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Thornhill, Ontario

Mike's Travel Facts and Tips: Brazilian Edition

Blogs 1-30

Mike's Travel Facts and Tips: Brazilian Edition

Aleksandra Radic


Ever thought of travelling to Brazil? Good news awaits you my western world friends.  Brazil is amazing and surprisingly safer than what most people think.  If you love to dance, people watch, go to the beach, and eat Churrasco meat till you pass out, put Brazil on your bucket list. Here are 40 facts and tips about Brazil.

1) Brazil is not as dangerous as many Westerners and even some Brazilians make it out to be.  Heighten your street smarts and be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine.
2) On another note, we visited some Brazilian friends of ours in Sao Paulo and he owns a bullet proof SUV.  Long story short, he took a short cut through a favela to get home one day and he was robbed at gun point.  After that incident, he got his vehicle bullet proofed.
3) Rio de Janeiro at night can be scary for some tourists in some areas.  Streets aren't generally lit well or lit at all.  Additionally, you will see solo bicycle rider's probing the streets and favela kids walking in packs with their shirts off.  But have no fears in busy areas at night as they are surrounded with police officers.
4) It's not unusual in Brazil for wealthy locals to live in electric gated neighbourhoods with armed security guards.
5) Brazilian society is not scaled by lower, middle or upper class.  It works on a system divided by letters.  Class A to E, with "A" being the wealthiest.
6) Churrasco in short means bbq in Portuguese, and is the locals favourite and most common way of eating meat.
7) The beef in Brazil is of a very high grade and absolutely delicious.  In fact, it's so tasty all you need is sea salt to season it, nothing else.  Any gringo sauce like A.1. or bullseye is a big, fat NO!
8) Traditionally in Brazilian households, Wednesday is churrasco (bbq) day and Saturday is Feijoada (stew) day.  
9) Feijoada, a stew consisting of mainly beans, beef and/or pork is a pot of glory considered one of Brazil's national dish.
10) Sao Paulo is Brazil's main business hub. It also boasters the countries largest population with 12 million inhabitants.
11) Domestic flights are really affordable as you can grab one way flights for as low as $50 CAD.
12) It would be in your best interest to book domestic flights well in advance to avoid steep price hikes closer to the date as we noticed our flights had tripled in some instances.
13) Now is an excellent time to travel to Brazil for Canadians.  The Brazilian currency is down and you get approximately three Brazilian reals to one Canadian dollar.
14) Some Pousada's and Brazilian restaurants dine quite differently than we are use to.  It works like this, you stack your plate full of a variety of buffet style set-up food.  This is then weighed on a scale and priced per kilo.  The average cost is typically 35 real per kilo.
15) Transportation by bus in Brazil is quite luxurious and another way of travelling the country on a tighter budget.  Wide leather seats, plenty of leg room and seats that recline far back with some able to go completely flat like a bed (called full cama).  
16) If your looking to get around big cities like Rio by car and want to save a little more than a taxi, take an Uber.
17) A majority of Brazilians don't speak English well or at all, even in tourist areas.  This is due to the fact there really isn't that many English speaking tourists. 
18) Brazil has a ZERO blood alcohol law in effect for drivers.  There are plenty of ride shares set-up to make sure this is followed.
19) Acai, Acai, Acai!!!  I had this dark purple goo seeping out of my pores that's how much I consumed.  There are so many different types, banana acai, acai mixed with granola and so many more toppings.  It's very cheap and served just about everywhere and a good source of protein too. 
20) According to some locals, some of the most happening and best bars which are in the favelas.
21) Armed helicopters fly over Ipanema and Copacabana frequently throughout the day.  They sometimes fly within meters above people's heads in the beach front.
22) A few Brazilian women who go to the gym use growth hormone or steroids to get bigger, fuller, legs and butt.  The sad bunch use hydrogel injections which is not FDA approved and administered by a non-doctor which can lead to death from an infection.  Other women who are equally obsessed take the cheap and safe way out and put on some shape wear or padded underwear.  
23) A lot of the appetizers eaten by locals are delicious but not that good for you.  This includes deep fried, breaded and/or lots of cheese.
24) Check out a Samba street party while in Rio.  Ask around and you will be sure to find one.
25) Brazil has a enormous east coastline with varying activities.  Events range from surfing, dune bashing in Jericoacoara, swimming with dolphins in Pipa, or capturing a snapshot of sea horses in action in Porto de Galinhas.
26) Napkins served in most restaurants are waxy so you end up spreading around the mess and are never really quite clean.
27) Fretcar is a organized ground transportation for getting to Jericoacoara beach from Fortaleza airport.  It includes a mega bus with and a special transportation vehicle which travels over sand roads and is the only way into one of Brazilian's favourite coastal sand town, Jericoacoara.  
28) There are no atm's in Jericoacoara and the nearest atm is hours away and only accessible by a vehicle able to operate on sand roads.  It has been this way for years.  If you need cash, it can be done at the largest grocery store in town, and at a whopping 10% charge.  Many locals tipped us off the Mafia is heading this process.   
29) Caipirinha consisting of cachaca (liquor derived from sugar cane), lime and sugar, is Brazil's most popular and renowned alcoholic beverage.
30) Wifi is considerably good in Brazil and available in almost all cafes and restaurants.
31) The coastal and cobble stone town of Pipa is stunning.  We agree with Brazilians and understand why it is regarded as one of Brazil's most famous beaches.
32) Wraps made from entirely tapioca are quite common for breakfast containing egg, cheese and/or ham.
33) Credit cards are widely accepted just about everywhere.
34) Have a friend or family member that is a bit of a snob? I got the funniest gift idea if you visit Brazil. No joke, there is a popular brand of tissue and toilet paper called SNOB. 
35) In Brazil or any South American countries we have visited, you will notice definitely more than in North America, hardcore make-out sessions in public places.   
36) In cafe's we noticed besides real sugar being offered something else usually on the table.  It's called Zero cal.  We saw plenty of locals using this liquid sugar substitute more so than the sugar packets.
37) Broken glass cemented and/or spiked tips can be found on high guard walls surrounding many homes and buildings.
38) Brazil has some unique looking telephone booths (who still uses them, right?). Most look like the salon hair dryers that women put their entire head in.  Except in Porto de Galinhas, where the phone booths are chickens.
39) Capoiera the form of Afro-Brazilian martial arts and dance you usually find in Brazilian steakhouses in Toronto, finds it's way also in parks and the streets for anyone to join and watch.  
40) It is absolutely illegal for women to go topless in public places (i.e. Copacabana beach). But rest assured you testosterone junkies, more than a handful of sunbathers are basically bottomless.