Brazil

With an area of more than 8.5 million square kilometres, Brazil is the largest South American country. Its population is very diverse: decades of mass immigration from different countries made it mix of ethnic groups and cultures that added to the indigenous tribes.

A Portugal colony for more than 300 years until 1808, the official language in Brazil is Portuguese. The local currency is the Brazilian Real and the capital is Brasilia, even though the largest city is São Paulo.

How to plan a trip to Brazil

Flights

There are many airlines flying to Brazil, including Tap, British Airways, Alitalia and Lufthansa from Europe, American Airlines and Delta from the the US, or Qatar Airways, Etihad or XiamenAir from Asia.

Check out TripAdvisor or SkyScanner to compare prices and airlines to Brazil from different parts of the world.

Brazil hotel booking

With a large range of hotels, guest houses, homestays, it’s not difficult to find the perfect Brazil accommodation for your trip.

Whether you are travelling to big cities like Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Sao Paulo or smaller towns such as Jericoacoara, the hotel choice is very rich and diverse.

Check out comparison websites like TripAdvisor or HotelsCombined to compare different prices and deals or Booking if you want to directly book your hotel.

Safety

Brazil is not so safe. Street crime is very present in most largest cities and also in smaller towns, so try not to lower your guard, especially in crowded places or if you take the public transport. I was mugged in Fortaleza and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

When planning a trip to Brazil we highly recommend you pack safety clothes where to carry your money, credit card, ID papers and other personal belongings when you are around.

Another important precaution is to purchase a travel insurance. World Nomads is a very good option, with a wide range of activities covered.

Some other safety measures to keep in mind are to leave your passport in your hotel room and carry only a copy around, or try to have little cash with you or just forget your purse or backpack and wear a fanny pack instead.

Best tours to Brazil and package deals

If you want to visit Brazil without do all the planning but just relax and enjoy, then delegate a trusted tour company for all the logistics.

Some of the best tours are organised by GAdventures and Intrepid Travel, and you can visit places such as the Amazon rainforest, Rio de Janeiro, the Iguazu Waterfalls. Alternatively, you can peruse TourRadar website to compare the package deals for Brazil from different tour operators.

Places to visit in Brazil

Brazil is a huge country and boasts a very diverse landscape. Nature-wise, it’s one of the very favourite destinations. The Amazon rainforest, the Iguaçu Falls, the Pantanal and the dune lagoons of the Lençóis Maranhenses are only some of the country’s natural wonders.

Other places to visit in Brazil are the gorgeous city of Rio de Janeiro, by far my favourite so far, Fortaleza as well as other cities in the northeastern state of Ceara like Jericoacoara, Beberibe and Canoa Quebrada, or São Paulo, Curitiba, Florianopolis and Porto Alegre in the south, and obviously Salvador de Bahia to learn about the African-Brazilian culture.

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What to eat in Brazil

Brazilian dishes are a mix of European and African flavours that influenced the indigenous cuisine. Among the most common ingredients used in the local foods are coconut milk, manioca used in many ways, including the flour often used to make delicious farofa, rice, black beans, fresh cheese.

Meat lovers will enjoy every bit of Brazilian culinary tradition. All over the country, you will find plenty of restaurants that do the typical “churrasco”, different types of barbecued meat. In some restaurants they adopted the all-you-can-eat formula totally Brazilian style with waiters passing through the tables with the skewer and cutting a piece on your dish. Each customer is given a little card red on side, green on the other: until you turn yours with the red side up, the waiter will drop meat on your plate. Usually these restaurants have a huge veggies buffet included in the price. A very famous one, and rather expensive, adopting this style is Marius in Rio de Janeiro. He has both a meat and a fish restaurant, both with the same formula, the fish one is delicious. Read here some reviews.

Some typical dishes to try in Brazil are:

  • Feijoada – A stew with beef and pork meat and black beans served with rice and farofa.
  • Picanha – A tender cut from the beef shoulder, the favourite meat dish.
  • Camarão ao Catupiry – Shrimps on a catupiry fresh cheese sauce.
  • Pão de Queijo – Cheese-flavoured small and soft bread.
  • Tapioca – Typical from the Northeast, it’s manioca starch made that can be made sweet or savoury depending on what it’s served with. The savoury version is very popular with sun-dried meat (carne de sol), while the sweet one for breakfast with jam or fruit.
  • Moqueca – Fish and seafood stew with a strong coconut flavour.
  • Arroz e feijão – Rice and beans, a sort of staple, very nutritious and a base for many meals.

On top of the main dishes, Brazilian fruits are delicious, so don’t leave before trying their coconut (drinking the water first), mango, avocado, fruta do conde, pineapple, açai, papaya (mamão), maracujá (passion fruit), guava (or goiaba, very popular as a jam to eat with queijo mineiro cheese from Minas Gerais), guaraná as an energy boost available also in powder, and their delicious cashew nuts.

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