Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Planning a trip to Brazil

I recently wrote a post on my Swedish food blog about planning a trip to Brazil and thought I'd share it with you here as well. If you have any tips that you think should be included please do leave a comment.

When should I go? It is worth remembering that the seasons are opposite here so when it is winter in the US/Europe it is summer here. If you want really warm weather December is perfect. The rest of the year it is pretty mild. The more south you go in the winter the colder it gets. Winter starts around June 20.

Where should I go? I am not the best person to advice in this matter I'm afraid, but I can give you some general advice. If you long to go to beautiful beaches Florianópolis is a good choice. Guia Floripa will tell you everything about what to see and do in Florianópolis. Mind you it is in Portuguese but you might still find it interesting.

The more south you go the more reminders of European culture you will see. Brazil has a lot of European immigrants, especially in the south, and some parts only speak Polish or German.

A trip to Rio De Janeiro should of course be included (you can see the famous Copa Cabana walk to the left ) and if you are a fan of amusements parks you really should not miss Beto Carrero, one of the largest parks in the world. You will need about two days to go through the whole park.

More inspiration on where to go and where to stay I suggest checking out Lonely Planet and Virtual Tourist. There you can find almost any information you are looking for.

Where should I stay? Where to stay depends totally on how thick your wallet is or to say how much you can afford to spend. Trough Hotels Combined you can get hotel prises not only for Brazil but for the rest of the world as well. Just enter where you want to go and how much you are willing to spend and they will giver you the options and prices.

You can also find hostels but in smaller cities you may have to stay at a hotel instead. Or if you are staying for a longer period of time; why not rent a house? Unfurnished house prices starts at $150/month and up. The closer to the beach the more you will be asked to pay.
How much money will I need? It is never advised to go on a holiday and try to save money meanwhile. But if you are on limited funds it might help you to know that our monthly food bill is around $200 and includes fruit, meat and everything else needed for 2 adults and one child. For the rest it all depends on where you are staying and what you will do while here.

Can I bring and use my iPod/MP3/Laptop etc? As long as you can bring it into Brazil on legal terms you should be able to use them without problems. I advice you to buy an adapter before you go, Brazil has several different sockets.

The food: What do they eat in Brazil? That is a common question from tourists. When it comes to food there are some differences as well. The northern part use more spices and fruits in the food while the rest of Brazil normally keep to a more general diet not too different from the rest of the world. You will always see chili sauce on the table but it is optional and not very strong.

Visas: Contact your embassy or consulate for questions like these.

But I don't speak Portuguese? If you want to make yourself understood a crash course in Portuguese will probably be a good idea. Most Brazilians do not speak English, if you approach teenagers you might be lucky to hold a conversation in English.

Safety: Brazil is a wonderful country and people are very open minded and talkative. Though the general advice among Brazilians are to take everything with a pinch of salt and not believe everything you are told. Not that they lie, it's a cultural thing.

If someone wants to help you with your stuff be careful and attentive. If you do not know the person it is better not to let go of your things or leave them out of sight. Avoid walking by yourself at night and especially on deserted streets. Ask at the hotel which streets you should avoid. To wander into the slum is probably not a good idea!

As long as you use common knowledge and are attentive everything should be OK. I know I absolutely love Brazil and I'm sure you would too if you come here! :)

Have a great tip about Brazil? Share!

Click on the images to see more beautiful images from Brazil!