Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- A portion of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil and is the world’s largest rainforest and covers an area of 2.3 million square mile
- Brasilia replaced Rio de Janeiro as the capital of Brazil in 1960
- Brazil has 13 cities with over 1 million residents
- Brazil has the 8th largest economy in the world
Few places in the world compare with the vastness and ardency of Brazil – a country that is roughly the size of the continental US and constantly aflutter with music, people, wildlife, and exploration. Once you’ve seen the 360-degree view from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio, sipped on a delicious Caipirinha – Brazil’s national cocktail, and strolled around the buzzing beaches of one of the largest and most spectacular cities in the world, you’ll be well on your way to craving more and more of Brazil. Including the Amazon in the north, one of the wettest and most diverse jungles in South America, down to the southern region where thundering Iguassu Falls sits in the mist waiting to captivate its viewers, and the scattered, cultural cities throughout the country humming with drums, music, samba, and food that will leave you speechless, Brazil is an epic destination and the mother of South America.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , also known as the cidade maravihosa or marvelous city, is constantly buzzing with its beautiful beaches, scenic neighborhoods, and booming nightlife. Between that and its famous “Carnival” held once a year, not to mention everyday life in Rio, this city is pretty much a perpetual party. In the spirit of its Southern neighbor, Argentina, Brazil is known for its music. While Argentina claims the Tango, Brazil boasts the Samba. And nowhere is this more vibrant than in Rio. There are a few essentials when visiting Rio de Janeiro: fill up your camera with panoramic views of Rio, enjoy Rio’s culinary excellence, imbibe a fruity cocktail at one of the many beach side cafés, and take a dip in the ocean! No trip to Rio is complete without a trip to the top of Corcovado Mountain, where “Christ the Redeemer” stands 130 feet tall on the peak. This statue is one of the most iconic sculptures of all time and the heart-stopping scene from the top is unlike anything in the world. Dramatic mountains and islets rise up out of the ocean and scatter around the area; views of mountains beyond and miles of beach collide with the dense city below and make for a worthwhile trip to the top. For a panoramic view of the city and the bay, Sugarloaf Mountain is another spot worth visiting. You can take a cable car to its apex so that you can savor the landscape all the way to the top. If you have time in the afternoon check out the famous Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. You might find the beaches a little more frenetic than you’re used to, but they are part of the vitality of Rio de Janeiro and it’s best to embrace the fun as you watch volleyball players, surfers, and sunbathers. And at night, enjoy the city life at a café while you people-watch – a favorite past time in Rio, where the residents are considered some of the most beautiful in South America, and even the world. Enjoy the music and party spirit that permeate the air with a thick contagiousness and get ready to launch an exciting journey around Brazil in one of South America’s most fantastic cities – Rio de Janeiro.
Traveling north from Rio along the coast of sand beaches you will find Salvador de Bahia, a great city to visit for its laid-back culture, gorgeous beaches, colorful streets, dynamite cuisine, and classic architecture. Salvador possesses a blissful brew of African and Portuguese cultures, sparkling new architecture mixed with traditional colonial styles, wild Olodum drumming and peaceful beaches. It’s really a place of diversity – where young people gather for romance, old friends gather for dining and merriment, and new visitors come to play. As far as architecture goes, you’ll want to check out the Church of St. Francis and the Jesuit Cathedral of the Upper City – deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colonial architecture found here is thought to be some of the finest in South America. If you like shopping, the Mercado Modelo is a colorful and fun place to look for souvenirs and it sits just next to the harbor where you can stop and eat a savory lunch or dinner overlooking the bay. Probably the most impressive landmark and something you simply have to try is a ride up the Lacerda Elevator. This amazing contraption has been a form of transport between the Upper and Lower cities of Salvador since 1873, moving people and goods over 270 feet between the two sections. It is now a high-tech, quickly rising 20-second ride and when you get to the top, you can enjoy views of the harbor unlike anywhere else in the city. And if you end up in Salvador on a Sunday, cozy up with the locals at the Sunday tradition beach parties, where cocktails flow and the local festivities pull you in for an afternoon of fun. Finally, in your time here, squeeze in a view of the sunset over the Bay of All Saints – an unforgettable sight.
