NEED TO KNOW
Capital City: Brasília
Population: 186 million
Area: 3,290,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 55
Electricity: 110V, 60 Hz (varies)
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Brazil Reais = $0.56 US Calculate Other Amounts
All visitors to Brazil need a visa to enter the country. These are easy to get through the Brazilian Embassy or consulate and cost $130.
GOOD TO KNOW
In this large and diverse nation "discovered" by Portuguese explorers in 1500, local cuisines vary by region and are based on European, African, and Amerindian traditions. Many regional variations are very different from North American and European food. One example is Bahian cookery, derived from days when slaves had to cook scraps and anything that could be caught locally, together with coconut milk and palm oil. Specialties include vatapa (shrimps, fish oil, coconut milk, bread, and rice), sarapatel (liver, heart, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and gravy), and caruru (shrimps, okra, onions, and peppers). From Rio Grande do Sul come churrasco (barbecued beef, tomato, and onion sauce) and galleto al primo canto (pieces of cockerel cooked on the spit with white wine and oil). From Amazonas come pato no tucupi (duck in rich wild green herb sauce) and tacacá (thick yellow soup with shrimps and garlic). In the northeast, dried salted meat and beans are the staple diet. In Rio de Janeiro, a favorite dish is feijoada (thick stew of black beans, chunks of beef, pork, sausage, chops, pigs' ears and tails, boiled green vegetables, and orange slices).
The famously late-rising cities of Rio and São Paulo are a night owl's best friend. Shops selling exquisite Brazilian specialties such as silver, emeralds, and snakeskin stay open well past usual closing hours and offer great bargains for such fine quality. Belém, a major city in the Amazon valley, specializes in rare treasures from the jungle. But be careful not to purchase plundered antiquities or endangered species and thereby contribute to the general destruction of one of the world's great natural resources. Reasonably priced gifts include some of the world's best, and strongest, coffee and the local liqueur cachaça.
January: 1, New Year's Day
February/March: Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, Carnival; 44 Days before Good Friday, Ash Wednesday
March/April: Friday before Easter, Good Friday; Easter; ninth Thursday after Easter, Corpus Christi
April: 21, Independence Hero Tiradentes Day
May: 1, Labor Day
September: 7, Independence Day
October: 12, Children's Day
November: 2, Memorial Day; 15, Proclamation of the Republic Day
December: 25, Christmas Day