, they are also strong. Caipiroska is another renowned drink popular in Bahia. It is a similar idea to the caipirinha, except vodka is used instead of cachaça. The variety of Roskas in Bahia is as wide as the variety of fruits in Brazil. Roskas, as they are locally known, can be made with just about any fruit available. Some good ones to try are caja, morango (strawberry) and abacaxi (pineapple).
The diversity of regional dishes and flavors is so great that a visitor could very well travel throughout Brazil and never experience the same taste twice, though the temptation to repeat the dishes would make this task virtually an impossible one.
Information About Brazil History
The history of the Americas is always told beginning at the encounter with Europe. However, it actually dates back to the pre-Columbian times, which were also important because they contributed to the American cultures. Brazil is shaped by its aborigines, who were not as advanced as the Aztecs in Mexico and Quechuas in Peru, but sufficiently leave their mark on the Brazilian culture of today. The most common indigenous groups found in Brazil were the Tupi-Guarani and the Tupinambas. It is believed that by the time the Portuguese first arrived in Brazil in 1500 the population was around the millions, nevertheless these indigenous groups were nomads and didn’t leave much archeological information. Nowadays, this population has been reduced to a few hundred thousand.
The Portuguese made their way to Brazil in 1500, led by Pedro Alvares Cabral, arriving in Porto Seguro instead of India where they had originally planned to go. Many historians argue that Cabral in fact deviated from the main route following specific instructions from the King of Portugal so that he could take possession of South America in the name of the Portuguese crown. It is common knowledge among contemporary historians that other navigators had previously been to these lands before Cabral, but no country had yet claimed them as their own. Rapidly, the Portuguese realized that Brazil was a continent rather than another Caribbean island. Further expeditions were sent out and commerce was set up to export the profitable dye wood, famous for its reddish pigmentation, also found in the new land, Pau do brasil. Pau brasil is a tree which can grow as tall as 30 meters; the trunk and boughs have yellow, aromatic flowers, and the wood is hard and heavy, which was an excellent resource for cabinet-making, musical instruments and the naval industry. Most of all, it was its reddish dye which made it so desirable for mass exportation. Furthermore and most importantly, this tree conferred its name to this new land, Brazil.
The Portuguese crown quickly accelerated the process of conquering Brazil and in 1531 King Dom Joao III of Portugal divided the land into 15 captaincies, which he distributed amongst friends and influential figures. The landowners were given the rights to exploit the lands in any way they desired, as long as they invested their own resources. The French and Dutch were also very interested in this newly discovered horizon because of the potential to be explored and they started to trade directly with the Indians. The Portuguese introduced sugar plantations to help the economical growth, but the Indians were not accustomed to the hard work of growing sugar cane and they refused to work such arduous jobs. Portuguese colonists took the Indians as slaves, which was not an easy task. In addition they had to employ the resources of Bandeirantes who even made their way to the Peruvian Andes to capture Indians to extend Brazils territory for the Portuguese crown. These Bandeirantes, sons of Portuguese and Indian parentage, persecuted the Indians with barbaric treatment while exploring territory for the Portuguese crown.
The colonists had a struggle over the labor market with the Jesuits, who arrived in Brazil with the mission of improving relations between the Indians and the Europeans, to convert and to educate the Indians and to organize them into special villages. By the end of the 16 th century the Jesuits had spread out the villages and had become a wealthy and powerful force, which had monopoly control of the Amazon spice trade and some of the major sugar plantations.
African slavery started in the late 16th century as soon as the Indian slavery reported to be unsuccessful. Portuguese colonists decided to import labor from the African continent to maintain the sovereignty over the worlds sugar market. This economy depended mostly on the sugar plantations and by the 17th century the northeastern provinces of Pernambuco, Bahia and Paraiba were the worlds largest producers of sugar. Salvador da Bahia became formally the first capital of Brazil in 1549 when the first Governor General of Brazil, Tome de Sousa, was sent to the new land to build a city which would eventually serve as the settlement of the Portuguese government for more than two hundred years. This profitable business of sugar cane brought more than 3 million African slaves to Brazil, who were taken, stolen and forced to leave their countries to benefit the economy of the Portuguese Empire.