Manaus & the Amazon
South America offers up several sections of Amazon, but without question its most famous is Brazil’s Amazon. Dominating over 50% of the country, Brazil’s Amazon is an amalgamation of jungle and wetlands packed with more wildlife than any of South America’s Amazon territories. One reason for this is that the widest part of the Amazon River flows through Brazil; its mysteries lying deep within have lured adventurers for centuries. One of the most fascinating parts of the river is at the “Meeting of the Waters”– the confluence of the Solimoes and Negro Rivers where the chocolate brown waters of the Solimoes meet up with the black waters of the Negro and they travel side by side, never mixing, for over four miles! The perfect place to witness this phenomenon is in the city of Manaus. As the largest city in the Amazon, Manaus gets a decent amount of traffic and it’s a surprising place of activity. Fun things to check out here are the Manaus Zoo, local markets, and the European-style Opera House. The zoo features a great deal of species you might find in the Amazon, but may not be able to see traversing the forest. The Opera House is a major source of pride in Manaus as its materials were actually imported from Europe in 1896 during the rubber boom. It’s stunning, both inside and out. And don’t worry – if the humidity gets to you, there are luxurious accommodations – air conditioned sanctuaries – to be had here. Once you’ve spent a little time on the river and absorbed some of its mystery, head into the Amazon and revel in the wild jungle and its abundant flora and fauna. A plethora of monkey species, exotic birds, caimans, and fish merge with gigantic lily pads, strange vegetation, and dense jungle sounds. Aside from canoeing down the river and trekking delicately through the lush landscape of endless green, the Amazon is still home to a great deal of native tribe people who’ve known this way of life for centuries. Many of these tribes welcome visitors, allowing you the chance to peek through a window and get a glimpse of their lives. If roughing it in the jungle sounds a bit daunting, you’ll be surprised at the kinds of comfortable retreats you can find deep in the jungle, where you can enjoy the sounds, flavors, and intrigue of the mighty Amazon Rainforest.
Enjoying the waters of Brazil inevitably means heading down south to visit the commanding Iguassu Falls, proudly shared by the borders of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Iguassu Falls, in full flow, showcases 275 different waterfalls spanning almost two miles. With clouds of mist, deafening, plunging waters, and miles of drenching waterfalls – it’s an absolute must. The falls are a recent winner for one of the new seven wonders of nature, but only seeing is believing. While the Argentina side of the falls provides a little more activity in the surrounding rainforest, Brazil’s side of the falls provides the best panoramic views of the mist-laden spectacle. You may also visit the Bird Park found near the falls which showcases indigenous birds from all over South America. You can even get an up close photo of a toucan here. The wild and breathtaking city of Rio de Janeiro, the samba-filled streets and never-ending parties at night, and the charmingly distinct city of Salvador compliment the raw wilderness of the Amazon and the booming tableau of waterfall-stretching miles in Iguassu. The variety found in Brazil, a country at the forefront of South America’s pride and culture, provides adventure every day and promises a journal-filled and camera loaded journey unique in each of its destinations and unique to each of its visitors.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
A visa for your visit to Brazil is necessary for U.S. citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Brazil.
US, CA, and AU passport holders: A visa is required for Brazil. Brazilian visas must be obtained in advance. As of January 2018, US citizens, AU citizens, & Canadian citizens are able to request and obtain an e-VISA by simply going online to www.vfsglobal.com/brazil-evisa. There are no “airport visas” and immigration authorities will refuse entry to Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. Non-US citizens from countries that are not visa-exempted must obtain a visa from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to the traveler’s place of residence and must enter Brazil within 90 days of the date that the visa was issued by the Brazilian Consulate. Immigration authorities will not allow entry into Brazil without a valid visa. The US Government cannot assist travelers who arrive in Brazil without proper documentation.
How to apply and obtain your E-Visa on-line:
- Enter the website https://brazil.vfsevisa.com/Brazil-Online/Online/Visa/Home#no-back
- Register to start the process. You will need a valid passport and a passport photo for the visa.
- Complete the form with the corresponding personal and credit card information.
- Pay the fee which is $40 for the visa and a nominal service fee. Once the application is submitted you will receive a confirmation email with a reference number as well as a copy of the completed visa application.
- The final visa decision made by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will be conveyed via email within 4-5 business days for all complete applications.
- Once the eVisa is granted you will receive a .pdf file containing your eVisa. You must download and print your eVisa and present it at the moment of your boarding and landing in Brazil, we also recommend that you keep a copy of the .pdf file in your cell phone.
All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Most countries require that the passport be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the conclusion of your trip, so please check the expiration date carefully. It is also recommended you have a minimum of three blank pages in your passport when traveling, as many countries require blank pages. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room. Most countries have laws that require you to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Argentina is 54. When calling to Argentina from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Argentina are 10 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 54 ## #### ####.
Brazil’s currency is the Real (R$), also denoted by BRL; however, many will be happy to take US dollars and give change in Reals.
1 Brazilian Real = 100 centavo
- Banknote denominations: R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50, R$100
- Coin denominations: 5cvs, 10cvs, 20cvs, 50cvs, R$1
Small bills in both Reals and Dollars will come in handy while traveling. The bills are illustrated with images of Brazilian animals (the feminine character on one side of all bills is a representation of the Republic).
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are accepted in Brazil, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
Traveler’s checks are extremely difficult to exchange in Brazil. Their use is not recommended.
- Mon. – Fri.: 10 am – 3 pm
- Sat. – Sun.: Closed
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is US $1.75.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately US $10.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately US $50.
In open street markets, try not to touch items unless you are interested in purchasing them. If you would like to take photos, please ask permission. Most vendors are happy to have their picture taken with the item you have just purchased. If you are being confronted by vendors, smile, say nothing and then shake your hand low to say no. This is polite and they understand. For many people, saying “No” means I want it at a lower price and they will follow you in attempt to bargain. In many areas of South America, bargaining for purchases is normal. First, ask for a price. Offer an amount slightly below what you wish to pay. It is important to be polite and smile while bargaining. In most cases, bargaining will not save you a lot of money. Keep different value bills folded and separated in different pockets, that way you can pull out the exact money you need, and sometimes this can close the deal. Opening a wallet or purse to pull a roll of bills out can lead to negotiation problems. Always finish the transaction with Thank You and a smile.
