GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Brazil, a vast South American country, stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to vineyards and the massive Iguaçu Falls in the south. Rio de Janeiro, symbolized by its 38m Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado, is famed for its busy Copacabana and Ipanema beaches as well as its enormous, raucous Carnaval festival, featuring flamboyant costumes and samba music and dance.

brazil-flag

COUNTRY FACTS

POPULATION

184,184,000

RELIGION

Roman Catholic

CAPITAL

Brasília (3,099,000)

LIFE EXPECTANCY

69

GDP PER CAPITA

U.S. $7,600

AREA

8,547,403 square kilometers (3,300,169 square miles)

LANGUAGE

Portuguese

LITERACY PERCENT

86

FABIO'S REVIEW

Green-Living
Green-Visiting
Green-Triangular

One of my favorite countries! Locals say that "Deus é Brazileiro" (God is Brazilian), and it is hard to argue: great weather all year, lovely beaches and jungles, fantastic women, large cities for shopping, reasonable cost of life, tons of historical churches, colonial buildings and cobbled streets to explore.

I would actually live there if it wasn't for the high crime rate (and the loudness of the people). I also had a hard time learning Portuguese: I was fluent in Spanish (after a year trekking in Latin America), but couldn’t understand a single word when crossing the Brazilian border! It took me 3 months to get used to the thick accent.

Tourist wise, there is so much to see: my favorite sights were the Amazon jungle (an absolute must-see), the Iguaçu falls, the iconic Rio de Janeiro and the historical center of Salvador de Bahia.

TRAVEL TIPS:

- Concerning flights, most local airlines (TAM, Varick Airlines and Webjet) offer passes which allow you to travel domestically throughout Brazil for a lump sum - as opposed to pay individual tickets. Or, if you are on a budget and don’t have clear travel plans, GOL is the low-cost airline of choice (don’t expect even a glass of water, though).

- For most countries, you do not need to apply in advance for a visa: you can stay 3 months in Brazil, then get out and re-enter for another 3 months.

- Concerning local transportation, the website http://www.buscaonibus.com.br is very thorough, and shows all bus routes nationwide.

- To find a condo, the local real estate portal is https://www.vivareal.com.br/

- Relocation is quite easy: you can open a bank account and finalize other administrative tasks by first obtaining the magical CPF (“Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas”): it is the Brazilian individual taxpayer registry identification, that you can obtain through the branch of “Receita Federal” closest to you (see http://idg.receita.fazenda.gov.br/): you just need cash, passport, local number and address.

- Concerning phones, a SIM card bought in any Brazilian province will work nationwide BUT you will need to add the local area code, if you call people in a different province (even if you are in that province, and they use the same mobile carrier as you). For example, I bought a Brazilian SIM card in Curitiba (TIM brand, carrier code 041). I then travelled to Rio, and was unable to call the impatient yet skillful Fabiana, who also had a 041 TIM number, because by just dialing her number, my phone interpreted it as a Curitiba number: I understood after much cursing that I should dial the city area code (for Rio, 21) BETWEEN the TIM code and the recipient number… so 041-21-xxxxxxx.

LOCATIONS EXPERIENCED

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Manaus - Amazon Jungle - Piranha fishing - 9335 cover

AMAZON JUNGLE

The Amazon rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity. It’s crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the powerful Amazon. River towns, with 19th-century architecture from rubber-boom days, include Brazil’s Manaus and Belém and Peru’s Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Chapada Diamantina - National Park - 2- Gruta da Lapa Doce - 7081 cover

CHAPADA DIAMANTINA

Chapada Diamantina (Portuguese for the "Diamond Plateau") is a region of Bahia state, in the Northeast of Brazil. The breathtaking landscape, its huge canyons with rivers of brownish waters, the high altitude grasslands, known locally as Gerais, innumerous waterfalls and a great extent of trails, makes it one of the best destinations in the country for the practice of outdoor activities.

Curitiba - Historical center - Praça generoso marques and Catedral Metropolitana - 766 cover

CURITIBA

Curitiba is the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Notable skyline features include the Panoramic Tower, with an observatory on top. Known as a cultural center, Curitiba is home to a number of performance venues, including the Wire Opera House, a structure of tubular steel with a transparent roof, and the huge Guaíra Theater, with diverse programs.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Florianopolis - Teatro Alvaro de Carvalho - 5092 cover

FLORIANOPOLIS

Florianópolis, the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, is made up mostly of 54km-long Santa Catarina Island. It's famous for its beaches, including popular resort areas such as Praia dos Ingleses at the island's northern tip. Its Lagoa da Conceição, a saltwater lagoon, is popular for windsurfing and boating. The Pedro Ivo Campus Bridge connects the island to a mainland commercial district.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Fortaleza - city center - other city pictures - 1957

FORTALEZA

Fortaleza is the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará. It is known for its beaches, which are punctuated by red cliffs, palm trees, dunes and lagoons. Fortaleza’s long-standing folkloric traditions are presented in dance performances at the art nouveau José de Alencar Theater, open since 1910. Another architectural highlight is the neo-Gothic Catedral Metropolitana.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Iguazu falls - The falls - 8672 cover

IGUAZU FALLS (PUERTO IGUAZU)

The Iguazu Falls (a.k.a. Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls) are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. They are the largest waterfalls system in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Manaus - City - Teatro Amazonas - exterior - 2366 cover

MANAUS

Manaus, on the banks of the Negro River in northwestern Brazil, is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. It is situated near the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers, and serves as a major departure point for the surrounding Amazon Rainforest.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Morro Branco - Falesias de Beberibe - 4330 cover

MORRO BRANCO

Morro Branco is a Brazilian beach located in the city of Beberibe in the state of Ceará. It is known for the diverse colorations of sand, used in the work of silicography (art of drawing with sand).

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Natal - Ponte Newton Navarro - 2349 cover

NATAL

Natal is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, on Brazil's northeastern tip. It's known for its extensive coastal sand dunes and star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos, a 16th-century Portuguese fortress at the mouth of the Potengi River. North across the river, Genipabu is an area of towering dunes with a freshwater lagoon. The Via Costeira highway links a 15km stretch of beaches south of the fort.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Olinda - other pictures of Olinda historical center - 8281 cover

OLINDA

Olinda is a colonial town on Brazil’s northeast coast, near the city of Recife. Founded in 1535 by the Portuguese, it’s built on steep hillsides and distinguished by its 18th-century architecture, baroque churches, convents, monasteries and brightly painted houses. Originally a center for the sugarcane industry, it’s now known as an artists’ colony, with many galleries, workshops and museums.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Porto Alegre - Military Museum - 10770 cover

PORTO ALEGRE

Porto Alegre is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil. On the main square, Praça Marechal Deodoro, is the Renaissance-style Metropolitan Cathedral, with religious murals on the outside. The neoclassical Piratini Palace houses the state government. The 19th-century São Pedro Theater is nearby. The city is known as a gateway to the tall canyons of Aparados da Serra National Park.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Recife - Recife Antigo - Other pictures historical center - 6524 cover

RECIFE

Recife, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is distinguished by its many rivers, bridges, islets and peninsulas. Recife Antigo, on its own island by the harbor, is the historic old town center dating to the 16th century. To its south, popular Boa Viagem Beach is sheltered by reefs and lined by tall apartment blocks, modern hotels and restaurants.

Brazil (2015) - Rio De Janeiro - Trilha Do P¦o De Açúcar - 4- 9454 cover

RIO DE JANEIRO

Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the 38m-high Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnaval festival, featuring flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.

Salvador de Bahia - Upper city (Pelourinho) - other pictures of Historical center - 726 cover

SALVADOR DE BAHIA

Salvador, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, is known for its Portuguese colonial architecture, Afro-Brazilian culture and a tropical coastline. The Pelourinho neighborhood is its historic heart, with cobblestone alleys opening onto large squares, colorful buildings and baroque churches such as São Francisco, featuring gilt woodwork.

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Sao Paulo - City Center - 6273 cover

SAO PAULO

São Paulo, Brazil’s vibrant financial center, is among the world's most populous cities, with numerous cultural institutions and a rich architectural tradition. Its iconic buildings range from its neo-Gothic cathedral and the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper to modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edifício Copan. The colonial-style Pátio do Colégio church marks where Jesuit priests founded the city in 1554.

AMAZON JUNGLE

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Manaus - Amazon Jungle - Piranha fishing - 9335 cover

The Amazon rainforest, covering much of northwestern Brazil and extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries, is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, famed for its biodiversity. It’s crisscrossed by thousands of rivers, including the powerful Amazon. River towns, with 19th-century architecture from rubber-boom days, include Brazil’s Manaus and Belém and Peru’s Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado.

CHAPADA DIAMANTINA

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Chapada Diamantina - National Park - 2- Gruta da Lapa Doce - 7081 cover

Chapada Diamantina (Portuguese for the "Diamond Plateau") is a region of Bahia state, in the Northeast of Brazil. The breathtaking landscape, its huge canyons with rivers of brownish waters, the high altitude grasslands, known locally as Gerais, innumerous waterfalls and a great extent of trails, makes it one of the best destinations in the country for the practice of outdoor activities.