After a few years in captivity, some of these slaves escaped from their owners and built communities called Quilombos (kilomboes). The most famous of these was the Palmares Quilombo. The size of a small country, it was ruled by the great Zumbi, a masterful, military leader and King of Palmares. There are still small Quilombos in existence today in Brazil.
As a result of the direct contact with Africa and its people, African traditions and culture have had a profound influence on Brazilian music, dance, arts, sports, cuisine and physique.
The French and Dutch invaded Northeast Brazil and had short term presence in the later 17 th century. Perhaps the greatest legacy of their presence is the miscegenation of races which characterizes todays Brazilian native. Nowhere in the world is there a truer melting pot of races than in Brazil: Native Indian, Portuguese, African, Dutch, French, British, Spanish, Italian, German, Arab, Japanese and others. Perhaps this may help to explain why there is such a wealth and variation of beauty and creativity in Brazil today.
At the end of the 17th century, the Gold fever started. In the state of Minas Gerais a goldmine was found and rapidly the economics in Brazil moved to the rhythm of the gold rush. More slaves were brought to excavate and work in the mines. The news about the Goldmines spread throughout Europe and along with the Portuguese, other Europeans rushed to join the gold exploitation. The 18th century in Brazil was lead by the Gold economics. Even though the gold extracted from Brazil was mainly exported to Europe, this event helped to populate inland Brazil. The gold fever transformed many aspects of the colony and numbers of people settled in the interior encouraging a new economic movement. The gold rush shifted the center of the power from the northeastern sugar plantations to the center of Brazil and the captaincy of Minas Gerais was created. The capital of the country was moved from Salvador, Bahia to the new city of Rio de Janeiro in 1763, symbolizing the decline of power of the sugar plantations.
The 19th century caught the western world in independence movements. Lead by the French revolution with the egalite, fraternite et liberte, most of countries in the American continent started their process for their independence from their colonists, except Brazil, which became an Empire in the new continent. Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops took over Lisbon, the capital of the Portuguese Empire, and forced Dom Joao VI, the King of Portugal to leave the country. As soon as he arrived in Rio de Janeiro, he made the city the capital of the Portuguese Empire in 1807, becoming the first colony to become a seat for a monarch. A few years later, Dom Joao VI’s son, Prince Regent Pedro declared independence from Portugal without any need to spill blood. In October of 1821 the government in Lisbon demanded the return of Prince Regent Dom Pedro to Europe. Dom Pedro, supported by the Brazilians, declared the independence of Brazil on the 7 of September of 1822. Brazil became a constitutional monarchy by crowning Dom Pedro as its emperor.
During the 19th century, coffee had replaced gold and sugar as Brazil’s major export source of income, and slavery still existed. Dom Pedro I quickly earned the mistrust of the Brazilian new elites because he did not want to separate the ties with Portugal. Only in 1831, when Dom Pedro I abdicated in favor of his 5 year old son, did Brazil finally separate from Portugal. In 1888, Brazil became the second last country in the American continent to abolish slavery, just before Cuba. In 1889 a military coup d’etat overthrew Dom Pedro II from the crown and Brazil became a Federal Republic. The new constitution established 20 states and a directly elected president with senate and chamber deputies. For the next few years, Brazil became a vulnerable state, which was ruled by different military and civilian presidents. Coffee continued to be the main source of economics in Federal Brazil.
Brazil entered the 20th century in the hands of oligarchies, which controlled the coffee exportations. By 1929 when the economics around the world had deteriorated, the coffee planters also were loosing their power and an opposition was created. The liberal Alliance lost the elections of 1930 and the military that were supporting the Alliance unrecognized the elections and imposed their leader, Getulio Vargas, as president of Brazil. Getulio Vargas was influenced by the fascists in Europe and governed Brazil for 24 years until 1954.
The period of the Getulio Vargas government was a critical era in Brazilian history. Vargas, a wealthy rancher from Rio Grande do Sul, ruled the country as if it were a Fazenda (Brazilian farm) and governed by decree replacing all the state governors with ‘interventor’ who reduced the military force and restructured the states in favor of Vargas interests. Under Vargas government the traditional oligarchy declined and the political parties emerged, especially the Fascists and the Communists. Vargas also suspended the constitution and created an ‘Estado Novo’ (the new state.) The Estado Novo was a response to the economic crises. The price of coffee and other agricultural products had fallen in the international market due to the Second World War. Vargas assumed dictatorial powers, censoring the press, excluding political parties, weakening trade unions, and tolerating unrestricted behavior from the police. Getulio Vargas shot himself on August 24 th of 1954 after 24 years governing Brazil.
