Embratur: Brazilian Tourist Board
Head Office: Setor Comercial Norte - Quadra 2 - Bloco G
3°andar 70 000 Brasilia, DF
Phone: (061) 224.9100. Telex: (61) 1219.
Fax (061) 223.9889

Rio de Janeiro Office: Rua Mariz e Barros,
13 - 20.270.100 Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Phone: (021) 273.2212. Telex: (21) 210 66.
Fax (021) 273 9290



Physical geography

Brazil lies in the eastern part of South America and occupies nearly half its area (8,511,965 sq. km.).

To the north, Brazil is bounded by Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas; to the south, Uruguay; to the southwest, Argentina and Paraguay; to the west, Bolivia and Peru; to the east and southeast, the Atlantic Ocean. The Brazilian frontier line is 23,127km long, of which about one third (7,408km) is South Atlantic coastline. Brazil stretches from north to south in a line of 4,320km and is the largest country in Latin America.


As most of Brazil lies between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, it enjoys a sub-tropical climate: the average top temperature is 27.5° C and the average lowest temperature is 11.5° C, although at any given time of the year one can experience everything from the equatorial climate of the Amazon region with its pounding rain to the ephemeral light snowfalls of the extreme south.

Economic geography

For years the nation's export list was restricted to coffee and other primary products, but today Brazil exports various manufactured products of the most advanced technology - from automotive vehicles to sophisticated parts for computers and microscopes. And one cannot forget to include tourism as one of the top ten on the list of Brazil's exports.


The population of Brazil (1991 census) is 146,154,502. Population of the main cities is as follows: Sao Paulo: 9,480.427; Rio de Janeiro: 5,336,179; Belo Horizonte: 2,048,861; Recife: 1,290,149; Salvador: 2,056,013; Porto Alegre: 1,262,631; Belem: 1,246,435; Brasilia: 1,596,274; Manaus: 1,010,558; Foz do Iguaçu: 315,270.

A brief history

Brazil was discovered on 22 April 1500 by the Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral. During the first centuries the most remarkable events in the colony's life were frequent fights against French and Dutch invaders and the organization of expeditions to explore the hinterland, the so-called 'Bandeiras' (flag, so called because of the flags that the pioneers carried).

In the beginning of the 19th century, as Portugal was being invaded by Napoleon's troops, Dom Joao VI transferred himself and his court to Brazil. Ports were then opened to international trade and a spirit of reform promoted the expansion of important economic andcultural activities. The chief early national movement for Brazil's independence from Portugal took place in 1789; its hero, nicknamed 'Tiradentes' (the tooth-puller) became the country's symbol of freedom. Independence was declared in 1822 by Dom Pedro, the first Brazilian Emperor. His son, Dom Pedro II, reigned for 49 years until 1889, when Brazil was proclaimed a republic.

A federal republic since 1889, Brazil comprises 26 states and a federal district, where the capital Brasilia is located. States are divided into municipalities, these in turn being subdivided into districts.

Languages spoken by nationals



In most of the country and in the main towns, the time is earlier than Greenwich Mean Time by three hours.


The Brazilian monetary unit is the Real (R$), divided into 100 cents.

Coins = 0,01; 0,05; 0,10; 0,50; 1,00. Notes = 5,00; 10,00; 50,00 and 100,00.

Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)

1 January, New Year's Day; 17 to 20 February, Carnival; 21 February, Ash Wednesday; 5 April, Good Friday; 21 April, Tiradentes Day; 1st May, Labour Day; 6 June, Corpus Christi; 7 September, Independence Day; 12 October, Our Lady of Aparecida; 1 November, All Soul's Day; 15 November, Proclamation of the Republic; 25 December, Christmas.

What one should not fail to see

Priceless literary, artistic and scientific treasures are kept in museums and libraries of the country. Old colonial towns throughout the country, such as Sao Luis, Olinda, Salvador, Parati and especially Ouro Preto, represent a priceless cultural heritage from the past chiefly because of the artistic treasures kept in their centuries-old churches. Sculptures by the 17th-century artist known as the 'Aleijadinho' (the little cripple) are outstanding. Mariana and Congonhas are also important.

A group of distinguished architects, under the inspiration of the aesthetic ideals of Le Corbusier, started more than thirty years ago an experiment in the blending of new techniques and materials with the traditional characteristics of Brazilian architecture.

The Ministry of Education building in Rio de Janeiro, now called the Palace of Culture, stands as a monument to this new architectural style.

Since its inauguration on 21 April 1960 the new federal capital, Brasilia, has been visited by a large number of world famous personalities. Many scientific and technical congresses and conferences - national and international - have been held in the new capital.

Rio de Janeiro, the former federal capital, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with its beaches, forests, mountains, plains, fallow land and crowded sections.

Foreigners will particularly like to see the Amazon Basin and the Iguaçu and Paulo Affonso Falls in the States of Parana and Bahia respectively; a cattle ranch in the south and a sugar cane plantation in the state of Pernambuco; a cocoa plantation in the state of Bahia; a rubber plantation in the northermost part of the country or a wheatfield in the south; a coffee plantation in the states of Sao Paulo, Parana and Espirito Santo; the fisheries on the coast or the thinly populated areas in the hinterland.

Brazil's Northern Region is almost entirely covered by the broad expanse of the Amazon rainforest, which is responsible for the production of 50 per cent of the world's replenishable supply of oxygen. The midwest region contains one of the most incredible wildlife reserves in the world - the Pantanal marshlands.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

Throughout the year, as Brazil lies both in the tropical and temperate zones. The country is practically free from cyclones and earthquakes. Temperatures are high in summer but severe cold is never recorded in winter. Rio de Janeiro's climate may be compared to that of one on the southern coast of the United States.

How to dress

Ladies: For summer, cotton dresses and light sports dresses; evening gowns and bathing suits; suitable walking shoes. For winter, woollen dresses, not too heavy, an overcoat and a raincoat.

For all seasons, two or three simple suits, gloves and scarves; a beach robe and slippers; a pair of dark glasses.

Gentlemen: Trousers of light material; a lounge suit; shorts and sports shirts; walking shoes and sandals for the beach; beach wear. For winter, two thick suits, rubbers, hats, an umbrella and a raincoat.

Main holiday resorts

Marshlands: Pantanal (States of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul)

Rainforest: Amazon Forest (States of Amazon and Para)

Falls: Igassu Falls (State of Parana)

Sea: Rio de Janeiro City Coast with its lovely beaches such as Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Sao Conrado, Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Mangaratiba. Rio de Janeiro State Coast and its seaside towns such as Buzios, Cabo Frio, Angra dos Reis and Paraty. Guaruja and Ilhabela in Sao Paulo. Paranagua and Guaratuba in Parana. Itajai and Camboriu in Santa Catarina. Torres and Tramandai in Rio Grande do Sul. Guarapari and Marataizes in Espirito Santo. Porto Seguro and Itaparica in Bahia. Sao Cristovao in Sergipe. Marechal Deodoro and Maceio in Alagoas. Guaranhuns and Recife in Pernambuco. Joao Pessoa in Joao Pessoa. Natal in Rio Grande do Norte. Fortaleza in Ceara. Parnaiba in Piaui. Sao Luis and Alcantara in Maranhao. Belem in Para.

Mountains: Petropolis, Teresopolis, Nova Friburgo and Itatiaia in Rio de Janeiro. Campos de Jordao in Sao Paulo. Sao Francisco de Paula and Aparados da Serra in Rio Grande do Sul. Camamducaia in Minas Gerais. Sete Cidades in Piaui. Vila Velha in Parana. Sao Joaquim in Santa Catarina.

Main holiday sports

Soccer, horse-riding, volleyball, tennis, basketball, swimming, yachting, fishing, scuba-diving, hangliding, etc.

What to eat and drink

The famous culinary art of Bahia is extraordinarily rich and the most typically Brazilian, along with that of the State of Para. Generally seasoned with 'dende' (palm oil) and pepper, the main dishes are 'vatapa', 'caruru', 'camarao' (shrimps), 'siri' (sea crab), 'lagosta' (lobster), 'xinxin de bofe, de carne e de galinha', 'feijao de leite' (milk beans), 'moquecas de peixe' (fish cakes), 'acaraje', 'abara', 'efo haussa rice', etc.

The State of Para also has a typical regional cuisine. 'Tucupi sauce' (extracted from the root of the manioc) forms the basis of many dishes, especially duck and game. Other dishes are crab in the shell, and 'mussuam', a type of small tortoise, river turtle, etc. A beverage called 'assai' is largely consumed; it is obtained by crushing the husk of a palm fruit, to which other ingredients are added.

In Recife, the main local dishes can be found in typical restaurants and include 'sarapatel', 'buchada', 'fritada de caranguejo' (fried crabs), and 'caraba', etc.

A special treat is Brazil's famous 'feijoada', a dish prepared with black beans and pork and served with manioc flour, rice and collard greens. International food can be found anywhere.

What to buy

Precious or semi-precious stones, leather goods, pottery, crystal, soapstone objects, carved statues, antique silver, straw, sisal and jute objects. Belem and Bahia dolls, Ceara and Santa Catarina handmade lace.

Frontier formalities

Passports and visas

A tourist visa is granted to foreigners coming to Brazil for purposes of health, family visits, religious peregrinations and others, without intention of practicising any remunerated activity. To obtain a visa a visitor must present: a) a valid passport or equivalent document, b) an international vaccination certificate (see health regulations), c) proof of sufficient resources and a travel ticket for leaving Brazil.

A valid passport with visa for a stay of three months (with possible extension of three months) is required for tourists coming from: South Africa, Albania, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Australia, Benin, Belize, Birmania, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Qatar China, Taiwan, Cyprus, South Korea, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, United States, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, French Guyana, English Guyana, New Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Qatar, Yemen, Solomon Islands, India, Iran, Iraq, Yugoslavia (as from April 1st, 1992), Japan, Jordan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lebanon, Lybia, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Martinica, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Guinea, Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Romania, Reunion Island, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka St Lucia, St Vincent, Swaziland, Sudan, Czech and Slovak republics, Tahiti, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Independent States Community (ex-USSR), Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Health regulations

except for transit passengers not leaving the airport, vaccination against yellow fever, if arriving within six days after leaving or transiting infected areas or Angola.

1. Vaccination against yellow fever for all passengers visiting rural areas in Acre, Amazonas, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Rondonia, Amapa and Roraima States.

2. Malaria Prophylaxis. Malaria risk exists throughout the year below 900m. in Acre, Rondonia, Amapa, Roraima and in rural areas of Amazonas, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso and Para States. 3. P. falciparum: highly resistant to chloraquine and resistant to sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine reported.


Embarkation tax levied on passengers embarking at Brazilian airports:
a) on international flights departing from main airports: U$18.00; b) on domestic flights departing from main airports: R$7.50 (as from March, 1995).

Note: the amounts in Brazilian Real are subject to change in accordance with the banker's selling rate of exchange to the US$ in effect on the day the tax is paid.


Import: allowed. Local currency (Brazilian Real), a reasonable amount of banknotes, foreign currencies in the form of traveller's cheques, letters of credit or banknotes: unlimited.

Export: allowed. Residents: local currency: unlimited, subject to prior approval by Brazil Central Bank. Foreign currency: in the form of traveller's cheques, letters of credit or banknotes can be exported up to the amount of US$4,000 per passenger per trip. Non-residents: local and foreign currencies that have been imported minus expenses during the stay in Brazil.


Import: free import of: a) clothes and other articles for personal use of passenger, b) books ahd periodicals, c) alcoholic beverages: maximum two litres, d) any other articles with a total value not exceeding US$500 e) in addition to the free import allowances under a) through to d) above, all international passengers may purchase, up to US$500 or equivalent in other currencies, all articles available in the duty free shops located at Brazilian airports.

Main travel routes

Modern and extensive highways cross the whole country, linking the most sparsely populated regions. The country is well served by buses but less well served by trains, the most important train routes being between Sao Paulo and cities of the midwest region.

List of representatives abroad

Please apply to the nearest Brazilian Diplomatic Mission.

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Brazil thanks to the co-operation of Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Board.