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                                               Full country name: República Federativa do Brasil
                                               Area: 8,514,215 sq km
                                               Population: 175 million
                                               Capital city: Brasília
                                               People: 55% European descent, 38% mulatto, 6%
                                               African descent (1980). In reality, these figures are
                                               skewed by whiteness being equated with social stature
                                               in Brazil.
                                               Language: Portuguese
                                               Religion: 70% Roman Catholic; also a significant
                                               proportion who either belong to various cults or practice
                                               Indian animism
                                               Government: Federal republic
                                               President: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

                                              GDP: US$650 billion
                                              GDP per head: US$4060
                                              Inflation: 8% (1999)
Major industries:Textiles, shoes, chemicals, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, motor vehicles and parts,
arms, soya beans, orange juice, beef, chicken, coffee, sugar
Major trading partners: EU, Central and South America, Asia, USA

For hundreds of years, Brazil has symbolized the great escape into a primordial, tropical paradise,
igniting the Western imagination like no other South American country.

From the mad passion of Carnaval to the immensity of the dark Amazon, Brazil is a country of mythic
proportions. All the while, the people of Brazil delight visitors with their energy, fantasy and joy.

Facts for the Traveler
Health risks: Dengue fever, malaria, meningitis, rabies, yellow fever
Time: GMT/UTC minus 2 hours for the Fernando de Noronha archipelago; GMT/UTC minus 3 hours
in the east, northeast, south and southeast; GMT/UTC minus 4 hours in the west; and GMT/UTC
minus 5 hours in the far west
Electricity: Unstandardized; mostly 110 or 120V, some hotels 220V; 60 Hz in Rio and São Paulo
Weights & measures: Metric

When to Go
Most of Brazil can be visited comfortably throughout the year, it's only the south - which can be
unbearably sticky in summer (December-February) and non-stop rainy in winter (June-August) - that
has large seasonal changes. The rest of the country experiences brief tropical rains throughout the
year, which rarely affect travel plans.
During summer (December-February) many Brazilians are on vacation, making travel difficult and
expensive, and from Rio to the south the humidity can be oppressive. Summer is also the most festive
time of year, as Brazilians escape their apartments and take to the beaches and streets. School
holidays begin in mid-December and go through to Carnaval, usually held in late February.

Although there are festivals taking place all year-round in Brazil, the country's most famous event is
Carnaval, beginning at midnight on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and lasting for five days. It is
celebrated all over Brazil and there are more authentic versions than the glitzy tourist drawcard held in
Rio, but Rio's is a fantastic spectacle nonetheless. In the sambódromo, a tiered street designed for
samba parades, the Brazilians harness sweat, noise and mayhem as the 16 top samba schools each
have their hour of glory.
The four-day Carnival commences on the following dates: March 1 2003; Feb 21 2004; Feb 5 2005.

Money & Costs
Currency: real (plural 'reais')
Meals Budget: US$5-10 Lodging Budget: US$5-20
After the long-expected devaluation of the real in 1999, many people anticipated explosive inflation.
So far, however, exchange rates and prices have held steady. If you're traveling on buses every
couple of days, staying in hotels for US$10 a night, and eating in restaurants or drinking in bars every
night, US$40 is a rough estimate of what you would need. If you plan to lie on a beach for a month,
eating rice and beans every day, US$20 to US$25 would be enough. Bear in mind that prices for
accommodation increase 25-30% from December to February.
Credit cards are now accepted all over Brazil. Visa is the best card to carry for cash advances, finding
an ATM that accepts your particular card can be difficult, though. Changing cash and travelers' checks
is simple - there are cambios in all but the tiniest towns. It's worth having enough cash to tide you over
the weekend, when finding an open change bureau, even in big cities, can be difficult. When buying
cash, ask for lots of small bills as change is often unavailable for small transactions.
Most services get tipped a mandatory 10%, often included in the bill. If a waiter is friendly and helpful,
you may like to give more. Because of Brazil's high unemployment rate, services that may seem
superfluous are customarily tipped. Parking assistants are the most notable as they receive no wages,
but petrol-station attendants, shoe shiners and barbers are also frequently tipped. Taxi drivers are an
exception: most people round the price up, but a tip is not expected. Bargaining for hotel rooms should
become second nature - always ask for a better price. You should also haggle in markets and
unmetered taxis.