Juscelino Kubitschek became his replacement. Kubitschek, desperate to raise the economical deficit of Brazil, created the new capital Brasilia, a project that increased the national debt. Due to the unsuccessful intent to achieve economical growth, Kubitschek was deposed by a coup d’etat in 1961. The 1960s were a turbulent time in Brazil as well as elsewhere. In Brazil, following the success of the Cuban revolution, many communist agitators encouraged land occupations, industry strikes and a move to secure trade union rights.
From 1964 to 1985 Brazil was again under a military dictatorship. During this era the Brazilian population witnessed human rights violations, censorship, labor unions eradications, and unrestricted police powers. A new constitution was introduced on 1967 giving the president broad power over the states and over the Congress. Repression was the characteristic of these difficult times for Brazil.
By the 1980s, Brazils economy had grown miraculously and the military was forced to return state power to the civilians. In 1989, Brazil held its first democratic elections in many years and elected Fernando Collor de Melo as president. Later Collor was removed from the presidential office charged with corruption and accused of embezzling more than US$1 billion from the state.
Itamar Franco succeeded Collor in December of 1992. Franco introduced the plano real , the new currency, to stabilize Brazil’s inflation. New elections were held in 1994 and Fernando Henrique Cardoso became president. Cardoso’s popularity had grown since he had acted as finance minister creating the plano real. Cardoso achievements in the economical growth of Brazil led him to win the second elections becoming reelected president in 1998 after introducing an amendment to the constitution allowing reelections.
Although Fernando Henrique Cardoso introduced several new policies and managed to hold back inflation, many Brazilians are still living under impoverished conditions. There have been improvements in education, land reform, welfare and the social system, but there are still many problems with the health system, with violence in overcrowded cities and environmental abuse and corruption. Luis Inacio da Silva (Lula) was voted into power in 2002 with an overwhelming majority; the new elected president for the period 2003-2007. Lula will worked hard to manage the problems of extreme poverty and inaccessible education for many Brazilians.
The first female President in Brazil – Dilma Roussef – Lula´s successor, came into power in January 2011 and was re-elected in 2014, winning by a thread. Brazils hopes for the land of the future rest on this womans’ shoulders.
Information About Brazil Culture
Brazil is an amazing blend of traditions. Walking about in a Brazilian city, one’s senses are thoroughly bombarded with cultural aspects which are uniquely and definitely Brazilian, though the acute observer can detect traces of cultural expressions stemming from Europe and Africa. These aspects include cuisine, music, dance, flora, fauna, sports, literature, architecture, and the ways of the people. Capoeira, for example, is a martial art, which was brought to Brazil directly from Angola and other African countries. To fool the plantation owners, African slaves played the berimbau, a unique African percussion instrument, and chanted while they practiced capoeira in the form of a dance. Today, capoeira is a classic Brazilian sport, practiced by both sexes, and continues to be accompanied by the berimbau and traditional chants.
Although 90 percent of the country is within the tropical zone, more than 60 percent of the population lives in areas where altitude, sea winds, or old polar fronts moderate the temperature. The geographical location of Brazil influences its climatic diversity. The northern most region is on the Equator and the southern most region is below the Tropic of capricorn. The climate here is a function of latitude and altitude and it varies from north to south and from east to west, creating five different climatic regions throughout the country: equatorial, tropical, semi arid, highland tropical, and subtropical. Temperatures range from very hot and dry in the northeast, humid and rainy in the Amazon to frosty temperatures below zero, and in extreme cases snow, in the south west interior of Brazil. The distinct weather between regions may also contribute to the different lifestyles that abound here. Weather by region Brazil is an excellent choice all year around. You can check the weather according to your preferences with the information below.
