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Brazil beaches are year round useable[except for the southern part of the country] with 4,578 miles of coastline packed with foot-friendly sand. Beware travelling Brazil in the summer holiday Dec-Feb [school holidays and Carnival time], when domestic transportation and accommodation can be expensive and difficult to find. In summer, Dec-Feb, temperatures can reach 40C, best time to go is March - May and September - November.st May and Sept
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
The world's best city beach with 4km of surprisingly spotless wide white sand. Relatively cheap, with friendly, lively locals. Plenty of accommodation, restaurants and outrageous night clubs. A great place for volley ball, and is the home of 'futevolei' [foot volley ball], too. Fun for people watching especially if you favour huge bottoms.
The down side is that you have to be cautious about thieves : use common sense - no watches, jewellery, or cameras.
If you like a little more sophistication go next door to Ipanema.
Ipanema and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Home of the bikini and tangas- tiny bikinis- Ipanema and Leblon are adjacent and slightly more chic and relaxed than nearby Copacabana. There is a family-friendly ambience and even a meeting area for mothers and babies. Soft white sand and cool blue water.
Buzios, 100 miles [160kms] NE of Rio
Originally a fishing village Buzios is now a small and still unspoilt town on a peninsula crowded with 22 fine beaches and not a lot of people top use them. Buzios came to fame when France's famous beauty, Brigitte Bardot, hung out there in the 60's.
Angra dos Reis, Costa Verde[between Rio and Sao Paulo]
If you want to escape from Rio, Costa Verde is a good destination. Costa Verde [Green Coast], is one of the most scenic stretches along the 175-mile coastline between Rio and Sao Paulo, where tropical forest spread down to the ocean, with broad bays, golden sandy beaches and small fishing villages. There are some good resort hotels, villas, trendy restaurants and clubs. Angra dos Reis [Kings' Cove] is the best beach of the area and one of the most untouched beauty spots in the country.
Santos Beach Gardens,south of Sao Paulo
The town of Santos, 45 miles from Sao Paulo, has a beautiful 4 mile beach garden, reckoned by locals to be the largest garden in the world.
Salvador, Bahia State
A beautiful, vibrant colonial city with excellent beaches on both sides.
Ilha de Tinharé, Bahia state
The seashore on this little island off the coast of Salvador is one of the prettiest in Brazil.
Neighbouring beaches, Ondina and Rio Vermelho, host Salvador's most expensive resort hotels, while Rio Vermelho has some of the city's best bars and music.
Going north along the Orla Marítima are many restaurants, clean white sand, and in the north, the Lagoa de Abaeté, a black freshwater lagoon.
Praia do Forte resort, Bahia State
Praia do Forte, to the north of Salvador, is an old fishing village reconfigered as a laidback, downmarket resort.
Natal, Rio Grande Norte State
Natal, inelegant, but 'the city of the sun' sees more than 300 days of sunshine a year and has some of the best stretches of sand in South America, including good lively city beaches - but beware the surf.
Just out of town the seaside get better with the prettiest area being Ponta Negra bay[ 10km away], and Pipa beach [80km away] - so lovely that dolphins visit regularly to admire it.
In addition Rio Grande do Norte has a more than 40 other great beaches, in particular Pirangi, Jacuma, Maracajaú, Galinhos.
Fortaleza, Ceara State
A mediocre city beach but hundreds of miles of superb wild coast either side of it, with dunes, palms, wild water and not much else.
Jericoacoara, Ceará State[300km west of Fortaleza]
Jericoacoara, increasingly fashionable in Brazil, has spectacular sunsets from the sand-dunes overlooking the little developed beaches. It is also known as an excellent place for windsurfing and horse-riding along the sands. Praia do Rosa, 90km south of Florianopolis
A small fishing village popular with no more than a few surfers until recently, Rosa is a beautiful beach with great surf, but developing rapidly. Get there before it's too late.
Guardo do Embau, near Florianopolis
Between Florianopolis and Garopaba this is a beautiful beach with an excellent slope for sandboarding, a small beach, good surf and friendly locals.
Travelling To Brazil
To enter Brazil, a passport valid for at least 6 is required, along with a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay. Most non-European visitors will require a 90 day visa which must be obtained in advance, prior to entering the country.
