|Below is a selection of highlights from our tours, click on an image to direct you to all trips in that region.|
|Canoe expedition on the Amazon - (by Jan Bryde); Still waters of the Amazon - (by Jan Bryde); Sunset over River Amazon; ||
|South American Information|
This tour visits the following country, details shown below.
|To see our current selection of tours in Brazil click here.|
The climate varies from hot and dry in the arid interior to the humid tropical rainforests of the Amazon jungle. Coastal Brazil tends to be hot and sticky for most of the year but it can get cold in the south and in the mountains during the winter months. Rainy seasons occur from January to April in the north, April to July in the northeast and November to March in the Rio/São Paulo area.
Lightweight natural fabrics; waterproofs for the rainy season. Warm clothing is needed in the south during winter (June to August). Specialist clothing is needed for the Amazon region. The sunlight is extremely bright and sunglasses are recommended.
8,547,404 sq km (3,300,171 sq miles).
22.3 per sq km.
Brazil covers almost half of the South American continent and it is bordered to the north, west and south by all South American countries except Chile and Ecuador; to the east is the Atlantic. The country is topographically quite flat and at no point do the highlands exceed 3,000m (10,000ft). Over 60% of the country is a plateau; the remainder consists of plains. The River Plate Basin (the confluence of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, both of which have their sources in Brazil) in the far south is more varied, higher and less heavily forested. North of the Amazon are the Guiana Highlands, partly forested, partly stony desert. The Brazilian Highlands of the interior, between the Amazon and the rivers of the south, form a vast tableland, the Mato Grosso, from which rise mountains in the southwest that form a steep protective barrier from the coast called the Great Escarpment, breached by deeply cut river beds. The population is concentrated in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The city of São Paulo has a population of over 12 million, while over 7 million people live in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The official language is Portuguese, with different regional accents characterising each state. Spanish, English, Italian, French and German are also spoken, particularly in tourist areas. Four linguistic roots survive in the indigenous areas: Gê, Tupi-guarani, Aruak and Karib.
There is no official religion, but approximately 74% of the population are Roman Catholics. A number of diverse evangelical cults are also represented, as are animist beliefs (particularly the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomblé).
Brazil spans several time zones: Eastern Standard Time: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March). Western Standard Time: GMT - 4 (GMT - 3 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March). North East States and East Parà: GMT - 3. Amapa and West Parà: GMT - 4. Acre State: GMT - 5. Fernando de Noronha Archipelago: GMT - 2.
In informal situations, it is common to kiss women on both cheeks when meeting and taking one's leave. Handshaking is customary between men, and normal European courtesies are observed. Frequent offers of coffee and tea are customary. Flowers are acceptable as a gift on arrival or following a visit for a meal. A souvenir from the visitor's home country will be well-received as a gift of appreciation. Casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather.
Brasília and Recife, 220 volts AC; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, 127 volts AC or 220 volts in larger hotels. Plugs are of the two-pin type. Most hotels provide 110-volt and 220-volt outlets, transformers and adaptors.
Head of Government
President Dilma Rousseff since 2011.
Head of State
President Dilma Rousseff since 2011.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former shoeshine boy and metal worker, became Brazil's first left-wing president in four decades when he beat his government-backed rival by a wide margin in the 2002 elections. He secured his position as the people's choice with a landslide victory in presidential elections in October 2006. The Lula government has faced a difficult balancing act between social welfare and the economy. Lula's left-wing ideals and commitment to social reforms sparked fears about the future of the Brazilian economy. While the economy slowed it was not the picture of doom that critics painted. At the start of his new term as president, Lula announced a target of 5% growth to be fuelled through tax cuts on investments and ensuring government spending does not grow faster than the economy.
Real/Reais (BRL; symbol R$) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of R$100, 50, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of R$1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1 centavos.
All banks, cambios, travel agencies and authorised hotels exchange recognised traveller's cheques and foreign currency. The US Dollar is the most widely accepted foreign currency.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
Most major international credit cards are accepted (Visa more so than other cards), though not universally. There is an extensive network of ATMs around the country.
Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly difficult to cash and visitors will find that they often lose money when doing so. Withdrawing cash directly from ATMs is preferable. Banks will not cash traveller's cheques into foreign currency, including US Dollars. Some hotels will accept payment in traveller's cheques.
There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign and local currency up to amounts equalling R$10,000. Amounts higher than R$10,000 must be declared.
Exchange Rate Indicators
1.00 GBP = 3.71 BRL 1.00 USD = 2.32 BRL 1.00 EUR = 3.1 BRL 1.00 CAD = 2.21 BRL Currency conversion rates as of 9 November 2013
From the jungle calls of the Amazon to the curves of Copacabana’s thong-clad crowds, Brazil is a heady celebration of the big, the bold and the beautiful. Brazil’s vast coastline is fringed with sandy beaches and island getaways, while buzzing Rio de Janeiro and stylish São Paulo offer nightlife and culture galore – as well as an annual dose of Carnival fever.
With the World Cup due to take over Brazilian stadia in 2014, and the Olympics coming to Rio in 2016, the largest country in South America is gearing up to take centre stage – and whether strolling down orderly São Paulo streets, or kicking back in the spotless coastal resort of Buzios, it seems Brazil is confidently rising to the challenge.
Prices are steadily increasing, so even the simplest Brazilian holidays don’t come cheap. Crime does happen, especially in the cities, but those who keep their wits about them and avoid certain areas are highly likely to have an incident-free trip.
From www.worldtravelguide.net copyright Columbus Travel Publishing Ltd, November 2013.