Brazil can be described as the world’s biggest studio, or stage. It seems as if the great majority of its population are artists of some sort, so artistic expression appears anywhere and anytime in the weirdest and most wonderful ways. A match box in the hands of a Brazilian can become as captivating as a tambourine, and sufficient to get a roomful of people singing and dancing. Someone inspired to sing a few notes of a popular song can provoke a bus or plane full of strangers to break into song in unison. A gathering of friends simply doesn’t happen without an acoustic guitar, or a ukulele, or a tambourine. Entire stadiums sing their team songs in unison, or create impromptu cheers to irritate the opponents. The world’s top pop and rock artists stop singing while on stage to listen to forty thousand fans singing their songs.
The state of Bahia is considered a vortex of cultural production. The musical rhythms that originate in Bahia are extremely contagious, and the variety of music and dance is enormous. In fact, music and dance are essential to all Brazilians, as if they must manipulate rhythms in order to physically manifest their love for life.
There is a yearly phenomenon in Brazil, which is a cyclical explosion and profusion of music and dance expression. It’s called carnival. In Bahia the carnival is a massive street party. The carnival clubs are led by musicians and bands who record new songs to be revealed at carnival time. During the 5 days of carnival they ride through the streets atop their trio eletricos (18-wheeler trucks transformed into mobile stages, using the most advanced technology). There are dozens of trio eletricos which follow two main circuits in the city center and have bands on top of them playing for hours on end. Each song has its own dance and choreography, which everyone learns during the world’s biggest street party, carnival in Salvador.
The carnival traditions in Rio are quite a bit different. The carnival clubs are called samba schools which involve entire communities in a year long preparation for the earth’s greatest visual spectacle. Carnival in Rio is more of a spectator sport, though it is not difficult to get a last minute invitation to parade with samba school.
For those who appreciate architecture, the variety found in Brazil will astound the adept eye. Few places in the world boast 16th century Iberian architecture, and even fewer have private offices, governmental departments and restaurants utilizing these magnificent buildings.
Brasilia, the capital of Brazil since 1960, was conceived and designed by modern architects Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, and Roberto Burle Marx. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brasilia has impressed the most demanding architectural and urban planning minds.
Language and Literature
Brazilian Portuguese is beautifully melodic and classically romantic, thus lending itself to prose and lyrics. In the second half of the 20th century, two writers received major international acclaim. The first was Jorge Amado, a regionalist writer whose novels are folk stories depicting the way of life in Bahia. Amado was a genius at capturing the color, flavor and motivation for living in their naked essence. The second is Paulo Coelho, a mystical writer whose fable-like fiction incorporates motivational self help messages.
Modern communication and marketing is such that Coelho’s novels have sold more editions than any other Brazilian writer. In the sixties and seventies, Paulo Coelho wrote the lyrics for Raul Seixas, often described as a Brazil’s Jim Morrison. Traditional literary critics do not accept Coelho’s work as authentic literature, but his numbers led to his being selected into Brazil’s prestigious Literature Association.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade, perhaps the greatest modern writer of Brazil, reveals in his short and austere poetry, the complexity of the dullness of modern life. Women are also very well represented in literature: poets and writers such as Cecilia Meireles and Lygia Fagundes Teles fascinate their readers with their rich linguistics and original metaphors, and the sharp-short narrative of La Paixao Segundo G.H. by Clarice Lispector would attract and satisfy the most exigent readers.
Besides the language, the Portuguese influence can also be found in the religion. Brazil?s official religion is Roman Catholic and boasts the biggest Catholic population in the world, though different regions practice different traditions.
As a melting pot country, it integrates elements from Native Indians and Africans creating rites of religious syncretism. In Northeast Brazil, and especially in Bahia, African traditions mixed with Catholicism in such a way that almost every Christian has an African protector, and almost all Candomblé practitioners are guarded by Christian Saints.
Southern Brazil, on the other hand, has three very different religious traditions: Protestant (the majority), Catholic and the Candomblé adepts, who instead of using African food use German and Italian food to make offerings to their deities. Also, Allan Kardec’s spiritualism is well practiced among most Brazilians.
In the Amazon or in the Pantanal (south central swamp regions), there are various exotic Indian traditions. Two which have gained international attention are the Santo Daime and the União Vegetal, both based on the hallucinogenic experience one has after drinking ayuasca tea. Moving on to the interior of the northeast region, one may find traditions of live saints, simple men that can cure with the power of their prayers. They may live as hermits in caves, or in their own houses in small communities. Though these saints believe in Catholicism, they are not recognized by the Church.
