Rio de Janeiro – Famous Copacabana, Ipanema and Sugar Loaf
São Paulo – Destined to soon be the world’s largest city
Amazon – Adventurous riverboat excursions and jungle inns
Carnival – Absolutely the wildest annual party our planet offers!
Pantanal – Virgin, tropical wetlands the size of three European countries
Salvador – Colonial masterpiece that was Brazil’s first capital city
Even the most seasoned traveler has difficulty knowing where to start a trip in Brazil. Here, is a country larger than the continental U.S., one may cruise the Amazon, explore the world’s largest tropical rain forest and enjoy a 5,000+ mile Atlantic coastline of beaches, resorts and colonial cities. Most visitors start in Rio de Janeiro by ascending Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountains and discovering the great beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. After Rio one may visit booming São Paulo, futuristic Brasilia, gem-laden Belo Horizonte, Belem and Manaus on the Amazon and the 275 falls at Iguassu. Important to remember – U.S. visitors must have a visa to visit Brazil and the language is Portuguese.
Size: 3,284,426 square miles, larger than the continental U.S.
Capital: Brasilia, (pop. 2,000,000)
Electricity: Rio and São Paulo 220 or 110 volts, 60 cycles; Bahia (Salvador) and Manaus, 127 volts; most other cities, 220 volts; two- and three-prong plugs, adapters needed for U.S. appliances.
Religion: Roman Catholic; 40% of population observe traditional African rites.
Time: Noon in Rio and São Paulo is 10 a.m U.S. Eastern Standard Time, and 11 a.m. in Manaus.
Jan. 1: New Year's Day
Carnival: 4 days before Ash Wednesday (Feb/Mar)
Holy Week: Week prior to Easter
Apr. 21: Tiradentes Day
May 1: Labor Day
June: Corpus Christi
Sept. 7: Independence Day
Oct. 12: Nossa Senhora Aparecída
Nov. 2: All Souls Day
Nov. 15: Proclamation of the Republic
Dec. 25: Christmas Day
HOW TO GET THERE
Tam Brazilian Airlines & American Airlines offers several daily, non-stop flights between Brazil and the U.S. Flights include nonstops from Miami and New York to both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Also American Airlines offers daily, non-stop service from Dallas-Ft. Worth to São Paulo. Tam Brazilian Airlines offers convenient connetions to all major destinations in Brazil as well as throughout South Amertica.
GIG: Rio de Janeiro
GRU: São Paulo
BHZ: Belo Horizonte
IGU: Foz do Iguaçu
Passport and visa (photo required plus a fee of US$ 131) for American Citizens. Visa can be obtained through any Brazilian Consulate. Proof of return or ongoing ticket must also be presented, and passport must have at least six month's validity remaining. Yellow Fever Vaccination is required for entry when arriving from Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Taxes/Surcharges: International departure tax: $36
Hotel taxes and service charges: 10%
Tipping: If not already on bill restaurant tips of 10% are customary. Taxis are not tipped.
Currency: Brazilian Real. Bank hours are Mon .- Fri., 10 a .m. - 4:30 p.m. ATMs are convenient, major credit cards widely accepted.
Shopping: Brazil is famous for jewelry and gemstones. The semi-precious stones includes: aquamarines, tourmalines, amethyst, topaz and emeralds. There are also Brazilian diamonds. Mines are located in the state of Minas Gerais. In Rio visits can be made to the gem factories with transportation provided from hotels free of charge. For souvenirs and artisan crafts the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and several chain establishments such as Folclore have retail shops in the major cities, resorts and airports. Ceramics, tropical hardwood carvings, Afro-Brazilian handiwork and Indian artistry are popular visitor purchases. Rio's sexy tanga bathing suits make an eye-catching souvenir. The “Hippy Market,” Rio's open-air Sunday flea- market overflows with arts, crafts and souvenirs. Major shops hours: Monday - Friday 9a.m - 6:30p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 1:30p.m.
