Brazil is more than beaches and Carnival, but that would be enough reason
to travel there. Brazil is the largest country in South America, taking
up almost half of the continent, extending from north of the Equator to
south of the Tropic of Capricorn. It's population of around 180 million
is the largest in South America. It's 2 major cities, Sao
Paulo and Rio de Janiero are among the
largest in world. The nation's natural beauty is reflected in its variety
of geographic locations, from Sugar Loaf Mountain in the city of Rio de
Janeiro, to the magnificent Iguazu Falls in the south, to the Amazon basin
in the North, there's something for almost every taste... snow skiers excepted.
It's population is unique for Latin America and provides a rich backdrop of sights and sounds for the traveler. It is the result of Native Americans, Portuguese settlers, and African slaves, Japanese (the largest Japanese population outside of Japan!), Italians, Germans…just about everyone. There is even a town built by US Confederate soldiers that left the USA after the Civil war, really. Portuguese cultural influences dominate, with Portuguese as the primary language and Roman Catholicism as the principal religion. Don't spend too much time on Spanish if your going to Brazil, they will understand you but you won't understand them. In tourist areas someone who can speak English, Italian or German can usually be found.
The Amazon Basin, which spans the width of northern Brazil, and an extensive highland plateau, known as the Brazilian Highlands, which covers most of the south and southeast are it's two main geographical areas. These provide a wide selection of flora, fauna and just stuff to do and see, if you can ever get off its miles and miles of glorious beaches! As to the Amazon it is navigable to ocean going ships as far as Iquitos, in Peru, and its major tributaries are suitable for inland navigation.
Back to the beaches. The Brazilian coastline varies considerably. The coast of the northeast is smoother, with substantial areas of beaches and dunes along the northern strip. However spectacular areas for the sun and surf minded traveler exist throughout.
WEATHER AND WHEN TO GO: In Brazil it varies but most of Brazil can be comfortably visited throughout the year. However, the south can be very hot and humid in summer (December to February) and non-stop rain in winter (June to August) and you may want to avoid those times. The rest of the country has brief tropical rains throughout the year, which rarely affect travel plans. During the summer (December to February) many Brazilians are on vacation, and that can make travel difficult and expensive. Summer is also the most festive time of year, as Brazilians escape their apartments and take to the beaches and streets.
CARNIVAL:Brazil´s most special time to visit Brazil – CARNIVAL – a time when the entire ccountry explodes In a 5 day long revelry. While to the casual observer this is an apparently chaotic time, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to the ebb & flow of events and rituals, there is in fact a logic and schedule (albeit a loosely adhered – to one !) that governs the festival.Although Carnival is a Country celebration, and all country stops for 5 days.. each region has its own culture and different ways to celebrate. The most popular carnival celebrations are Rio de Janiero, Salvador de Bahia an Recife. The Carnival happens 40 days before the celebration of Easter Holiday, that’s the reason that the date changes every year. For 2010 it is February 13 to 16 with the Winners Parade( The Grand Parade) on February 20. For 2011 it is March 5,6,7,8 with the Winners Parade on March 12. It is a good idea to plan and make reservations as far in advance as possible as Brazil gets pretty full then. Many hotels have increased rates in this period and have minimum stays of 3 or 4 days.
GETTING THERE AND GETTING IN: Brazil has frequent flights (in many cases daily) from most International origins to either Rio or Sao Paulo.
PAPER WORK TO GET IN:
U.S. citizens must have a passport & visa
obtained in advance. We
strongly suggest VisaExpress that is the quick and sure way to get your
visa for travel to Brazil. You may either go to their web site by clicking
here or on thier icon or by calling toll free 1-800-884-7579 or direct
GETTING AROUND: From the major cities there is a fairly extensive highway system although in some case the roads are not too well marked. If you are going to drive into the hinterland you should get a map in English, and don't let your fuel gauge drop below 1/2, just in case you get a little lost and need gas. There is a pretty well developed domestic air line service to most of the cities outside of Rio or Sao Paulo you would want to visit.
STAYING THERE: Brazil has a very well developed tourist infrastructure so there are a lot of hotels and resorts. It would not be a good idea to travel to Brazil without at least hotels in your main destination cites pre-reserved. The hotels on this site are selected because they do provide acceptable levels of tourist facilities for the foreign traveler and have a good reputation for service. While there are less expensive hotels that cater to local travelers many do not have the level of accommodation that a foreign traveler needs.
SECURITY AND CRIME PREVENTION: Brazil is like any place. When traveling don't go into places that look dangerous, because they probably are! Don't bring your gold Rolex , 3 carat diamond ring or carry a lot of cash or leave your luggage or valuable unattended in an insecure place. Of course crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs and other similar places that cater to visitors, especially at dusk and evening hours. Big cities have specialized tourist police units to protect tourists. Rio has proportionately high amount of crime against tourists (of course so does New York, Miami etc). Just say no!..penalties for possession, use and trafficking in illegal drugs is harsh. Offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and fines.
CURRENCY: Brazilian current currency is the Real where 1 RI = 100 centavos etc. All banks money exchange houses will change travelers checks and foreign currency. Generally, MasterCard, Amex, Diners and Visa are accepted. Traveler's checks are changed at hotels, banks and tourist agencies. Tourists can't exchange US$ checks for US currency. Sometimes travelers get a discount or better rate when paying a hotel or restaurant in foreign currency or travelers checks. Visa is the best card to carry for cash advances, finding an ATM that accepts your particular card can be difficult, though. The exchange rate is about 2 Reals to the US dollar and does not fluctuate very much. Click here for the current monetary conversion rate.
TIME: In most of country, time zone GMT -3 hours. Those us not familiar with what Greenwich Mean Time is that makes it 2 two 3 hours later that the east coast of the USA on the average.
ELECTRICITY: This can vary by the city you are visiting, for example; Rio and Sao Paulo 110 volts AC, 60Hz, in Bahia (Salvador) and Manaus 127 volts AC, in Brasilia and Recife 220 volts AC, 60Hz. So ask at the hotel so you don't ruin your shaver or hairdryer. Most hotels do provide 110-volt & 220-volt outlets, but again, ask so you may avoid smoke and electrical sparks in your room!
WHO ARE WE?: Brazil Hotel rates are a range and actual price may vary and are subject to change without notice, the rate that we negotiate for you may be lower. Reservations are handled by Tours Plan address in Brazil : Av Nossa sra de Copacabana 647- 1213 Copacaba, Rio de Janeiro.