Information About Brazil Weather
Although 90 percent of the country is within the tropical zone, more than 60 percent of the population lives in areas where altitude, sea winds, or old polar fronts moderate the temperature. The geographical location of Brazil influences its climatic diversity. The northern most region is on the Equator and the southern most region is below the Tropic of capricorn. The climate here is a function of latitude and altitude and it varies from north to south and from east to west, creating five different climatic regions throughout the country: equatorial, tropical, semi arid, highland tropical, and subtropical.
Temperatures range from very hot and dry in the northeast, humid and rainy in the Amazon to frosty temperatures below zero, and in extreme cases snow, in the south west interior of Brazil. The distinct weather between regions may also contribute to the different lifestyles that abound here.
Weather by region Brazil is an excellent choice all year around. You can check the weather according to your preferences with the information below.
Contrary to popular belief that the Amazon is blistering hot, the average annual temperature is around 25°C (77°F) and rarely exceeds 32°C (90°F), with little variation throughout the year. Humidity can be high and heavy rains can occur depending on the season. This area is the rainiest and most humid in Brazil.
Pantanal has two distinct seasons: the rainy season (December to March) and the dry season (July to October). Temperatures range from very hot and humid to 10°C (50°F) in winter (June to August).
The climate is humid subtropical with over 1700mm of annual rainfall and no dry season. Relative humidity is between 80-90%. Annual mean temperature of 21°C (70°F), which decreases to 19°C (66°F) above about 500m.
Fernando de Noronha
The climate is tropical, with two well defined seasons: the rainy season from January to August, and the dry season for the rest of the year. The average temperature is 26°C (79°F), with a variation of only 7.4°C. The relative humidity varies little from 82% due to the islands characteristics. Average annual sunshine is 3.215 hours per day, with a maximum in November and a minimum in April. The best time for diving is from April to November and the ideal time for surfing is during January and February.
Temperatures in Bahia vary according to whether you?re on the coast or inland, but it is sunny and warm almost all year round. On the coast it rarely drops below about 24°C (75°F), however inland, in areas such as Chapada Diamantina, evenings are chilly and warm clothes are required. There is a distinct rainy season from May to September. Occasionally cold fronts from the south follow the coast up to the north east and the weather will suddenly change and the temperature drops.
Rio de Janeiro
Being a tropical zone, temperatures should be high, but the influence of the Serra do Mar affects all aspects of climate, giving the state a wider variation in temperature and rainfall than would otherwise be expected. The coastal temperatures can be up to 40°C (104°F) with high rains and humidity, and as low as 18°C (64°F) in a cold spell. Whereas in areas close to the mountains, such as Paraty and Itaipava the temperatures are much cooler and there is less of a dry season. As in Bahia, cold fronts sometimes occur.
Weather by Season December to May (Brazilian Summer)
Rains occur throughout the year but this season is the wettest with heavy rainfall varying throughout the region. Close to the Andes, up to 4,000 mm annually and in Manaus, under 2,000 mm. The humidity can be high and the temperature averages 26°C (79°F).
This is the rainy season (wettest in February), when most of the area floods, mosquitoes abound and the cattle crowd on to the few islands remaining above the water. It is very muddy and often difficult for cars to get through. It is also very hot and humid with temperatures averaging 32°C in the summer.
In the summer season the area around the falls is hot and humid with an average temperature of 25°C, although the spray from the falls is a marvelous way to cool off. The water is higher and the natural wildlife is also more abundant.
Fernando de Noronha
January to August is the rainy season. The heaviest rains occur between March and July, sometimes reaching almost 20cm (8 inches) in 24 hours in March and April. The hottest months are January, February and March.
Summer in Brazil is actually from December to March, although in Bahia it is almost always hot and sunny, with temperatures of up to 33°C (91°F). The humidity can sometimes be up to 60%. Although this is the dry season all along the coast, inland in the Chapada Diamantina it is wetter than during the rest of the year.
Rio de Janeiro
In these months it is hotter than in the dry season, with temperatures soaring to 40°C (104°F) and humid. Due to the often high humidity it rains more during this season.