There are five climatic regions in Brazil: equatorial, tropical, semi-arid, highland tropical and subtropical. Cities such as Sao Paulo and Brasilia, on the plateau, have a mild climate with temperatures averaging 66ï¿½F (19ï¿½C). Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Natal and Salvador on the coast have warmer climates. Rio, for example, has an average temperature of around 80ï¿½F (26ï¿½C).
In the southern part of Brazilian, the subtropical climate is similar to parts of the US and Europe, with frosts occurring in the winter months (July to August) when temperatures can fall below freezing. In the Amazon the temperature rarely rises above 90ï¿½F (32ï¿½C), and days are generally warm, wet and humid. The region has two seasons: a rainy season (November to May) and not-so-rainy season (June to October).
For the rest of the country, temperatures range from 70ï¿½ to 90ï¿½F (20ï¿½-30ï¿½C), regardless of the season. The summer months between December and February can be hot and humid, bringing temperatures to the high 30s. The amount of rainfall depends greatly on where you are. Around the Amazon basin you can expect rain year round, while coastal regions are generally hot and dry.
Brazilian currency is the REAL, divided into centavos; 100 centavos = 1 real. Bank notes are in denominations of 100, 50, 10, 5, 1; Coins are 1.00 real; 50 centavos, 25 centavos, 10 centavos, 5 centavos and 1 centavo. The US dollar is the best foreign currency to take to Brazil as dollars can be exchanged everywhere. The most widely accepted travellersï¿½ cheques are American Express. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, Visa the most widely. There are many ATMs where you can either withdraw currency on your credit card, or you can use your bank card on the PLUS network. Check with your bank prior to your departure to make sure your cards will work.
Brazil occupies nearly half the continent of South America and is the fifth largest country in the world.
Named after brazilwood, (pau-brasil) an indigenous tree highly valued by early colonists, Brazil is home to both extensive agricultural lands and rain forests. There are several ecological parks and extremely varied ecosystems: the tropical forest in the Amazon, the stunted vegetation in the northeast, the Atlantic Forest in the southeast, the vast marsh lands of the Pantanal in the mid-west and the pampas in the south.
People are the essence of the country, and while Brazil is home to a multitude of ethnic groups of varying economic status, there are some characteristics that everyone shares ï¿½ energy and passion.
Brazilians are sun worshippers and love spending time at the beach. They also like music and dancing and celebrate with many fiestas. Carnaval is celebrated all over Brazil, with the most famous being festivities held in Rio's sambï¿½dromo ï¿½ a tiered street specifically designed for samba parades.
Brazil offers world class travel destinations with unique travel experiences...
Rio de Janeiro is the hottest of destinations and very few places in the world match its hospitality and natural charm. Rio is brimming with color, sound, rhythm, and joy, which make it synonymous with Carnaval, happiness, and beautiful people.
In the north are the major Brazilian tropical beach resorts areas such as Recife, Forteleza and Salvador da Bahia. Special amongst these is Bahia, with its prevailing African culture, cuisine, music and traditions truly their own. Here the pace and rhythm of life is very linked to history and the joy and warmth of the people make it a unique area.
The Countryï¿½s capital, Brasilia, is renowned for its futuristic architecture. Home to the Praï¿½a dos Trï¿½s Poderes, Palï¿½cio do Planalto and the National Congress ï¿½ it is the first modern cultural complex to be included in UNESCOï¿½s list of World Heritage monuments.
A rich colonial history exists in the town of Parati, which is an exquisite example of eighteenth-century Portuguese architecture. Other cities with unique cultural heritage include: Ouro Preto, Diamantina, Sï¿½o Miguel das Missï¿½es, Salvador, Sï¿½o Luï¿½s, Olinda, Cidade de Goiï¿½s and Congonhas do Campo.
Sao Paulo is a large, metropolis at the heart of a region with 40 million people of varying national origins: Portuguese, Italian, Spanish or Spanish speaking people, German, Arab, Lebanese, and Asiatic. While business dominates Sao Paulo, its museums are among the finest in South America and the city has become legendary for its outstanding cuisine. And, though not as famously wild as Rio, entertainment hot spots have attracted some of the best performers in the world.
