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Brazil is the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world. Famous for its football (soccer) tradition and its annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. As a former colony of Portugal, the official language is Portuguese and the country is home to the world's second largest Christian population. With a beautiful coastline stretching more than seven thousand kilometers, Brazil harbors an array of beautiful beaches and natural wonders.
When to go
Peak season is one week before Christmas until Carnaval (February or early March). Visiting Brazil in September through November promises summer weather and a savings on high-season rates. All the other months are usually pleasant but carry a somewhat greater possibility of rain.
Summer is December through March; Winter is June through September
International Flights: most international airlines fly to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The two main Brazilian airlines are Varig and TAM.
Domestic Flights: regular fares on domestic carriers are very expensive, but for foreigners there is an affordable way to travel with the purchase of a Brazil Airpass, offered bay the two main Brazilian airlines: Varig and TAM.
Bus Travel: for shorter distances, Brazilian buses are excellent options with tickets purchased and reserved ahead of time. On popular routes travelers can opt for a deluxe coach with air conditioning and reclining seats.
Car Travel: car rentals are expensive and the distances are huge. Brazilian drivers are aggressive and hardly ever follow any rules, and renting a car in the cities may prove troublesome. However, small side trips, like a visit to the mountain resorts of Rio for instance, would be made simple and efficient with a car rental. Prices start at $50 USD per day, plus $0.27 USD per kilometer.
Visas: U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand nationals need a visa to visit Brazil. British nationals and EU passport holders do not need a visa. To enter Brazil, a valid passport that has 6 months or more before expiration is required along with a return ticket.
Tipping: There is no expected tipping on top of the 10% service charge on restaurant and hotel bills. Taxi drivers usually do not get tipped. Bellboys get tipped R$1 (U.S.$0.50) per bag.
Credit card and ATM machines are widely available in Rio de Janeiro and other major cities. Credit Cards offer the best exchange rates. However, better prices are usually offered if you pay in cash, with prices up to 15% less expensive. It is a good idea to have several cards for some restaurants may only accept one card, i.e. Visa. Travelers checks do not do well in Brazil and you will be losing money when you cash them. ATM's are the best way to obtain cash, and ATM machines are available even in smaller towns.