Food and Drink: Feijoada, the national dish, is a savory combination of exotic spices and mixed meats (beef, sausage, etc.) and rice and beans. Exotic dishes like African inspired vatapá (seafood sautéed in coconut and oil) are found along the coast, and in the far south pampas-style churrasco or grilled steak is popular. The rodezio style churrascarias are an event in themselves – waiters roam the restaurant with huge skewers of all cuts served “all-you-can-eat- style.” São Paulo's large Japanese population provides the city with great Asian dining. Tropical fruits, ice creams, juices and cheeses are excellent year-round. Guarana is Brazil's original nutty-tasting bottled soda drink. Cachaça is Brazil's omnipresent cane liquor. National beers are excellent. Lunch is often the day’s main meal, so many moderate-priced establishments close for the evening. Cafezinho (robust Brazilian coffee in a demitasse) is drunk and offered everywhere around the clock. Hearty portions of everything should be anticipated.
Telephone Area Codes: country code (55); GIG (212), GRU (11), BSB (61), BHZ (31), MAO (92), BEL (91), CGB (65), REC (81), IGU (455), SSA (71)
It’s impossible to typify the weather of a country larger than the continental U.S. in a paragraph or two. Within Brazil visitors will experience tropical weather in the North and in the Amazon with temperate climates south of São Paulo. Brazil's southern plateaus occasionally receive frost.
MAJOR DESTINATIONS - GETTING AROUND
Because distances are great, the best choice for travel within Brazil is to investigate the “Brazil Air Pass” which offers visitors bargain domestic air flights to most of Brazil’s 150 jetports. The Airpass must be purchased abroad with a roundtrip ticket to Brazil. Frequent, scheduled bus service serves all of Brazil. There’s plenty to see and do in the Brazilian interior including:
Covering the northern and western portions of the country, the Amazon sprawls over nearly a third of the country. Most visitors start an Amazon trip in Manaus. Capital of Amazonas, Brazil's largest state, Manaus sits on the confluence of the brown Solimoes River and the black Rio Negro, which merge and travel side by side for many miles without mixing. This phenomena is called “The Meeting of the Waters” and is one of the area’s main attractions. The city of Manaus still displays the opulence of its rubber boom days. The dome of the Opera House can be seen throughout the city. The Customs House was brought over stone by stone from Europe and reassembled. From Manaus excursions can be made into the depths of the surrounding rainforest. Services range from small riverboats to air-conditioned jungle hotels. Scheduled cruises are available from Manaus, including trips on the two-deck riverboat Tuna and large catamarans. Expedition-style boats are available from Manaus for charter.
Please limit your total jungle gear to the following:
1 rain suit (jacket & pants) or poncho.
1 jacket/windbreaker (rainjacket) can double for this) and/or sweater/sweatshirt.
2 long cotton or other lighter pants.
2 long sleeve, tight-weave cotton shirts.
1 pair of shorts or bathing suit.
1 wide brim hat for sun and rain.
1 pair of lightweight hiking boots.
2 pair of tennis shoes or similar (Bring at least 1 old pair that can get dirty)
Underwear, socks. (Note: Use subdued colors in the jungle, as bright colors may scare wildlife. Long sleeves and long pants are very important for protection from sun and insects.)
Binoculars - a must.
Plastic water bottle
1 towel (thin, quick drying) Toilet kit.
Personal first aid kit.
6 large plastic bags or stuff sacks (to compartmentalize clothes, laundry, wet items within your duffel).
Flashlight with spare batteries. Pocket knife. Sunglasses.
Camera gear and film Hand lens. Make sure that you pack several plastic bags to protect camera equipment from sudden downpours during outings or canoe trips. Reading material, journal. Tape recorder for recording jungle sounds. Cord (clothesline, repairs, shoelaces, etc.) Drying agent or silica gel to pack inside your camera case
Founded in 1611, Belem is 87 miles up the Amazon from the sea. Here is the renowned Emilio Goeldi Museum with its fine examples of Marajo Indian pottery. Also famous are the city’s zoological and botanical gardens. The riverfront Ver-o-Peso market dates from Portuguese colonial days. Excursions from Belem include the large fluvial island of Marajo with ranch accommodations, good bird watching and wildlife.
