Brazil Overview

Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil), is the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world. Famous for its annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. It is a country of great diversity, from the bustling urban mosaic of São Paulo to the infinite cultural energy of Pernambuco and Bahia, the wilderness of the Amazon rain forest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, there is plenty to see and to do in Brazil.

Brazil has a varied landscape. The world’s largest tropical rain forest sprawls across much of the north. The mighty Amazon and other enormous rivers wind through this vast green area of towering trees and steamy jungles. Cloud-capped mountains rise north of the forests and border the Atlantic Ocean in the southeast. Dry plains extend across parts of north-eastern Brazil. Broad, white beaches line glistening seashores on the nation’s long Atlantic coast.

In a country this size, working out what to see is no easy task. However, the Iguaçu Falls, a thundering 3km wide, 80m high cascade of water, is a must. So is the Pantanal, an enormous expanse of wetland, rich in wildlife.

For those in search of more urban pleasures, Salvador the country’s first capital has an abundant history, fiery foods, extraordinary architecture and delectable beaches going for it.


CAPITAL: Brasilia
POPULATION: 196 million
LANGUAGE: Portuguese, English
CURRENCY: Brazilian Real
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 127/220V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or two pin plug is required.
GMT/UTC -2 (Fernando de Noronha archipelago)
GMT/UTC -3 (Brazil Standard Time)
GMT/UTC -4 (Central Brazil Time)
GMT/UTC -5 (Acre Standard Time)


Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities. You should be especially vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods, as there is often a seasonal upsurge in robberies around this time. There are frequent violent clashes between the police and drug gangs in slums (“favelas”). You should avoid these areas, remain alert and aware of local conditions at all times.

You should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Brazil.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK