Country Information Brazil

Location
  Brazil is the biggest country in South America and the fifth biggest in the world – it covers nearly half of the South American subcontinent with 8,5 sqkm surface. In the North it borders on Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana; in the South on Uruguay; in the West on Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Columbia and on the Atlantic Ocean in the North as well as in the East.
Population
  Approximately 192 million
Capital
  Brasilia
Politics & Economy
  Brazil is a federal republic with a president as the head of state. Brazil is a striving fast-developing country and the leading export country of South America; already nearly 70 % of exports are produced in the processing industries. Besides coffee, cacao and sugar cane are the main goods of the Brazilian export industry.
Currency
  Brazilian Real (1 Real = 100 Centavos)
Language
  Portuguese
Time difference
  The country has different time zones:
-3 hours GMT / Manaus: -4 hours GMT
Voltage
  110 or 220V alternating current, it is recommendable to bring a multi-adapter!
Public Holidays
  1. and 6. January, Carnival Monday, Good Friday, 21. April, 1. May, 7. September, 12. October, 2. and 15. November, 25. and 31. December
Opening hours
  Shops are generally open from 9:00 am – 18/19:00 pm, supermarkets and shopping malls often till 8 pm or even longer, banks open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4.00 pm.
Climate
 

Summer in Brazil lasts from October to March and winter from June to August. Due to its size temperatures and rainfalls vary a lot within the country. 90% of the country lies within the tropical zone with temperatures from 18 to 40°C.

North / Amazon  ever humid jungle area, drier season from June to September, high temperatures not below 23°C
Atlantic coast

in the Northeast mostly warm, Coast of Rio humid-tropical with tropical showers between December and April, in the South: fluctuating (18 to 40°C)

Interior

semi humid climate until the end of March, relatively dry and cold winter; except of the Pantanal: humid and hot climate with up to 45°C.

South

humid, subtropical climate; High-lands: temperate, sometimes quite cold in winter, snowfalls are rare

Best time to travel
  October till March
Clothing
 
In the bigger cities Brazilians are dressing rather elegant and in the interior rather conservative. Raingear, good footwear and sun protection are always useful!
Tourist Destinations
 
Rio de Janeiro
famous metropolis, Sugar loaf, Corcovado with Christ statue, white sandy beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema beach 
São Paulo unique metropolis
Belo Horizonte / Ouro Preto
centre of the gold fever in the 18th century, gold mines, colonial architecture
Salvador da Bahia
capital of afro-Brazilian folklore and culture, historical city, beautiful beaches
Manaus
Tropical rain forest in the Amazon region
Iguassu
giant waterfalls with 275 falls along 2,7km, in the midst of the tropical rainforest, located in the border triangle of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay. Today one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Flora & Fauna
  The flora and fauna in Brazil is, above all due to the tropical rainforest covering nearly the half of the country, of an unbelievable rich variety. Trees, being higher than 50 meters, are standing close together in the Amazon rainforest, whereas steppe and savannah alternating with swamp areas,  are dominating in another large part of the country. The Pantanal, a National Park in the West is a paradise for animals: wild and water pigs, tapir, jaguar, alligators and piranhas live here. Moreover you might get to see puma, howler monkeys, anaconda, cayman, toucan in Brazil.
Food & Drinks
  There are several local specialities in this large country. Mostly the meals are quite light -  vegetables, fruits and salads are preferred. Everywhere known are Prato Feito (beef with black beans, rice and salad) and Churrasco (different pieces of meat grilled on the spit). Feijoda, made of black beans and several dried, salted or smoked pieces of meat, is the national dish of Brazil. The Brazilian beer is excellent and the national drink, caipirinha, contains the most exceptional brew of Brazil, the sugar cane schnapps called cachaça.
Souvenirs
  Textiles and leather goods like shoes, bags and belts are quite cheap in Brazil. Above all the northern regions offer nice pottery and different kinds of Indian craftworks and many works of wood (e.g. dishes, plates). Discs with typical Brazilian music are always a nice souvenir.