Rio de Janeiro
Rio is the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvellous City). Jammed into the world's most beautiful setting -
between ocean and escarpment - are seven million Cariocas, as Rio's inhabitants are called. The
Cariocas pursue pleasure like no other people: beaches and the body beautiful; samba and beer;
football and the local firewater, cachaça (rum).
Rio has its share of problems: a third of the people live in the favelas (shanty towns) that blanket many
of the hillsides; the poor have no schools, no doctors and no jobs; drug abuse and violence are
endemic; and police corruption and brutality are commonplace. Rio's reputation as a violent city
caused a sharp reduction in tourism in the 1990s, but travelers will find themselves no more at risk
than in most large cities in the world.
Rio is divided into a zona norte (northern zone) and a zona sul (southern zone) by the Serra da
Carioca, steep mountains that are part of the Parque Nacional da Tijuca. The view from the top of
Corcovado, the 750m (2460ft) mountain peak with the statue of Christ the Redeemer at its summit,
offers the best way to become geographically familiar with the city. Favelas crowd against the hillsides
on both sides of town.
The beach, a ritual and a way of life for the Cariocas, is Rio's common denominator. Copacabana is
probably the world's most famous beach, and runs for 4.5km (3mi) in front of one of the most densely
populated residential areas on the planet. From the scalloped beach you can see the granite slabs
that surround the entrance to the bay. Ipanema is Rio's richest and most chic beach. Other beaches
within and near the city include Pepino, Barra da Tijuca, Flamengo (though the water is a bit suspect
here) and Arpoador.
Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) is God's gift to the picture-postcard industry. Two cable cars climb 396m
(1300ft) above Rio and the Baía de Guanabara and, from the top, Rio looks the most beautiful city in
the world. The 120 sq km (47 sq mi) Parque Nacional de Tijuca, 15 minutes from the concrete jungle
of Copacobana, is all that's left of the tropical jungle that once surrounded Rio. The forest is an
exuberant green, with beautiful trees and waterfalls.
Rio's famous glitzy Carnaval is a fantastic spectacle, but there are more authentic celebrations held
elsewhere in Brazil. In many ways, Carnaval can be the worst time to be in Rio. Everyone gets a bit
unglued at this time of year: taxi fares quadruple, accommodation triples and masses of visitors
descend on the city to get drunk, get high and exchange exotic diseases.
The best areas for budget hotels are Glória, Catete and Flamengo. Botafogo is the heart of gay Rio;
Cinelândia and Lapa have a lot of samba; and Leblon and Ipanema have upmarket, trendy clubs with
excellent jazz.

Brasília, Brazil's capital since 21 April 1960, may be a World Heritage Site, but unless you're an
architecture student prepared to sweat your way around the city's hot, treeless expanses it's not going
to be of much interest. Though it probably looked good on paper and still looks good in photos, in the
flesh it's another story. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, urban planner Lucio Costa and
landscape architect Burle Marx, the city was built in an incredible three years (1957-60) by millions of
dirt-poor peasants working around the clock.
Unfortunately, the world's most ambitious planned city was designed for automobiles and air
conditioners, not people. Although bureaucrats and politicians are lured to Brasília by 100% salary
hikes and big apartments, as soon as the weekend comes they jet to Rio or São Paulo - anywhere
less sterile. The poor, who work in the construction and service industries, pass their nights in favelas
up to 30km (19mi) outside the city, called 'anti-Brasílias'. If you find yourself in Brasília's stark
environs, the popular Parque Nacional de Brasília ecological reserve on the north side of town has
natural swimming pools and is a good place to escape from the blazing sun.

