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Brazil

It is one of the world’s economic giants and is revered for its football prowess, coffee production and distinctive music such as samba and bossa nova. Two-thirds of Brazil’s population lives near the coast, meaning that life is a beach for locals and tourists alike. People are the essence of the country, and while Brazil is home to a multitude of ethnic groups of varying economic status, there are some characteristics that everyone shares - energy and passion. Brazilians enjoy a good party whatever the circumstances. Rio is the hottest of destinations, particularly around Carnival time. Dancers gyrate, the music beats and the summer temperature rises.

Practical Information

Area: 8 547 404 km² (3 300 171 miles²)

Capital: Brasília. Population: 2.3 million

Population: 188 million

Currency: Real/Reais (BRL symbol R$) = 100 centavos

Government: Federal Republic.

Tipping: 10 to 15% is usual for most services not included on the bill.

Legal drinking age: 18

Time zone: Brazil spans several time zones: Eastern Standard Time: GMT - 3 (GMT - 2 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March) Western Standard Time: GMT - 4 (GMT - 3 from third Sunday in October to third Saturday in March) North East States and East Parà: GMT - 3 Amapa and West Parà: GMT - 4 Acre State: GMT - 5 Fernando de Noronha Archipelago: GMT - 2

Languages: Portuguese

Additional descriptions

Brazil: Social customs

Handshaking is customary on meeting and taking one’s leave, and normal European courtesies are observed. Frequent offers of coffee and tea are customary. Flowers are acceptable as a gift on arrival or following a visit for a meal. A souvenir from the visitor’s home country will be well received as a gift of appreciation. Casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather. For more formal occasions the mode of dress will be indicated on invitations. Smoking is acceptable unless notified otherwise. The Catholic Church is highly respected in the community, something which should be kept in mind by the visitor.Read more following a visit for a meal. A souvenir from the visitor’s home country will be well received as a gift of appreciation. Casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather. For more formal occasions the mode of dress will be indicated on invitations. Smoking is acceptable unless notified otherwise. The Catholic Church is highly respected in the community, something which should be kept in mind by the visitor.

Brazil: Food and local specialties

Brazilian food caters for all tastes and standards are generally very high. European, North American and Asian foods are widely available in resorts and main cities. There are many traditional dishes andRead more regional specialities, such as those developed by slaves in Bahia during the days when they had to cook scraps and anything that could be caught locally, together with coconut milk and palm oil. Things to know: Some bars have waiters and table service. There are no licensing hours or restrictions on drinking. The national specialties are: Feijoada (thick stew of black beans, chunks of beef, pork, sausage, chops, pigs’ ears and tails on white rice, boiled green vegetables and orange slices). Moqueca (delicious fish stew from Bahia)Vatapá (shrimps, fish oil, coconut milk, bread and rice). Caruru (shrimps, okra, onions and peppers). Churrasco (mixed grilled meat served with manioc flour). Beer is particularly good and draught beer is called chopp. Brahma and Nova Schin are popular brands. The local firewater is cachaça, a spirit derived from sugar cane popular with locals. It is often mixed with sugar, crushed ice and limes to make caipirinha, a refreshing if intoxicating cocktail, and the Brazilian national drink. Southern Brazilian wine is of a high quality. Sucos (fruit juices) are freshly made at juice bars, and Guaraná is a popular fizzy drink made with energy-giving extract from an Amazonian plant. Coffee is available everywhere and is exceptionally good.

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