Brazil Country Information

Brazilian States

Distrito Federal
Minas Gerais
Rio de Janeiro
Rio Grande do Norte
Santa Catarina
Sao Paulo

Brazil Quick Fact Information

Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world
Brazil is South America’s leading economy
Brazil is the world number one iron ore producer
Brazil has the 6th largest economy in the world (GDP)
Brazil has the largest cattle industry in the world
Brazil has the 3rd largest aircraft manufacturer in the world (EMBRAER)
Brazil has the 2nd largest number of airports worldwide
Brazil has the 9th highest number of billionaires worldwide
Brazil has a population of approximately 186 million
Brazil has 80% of the country's electricity supply needs produced by hydro-electric power
Brazil has a coastline of 4,578 miles (7,367 km)
Brazil has 14% of the world's fresh water supply
Brazil has more than 1,000 beaches and rivers
Brazil has ‘Pico Da Neblina’, it's highest mountain standing at 9,888 ft.
Brazil has won the FIFA World Cup 5 times.
Brazil hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Brazil will host the 2016 Olympic Games

Business in Brazil

Viewed as one of the most progressive economies in the world, business opportunities in Brazil are plentiful and therefore seen as the right time to invest in Brazil.

Hydro-electric power produces 92% of Brazil’s electricity, allowing for a dramatic reduction of Brazilian oil imports.

The Brazilian telecommunications industry growth is phenomenal and investment within this area is an opportunity not to be missed.

30% of Brazil’s GDP is generated through manufacturing of computers, aircraft, and automobiles, whilst Brazil is also the world’s largest exporter of coffee, soyabeans, orange juice, poultry, sugar, and beef.

Research in 2003 by Goldman Sachs, the world’s leading investment bank, identified the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) as the most rapidly developing in the world. By 2050 it estimates their economies will eclipse most of the current richest countries of the world.

Open your eyes to what Brazil has to offer: the challenge is to say no to the business and investment opportunities it delivers.

Invest in Brazil and invest in your future.

Cuisine in Brazil

The familiar diet for most Brazilians consists of red meat, fish, or chicken, accompanied with rice, black beans, and a type of flour called ‘farinha’.

Rice, black beans and farinha will always find their way onto your table, irrespective of your order, so do give them a try - you’ll be in for a delicious surprise!

Breakfast is generally served between 06.00 and 08.30 and traditionally can even include cakes and salt dried meat, although an alternative of fruit juices, coffee, bread, cereal, and eggs are always available!

The main meal of the day in Brazil is lunch, which Brazilians take very seriously, so do not interrupt them between 12.00 and 14.00! This does not mean to say that shops close!

The Brazilian evening meal is more like the European or U.S. lunch and starts from 19.00 onwards.

The most commonly found restaurant in Brazil is called the ‘Churrascaria’, where you can choose from the menu, or eat all you want for a fixed price. Rather than scanning the menu for hours, just ask for the ‘rodizio’, allowing you to eat what you want from salad and fresh seafood bars. The waiter will come and carve meat at your table, until you say ‘no more thank you’, or ‘não quero mais obrigado/obrigada’!

Culture in Brazil

The Brazilian culture can be likened to a rainbow, where all colours join to form a wonderful spectacle.

In Brazil family values are strong. You will often find families dining out together, which is a tradition respected through the generations. Brazilians also give quality time to their family and friends in general, particularly at weekends and holidays.

Differing ethnic backgrounds within Brazil provide a very colourful culture, stemming from African, Native American, and European origins. Indigenous populations spread throughout the country, and large areas of land have been given to these people in order to protect their heritage and traditions.

The melting point of heritage and culture within Brazil erupts in carnaval, dance, and song, with celebrations continuing throughout the year. Brazilians love food, and with a dazzling array of regional specialities and dishes, food becomes an integral element to any party!

With positive energy and diversity, Brazil offers something for everyone; join the ever growing number of visitors and experience your own uniquely Brazilian adventure!

Currency in Brazil

The currency in Brazil is the Real, or Reais if you are talking about more than one.

50 real note1 real coin
The Brazilian currency has note denominations from 1 up to 100, and coin denominations from 1 Centavo to 1 Real. Trying to find coins is a challenge at times, as everyone always appears to be looking for change!

Driving in Brazil

Renting a car in Brazil is relatively easy, however, driving in Brazil may be a challenge for you if you are visiting for the first time, due to having to get to know the rules of the road and road conditions may vary considerably between states, so take your time on the roads!.

General rules for driving in Brazil:

  • The minimum age to drive in Brazil is 18 years old

  • European and U.S. driver's licenses are accepted for car rental purposes

  • The speed limit on most national highways is 110 km/h (68 mph)

  • The speed limit within the city is 80 km/h (49 mph) unless otherwise indicated.

  • You drive in the right–hand side lane, and the left-hand side lane is for overtaking.

It is generally quite difficult to hire automatic cars in Brazil, and also cars of any decent size.

Most of the regular car hire companies are located in the major cities throughout Brazil, including Avis and Hertz.

When you have to fill up at the petrol/gasoline stations in Brazil you will generally have a choice of petrol/gasoline, diesel, alcohol (sugar cane), and natural gas (LPG). You will find that every station is staffed with pump attendants, will generally be asked if you would like coffee and water, and maybe at some Brazilian gas stations even asked if you want your engine oil and water levels checked!

Most modern day hire cars in Brazil will run on alcohol and/or petrol/gasoline (flex engines), so you have a choice at the pumps! Diesel and natural gas powered cars are generally not available through car hire companies.

State and Municipal border controls are situated throughout Brazil, so when you approach these, slow down as indicated, as you may be asked to stop and produce your driving license and car documents, so always make sure that you carry these with you.

