Brazil is situated on the East coast of South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean with a coastline of over 7,491 km and bordering every other country on the continent except for Chile and Ecuador. It is the largest country in the continent and the fifth largest country in the world, with a population of over 192 million people.
It is home to the Amazon River and the Amazon forest. It has long stretches of white sandy beaches and some of the largest and most vibrant cities, like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is a diverse and exciting place to be, known around the world for its football, carnivals and rich culture.
Brazil is a republic since 1889 and became independent of the Portuguese kingdom in 1822. The political system is a federal democracy with 26 states and a Federal District, and the president is Dilma Rousseff, of the Workers Party.
Real (R$) = 100 centavos (cents). Notes have denominations of $ 100.00, $ 50.00, $ 20.00, $ 10.00, $ 5.00 and $ 2.00. Coins have denominations of R$ 1,00, R$ 0,50, R$ 0,25, R$ 0,10, R$ 0,05, R$ 0,01 centavos (cents).
It is better to withdraw cash directly from ATMs. Banks exchange the Traveler checks in foreign currencies, including U.S. Dollars. Some hotels accept payment with traveler’s checks.
Full health insurance is recommended, since medical costs are high. The standard of care is generally very good in most cities.
Despite the good quality, you should not consume water from the tap in hotels and public places.
For foreigners, it is important to carry an identity document or a photocopy of the pages with contact information of the passport.
The plan for a new planned capital in the center of Brazil was first conceived in 1827 by José Bonifacio, an adviser to the Emperor Pedro I. But it was in 1956 that the construction and the incorporation of urban planning began. Built in just four years, between 1956 and 1960, under the leadership of President Juscelino Kubitschek, the plane-shaped city is made up of well defined sectors – residential, hotel, commercial and embassy. In 1987, Brasilia was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the only city built in the 20th Century to receive this mark of distinction due to its unique design and fantastic architecture. The original plan of the city was to accommodate 500,000 people, but now the city has over 2 million inhabitants. Many of the migrant workers who came to help build the city ended up staying, and these communities now form the basis of the satellite cities of Brasilia. The history of Brasília is one of the things that make this city unique. Brasilia is a model to future city builders about what can be done with determination, skill and urban planning.
Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government (Legislative, Executive and Judiciary) and acts as a venue for political events, music concerts and film festivals. Brasília is a cosmopolitan city, with around 119 embassies, a wide range of restaurants and a well-designed infrastructure. You can visit innovative monuments and imaginative constructions such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the The Complexo Cultural da República (Cultural Complex of the Republic) and the Palácio da Alvorada.
The climate in Brazil is mild and comfortable in any time of year. The 15th IACC will take place in November, when the average historical temperature varies between 17ºC (63ºF) and 27ºC (81ºF).
Most local buses start from or go through the rodoviária, at the precise center of the city, and run along the “wings” – serving the residential zones – or through the Monumental Axis. Minivans, called “Zebrinha” or Transporte de Vizinhança (Portuguese for Neighbourhood Transport) are very useful for the local population, as they link the central area of Brasilia (Setor Comercial, Setor de Diversões etc.) to Esplanada dos Ministérios, the airport and some of the main avenues (L2 and W3).
Buses must be called with a hand signal. Single fares are R$ 2.00 for travel within Brasília. There is no advance sale of tickets, you pay when boarding.
Taxis are relatively expensive in Brasilia and usually cannot be hailed on the streets. Taxi stands, however, are close to all tourist attractions and any hotel will be able to call a cab or provide the phone number of the best known dispatch offices. All taxis must have taximeters and can start charging only after the passenger has boarded.
The Metrô subway system started operating in 2001. Its Y-shaped line starts in the main bus station – Rodoviária de Brasília – and makes its first stop at Setor Comercial Sul (“Galeria” station), which is fairly near some hotels South of Monumental Axis. It runs along the south wing, stopping at blocks 102, 108, 112 and 114, then going through suburbs. The subway operates 6 AM to 11:30 PM from Monday to Friday (some stations stop selling tickets at 10:30 PM), and from 7 AM to 7 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. It’s not particularly useful for tourists, as it does not stop at the main attractions, but you may check Around Brasilia by subway, for a proposed itinerary that includes attractions such as the Buddhist Temple (EQS 115/116, access by “114 Sul” Station); Parkshopping mall (next to “Shopping” station) and a typical fair in the satellite city of Guará (access by “Feira” Station). Single fare: R$ 3,00, R$ 2,00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Tourists should practice caution and common sense while travelling in Brasilia. Be cautious when going to historic sites, museums, restaurants, or when taking public transportation. Avoid walking alone in isolated areas, especially after dark.
In Brazil, especially in restaurants, it is common to offer a 10% tip. In most establishments, this value is already included in the account , but is not required that you pay. If the waiter / waitress is friendly and helpful, you can give more. When a service charge is not included, it is customary to leave a 10% tip.
At bars, the bartenders do not handle cash. In a bar or a restaurant, you ask the bartender for your bill, and he brings a total (usually with full details). Communication is often informal and does not rely on strict rules of protocol.