Brazil's northeast retains much of the cultural, artistic and historical heritage of its Portuguese colonizers. Major cities are:
Capital of the state of Ceara, Fortaleza is a splendid coastal city of palm-studded, white sand beaches, with great resort hotels and restaurants, excellent handicrafts and shopping. Best buys include hand-embroidered textiles, hammocks and handwoven lace. Must see: the jangadas (local fishing rafts) returning at sunset with the day's catch. These rafts are also used to take locals and visitors out to the offshore barrier reefs to spend the day relaxing in the clear, shallow waters.
This uniquely situated city spans the mainland, the peninsula, and a small island. Brazil's fourth-largest city, Recife contains excellent examples of colonial art, architecture, museums and forts. Nearby, the town of Olinda was founded in 1537 and still retains many 17th century houses, churches, monasteries and convents. Recife has a vibrant Carnival in addition to the more than 100 religious festivals celebrated annually. From Recife one can visit Caruaru with its big weekend market of leather, pottery and straw goods. Nova Jerusalem, a replica of Old Jerusalem, has the world's largest open-air theater where, during Easter Week, the crucifixion is re-created with a cast of 500 people plus a walking audience of over 10,000!
Located midway on Brazil's Atlantic coast, Salvador was the first city founded in Brazil and Brazil's first capital. Today it’s the country's fifth-largest city. As if in a travel poster, black women in white lace costumes seem to decorate colonial doorways along cobblestone streets that wind among ornate Baroque and Rococo churches. Salvador is known for its rich African heritage – visitors can witness local candomble religious ceremonies. North and south of town are small fishing villages with beautiful beaches. Off the coast is the island of Itaparica. Excellent hotels, museums and unique gastronomic dishes found nowhere else in Brazil make Salvador a popular addition to a Brazilian trip.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio, Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvelous City, is considered by many the world's most beautiful. Rio is woven between 20 miles of white sand beaches trimmed by green, rolling peaks. There are several beaches. The most famous are Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. All boast hotels ranging from first class to world class! While the beaches and sidewalk cafes typify the city's day-to-day atmosphere, two main attractions should be visited. First is Sugar Loaf, the 1,230-ft-high granite cone that rises from the bay and is reached by a spectacular two-stage cable car. From Sugar Loaf's summit there are unforgettable panoramic views of the city, beaches and Guanabara Bay.
The second sightseeing “must” is an ascent of Corcovado Mountain, with its towering statue of Christ the Redeemer, where Rio's beauty can again be appreciated with a panoramic view. One can find any type of cuisine in the city, but try a local churrascaria, a typical barbecue restaurant. Samba shows are spectacular and rival the most flamboyant Las Vegas revues with samba rhythms, costumes and dance. Near Rio are several beach resorts, including Angra dos Reis to the south and Buzios to the north. Popular day trips include Petropolis, the sumptuous summer home of Brazil’s former Emperor Dom Pedro II.
Capital of the mining state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte was Brazil's first pre-planned city and today is the country's third-largest. Situated on a hilly site surrounded by mountains, Belo Horizonte has parks, museums, neoclassical to modern architecture, art galleries, and handicraft fairs. This is the place to find the country’s best selection of semi-precious stones and jewelry at bargain prices. Near the city are over 400 caves and grottoes and several provincial towns of historic interest: Sabara, Mariana, Congonhas do Campo, Tiradentes and the colonial masterpiece Ouro Preto. All can be reached from Belo Horizonte in a day.
Founded in 1711 as the first capital of the state, Ouro Preto is an incredibly beautiful town of cobblestone streets winding up and down hills all crowned by churches and chapels. The first Brazilian town to ever be declared a national monument (1933), its history has been preserved in the architecture of the School of Mines (1876), and the Governor's Palace (1742). Just 59 miles from Belo Horizonte, Ouro Preto is a recommended overnight trip.