In Manaus, you can sense the unbelievable grandeur of the worldï¿½s largest rainforest ï¿½ the Amazon. Another example of a very different Brazil culture, the indigenous people of the forest and the (Caboclos mixed white and Amerindian).
If you want to visit an atypical Brazil, deeply related with European culture, choose the southern states. Here you find folklore, traditions, music and a cuisine (with beer and wine) strictly rooted in Europe. Blumenauï¿½s Oktoberfest is a three week festival, a replica of Munichï¿½s, an event that calls more than a million people a year, and rivals with events as Rio de Janeiro or Salvadorï¿½s Carnivals.
The Pantanal, which is the world's largest wetland, covers more than 365,000 square kilometers. During the rainy season, the region experiences extensive flooding, connecting a vast array of swamps, lagoons, backwaters and oxbow lakes and has the largest American concentration of wild life.
Iguacu Falls, strung out along a crescent-shaped cliff about 2.5 miles long, some 275 individual cascades and waterfalls plummet up to 269 feet into the gorge below. The thunderous roaring can be heard from miles away. Truly a magnificent site.
Full name: Federative Republic of Brazil
Area: 8,511,965 sq km
Population: 186 million people (est.2004)
Largest city: Sï¿½o Paulo
Language: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Government: Federal Republic
Time: GMT minus 3 to 5 hours from east to west
Electricity: 110 to 120V, 60 Hz, non-standardized
Major Industries: Metal ores & products, transport equipment, soya beans, coffee, sugar
International Dialing code: 55
Time - Brazil spans 3 time zones, GMT minus 3 to 5 hours from east to west. Brazilian Standard Time is 3 hours earlier than G.M.T. and 2 hours earlier in the summer.
Business Hours - Most shops In Brazil are open from 9 am - 6:30 or 7 PM, weekdays, and from 9 am - 1 PM on Saturdays. Some shops may close earlier, and many shopping centers stay open as late as 10 PM. Banks open from 10 am - 4:00 PM, Monday - Friday, in most parts of the country with small regional variations. In some regions, shops may also close for lunch.
Tipping - In most restaurants and bars a 10% service fee is added to the bill. More sophisticated places may add on 15%. If service is not included it will be stated at the bottom of the bill : Servicio nao incluido. Taxis do not expect a tip, but it is normal to round up the final price.
Electricity - Brasï¿½lia and Recife, 220 volts AC; Rio de Janeiro and Sï¿½o 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.
Communications - Brazil has extensive fixed and cellular telephone systems which will allow you to call anywhere in the world. Public telephones use telephone cards which are widely available and can be purchased in various denominations to make local, intercity, interstate and international calls.
Shopping - In most major cities shops and markets stay open until late (up to 10.00pm). Rio and the south specialize in antiques and jewellery - special purchases include gems (particularly emeralds) and jewellery (particularly silver). In the north east specialties include laces, linen and ceramics.
Clothing - Casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather. In nightclubs, smart-casual (eg blazer, no tie) is acceptable.
Social Customs - Since Brazilian culture is European based, most familiar European social customs are observed in Brazil. In both business and social situations, shaking hands when meeting or leaving is customary. But Brazilians are also very warm and caring people, the women may kiss one (or both) cheeks of other women upon meeting them and, often, kiss men in a similar manner.
Food & Drink - The most common dishes feature various meats, rice and black beans. The nearest Brazil gets to a national dish is a black bean stew (feijoada), which is traditionally served on Saturdays. Visitors must also try out the churrasco (barbecue) restaurants and we highly recommend a visit to a rodizio, where they will keep serving of a variety of cuts of meats until you ask them to stop. Although Brazil is the world's largest coffee producer, the national drink is cachaï¿½a, a sugar cane alcohol.
Health - You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements.
Yellow Fever Vaccine -An International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever is required for tourists who have been in transit over the past three months, or who are coming from certain countries - Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, French Guiana, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leon, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire.
General Security - Brazil, like many countries, has had a bad reputation for personal security, although there are far more tourist police patrolling problem areas now, than in the past. Use common sense. The best way to avoid theft is to stay in safe areas (if in any doubt please ask your hotel receptionist / concierge whether where you want to go is safe).