São Paulo
The biggest city in South America is a city of immigrants and ethnic neighborhoods. An estimated 17
million people, many of them descendants of Italian and Japanese migrants, live in this plateau
megalopolis. Strong industrial development and cultural diversity have provided São Paulo with the
largest, most cultured and educated middle class in Brazil. These Paulistas are lively and well-
informed and, though they complain about the traffic, street violence and pollution, wouldn't dream of
living anywhere else.
São Paulo can be an intimidating place but, if you know someone to show you around or you like big
cities, it offers the excitement and nightlife of one of the world's most dynamic places. Attractions
include the baroque Teatro Municipal, Niemeyer's Edifício Copan, the Museu de Arte de São
Paulo (MASP) and the 16th-century Patío do Colégio. The city is southwest of Rio and you can fly
from there in less than an hour or take a six-hour bus ride.
The Amazon
The Amazon is a gigantic system of rivers and forests, covering almost half of Brazil and extending
into neighboring countries. The wide stretch of river known as Rio Amazonas runs between the cities
of Manaus and Belém, though the various rivers that join to form it provide a navigable route for
ocean-going vessels to the other side of the South American continent.
The forest still keeps many of its secrets: to this day, major tributaries of the Amazon are unexplored.
Of the estimated 15,000 species of Amazon creatures, thousands of birds and fish and hundreds of
mammals have not been classified. A cursory sampling of known animal species found in the forest -
some common, some rare, some virtually extinct - includes jaguar, tapir, peccary, spider monkey,
sloth, armadillo, caiman, alligator, river dolphin, boa constrictor and anaconda. Forest birds include
toucans, parrots, macaws, hummingbirds and gaviào (birds of prey), and insect life is well represented
with over 1800 species of butterflies and more than 200 species of mosquitoes. Fish such as piranha,
tucunaré, piraracu, anuanã, piraíba and poraquê (electric eel) abound in such an amazing diversity of
species that biologists are unable to identify much of the catch found in Belém's markets.
The most common, although perhaps not the best, jumping-off point for excursions into the Amazon is
Manaus, which lies beside the Rio Negro, 10km (6mi) upstream from the confluence of the Solimões
and Negro rivers, which join to form the Rio Amazonas. Although Manaus continues to be vaunted in
countless glossy travel brochures as an Amazon wonderland, the city itself has few attractions and is
increasingly crime-ridden. The city's most potent symbol is the Teatro Amazonas, the famous opera
house designed by Domenico de Angelis in Italian Renaissance style at the height of the rubber boom,
in 1896.
While Manaus day trips and boat tours offer a chance to experience jungle flora and bird life, they are
more interesting as a way of seeing the way of life of the caboclos (inhabitants of the Amazonian river
towns). Don't expect to meet remote Indian tribes or dozens of free-ranging beasts though, because in
both cases contact has been synonymous with destruction, and both have sensibly fled from
accessible areas. To experience these, you will need to venture a long way from Manaus.

The Pantanal
The Amazon may have all the fame and glory, but the Pantanal is a far better place to see wildlife.
This vast area of wetlands, about half the size of France, lies in the far west of Brazil and extends into
the border regions of Bolivia and Paraguay.
Birds are the most frequently seen wildlife, but the Pantanal is also a sanctuary for giant river otters,
anacondas, iguanas, jaguars, cougars, crocodiles, deer and anteaters. The area has few people and
no towns, and access is often by plane into Cuaibá, Campo Grande or Corumbá, then overland to the
gateway towns of Cãceres, Barão de Malgaça, Poconé or Aquidauana; or by road via the
Transpantaneira, which ends at the one-hotel hamlet of Porto Jofre. Boat trips are available along the
Rio Paraguai from the Bolivian border.
Salvador da Bahia
Bahia is Brazil's most Africanized state. Its capital, Salvador da Bahia (often abbreviated to
Salvador), is a fascinating and vibrant city loaded with historic buildings, and is one of Brazil's cultural
highlights. Founded in 1549, Salvador was Brazil's most important city for 300 years, and the
Portuguese Empire's second city, after Lisbon. As the center of the sugar trade, it was famous for
gold-filled churches, beautiful mansions and the slave trade. Now it is known for its many wild festivals
and general sensuality and decadence; Carnaval in Salvador is justly famous and attracts hordes of
Salvador's other highlights include 34 colonial churches; the Museu Afro-Brasileira, which is
dedicated to Black culture; and the Elevador Lacerda, an Art Deco structure with clanking electric
elevators which truck up and down a set of 85m (279ft) cement shafts in less than 15 seconds and
carry over 50,000 passengers daily between the port and the hilly historic section of the city. And, if
beaches are what you want, the only difficulty is making a choice.
Foz do Iguaçu (Iguaçu Falls)
The Rio Iguaçu arises in the coastal mountains of Paraná and Santa Catarina and snakes west for
600km (372mi) before it widens majestically and sweeps around a magnificent jungle stage, plunging
and crashing in tiered falls at the border with Argentina and Paraguay. The falls are over 3km (2mi)
wide and 80m (262ft) high and their beauty is unsurpassed. The best time of year to visit is August-
November, when there is least risk of flood waters hindering the approach to the catwalks.

