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Travel Guide: Discover Brazil

Allianz Global Assistance - Travel Guides: Discover Brazil

Brazil is a colourful and exotic South American destination

It’s famous for its beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema as well as the exhilarating festival, Carnival. Brazil stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to the impressive and equally beautiful Iguacu Falls in the South. Brazil borders every South American country (10 in total) except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil recognises four time zones. The main time zone corresponds to the time of the national capital Brasilia, which is 3 hours behind Universal Coordinated Time (UTC-3).

Relevant Information and Demographics

Emergency Numbers Police - Dial 190
Fire - Dial 193
Ambulance - Dial 192

Main Ethnic Groups

Caucasian 47%
Pardo Brazilian 43%
Main Religion Roman Catholic 64%
Protestant 22%
Geographic Facts Capital City: Brasilia
Largest City: Sao Paulo (11.3 million)

Culture and customs

Brazil is a mixture of races and ethnicities, resulting in a rich cultural diversity. Family is the foundation of the social structure, and even the extended family is quite close. 

  • Don’t make the ‘OK’ hand gesture in Brazil as it has a very different and offensive meaning.
  • Despite being ethnically diverse, there is a class system in Brazil and a visible divide between middle and lower classes.
  • It’s customary to bring a gift to a friend’s house, but avoid the colours purple and black as they are
    associated with mourning.
  • Kissing is customary, so don’t be shocked when you are kissed by a stranger.

Words to know

  • Olá = Hello
  • Com licença = Excuse me
  • Desculpe = Sorry
  • Obrigado = Thank you
  • Por favor = Please

Allianz Global Assistance - Brazilian Carnival Festival

General travel advice

Best time to visit
For good weather and the best deals, September to October is the best time to visit as it’s less crowded with holidaymakers from America. But for a good time, January to February is the best as this is when Carnival is hosted and the weather is hot.

Due to its size, Brazil has three main weather regions, each with its own rainy season. The North is closer to the equator and can experience hotter temperatures than the more moderate South.
Temperatures below are averages for Rio De Janeiro:

Dec to Mar
22° - 30°

Mar to Jun
19° - 29°

Jun to Sep
18° - 25°

Sep to Dec
19° - 27°

Bus travel is the best way to get around Brazil — everything from long distance to city transport. Bus travel is usually excellent, cheap, uncomplicated and has plenty of services. Rio and Sao Paulo also have a metro system, and taxis are another great option for city transport.

Key Facts

Dialing code +55

Visas - Canadians do not require a visa to enter Brazil for tourism for stays under ninety (90) days.

Language - Portuguese

Currency - Brazil Real
(CAD$1 = R$0.558) *average rate, 2006-2015.

The drinking age in Brazil is
18 or over.

Tipping - Customary for 
services, usually 10%.

Drive on the right side of the road.

Electrical / Device: Type N or J plug. Adapter required and converter may be required.

World records

  • The largest mural made of kisses — 13,316 people used lip balm to make a gigantic picture.
  • The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, with the largest part found in Brazil’s borders.
  • The largest samba band — 1,038 people took part in Sao Paulo.


Allianz Global Assistance - National icons are the bright yellow flower lpê-amarelo and the Rufous-bellied Thrush.

DISCLAIMER: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of all information as of the date of publishing, Allianz Global Assistance does not accept liability for any errors or omissions. Allianz Global Assistance strongly recommends seeking the guidance of a professional travel agent/agency for further information on a specific destination. On your next trip, whether to another province or country, ensure you have travel insurance as it may assist you in cases of unforeseen medical emergencies and other types of mishaps that can happen while you travel. Travel insurance does not cover everything, please always refer to the policy document for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd.

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Travel insurance does not cover everything. Please refer to the policy wording for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies and administered by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. Please note that remuneration may be payable to the distributor of this insurance. 

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