All eyes on Brazil! The country is the fifth largest economy in the world and covers over nearly half of the South American continent. With a whopping population of over 200,000,000 it is home to some of the most world renowned tourism attractions and is oozing with cultural magnificence!
So if you’re heading to Brazil for a holiday this year, or you’re off to Rio De Janeiro for the World Cup, there are a few things you should know before starting your venture!
1) The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but there are more than 180 native languages spoken in the country and not many Brazilians speak English outside of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo so pick up a phrase book and do some revision beforehand. Or, check out our “key phrases post” which also features in this month’s Newsletter.
2) Kissing strangers is normal! It is customary in Brazil for a man to kiss a woman he has met only once, on each cheek, and then again when leaving. Brazilian men also have no problem hugging one another or putting their arms around each other if they’re good friends.
3) Brazil covers three time zones and has 13 cities with over one million residents!
4) Feeling thirsty? The Brazilians are experts in the creation of seriously tasty fruit drinks, so the juice bars (which can be found on almost every street in Rio) are a must! In Brazil there are so many varieties of exotic fruits that we have never even heard of here in England – caju and camu-camu to name a couple.
5) Brazil is an extremely diverse country with ethnic groups including: 54% European, 39% mixed European-African, 6% Africa, 1% other.
6) Do you love to party!? If so you’re in luck because so do they! If you’ve seen any pictures from Brazil’s Carnival you’ll understand, if not, look it up! The country’s rich cultural heritage and religion ensure that there is always a reason to celebrate in Brazil – so bring those dancing shoes!
7) The most common agricultural exports in Brazil today are coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus and beef. The best coffee in the world is said to come from Brazil, so bring some home.
8) Don’t be shocked by the Brazilian culture. If you’re a real culture hunter and want to experience the life of a local then tour the streets and get a taste of Brazilian life as it happens. Be sure to visit the sidewalk cafes of Rio, the beach-side barbecues and venture into the Amazon Jungle!
9) If you’re thinking about exploring the Amazon River, then fear not, Piranhas will not eat you alive. They do have sharp teeth, but they will not bite you upon the encounter, in fact there have been cases where people have swum with them no hassle at all. So stay calm!
10) Safety first! There is a considerable gap between the rich and poor in Brazil. Tourists are not usually targets, but refrain from taking large amounts of money out with you and keep valuables locked up at your hotel. Make sure you know what part of town you’re in at night, and only use taxi’s provided by your hotel.