Beginner’s Guide to Brazil: 9 things to know before you go
With the World Cup kicking off in Brazil earlier this month, the Brazilian’s infamous carefree joie de vivre has certainly gone into overdrive. The tournament began in Sao Paulo on June 12th, and as predicted, the whole country is going to go into a frenzy of pure excitement and passion. Watching scenes of from the World Cup is enough to make anyone want to visit the amazing country that is Brazil.
With this in mind, here are our top nine things you need to know before you go to Brazil…when and if you decide to go!
1. You won’t see every city in Brazil in one trip
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and while each of its major cities has plenty to offer any visitor, you’ll have to compromise on how much you get to see unless you’re planning a long trip. Sao Paulo is the world’s third largest city, and Rio de Janeiro sits in fifth place, so between those two alone you’d have your hands full.
2. You’ll meet some of the nicest people in the world in Brazil
In Brazil, regardless of language barriers and cultural differences, you’ll find some of the kindest, most friendly people in the world. If you’re travelling alone or looking to experience Brazil the local way, you won’t be long finding invitations to dinners or parties.
3. Prepare to be outdoors in Brazil
With kilometres of beautiful beaches and exotic rainforests it’s no surprise that Brazilians revel in an outdoor culture and you’ll want to as well. The tropical climate means you should pack lightly, with mostly cool, casual clothes.
4. Try to learn (some of) the local lingo
While it’s easy to assume most people have some level of English, it’s not very widely spoken in Brazil, where the native language is Portuguese. In more concentrated tourist spots, you’ll find more English speakers, but it will do no harm to brush up on the basics before you leave!
5. Agree on taxi prices
From the moment you land in Brazil, you’ll have to be smart about the taxis you take. While most are okay, the taxis waiting at Arrivals in the airports often have illegal broken meters that can end up costing you a fortune. You’re better off trying to hail one at Departures, as it drops someone else off. A good rule of thumb is to agree a price before you start the journey, to avoid any shenanigans. Stick to legitimate taxis as well; they have red license plates while private cars will have silver ones.
6. Don’t drink the tap water
This is probably a given for anyone travelling to South America, but it’s worth pointing out. Plumbing is inconsistent and while you’ll be perfectly fine when you stick to bottled water, you can end up quite sick drinking from the tap.
7. Bring your own sun cream
For some bizarre reason, sun cream is incredibly expensive in Brazil so save some space in your case, and buy it before you go. You can spend the reais (local currency) saved on ice creams or cold drinks on the beach!
8. Expect a party
Not only are the Brazilians a welcoming bunch, they’re incredibly social and know how to party. Rio de Janeiro is the host city of the annual Carnival, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s biggest parties, and it doesn’t stop there. Festivals are a year-round occurrence across regions, so you can expect to get your dancing shoes on, and to try a lot of street food.
9. Punctuality isn’t Brazil’s strongpoint
While Brazilian’s infamous lateness might initially be an annoyance, you’ll quickly ease into Brazil’s very laidback culture. You’ll be lucky if buses show up at scheduled times, and if you’re told an event starts at a certain time, it’s a good bet to assume you’ve a little time to play around with. Embrace the positive side: if you’re late for anything, it’s unlikely you’ll be the only one, or that anyone will mind!
Holidays to Brazil
While you may not make the World Cup, why not set about planning a trip to Brazil for later in the year?
Give Monica a call on 01 8047188 and let her help you plan your trip.
For further information, we’ve detailed descriptions of all the main destinations in Brazil and their attractions, to help you choose where to begin.
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