Brazil Fact #1 – Brazil is the largest country in South America in both size and population and it’s the fifth largest country in the world.
Brazil Fact #2 – The capital of Brazil is Brasilia.
Brazil Fact #3 – The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese can some times be a little different than Portuguese spoken in Portugal. (Think English spoken in the UK vs US.)
Brazil Fact #4 – Brazil’s government is a Federal Republic made up of of an Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch.
Brazil Fact #5 – Brazil’s current president is Lula da Silva and the Vice-President is Jose Alencar.
Brazil Fact #6 – Brazil’s is made up of 26 states and 1 federal district (think of the 50 States in The U.S. and Washington, D.C.)
Brazil Fact #7 – At somewhere around 65-70% Catholics make up the main religious group in Brazil.
Brazil Fact #8 – Brazil has a “reciprocal visa policy.” Brazil basically is saying that if your country makes our citizens go through a song and dance to visit your country we are going to happily return the favor. So if you’re a US citizen you are going to need a Brazilian travel visa.
Brazil Fact #9 – Brazilian money is the Real (“hay-al”), and Reais (“hay-ice”) for plural. The symbol for the Real is R$. It comes in the following bill denominations R$2, R$5, R$ 10, R$20, R$ 50 and R$100. The coins come in the following R$ 0,05 – R$ 0,10 – R$ 0,25 – R$ 0,50 – R$ 1,00
Brazil Fact #10 – In most major cities in Brazil the water is safe to drink, but that doesn’t mean your stomach is going to agree so I would definitely suggest sticking to bottle water.
Brazil Fact #11 – Depending on what part of Brazil you are in the electricity is either 110 or 220 volts. Most places are 110v and will have the two-pin type outlet to plug in your American appliances.
Brazil Fact #12 – Be sure to try a caipirinha – Brazil’s national alcoholic beverage. They’re delicious 🙂
Brazil Fact #13 – Don’t be offended if you get called a gringo. It has nothing to do with your race, country of origin, attitude, intelligence, ability to speak Portuguese, etc. Many Brazilians call anyone who isn’t Brazilian a gringo. So don’t take it personal.
Brazil Fact #14 – A nickname for Brazilian people are Brasileros (men) and Brasileras (women).
Brazil Fact #15 – Remember that you’re a guest of Brazil. Don’t be one of those foreigners especially Americans who think The Constitution of the United Staes applies everywhere. You may be in for a rude awakening especially when dealing with police. I’m telling you don’t even go there it’s not worth it. WOOOOSAAAA!!! and WALK AWAY!!!
Brazil Fact #16 – Cities like Sao Paulo and Rio have a notorious reputation for crime, but crime happens in every major city around the world and Brazil is no different. From my personal experiences in Brazil I think a lot of the “danger hype” is way over-exaggerated. Stick to the recommended areas, avoid traveling alone at night, don’t make yourself a target with expensive electronics or jewelry, and try not to sick out too much and you should be fine. Remember criminals do not know who has cash and who doesn’t, they don’t have some secret x-ray machine that can tell them. So they have to take educated guesses. For example hmmmm that guy has a real nice watch or wow her earrings look pretty expensive.
Brazil Fact #17 – Do not use debit cards. Listen to me and forget whatever other advice you have heard or read. I’m serious do not use your debit card in Brazil. I had my credit card cloned a few times in Brazil. The craziest time was when someone tried to purchase $6000 worth of lumber on my card. Seriously what were they going to build a house 🙂 Ok now imagine if that had been on your debit card. Trust me it’s not even worth the hassle.
Brazil Fact #18 – Bring at least two credit cards with you. Keep one in your hotel in case of an emergency. That way if you lose the one you’re carrying or your card gets hit up with unauthorized charges you will still have some emergency funds available until you can straighten it out.
Brazil Fact #19 – This should be basic tourist 101 anywhere, but DO NOT carry a whole bunch of cash on you. If for some reason you need to carry a good amount of cash on you use what I call the “the fool’s fake out.” What you do is either keep a dummy wallet with like R$20-25 or just keep the money in your main pocket. All your other money should be carried in a secret stash somewhere. That way if you get robbed they don’t get all of your money and at least they walk away with a little something. Call it a tourist tax 🙂
Brazil Fact #20 – Do not overpack and bring what you don’t need. Brazil especially Rio de Janeiro is really casual. Unless you’re traveling on business leave the suits, ties, gowns, blazers, and super dressy clothes at home. You will not need them and most of the time it’s too hot. Even if you are traveling on business you may still want to try and find exactly what dress is appropriate for your situation. In some business situations, you may be better off being casual.