Restaurants include a service charge on the bill as tip, approximately 10%. Additional tipping is not required though always appreciated. Tips should be left in cash and not added to the credit card payment.
- For a taxi, round up the fare to the nearest whole dollar or real.
- Tipping hotel staff for room or bar service is not customary.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 220V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Brazil does commonly use North American outlets, so adapters may not be necessary. However, some hotels will use the European plugs with two round sockets that look like:
Brazil’s climate is difficult to predict and is based on the area of the country visiting. To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Brazil
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Brazil’s national dish is feijoada which is a dish of black beans, pork, and dried meat served with rice. Seafood is excellent in coastal cities. In restaurants, always ask if they have menus in English, as many establishments will. Drinking Water Bottled water is how many people drink water even at home. Never ask for tap water for many reasons. Ice is rarely used as well.
Bottled water is how many people drink water even at home. Never ask for tap water for many reasons. Ice is rarely used as well.
CUSTOMS AND CULTURE
Greeting and Interaction
- The best way to address people when you do not know their name is to simply use “Señor” (male) or “Señora” (female).
- It’s normal to introduce yourself with a polite greeting of “buenos días/tardes” (good morning/ afternoon or evening).
- Greeting customs in South America also incorporate a lot of personal contact. Women will generally greet other women by kissing once on each cheek, right to left. Men will also kiss women on the cheeks when greeting them, but handshaking is reserved for between two men.
- People here have a tendency to stand relatively close to each other when they are talking. Although you might find that this is perhaps a little too close for your liking, you should just accept that this is normal behavior, and trying to create more space between you and your counterpart could be seen as rude.
Ladies should always travel with tissue. If public restrooms have toilet paper, it is sometimes rationed. Hand sanitizers are recommended to bring with you as some bathrooms may not have hot water and soap. In some public restrooms you are required to pay a small fee.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
Bom dia!, Hello!/Good morning!, Boa tarde, Good afternoon!, Boa noite!, Good evening!/Good night!, Oi/ Olá! Tchau!, Hi!/Bye!, Adeus., Good bye., Por favor., Please., Até mais., See you/See you later., Até logo., See you soon., Até amanhã., See you tomorrow., (Muito) Obrigado., Thank you (very much)., Não há de quê., You’re welcome/Don’t mention it., Bem-vindo, Welcome , Desculpe-me, I’m sorry, Com licença / Perdão., Excuse me/Pardon, Vamos!, Let’s go!, Como o senhor está?, How are you? (formal), feminine: a senhora, Como vai?, How are you? (informal), E aí?, How’s it going? (Only in Brazil) , Bem / Muitobem ,Well/Very well, Mal/Muito mal/Maisoumenos, Bad/Very bad/More or less, Sim/Não, Yes/No, Como o senhor se chama?, What is your name? (formal), Qual é seunome?, What is your name? (informal), Me chamo…,My name is…, Prazeremconhecê-lo, Nice to meet you., Igualmente, Same here, Senhor/Senhora/Senhorita, Mister/Mrs./Miss, De onde o senhor é?, Where are you from? (formal), De ondevocê é?, Where are you from? (informal), Eusou de…, I’m from…, Quantosanos o senhor tem?, How old are you? (formal), Quantosanosvocê tem?, How old are you? (informal), Eutenho _____ anos., I am _____ years old., O senhorfalaportuguês?, Do you speak Portuguese? (formal), Vocêfalainglês?, Do you speak English? (informal), (Não) Falo.,I (don’t) speak…, Compreende?/Entende?, Do you understand? (formal / informal), (Não) Compreendo/(Não) Entendo, I (don’t) understand., Eu (não) sei., YOH NOH LOH SEH, I (don’t) know., Pode me ajudar?,Can you help me?, Claro quesim, Of course, Como?, What? Pardon me?, Ondeestá/Ondeestão…?, Where is …/Where are … ?, Aqui, Here., Há/Havia…, There is/ are… / There was/were…, Como se diz ____ emportuguês?, How do you say ___ in Portuguese?, O que é isto?, What is that?, Qual é o problema?, What’s the matter (with you)?, Nãoimporta., It doesn’t matter., O queaconteceu?, What’s happening?, Nãotenhoidéia., I have no idea., Estoucansado/doente., I’m tired/ sick., Estou com fome/sêde., I’m hungry/thirsty., Estou com calor/frio., I’m hot/cold., Estouchateado., I’m bored., Não me importa., I don’t care., Não se preocupe., Don’t worry, Tudobem/’Tábom., That’s alright., Me esqueci., I forgot., Tenhoqueir agora., I must go now., Saúde!, Bless you!, Parabéns!, Congratulations!, Boa sorte!, Good luck!, É a suavez., It’s your turn. (informal), Cale-se!/Cala a boca!, Shut up!, Euteamo., I love you. (informal and singular)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.