Brazil Country Guide
Brazil is a diverse country. Its sheer size and massive population guarantees a range of landscapes, cultural heritage and local cuisines. From the famed beach cities to the depths of the Amazon and all the major cities in between, Brazil will certainly live up to your hopes and expectations!
Get to know the real Brazil with our help!
Our Brazil Country Guide provides some background information about the country, including useful tourist and traveller information. Detailed city information can be found by going to our Brazil Destination Guide and clicking on the city or region you would like to know more about. To see listings of cities we offer accommodation or tours in, check out our Brazil Hotels or Brazil Tours pages.
We recommend you read about travel in Brazil on GoNOMAD.
Brazil Country Guide
Useful information on this page includes:
To view information about climate and weather conditions in Brazil, go to our Brazil Weather page.
The international country code for Brazil is +55. Full IDD services are available for the whole country. To dial out of the country, first dial "00" and then the country code and phone number.
Emergency phone numbers in Brazil are 190 for Police and 193 for the Fire Department.
Digital and US-style analogue mobile phone networks exist in Brazil, and roaming agreements exist with many of the international mobile phone networks. It is best to check with your service provider in your home country beforehand for further information.
Internet access is often provided to guests at many of the mid-range and luxury hotels. Alternatively, internet cafes exist in many of the larger towns and cities. Airports will often have an internet booth, and post offices are normally the best place to find internet in smaller towns.
Postal services in Brazil are relatively reliable. To ensure your post arrives, you may wish to send it as registered or franked mail. Airmail to Europe or North America takes from four to six days. Standard post office hours are: Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm.
Brazilian currency is the Real/Reais (R$), which is made up of 100 centavos. Bills are available in denominations of R$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins come in denominations of R$1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 centavos. The current exchange rate can be found at OANDA.com, the currency site.
Traveller's cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, travel agencies and many hotels around the country. Brazil is also well served by its extensive network of ATMs. Most major international credit and debit cards are also accepted. Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.
Brazil has both 110 volts AC (Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo) and 220 volts AC (Brasilia and Recife). Most hotels provide both 110 and 220 volt outlets, as well as transformers and adaptors. Plugs are of the double round-pin type, but they are now being converted to the triple round-pin type.
To view a list of Brazilian embassies around the world, as well as foreign embassies in Brazil, go to http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/.
Capital: Brasilia. Population: 2.5 million (2010).
Size: 8,547,404 square km (3,300,170.9 square miles).
Population: 191 million (official 2010 estimate).
Population Density: 22 per square km.
Brazil spans a number of time zones:
Eastern Standard Time: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March).
Western Standard Time: GMT - 4 (GMT - 3 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March).
Fernando de Noronha Archipelago: GMT - 2.
East Para and North East States: GMT - 3.
West Para and Amapa: GMT - 4.
Acre State: GMT - 5.
To view the current time in Brasilia, click on this link to TimeAndDate.com.
Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and different regional accents characterise each region. Other languages such as Spanish, English, French, Italian and German are spoken as well, mostly in tourist areas. Four indigenous languages still survive, and are spoken within those indigenous areas. These are Gê, Tupi-guarani, Aruak and Karib. Some useful Portuguese phrases for travellers include:
Bom dia - Good morning
Boa tarde - Good afternoon
Boa noite - Good evening/Good night
Como vai - How are you?
Prazer - It is a pleasure to meet you
Obrigado/obrigada - Thank you (male/female person)
Oi - Hi
Até logo - Good bye
De nada - You are welcome.
Por favor - Please/Excuse (by asking information)
Desculpe - Sorry. (by apologizing)
Dá licença - Excuse me. (by making way/coming in)
Não faz mal - No problem/It doesn't matter
Meu nome é - My name is
Você fala Inglês? - Do you speak English?
Como? - Pardon?/How?/What?
O quê? - What?
Por quê? - Why?
Por que não? - Why not?
Onde? - Where?
Quanto é? - How much is it?
If you want to learn Portuguese, check out www.sonia-portuguese.com.
Brazil is located on the eastern coast of South America, sharing its coast with the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, French Guiana & Suriname. To view a map of Brazil, click on this link to WorldAtlas.com.
For a list of public holidays in Brazil, follow the link.
While there is no official religion in Brazil, approximately 70% of the population are Roman Catholic. A broad range of evangelical cults are prevalent in Brazil, as are animist beliefs such as spiritism, umbanda and candomblé.
All travellers require a visa to enter Brazil, except Nationals of EU countries (excluding Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Malta) for stays of up to 90 days.
All travellers must be in possession of onward or return tickets and sufficient funds to cover their stay & ensure they have a valid passport for 6 months from date of entry.
Transit passengers continuing to a 3rd country by the same or first connecting flight, provided holding onward documentation and not leaving the airport, do not need a visa.
Tourist Visa - cost varies according to nationality. It is usually approximately USD $20 - 180. Transit Visa - contact the consulate for details of cost.
Note - All non-Brazilian nationals under 18 years of age, when not accompanied by both parents, must have a birth certificate (an original or authenticated photocopy). This must be in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish, otherwise an official translation must be presented as well.
It is advisable to check this information with your relevant embassy prior to travel.
US citizens who do not wish to go through the trouble of dealing with the red tape themselves can count on the professional services of Travel Visa Pro to speed things up: Apply for Brazil Visa Online (service starts from $39). If you need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, you can Apply for a New US Passport here.
- Loaf of bread R$ 1.50
- Litre of petrol R$ 4.00
- 1.5L of bottled water R$ 2.50
- Glass of chopp (draft beer) R$ 2.70
- Souvenir t-shirt R$ 18.00
- Freshly squeezed suco (juice) R$ 2.50
- Admission to samba club in Rio R$ 10.00-21.00
- Two hour flight from Rio to Salvador (one-way) R$ 220.00
- Double room in a comfy pousada in Arraial d'Ajuda R$ 120.00
- 11 hour bus ride from Sao Paulo to Florianópolis R$ 87.00
- Four day excursion in the Pantanal R$ 500.00
Average Room Rates
- Low US$5-25
- Mid US$25-75
- High US$75-300
- Deluxe US$300+
Average Meal Rates
- Low US$1-5
- Mid US$5-10
- High US$10-40
- Deluxe US$40+