Most road networks within major cities of Brazil are well light at night, but major interstate roads are not, so the advice for you is to drive in daylight hours if travelling any distance within Brazil, and plan your journey so that you can stop over somewhere at night, as roads can be unpredictable at times!

Gifts in Brazil

Brazil offers people a great variety of gifts, especially in terms of arts and crafts, gemstones and leather goods.

If it is gemstones you are looking for, you’re in the right place! Common gemstones in Brazil include esperssartita, tourmaline, amethist, greengold, quartz, topaz and diamond. Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais probably are amongst the best places to visit if you are interested in gemstones.

Brazil offers and sells plenty of leather goods, much of which is imported. Brazilian leather itself is not renowned for being top of the range as far as quality is concerned, but it’s durable and is good value for money.

Around Brazil you will come across artisan fairs, usually on the weekends, where local people come and show their wares. This is a great place to pick up a traditional Brazilian gift at a decent price. For those interested in things to buy that are ethnical, this is a great place to be as many local Indians rely on these fairs to make a living.

Other items that can make good gifts are, flip-flops, bikinis, thongs, hammocks,  and various indigenous powders which offer all kinds of remedies to the unsuspecting buyer!

Healthcare in Brazil

It is strongly recommended that you take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance before travelling to Brazil. Many Brazilians prefer to take out a private health insurance plan and there are plenty available, including BUPA.

You should contact your GP for advice on recommended vaccinations which depend upon which areas of Brazil you intend to visit. Malaria is a risk in some northern parts of Brazil and you are advised to minimise exposure to mosquito bites by covering up and using repellents.

Commonly recommended vaccinations for Brazil:

Hepatitis ARecommended for everyone
Yellow FeverRecommended for all areas in the states of Acre, Amapa, Amazones, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sol, Minas Gerais, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, and Tocantins, and parts of the states of Bahia, Parana, Piaui, Rio Grande do Sul, and Sao Paulo. Required if you are arriving from a yellow-fever infected area of Africa or the Americas.
Hepatitis BFor those who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially when visiting for more than 6 months
RabiesFor those who may have direct contact with animals and may not have access to medical care
Routine VaccinationsAll travellers should be up-to-date on tetanus-diphtheria, measles-mumps-rubella, polio, and chicken pox vaccinations

Tap water is heavily treated in most cities giving it a rather chemical taste but it is safe to drink, provided it has been passed through a charcoal filter system. It is best to check with the hotel or restaurant management before drinking tap water. Tap water in remote areas can be unsafe even if filtered so you are advised to stick to bottled mineral water, which is widely available.

Medical/dental care in Brazil is generally considered to be good, especially in capital cities. The INSS (National Institute for Social Security) is the national social security system and all workers and their employers make compulsory contributions to the system, giving them the right to medical services and eventually a pension.

The healthcare service varies in efficiency according to city and district and you will hear reports of long queues and other stories of prompt treatment. Municipal hospitals are widely available, which provide free treatment including emergency services to everyone.
For further information on health, check the British Department of Health's website at:

Language spoken in Brazil

Although a lot of people assume that Spanish is the language spoken in Brazil it is Portuguese. Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese.

If you want to learn the language then study Brazilian Portuguese, and not Portuguese from Portugal, as there are many subtle differences which can create confusion!

A large proportion of Brazilians also understand Spanish, as Spanish is widely taught in schools, and is considered to be the second language that people should learn. The Spanish language also has similarities to Portuguese in many respects.

English is also taught widely in Brazil, although Brazilians consider the language to be difficult to learn, and therefore widespread fluency in English is not found at present.

Physical Geography of Brazil

Located on the eastern part of South America and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world in terms of population (186 million in 2005) as well as in land area (8,546,510 km2).

From the Amazon basin in the north and west to the Brazilian Highlands in the southeast, the topography of Brazil is diverse. The Amazon River carries more water to the ocean than any other river system in the world. It is navigable for its entire 2,000 mile strip within Brazil. The river basin, housing the rain forest, receives more than eighty inches (about 200 cm) of rain per year.

The Brazilian highlands generally average less than 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) with the highest point in Brazil being Pico de Neblina at 9,888 feet (3,014 meters). The highest regions lie in the southeast and stoop down escarpments to the Atlantic coast. There is little seismic or volcanic activity due to Brazil's position near to the centre of the South American Plate.
Almost all of Brazil is humid and has either a tropical or subtropical climate. Brazil's rainy season occurs during the summer months while eastern Brazil suffers from regular periods of drought.

The land mass of Brazil encompasses so much of South America that it shares borders with all South American nations except Ecuador and Chile. Brazil is divided into 26 states and a Federal District. The capital city of Brazil is Brasilia, a carefully planned city built in the late 1950s in the Mato Grasso plateau.

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, two of the world's fifteen largest cities can be found in Brazil and they are located only about 250 miles (400 km) apart. Rio de Janeiro's status suffered when it was replaced by Brasilia as the capital in 1960, a position Rio de Janeiro had held since 1763. However, Rio de Janeiro is still the undisputed cultural capital of Brazil and is a major international transport hub. Sao Paulo is growing at an incredible rate. The population currently stands at around 22 million.

Weather in Brazil

Seasonal changes similar to that experienced in Europe or the USA are only witnessed in the south of Brazil. The remainder of Brazil does experience seasonal change, but much more apparent as you travel south.

The Northeast of Brazil offers a good all year round climate, where temperatures remain warm, although rainfall increases during the months of June to August each year.

Summer in Brazil lasts between December and February, when Brazilians take their vacations and enjoy the heat.

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