About Brazil

 

Sao Paulo

General

The Republica Federativa do Brasil is the biggest country in South America and the fifth biggest of the world. From the thirteen countries that make up the vast South American continent, 11 border Brazil. It has a 7 thousand kilometer coastline, harbors a large chunk of the Amazon Forest and while its Northern beaches are always sunny and warm, in the South you might catch below zero temperatures and even some snow. Portuguese, Dutch, French, native Indians and African slaves all left their traces and later on, during the more recent immigrations: Italians, Lebanese, Jews from all nationalities, Japanese, Chinese, Polish and off course German and other western Europeans. All contributed in creating a people so diverse it seems most Brazilians have multi-continental origins.

The majority of Brazil’s 200 million inhabit the coastal areas. The further you go inland the less crowded Brazil becomes. The language is mainly Portuguese and English is spoken very little. Even where you would expect a foreign language it sometimes simply isn’t there and in those cases, a little patience will get you anywhere. Brazilians suffer from an incredible lack of bad temper and unwillingness to help, so mostly a smile and a ‘thumbs up’ will get you further than impatience which will finally only get you to an emergency cardiac unit.  

Brazil, today, is a Federal Republic with its 26 states governed from the federal district; Brasilia (sometimes called the 27th State). One of the ten largest economies in the world, the country has a diversified middle-income economy with wide variations in development levels and mature manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors. Technology and services also play an important role and are growing rapidly.
 
For easier ‘management’ Brazil has been divided in 5 regions which sometimes confuse the first time visitor. Each of these regions differ in matters of politics, natural diversity, mentality, ethnicity, and especially economically. They have been created purely on these criteria; they hold no political importance or power, and simply help to better envision this enormous country and its diversity.

Map_factsandfiguresThe Central West region is sparsely populated and mainly covered by the Pantanal (wetlands), part of the Amazon forest and the ‘cerrado’ or Savanna. Its main towns are Campo Grande, Cuiaba and Corumba (Bolivian border). The Northeast region (Recife, Natal, Salvador, Fortaleza,…) has spectacular beaches and amazing natural beauty (Chapada Diamantina, Lençois Maranhenses, …) and is the ‘exotic’ Brazil, most travelers come looking for. It houses one third of the Brazilian population and is ethnically the richest region. The region also suffers from long periods of drought and economically is Brazil’s poorest. The Northern region covers the biggest area of the country and has the lowest population density. Apart form the rich Amazon basin, occupying most of its area, two main cities make up its economical and industrial force: Manaus and Belem. The tropical forest still houses a diversity of Amerindian tribes. The Southeast region is the richest and most densely populated. It has more inhabitants than any other South American country, hosts one of the largest megalopolises of the world (Sao Paulo) and has the country's two largest cities: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The region is diverse and offers most of the urban, cultural and historical attractions: including the major business center of Sao Paulo, the historical cities of Minas Gerais and its capital Belo Horizonte, the third-largest metropolitan area in Brazil, the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, and the coast of Espírito Santo. It’s also the most productive region with a diversity in industries, ranging from technology to agriculture. The South region is the wealthiest by GDP per capita, and has the highest standard of living in the country. It is also the coldest region of Brazil, with occasional occurrences of frost and snow in some of the higher altitude areas. It has been settled mainly by European immigrants, mostly of Italian, German and Portuguese ancestry, being clearly influenced by these cultures. It’s main cities and points of interest are: Curitiba, Foz do Iguacu, Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, … .

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Castelo Viagens

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