The world’s fastest growing city that’s destined to become the planet’s largest. It is the country's commercial and financial center. São Paulo's impressive skyline, abundance of hotels and three jetports are evidence of the city’s incredible growth. With its over 25,000 restaurants, grills, bars, nightclubs and cabarets, São Paulo has some of the world's liveliest nightlife. São Paulo is a city of many world records. Here the visitor will discover the world's largest exhibition hall, largest cathedral and largest Japanese colony outside of Japan. There are excellent museums. An interesting side-trip is to the Butantan Snake Farm and Museums where snakes are milked for their poison to make antiserums distributed worldwide. A booming new electronic and internet center is located in the Brooklin Novo district.
The Central West
Vast and sparsely populated, Brazil’s central west features two main travel attractions:
Established to develop the interior, Brasilia was built as the country's pre-planned, futuristic, capital city. Inaugurated in 1960, the “City of Tomorrow” is the epitome of modern architecture and engineering. Designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer, public and private buildings are cleverly linked with easy-access transportation systems.
Nestled between the torrid, thorny Gran Chaco and the wilderness Mato Grosso lies one of the world's largest wetlands full of birds, tropical mammals and insects. The Pantanal offers the naturalist unparalleled opportunities. Equalin size to Holland, Switzerland and Belgium combined, Pantanal's rugged back-country is reached by riverboat, canoe and/or jeep. Best months to visit are May through September.
This is the land of Brazil’s gauchos – who are often blonde, blue-eyed descendants of European immigrants. Here are vineyards, rolling hills, and mountains of impressive grandeur, plus seaports and fertile lands producing soybeans, grains and cattle.
Mighty waters” in the Guaraní language, the falls of Iguaçu (or Iguassu, as it is written in Spanish) are awesome and impressive. Spanning three miles and containing 275 individual cataracts that fall into the 262-ft. abyss of the Devil's Throat, the area is part of an multi-national park that protects thousands of species of butterflies and birds that fly through the rising mist of the falls. Here, too, are monkeys, otters, armadillos and jaguars. Hotel accommodations are good on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. Popular half-day trips include travel to neighboring Itaipú Dam – the world's largest hydroelectric complex towering 55 stories high, running five miles long. The dam produces enough electricity to power all of Paraguay, northern Argentina and much of southern Brazil.
SPECIAL INTEREST TOURS
Brazil's special interest travel is as broad and wide ranging as the country itself. Adventure travel is increasingly popular with Amazon cruises and expeditions that range from luxury cruise ships to non-air-conditioned river boats for the hardy traveler. The active traveler will find all sports here including exotic ones like hang gliding in Rio and trekking in the Mato Grosso. Gem tours to the many mines of semi-precious stones are popular as are trips to explore Brazil's exotic flora and fauna. Also popular are special event tours, including the annual packages to Brazil's lavish, fun-filled Carnival in Rio and several other cities.
Host: EMBRATUR - Brazilian Tourist Board
Features: Click on "Brazil Information." 27-state guide,
general info., links, photos, tourism companies, government tourism offices throughout country.
All Brazil: http://www.vivabrazil.com
All U.S. Citizens must be in possession of a valid US Passport as well as a valid Brazilian Visa to enter Brazil. Passport must be valid for minimum 6 months of the date of return to the USA.
You may contact either your local travel agent for information on obtaining a Tourist Visa for Brazil or you can find all of the information on the site of one of the visa agencies that can obtain the visa for you. We highly suggesthttp://www.zvs.com
All non US Citizens should contact the nearest Brazilian Consulate to ascertain as to what entry documents are required.
Addresses and telephone numbers of Brazilian Consulates in the USA can be obtained by clicking onto the following link:http://www.brasilemb.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=36&Itemid=86
Recommended Packing List for Amazon
3. Flashlight (Torch)
4. Camera, film (high speed film is good for shady walks), and flash
5. Insect repellent
6. Sun protection (sun block / sunglasses / hat)
7. Water bottle
8. Lightweight *breathable* long pants and long sleeved shirts for walks in the jungle
9. Shorts and short sleeves for the Lodge
10. Bathing suit
11. Comfortable shoes and extra long socks
12. Small daypack
13. Rain poncho
14. Plastic bags to protect cameras, binoculars, film, etc. from the rain