Brazil: general information


Useful general tourist information about Brazil, including all the things to know before leaving for a trip or vacation, including necessary documents, when to go and how to get there.

Brazil in a nutshell

  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Area in sq km: 8,511,996
  • Population: 180,000,000 (first half 2006)
  • Religion: Catholic (majority), Protestant and animist minorities.

Where is it

brazil flag Brazil is located in South America and is bordered to the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Colombia, to the west with Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay; to the south with Argentina and Uruguay.

The entire eastern part of the country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean.

The territory of Brazil includes a vast plateau which slopes down to the west towards the flood plains of Paranà and Paraguay and to the north towards the Amazon (region limited to the north by the Guyana Massif).

The plateau is cut into valleys that form raised edges in the east, not far from the Atlantic coast.

In particular, in the south-eastern part of the planking, you can reach quite high summits with reliefs that descend directly to the ocean.

In the central part, the plateau, which takes the name of Mato Grosso, slopes down from south to north, towards the immense Amazon basin, formed by the water catchment area of ​​the Amazon River and its tributaries, in the tropical forest.


The Amazon River is the largest river in Brazil, the second in the world in length and the first in water flow.

It flows into a vast estuary in the Atlantic Ocean after having formed a very rich water catchment basin with its tributaries (Madeira, Rio Negro, Xingù, Purus, Tapajòs, Japurà etc.).

Another important hydrographic network is formed by the Araguaia and Tocantins river which unites the central western region with the northern one of the country.

The Sao Francisco River flows largely parallel to the Atlantic coast; long but scarce of water. In addition, the high river basins also belong to Brazil: Paranà, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Recommended readings
  • Brasilia: what to see in the capital of Brazil
  • Natal (Brazil): what to see
  • Sao Paulo (Brazil): what to see
  • Maceio (Brazil): what to see between magnificent beaches
  • Jericoacoara: what to see in the state of Ceara


The equator passes north of the country, while the Tropic of Capricorn passes south near San Paolo.

Brazil is largely included in this belt and with the exception of the Amazon we can define its mild climate.

The seasons are reversed compared to ours, the summer months are between November and February and the winter months between May and August.

In the Amazon, the climate is equatorial, hot and humid with high rainfall and distributed throughout the year.

An area with significant rainfall (in the summer months) is also located within the state of Sao Paulo.

South of the Amazon, on the plateaus, the climate is generally arid, the rains are concentrated in one season (southern summer, December-February) and the temperature range (both day and seasonal) is more marked.

In particular in the north-east part of the country (Paraiba state) during the dry season (May-September) the temperatures are very high.

The coastal strip is hot and humid with mild temperatures even in winter. The rains fall mainly in autumn winter (April-August) on the northern part of the coastal strip and mainly in summer (December-February) on the southern coastal strip, up to Rio de Janeiro.

The southern part of the country enjoys a temperate climate.


Until the beginning of the 1800s Brazil was populated by Indians, Portuguese colonists and Negroes imported as slaves from Africa, afterwards mass immigration began mainly by Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards and then also Germans, Poles, Russians , Japanese, Greeks, Arabs, who made Brazil a great melting pot of races and peoples.

The majority of the population lives in the coastal strip, concentrated mainly in large cities, while large regions of Brazil are almost entirely uninhabited.

Some tribes of Indians, a name given by Europeans to the people who lived in Brazil before their arrival, live isolated in some regions of the Amazon.

These ethnic groups, protected by the environment, have come to the present day, trying to maintain their cultural identity.

Time zone

In the eastern part of the country, an area that includes Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, San Paolo, Belem, the time difference is 4 hours less than in Italy, while in the western part, including Mato Grosso and Pantanal, the difference of time zone is 5 hours less than in Italy.

When daylight saving time is in effect in Italy, an hour must be added and when there is daylight saving time in Brazil, between October and February, an hour must be removed from the time differences indicated above.

Spoken language

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese.


Brazil, despite being a country with great natural resources, has had an unbalanced development of the economy.

Wealth is distributed unevenly, there are still many areas of the country where living conditions are characterized by misery.

Significant is the huge forest heritage, endangered by indiscriminate deforestation, and the subsoil, rich in copper deposits, including bauxite, nickel, zingo, titanium, asbestos, manganese and above all iron, for which Brazil is the second largest producer of the world.

Besides these there are also significant deposits of precious minerals, including gold and diamonds.

The presence of these resources, combined with capital, first British and then American, has laid the foundations for the birth of the industry in the past.

Industrial activity is therefore represented by the mining, steel and automotive sectors.

In addition, the textile, chemical and food sectors are also developed, as well as that of tobacco, rubber and paper processing.

As for agriculture, Brazil is a major producer of plantation crops, including coffee, sugar cane and cocoa.

Fishing is important and, in the zootechnical field, cattle breeding, even if, for economic purposes, the service sector is the one that predominates over all the others.

When to go

The high season in Brazil coincides with the summer and covers the months from December to March.

Carnival is celebrated everywhere in February-March, among which the most famous is that of Rio de Janeiro, after which those of Salvador de Bahia, Recife and Olinda come, also very characteristic.

From a climatic point of view, the country can be visited all year round, with pleasant temperatures even in winter.

Only in the southernmost area of ​​the country, during the winter season, temperatures drop significantly.

Necessary documents

To enter the country you need a passport, with a residual validity of at least 6 months from the departure date and a return ticket.

Upon entering the country, a 2-part tourist card must be completed, one of which must be delivered to the immigration office and the other must be kept and returned to the aforementioned office upon departure.

The visa is only necessary for a stay longer than 3 months and, if necessary, it will be issued in the local offices of the Federal Police.


There are no mandatory vaccinations to be done, although, to go to some regions such as the Amazon, Pantanal, Mato Grosso, malaria prophylaxis and vaccination against yellow fever are recommended, to be carried out at least 10 days before departure.

It is also advisable to provide adequate protection against mosquito bites and, for those staying in coastal areas, it is recommended to eat only cooked food and drink only bottled water of safe origin.


To call from Italy to Brazil the international prefix is: 0055 followed by the prefix of the city without the 0 and the desired number.

To call from Brazil to Italy the international prefix is: 2139 followed by the desired number.

Triband mobile phones work in Brazil.


The electric current in Brazil is not uniform, therefore it is advisable to bring a current transformer.

In Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre the current is at 127 volts and 60 hertz.

In Brasilia, Florianopolis, Curitiba the current is 220 volts and 60 hertz.

In Manaus the current is 110 volts.

Money and credit cards

Brazil's official currency is real.

The major credit cards are accepted at many hotels, shops and restaurants, and ATM withdrawals are also possible.

How to get


With Alitalia flights from Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino to Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).

From Milan there are also direct flights from the Brazilian flag company Varig and Tam Airlines.

From Rome, the Aerolinas Argentinas Company organizes flights to Brazil with a stopover in Buenos Aires.

In addition, various European companies (Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia, Tap, Klm) provide flights to Brazil, stopping in the capitals of their countries.

Focus on Brazil! Country Profile and Geographical Info (January 2023)

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