Off the Beaten Track
Jericoacoara is the latest remote-and-primitive 'in' beach to become popular among backpackers,
wind-surfers and hipper Brazilians. Situated on the Ceará coast, northwest of Fortaleza, Jericoacoara
is a small fishing village, where dozens of palms drowning in sand dunes face jangadas (sailboats)
stuck on a broad grey beach. Goats, sheep, cattle, horses and dogs roam the sandy streets at will.
You can boogie at the forró held every Wednesday and Saturday: just follow the music. You can also
climb the sand dunes (perhaps to watch the sunset), hitch a ride on a jangada, or walk to Pedra
Furada, a rock 3km (2mi) east along the beach. You can also hire horses and gallop along the beach.
Olinda is one of the best preserved colonial cities in Brazil. With an enviable elevated location
overlooking Recife and the Atlantic, the city's historical district is concentrated on its winding upper
streets. However, this is no still life. Olinda is very much a living city, with a cultural scene that is alive
and kicking, and its beautiful enclave of preserved colonial buildings is populated by artists, students
and bohemians. Churches, museums, art galleries and convents vie with outdoor restaurants, there is
music in the streets; and craft markets attract locals and tourists alike.
Carnaval in Olinda is a mega affair, with the historic setting and party-animal residents providing an
intimacy and sense of security that other Carnavals lack, though some believe that it is becoming
more comercialized.
Chapada dos Veadeiros
This spectacular national park is in the highest area of the country's Central West, just over 220km
(136mi) north of Brasília. Its high waterfalls, natural swimming pools, dramatic cliffs and oasis-like
stands of wine-palms have caused it to become a popular destination for ecotourists.

The park's animal life includes maned wolves, banded anteaters, giant armadillos, capybaras, tapirs,
rheas, toucans and vultures. Most people stay at the former crystal-mining hamlet of São Jorge
nearby, where there is a walking trail to Vale da Luna (Valley of the Moon).

There are great spots for hang-gliding in Rio, especially around Pedra Bonita, near Pepino beach.
Surfing is popular all along the coast and waves are especially good in the southern state of Santa
Caterina, although there is also plenty of good surf close to Rio. Wind-surfing has caught on in Brazil
- while Búzios is a good place to go, the hardcore mecca is north-west of Fortaleza in places such as
Jericoacoara. Sailing is big in Búzios and off the larger resorts along the coast. Inland, the Rio
Araguaia in Goiás and Tocantins is known as a fishing paradise. There are excellent opportunities for
rock climbing in and near Rio and in the national and state parks, and hiking is great along the coast
and in some of the national and state parks. Futebol (soccer) is the national obsession, and if you can
play the game or talk about it meaningfully you'll become an instant hit with the locals.