CURITIBA

Curitiba - Historical center - Praça generoso marques and Catedral Metropolitana - 766 cover

Curitiba is the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. Notable skyline features include the Panoramic Tower, with an observatory on top. Known as a cultural center, Curitiba is home to a number of performance venues, including the Wire Opera House, a structure of tubular steel with a transparent roof, and the huge Guaíra Theater, with diverse programs.

FLORIANOPOLIS

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Florianopolis - Teatro Alvaro de Carvalho - 5092 cover

Florianópolis, the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, is made up mostly of 54km-long Santa Catarina Island. It's famous for its beaches, including popular resort areas such as Praia dos Ingleses at the island's northern tip. Its Lagoa da Conceição, a saltwater lagoon, is popular for windsurfing and boating. The Pedro Ivo Campus Bridge connects the island to a mainland commercial district.

FORTALEZA

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Fortaleza - city center - other city pictures - 1957

Fortaleza is the capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará. It is known for its beaches, which are punctuated by red cliffs, palm trees, dunes and lagoons. Fortaleza’s long-standing folkloric traditions are presented in dance performances at the art nouveau José de Alencar Theater, open since 1910. Another architectural highlight is the neo-Gothic Catedral Metropolitana.

IGUAZU FALLS (PUERTO IGUAZU)

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Iguazu falls - The falls - 8672 cover

The Iguazu Falls (a.k.a. Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls) are waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. They are the largest waterfalls system in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.

MANAUS

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Manaus - City - Teatro Amazonas - exterior - 2366 cover

Manaus, on the banks of the Negro River in northwestern Brazil, is located in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. It is situated near the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers, and serves as a major departure point for the surrounding Amazon Rainforest.

MORRO BRANCO

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Morro Branco - Falesias de Beberibe - 4330 cover

Morro Branco is a Brazilian beach located in the city of Beberibe in the state of Ceará. It is known for the diverse colorations of sand, used in the work of silicography (art of drawing with sand).

NATAL

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Natal - Ponte Newton Navarro - 2349 cover

Natal is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, on Brazil's northeastern tip. It's known for its extensive coastal sand dunes and star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos, a 16th-century Portuguese fortress at the mouth of the Potengi River. North across the river, Genipabu is an area of towering dunes with a freshwater lagoon. The Via Costeira highway links a 15km stretch of beaches south of the fort.

OLINDA

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Olinda - other pictures of Olinda historical center - 8281 cover

Olinda is a colonial town on Brazil’s northeast coast, near the city of Recife. Founded in 1535 by the Portuguese, it’s built on steep hillsides and distinguished by its 18th-century architecture, baroque churches, convents, monasteries and brightly painted houses. Originally a center for the sugarcane industry, it’s now known as an artists’ colony, with many galleries, workshops and museums.

PORTO ALEGRE

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Porto Alegre - Military Museum - 10770 cover

Porto Alegre is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in southern Brazil. On the main square, Praça Marechal Deodoro, is the Renaissance-style Metropolitan Cathedral, with religious murals on the outside. The neoclassical Piratini Palace houses the state government. The 19th-century São Pedro Theater is nearby. The city is known as a gateway to the tall canyons of Aparados da Serra National Park.

RECIFE

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Recife - Recife Antigo - Other pictures historical center - 6524 cover

Recife, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is distinguished by its many rivers, bridges, islets and peninsulas. Recife Antigo, on its own island by the harbor, is the historic old town center dating to the 16th century. To its south, popular Boa Viagem Beach is sheltered by reefs and lined by tall apartment blocks, modern hotels and restaurants.

RIO DE JANEIRO

Brazil (2015) - Rio De Janeiro - Trilha Do P¦o De Açúcar - 4- 9454 cover

Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the 38m-high Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnaval festival, featuring flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.

SALVADOR DE BAHIA

Salvador de Bahia - Upper city (Pelourinho) - other pictures of Historical center - 726 cover

Salvador, the capital of Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, is known for its Portuguese colonial architecture, Afro-Brazilian culture and a tropical coastline. The Pelourinho neighborhood is its historic heart, with cobblestone alleys opening onto large squares, colorful buildings and baroque churches such as São Francisco, featuring gilt woodwork.

SAO PAULO

Fabio's LifeTour - Brazil (2015 April-June and October) - Sao Paulo - City Center - 6273 cover

São Paulo, Brazil’s vibrant financial center, is among the world's most populous cities, with numerous cultural institutions and a rich architectural tradition. Its iconic buildings range from its neo-Gothic cathedral and the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper to modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edifício Copan. The colonial-style Pátio do Colégio church marks where Jesuit priests founded the city in 1554.

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