From Andrew Harper
Brazil is the fifth-largest nation in the world, comprising almost half of the South American continent. The country is blessed with 5,000 miles of coastline, much of it undeveloped, plus the natural wonders of the Amazon Basin. Most Brazilians are urbanites, living in the huge southern cities such as São Paulo, which has a metro population of close to 20 million. Despite its glamorous reputation, Rio de Janeiro is an acquired taste, with a serious crime problem, even in upscale neighborhoods such as Ipanema.
CLIMATE : Brazil has five climatic regions. São Paulo and Brasilia have mild climates, while east coast cities such as Rio de Janeiro are warmer and rely on trade winds to moderate the seasonal heat. The Amazon Basin (see Manaus) is constantly warm, humid and rainy.
TIME : Three hours ahead of New York (EST).
CURRENCY : Brazilian real (BRL). Fluctuating rate valued at BRL2 = US$1.00 as of March 2012 Note: Most of our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.
U.S. EMBASSY : Brasilia, Tel. 61-3312-7000. Consulates: Recife, Tel. 81-3416-3050; Rio de Janeiro, Tel. 21-3823-2000; and São Paulo, Tel. 11-5186-7000.
DIRECT DIAL CODES : To phone hotels in Brazil, dial 011 (international access) + 55 (Brazil code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS : Passport and visa. Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.
GENERAL INFORMATION : Visit http://braziltour.com/ before your trip.