In contrast to the Inca and Maya, the Brazilian Indians never developed a centralized civilization.
Assisted by the jungle and climate, they left very little evidence for archaeologists to study: just some
pottery, shell mounds and skeletons. The Indian population was quite diverse and there were an
estimated two to six million living in the territory that is now Brazil when the Portuguese first arrived.
Today there are fewer than 200,000, most of them in the hidden jungles of the Brazilian interior.
In 1500 Pedro Alvares Cabral set sail from Lisbon with 13 ships and 1200 crew, ostensibly for India,
and arrived on the Brazilian coast near present-day Porto Seguro by 'accident'. Some historians say it
was his intended destination all along, and it's true that his 'discovery' was reported to the king in such
matter-of-fact terms that it seems that the existence of Brazil was already well-known to mariners. In
1531 King João III of Portugal sent the first settlers to Brazil and, in 1534, fearing the ambitions of
other European countries, he divided the coast into 15 hereditary captaincies, which were given to
friends of the Crown.
The colonists soon discovered that the land and climate were ideal for growing sugar cane, and solved
the prodigious labor requirements by enslaving the Indian population, despite their resistance. The
capture and sale of slaves soon became one of Brazil's most lucrative trades, and was dominated by
the bandeirantes, men from São Paulo usually born of Indian mothers and Portuguese fathers. They
hunted the Indians into the interior, and by the mid-1600s had reached the peaks of the Peruvian
Andes. Their brutal exploits, more than any treaty, secured the huge interior of South America for
Portuguese Brazil.
From the mid-16th century, and particularly during the 17th century, African slaves, despite their
resistance, replaced Indians on the plantations. They were less vulnerable to European diseases, but
their lives were short regardless. Quilombos, communities of runaway slaves, were common
throughout the colonial era. They ranged from mocambos, small groups hidden in the forests, to the
great republic of Palmares that survived for much of the 17th century. In the 1690s, gold was
discovered in Minas Gerais and the rush was on. Brazilians and Portuguese flooded into the territory
and countless slaves were brought from Africa to dig and die in the mines.
In 1807, Napoleon's army marched on Lisbon. Two days before the invasion, the Portuguese Prince
Regent, later to become Dom João VI, set sail for Brazil. Soon after arriving, he made Rio de Janeiro
the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve; Brazil became the only New
World colony to serve as the seat of a European monarch. In 1822 the Prince Regent's son, Pedro,
who had been left behind to rule the colony when his father returned to Portugal, pulled out his sword
and yelled the battle cry 'Independência ou morte!' (independence or death). Portugal was too weak to
fight its favorite son, so Brazil became an independent empire without spilling a drop of blood.
During the 19th century, coffee replaced sugar as Brazil's major export. At first the coffee plantations
used slave labor, but with the abolition of slavery in 1888, thousands of European immigrants, mostly
Italians, poured in to work on the coffee estates, called fazendas. In 1889, a military coup, supported
by the powerful coffee aristocracy, toppled the Brazilian Empire, and for the next 40 years, Brazil was
governed by a series of military and civilian presidents supervised, in effect, by the armed forces.
In 1929, the global economic crisis weakened the coffee planters' hold on the government and an
opposition Liberal Alliance was formed with the support of nationalist military officers. When the Liberal
Alliance lost the election in 1930, the military seized power on their behalf and installed the Liberal
leader, Getúlio Vargas, as president. Vargas, whose regime was inspired by Mussolini's and Salazar's
fascist states, dominated the political scene for the next 24 years, until he was forced out of office in
1954. His replacement, Juscelino Kubitschek, was the first of Brazil's big spenders; he built Brasília,

the new capital, which was supposed to catalyze the development of the interior. By the early 1960s,
the economy was battered by inflation, partly because of the expense of building the new capital, and
fears of encroaching communism were fueled by Castro's victory in Cuba. Again, Brazil's fragile
democracy was squashed by a military coup in 1964. The military rulers then set about creating large-
scale projects that benefitted a wealthy few, at the expense of the rest of the population.
In the mid-1980s, Brazil's economic miracle, supported largely by loans from international banks,
petered out and the military handed power back to a civilian government. In November 1989,
Brazilians had their first opportunity to elect a president by popular vote in almost 30 years, and
elected Fernando Collor de Mello, ex-karate champion, over the socialist Luiz da Silva, by a narrow
but secure majority. Collor gained office promising to fight corruption and reduce inflation, but by the
end of 1992, the man who had once reminded George Bush Snr of Indiana Jones had been removed
from office and was being indicted on charges of corruption - accused of leading a gang that used
extortion and bribery to suck more than US$1 billion from the economy. (He escaped prison.)
Vice President Itamar Franco became president in December 1992 on Collor's resignation, and with
the introduction of a new currency, the real, stabilized the economy. In November 1994, Fernando
Cardoso, architect of the Plano Real (Real Plan) was elected president. Through the mid-1990s
Cardoso presided over a Brazil with a growing economy, stable currency and record foreign
investment. These achievements were offset by the legacy of longstanding problems: the loss of two
million jobs between 1989 and 1996 and ongoing problems with agrarian reform; a 1996 United
Nations report showed that Brazil had the world's most unequal distribution of wealth.
Still, this didn't stop Cardoso from persuading congress to change the constitution to allow him a
second term, and he comfortably won a second four-year term in 1998. Following the election the real
had to be devalued, ushering in a period of belt-tightening, but by 2000 the economy was growing
again. But economic growth doesn't necessarily mean social justice. Over 50 million Brazilians remain
truly poor, many desperately so. Gains in education, land reform and welfare compete against a sickly
health system, urban overcrowding, rural landlessness and environmental abuse. Corruption in Brazil
remains a way of life, despite the beginnings of attempts to tackle it. Brazil has some way to go before
it can shake off the jibe that 'it's the land of the future and always will be.'

Brazilian culture has been shaped not only by the Portuguese, who gave the country its most common
religion and language, but also by the country's native Indians, the considerable African population,
and other settlers from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Brazilian music has always been characterized by great diversity and, shaped by musical influences
from three continents, is still developing new and original forms. The samba, which reached the height
of popularity in the 1930s, is a mixture of Spanish bolero with the cadences and rhythms of African
music. Its most famous exponent was probably Carmen Miranda, known for her fiery temperament
and fruity headdresses. The more subdued bossa nova, popular in the 1950s and characterized by
songs such as 'The Girl from Ipanema', was influenced by North American jazz. Tropicalismo is a mix
of musical influences that arrived in Brazil in the 1960s and led a more electric samba. More recently,
the lambada, influenced by Caribbean rhythms, became internationally popular in the 1980s.
Among Brazil's writers of fiction, Machado de Assis stands out with his terse, ironic style. The son of a
freed slave, Assis worked as a typesetter and journalist in 19th-century Rio. Brazil's most famous
20th-century writer is the regionalist Jorge Amado, whose tales are colorful romances of Bahia's
people and places.
Brazil is officially a Catholic country, but in practice the country's religious life incorporates Indian
animism, African cults, Afro-Catholic syncretism and Kardecism, a spiritualist religion embracing
Eastern mysticism, which is gaining popularity with Brazilian Whites. Portuguese, infused with many
words from Indian and African languages, is spoken by all Brazilians. Accents, dialects and slang vary
The staples of the Brazilian diet are arroz (white rice), feijão (black beans) and farinha (manioc flour),
usually combined with steak, chicken or fish. Brazilian specialties include moqueca, a seafood stew
flavored with dendê oil and coconut milk; caruru, okra and other vegetables mixed with shrimp, onions
and peppers; and feijoada, a bean and meat stew. On many street corners in Bahia, women wearing
flowing white dresses sell acarajé, beans mashed in salt and onions, fried in dendê oil and then filled
with seafood, manioc paste, dried shrimp, pepper and tomato sauce.

Brazil is the world's fifth largest country, occupying almost half the South American continent and
bordering every country on it except Chile and Ecuador. Much of Brazil is scarcely populated, although

some regions with previously low population densities, such as the Amazon, are being rapidly settled,
logged and depleted.
Brazil can be divided into four major geographic regions. The long, narrow Atlantic seaboard has
coastal ranges between the Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia, but is flatter north of Bahia. The large
highlands - called the Planalto Brasileiro, or central plateau - which extend over most of Brazil's
interior south of the Amazon Basin are punctuated by several small mountain ranges and sliced by
several large rivers. There are also two great depressions: the Parana-Paragui basin in the south,
which is characterized by open forest, low woods and scrubland; and the huge, densely forested
Amazon basin in the north. The Amazon, 6275km (3890mi) long, is the world's largest river, and the
Amazon forest contains 30% of the world's remaining forest.
The richness and diversity of Brazil's fauna - much of which is endemic - is astounding, and the
country ranks first in the world for numbers of species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants; second
for amphibians, third for bird species; and fifth for species of reptiles. Despite its natural riches, Brazil
is renowned for the destruction of its environment. All of Brazil's major ecosystems are threatened, not
just the well-known Amazonia. Many species are under threat because of the continued depletion of
rainforests, desertification in the northeast, poaching in the Pantanal region and coastal pollution.
Most of the country has noticeable seasonal variations in rain, temperature and humidity, but only the
south of Brazil has large seasonal changes. The Brazilian winter is from June to August, with the
coldest southern states receiving average winter temperatures of between 13°C and 18°C (55°F and
64°F). In summer (December to February), Rio is hot and humid, with temperatures in the high 30°sC
(80°sF) common; the rest of the year, temperatures usually hover around 25°C (77°F). The northeast
coast gets as hot as Rio in the summer but tropical breezes make it less humid and stifling. In general,
the Planalto Brasiliero is less hot and humid, and is prone to summer rainfalls. The Amazon basin is
the rainiest part of Brazil (the term 'rainforest' is a bit of a giveaway), and while it is humid,
temperatures average a reasonable 27°C (80°F).

Getting Around
Flying within Brazil isn't cheap, but the huge size of Brazil makes taking at least a couple of flights
almost a necessity. Shop around at travel agents for promotional specials, otherwise, if you plan to
take more than a couple of internal flights, a Brazil Airpass is a money-saver. Domestic departure tax
is US$2.50-6, depending on the airport, and is often included in the price of your ticket.
Except in the Amazon basin, buses are the primary form of long-distance transport for most Brazilians,
and services are generally both excellent and inexpensive, with all major cities linked by frequent
buses. Conversely, there are very few railway passenger services in Brazil, and the trend to cut more
and more services continues; however, enthusiasts should not despair, as some wonderful railway
routes remain in operation, including the Curitiba-Paranaguá run.
Although river travel in Brazil has decreased due to the construction of a comprehensive road network,
it is still possible to travel by boat between some of the cities of the Rio São Francisco and along the
Amazon, where road travel is generally not a practical option. Driving around Brazil is, ahem, an
experience: it's anarchic and spectacularly dangerous, particularly at night, when many drivers prefer
not to use their lights. Though a convenient way to get to many parts of the country, driving should
only be undertaken with strong nerves, tidy documents and adequate insurance. It goes without
saying that cycling is even more dangerous than driving; we don't recommend it.
7) BIKINI BOTTOMS While sitting in the launderette in Florianópolis I stumbled across an
incredible article in the local newspaper. I thought I understood what I was trying to read (in
Portuguese). A conversation with a Brazilian girl who spoke English confirmed my attempts
at a translation. The writer stated his belief that the bikini bottom was THE defining mark of a
Brazilian summer! And he claimed that women from the age of 14 to 61 had inspired
innumerable male fantasies. As his article became more and more fervent, and increasingly
patriotic, he stated defiantly: Let the British keep Big Ben. Let the French have their Eiffel
Tower. Let the Americans have their tanks and bombs. We have the bikini bottom! So there
you have it! The bikini bottom! It's useless for telling the time, offering panoramic views of
capital cities or engaging in warfare.... but so what! It gives Brazil its national identity!!!

10) IRON MAIDEN If you can decide a nation's favourite band by the number of T-shirts
you see in the street then Iron Maiden, the British heavy metal band, would have to be number
1.Adrian Pope, UK (Feb 03)

Transportation: is not only a useful site for Sao Paulo but for all terminals
operated by this company.(Rio, Salvador, Belo Horizonte...) but note that the prices are often
outdated.(we ended always up paying 10% more than quoted) one the other hand the times were
accurate it saved us a lot of hassle since most terminals are way out of town!
Eva Huthoefer and Marco Antonio Reyes, (May 02)
Travel Tips
In the comments from other LP users I read a lot about not being able to find a cash machine that they
could use to get money. The link listed down here might help you to locate one. It will give you
information per city on where you can get money from an ATM with Mastercard, Maestro and
Cirrus. P.S.: This works for every country in the world!
 Bernard Vixseboxse, The Netherlands (Aug 02)


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