Brazil offers a wide range of shopping options, from handicrafts to sophisticated clothing as well as beautifully designed jewellery, with coloured precious stones.

Brazil is a gourmet’s paradise. Each region in Brazil features many savoury typical dishes, always made with very fresh raw materials. International cuisine is found all over the country, simple or sophisticated, but always very tasty and fresh. Fruits are a must in the country, of most various kinds, due to the climatic diversity of the continent-sized territory, from the ones typical of cold regions to the most colourful, tasty and sweet tropical fruits used in juices, ice-cream and desserts, or enjoyed in their natural form. Brazilian beverages are fruit juices, guarana (a soft drink made out of an Amazonian fruit). Caipirinhas is made with sugar, lime, and cachaça (a spirit fermented from sugarcane juice), and lots of crushed ice.

Light informal clothing is worn all year round and for most activities. Exceptions are the winter season in the Southern areas, where warmer clothes are necessary, and dinner in the more sophisticated restaurants where formal clothing is expected. Those intending to stay in Amazon-Jungle or Pantanal Marshlands lodges should pack light comfortable clothes, hat, swimsuit, long sleeve shirts, rain coat, sunglasses, suntan lotion, binoculars and a torch.

Brazil’s high season runs from December to March. Brazil’s low season runs from May to September. During the summer, which runs from December to February, Rio and the Northeast have temperatures in the high 30s. The rest of the year temperatures are generally in the mid-20s to low 30s. The south has wider temperature variations, ranging from 15°C in the winter (June through August) to 35°C in the summer. The Amazon region rarely gets hotter than 27°C, but it is humid there, with considerable rainfall over tropical Amazonia. In some parts of the North, December to March is considered winter, since that’s the rainiest season. The Amazon and the Pantanal are best from June to August, when it’s drier.

Shops are open six days a week: stores are usually open on weekdays from 9 to 6:30 and Saturdays from 9 to 1; many are closed on Sundays. Mall hours are generally weekdays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10pm; some malls only open on Sundays around 2 pm.

Voltage in some parts of the country is 110 volts, and 220 volts in some others. Major hotels have double voltage. Please pack a converter and an adaptor.

Brazilians speak Portuguese with a softer accent and some differences in vocabulary from the language spoken in Portugal. There are no dialects in Brazil, just some differences in intonation and vocabulary from region to region. Spanish and English is well understood throughout Brazil.

Brazilian currency is Real (R$). It is pegged to the American Dollar and fluctuates at regular intervals. Dollar cash is broadly accepted. Internationally known credit-cards are accepted at most large establishments. Banks, hotel cashiers and “cambio” shops exchange dollars and other major currencies.

Australian Nationals do require a visa to enter Brazil. This visa must be prearranged prior to departure and can take up to 20 working days plus delivery to process.

Clients living in Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia need to apply for their visa directly with the Embassy of the Federative Republic of Brazil in Canberra. Please visit www.brazil.org.au for all the relevant information and fees.

Clients living in New South Wales, Queensland and Northern Territory need to apply for their visa directly with the Consulate General of Brazil in Sydney. Please visit http://sydney.itamaraty.gov.br/en- s/ for all the relevant information and fees.