Brazil Weather By Season June to November (Brazilian Winter)
This is officially the dry season in the Amazon, with October being the driest month. June and July are the months when the water level is at its highest, due to the quantity of rain that has fallen in the wet season. During these months it is possible to navigate through the flooded forests with a canoe to get a better view of the tops of the trees and the animal life that exists there. Temperatures in the dry season can rise to above 30°C (86°F).
Temperatures can be as cool as 10°C (50°F) in the winter and warm clothing is necessary, especially at night. The dry season is the nesting and breeding season. Hundreds and thousands of birds crowd the trees and the white sand river beaches are exposed with jacarés (crocodiles) basking in the sun.
In the winter the average temperature is 15°C (59°F). During this season the water is much diminished, as are the birds and insects.
Fernando de Noronha
September to December is the dry season. October is the driest month, when rainfall will not be greater than 9mm (0.36 inch) in a 24 hour period.
July and August is officially the rainy season, when the temperature drops to around 26°C (79°F) and the rainfall is heavier than throughout other months. There are still many sunny days during these months and shorts and a t-shirt can always be worn. Although it is the rainy season in nearly the entire state, inland in the mountains this is the dry season.
Rio de Janeiro
Between June and August is the dry season in the state of Rio, with the rest of the year rainy to a greater or lesser degree. Although it is drier it is cooler than in the summer with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F – 90°F).
Information About Brazil Natural Aspects
Brazil is the biggest country in South America, bordering every country except Chile and Ecuador, and is the fifth largest country in the world. It can be divided into five major geographic regions: North, Northeast, Central, Southeast, and South. Each of these regions has characteristics which make it completely different from the others.
In the North, there is the Amazon region and rain forest, which contains 30% of the world?s remaining forest area. Northeast Brazil is most famous for its beautiful beaches and national parks.
The Central region is a high plain with many large parks where hikers can see a variety of animals and rich vegetation, for example, in The Pantanal (swamp region).
The Southeast is known for its beaches (Rio de Janeiro, Búzios, Angra dos Reis), as well as for the unique little towns in the State of Minas Gerais where time seems to have stopped in the 18th century. Ouro Preto, the signature of these architecturally rich towns, is surrounded by mountains, plains and small plateaus. Southern Brazil also has beautiful beaches and coastline, though it is in the temperate zone. In the interior of the southern states, there are cities that resemble Bavarian towns; the immigrant descendants still speak German.
Brazil’s central plateau covers a great part of the nation’s territory, extending from the coastal plains to the Amazon basin. Two of the world’s biggest rivers, the Amazon (the world’s biggest in size and water volume) and the São Francisco (San Francisco), the world’s only great river that doesn’t originate in a mountain or a lake.
The Brazilian coastline extends over 3,000 km (2,000 miles) on the Atlantic Ocean, and ranges from the northern State of Amazonas to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. All along this coast, one can find superb beaches, several of which include preservation areas of Atlantic Rain Forest where hikers can hire guides to discover lakes, waterfalls, small rivers and mountains that lead to the sea. Off the coast there are a number of paradisiacal islands with a full array of lodging and camping options. On some of these islands, like Fernando de Noronha, one can still find places untouched by man.
Brazil has many Chapada regions (plateau and mesa formations) that have become national parks. The most famous of them are Chapada Diamantina (Bahia) and Chapada dos Guimarães (Mato Grosso). These areas could be described as the South American version of canyon country. They are ideal for several day hikes, camping, climbing, rappelling and other outdoor activities. There are also beautifully located short trails for the more comfort-oriented visitor.
Those who wish to discover an Atlantic rain forest without desiring to travel to the Amazon can visit The Araguaia National Park in the northern State of Tocantins, a rain forest park with excellent infrastructure. Another unforgettable option is the Pantanal region, where wetlands are home to wild animals such as jaguars cougars, iguanas, alligators, deer, anacondas, river otters and numerous bird species.
Brazil has an incredible diversity of fauna and flora, being home to the greatest number of species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants on earth. The greatest danger to this natural wealth is the practice of queimadas, huge fires purposely started to open spaces for grazing pasture to raise cattle in and around the Amazon region. Tremendous quantities of trees are also cut illegally to be sold as wood, mostly in European countries. In order to combat these abusive practices, the Brazilian Government has enacted numerous environmental protection programs during the last fifteen years, some of them with international support.
