Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. It spreads across almost half (47.3%) of South America, and occupies a total area of 8,547,403.5 km2. It is the fifth largest country in the world after Canada, the Russian Federation, China and the United States. Except for a small number of islands, Brazil is a single and continuous landmass. The Equator crosses through the Northern region, near Macapá, and the Tropic of Capricorn cuts through the South of the country, near São Paulo.
The official language is Portuguese; the accent and the intonation, however, are very different from what one hears in Portugal and other former Portuguese colonies. Some people say that Brazilians speak “Brazilian”, just like Americans can say they speak “American”, and not English. And there are also many Brazilians who are descendants of immigrants and who speak German and Italian, especially in towns in southern Brazil.
The mixture of races has made Brazil a culturally rich and at the same time unique country. This miscegenation began with the Indian, the African and the Portuguese, but soon after, immigrants from around the world began to arrive: Europeans, Asians, Jews and Arabs. The result is a happy people, open to everything new, a people one can only find in Brazil.
Because of this massive diversity, Brazil is one of the last places on Earth where no one is a foreigner, where one can change one’s destiny without losing one’s identity and where each and every Brazilian has a little of the entire world in his or her blood. This may be the reason why Brazilian’s welcome people from another land so openly. According to surveys carried out with foreign tourists who visited the country, 97.2% intend to return soon; 56.5% had their expectations completely satisfied; and, for 31.7%, it exceeded their expectations in every way. As you can see, those who come to Brazil become fans on their first visit.
Electricity voltages vary from one state to another. Check the voltage before connecting any electrical appliance to an outlet.
All the well known car hire firms have counters at the country’s main airports and in the main urban centers. Tourists may also book cars through their travel agencies.
The tourist may opt to take an ordinary taxi easily found in the streets or through radio taxi services. It is recommended that accredited taxi services at the airports and at points nearby the main hotels be given priority. It is not usual in Brazil to tip a taxi driver although it is common to round off the amount and let the driver keep the change as a gratuity.
Most bars and restaurants include a service charge of 10% in the Bill. It is usual to leave a little extra if the service has been satisfactory. When no service charge has been included then a tip of 10% to 15% is the general rule.
The currency used in Brazil is called the Real (R$) and the foreign exchange rate is published daily in the newspapers and other specialized sites. Foreign currency may be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels. Travellers’ cheques as well as currencies are easily exchanged at these locations. International credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants, stores, travel agencies, car rental companies and other companies that render services to tourists. A floating exchange rate is used.
To make an international call, dial: 00 + operator code* + country code + area code (if there is one) + telephone number For reverse charge international calls dial 0800 7032111.
The climate is predominantly tropical with some variation according to the region. The average annual temperature in the north is 28º C and 22º C in the south.
Because of its continental dimensions Brazil has 4 time zones. The official time is Brasília time and it corresponds to 3 hours less than GMT. From September to February the clocks are put forward one hour in most Brazilian States.
Passport and Visa
The visa is a federal permission for a foreigner to enter Brazil. For most countries, it is only issued overseas; but for some, entry and permanence in Brazilian territory is authorized for a determined amount of time, defined according to the purpose of the trip.
However, all foreigners who wish to stay longer in Brazil or who were born in countries that do not have an agreement with Brazil‚ Ministry of Foreign Affairs should request a visa. It is advisable to consult necessary requirements beforehand, because the process may take a few days to be completed.
The visas are granted to foreigners who come to Brazil for reasons that include diplomatic missions, official trips, tourism, to visit friends and family, business, participation in sport and artistic events, as well as their presence in international seminars and conferences.
The foreign visitor shall fill in the Visa Request Form, available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English, individually, that is, even if the tourist is taking a minor, said minor shall fill in his/her own form. And if the minor is coming to Brazil without his/her parents or guardian, he/she needs to present an authorization with the signature of both parents.
The request for an entry visa to Brazil can be made at any Brazilian consulate overseas. A fee must be paid, which varies according to the type of visa requested and the amount of time the tourist will remain in the country.
It is important to remember that the passport must be valid for at least six more months, from the date the visa is requested. A recent 3×4 or 5×7 colored photo with white background must also be presented.
When the visa is not required it is possible to enter and remain in the country for a specific period of time without a visa so long as the visitor passport is valid. This permission is derived from diplomatic agreements signed between Brazil and some countries, and it is classified according to the purpose of each trip.
Vaccination against Yellow Fever The vaccination against Yellow Fever is recommended to all national and foreign tourists travelling to the following Brazilian areas: all states and municipalities in the Northern region (Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá, Pará, Tocantins) and Centre-West (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goiás and the Federal District); all municipalities of Maranhão and Minas Gerais; the municipalities on the south part of Piauí, west and south part of Bahia; north of Espírito Santo; northwest of Sao Paulo; and west part of the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. It is worth noticing that almost the entire Brazilian coast is considered free of contamination risk. That area stretches from Rio Grande do Sul to Piauí, except for the north of Espírito Santo and south of Bahia. International travellers: Brazil does not require the International Vaccination or Prophylaxis Certificate to enter the country.
Don’t forget: it is necessary to be vaccinated at least 10 days prior to travelling.
Doubts and other vaccines For further clarifications and information on vaccination in Brazil, please refer to the Brazilian Consulate or Brazilian Embassy nearest to you.
Taken from: http://www.braziltour.com
Man greeting Man – Men shake hands when greeting one another, while maintaining steady eye contact. At a first meeting a handshake will suffice but it usually lasts slightly longer than the typical North American handshake. Hugging and backslapping are common greetings among Brazilian friends.
Man greeting Woman – If a woman wishes to shake hands with a man, she should extend her hand first. It is common for men and woman to exchange kisses on the cheek when first meeting in social situations. This is often accompanied with a touch on the arm and shoulder. Some Brazilians kiss one cheek, but most kiss two or three times (alternating cheeks).
Woman greeting Woman – Women generally kiss each other, starting with the left cheek and then switching to the right cheek. Some kiss one cheek, but most kiss two or three times (alternating cheeks).
Personal Space & Touching
- Light touching and close proximity are construed
as signs of general friendship (as opposed to romantic intimacy). There is also a fair amount of touching between man and women and women and women while conversing. This includes hand on shoulders, hand on arms, and hand on hands.
- Brazilians tend to stand much closer to each other than their North American counterparts. Usually one to two feet apart is normal.
- Brazilians favor direct eye contact over indirect. However, service people such as maids, delivery people, repair people, etc., will often avoid eye contact when dealing with people they are serving or working for.
- During conversations sustained eye contact is commonplace rather than intermittent. They associate a steady gaze with sincerity.
- Brazilians tend to look at each other often in public places/situations (on a bus, in the elevator, etc.)
Views Of Time
- Brazilians view time as something flexible. They put more emphasis on people, relationships, and completion of transactions rather than set schedules.
- While the bus, train, and plane schedules are generally adhered to, showing up late to a party or social function is quite common.
- While some North Americans view the Brazilian perception of time and acceptance of tardiness as a lack of caring, many Brazilians wonder why North Americans are more attentive to schedules than to human needs.
- The inverted American “OK” sign is an obscene gesture.
- Making a fist with one hand and slapping the top of it with the other once or twice means screw you and “I got screwed” or “I screwed up”.
- It’s best to not start into business discussion before the host does; meetings usually begin with casual cha.
- It’s good to wait to bring up the topics related to politics, poverty, religion, or the Rain Forest until trust has been established.
Taken from: http://www.culturecrossing.net/
Come and see for yourself!!!