The Tamar project, in Praia do Forte (Bahia) has been saving green sea turtles that were nearly extinct. Today, the green sea turtle population has grown in such a way that they are no longer a threatened species. Other projects in the south and southeast deal with the preservation of mammal species such as the guará wolf, the mico leão dourado (golden lion monkey) and the mico leão de cara preta (black faced lion monkey). National Parks have been created and heavily financed by the federal government along with programs destined to educate the local communities how to protect and how to deal with the environment. Most of these environmentally protected areas and national parks can be visited.
Brazil Travel Tips
Brazil is an excellent choice all year around. You can check the weather according to your preferences.
Summertime in Brazil starts in December and runs through to February. Many Brazilians are on vacation at this time, so make your reservations early enough in advance to avoid any hassles.
Remember, Carnival, which occurs the week leading up to Ash Wednesday each year (either February or March), is the festival no one should miss!
When coming to Brazil, you must be sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of entry. Check with your local Brazilian embassy or consulate whether or not you require a visa to enter the country.
Visa Not Required
Consular visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days by tourists from Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Uruguay, The Vatican and Venezuela.
US and Canadian citizens, Australians and New Zealanders and people of other nationalities not mentioned above require consular visas to enter Brazil. Foreign tourists may stay a maximum of 180 days in any one year. 90-day renewals are easily obtainable from the local Polícia Federal. All visa related problems are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Police, which has an office in every major airport.
Getting there and getting around
Most of the American and European airlines fly into and out of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro daily. There are various domestic airlines within Brazil, the principal ones being Varig, Tam, Vasp and Gol; Varig also has the most extensive network of domestic flights. Booking the best flights to suit your schedule is a service that Brazil-Discover provides. Transfer services in air-conditioned vehicles, taxis, bus services and car rentals are also services we provide.
Tips before traveling
- Check with the nearest Brazilian consulate in your area for visa and vaccination requirements before traveling. If you are a US citizen, you will need a visa to get in, so please be well informed of the requirements well in advance of your travel.
- Brazil does not require you to have any vaccinations to enter the country; however, if you are planning to travel to the Amazon region, a Yellow Fever inoculation is advisable. Make sure you plan this in advance because the vaccine only becomes effective after 10 days. Consult with your local doctor whether or not you should take anti-malaria medicine.
- All banks and money exchange houses will change traveler’s checks and foreign currency. It is wise to carry some cash in case you want to go out of the major cities and towns. Generally, Master Card, Amex, Diners and Visa are accepted. Traveler’s checks are accepted at hotels, banks and tourist agencies. (A number of banks including Banco do Brasil accept foreign cards in their ATM machines).
- It is advisable to always carry smaller bills, as restaurants and shops rarely have change for large bills.
- If you are sending your little ones alone or accompanied only by your spouse, please make sure you have a written authorization from the non-accompanying parent or legal guardian granting permission to travel. This document must be translated into Portuguese, notarized and authenticated by a Brazilian consulate, and you will need to show it to the airport authorities when you leave Brazil and go back home with your kids.
- Take out medical and travel insurance (offered by Brazil-Discover). Make sure it covers all eventualities especially evacuation to your home country by a medically equipped plane, if necessary.
- Take clothes suitable for the climates you are planning to visit.
- Take sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
- Don’t wear expensive items such as jewelry, and be discreet with cameras, like in any major city around the world, don’t tempt thieves.
- Drink plenty of water when you’re in Brazil (tap water is unsafe to drink).
- Electricity can vary within cities. Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo use 110 volts AC, Bahia (Salvador) and Manaus 127 volts AC, in Brasilia and Recife 220 volts AC. Most hotels do provide 110-volt & 220-volt outlets or adaptors. Check with your hotel which voltage is used in your room to avoid damaging your electronic equipment.
- If you want to dial internationally, it is necessary to dial 00 – 21 – country code – city code – phone number. For local calls within the city, just dial the telephone number. Between Brazilian states you need to dial a carrier code (021, 031, etc) then the state code and the phone number.
- Brazil uses the metric system, Celsius temperature, and military or British time.
- Visitors will find that Brazilians are very friendly people – easy to approach, respectful of visitors and always willing to help if possible.
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