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Brazil

Brasilia, Brazil

General Information

Regions of Interest

Brazil is the fifth largest country on earth. It is divided into five regions, mainly drawn around state lines, but they also more or less follow natural, economic and cultural borderlines.
NORTH ‑ the Amazon, the rain forest and frontier life.
NORTHEAST ‑ a strong black culture mingles with early Iberic folklore and Indigenous traditions. This is often considered the country's most beautiful coastline.
CENTRAL WEST ‑ the Pantanal Wetlands, young cities and the Federal District, with its modernist architecture.
SOUTHEAST ‑ the cosmopolitan heart of the country. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the largest cities of the country and the economic and industrial hubs.
SOUTH ‑ a land of valleys and pampas where a strong gaucho culture meets European influences.

Historic Sites

Many cities have reminders of Brazil's colonial past, with churches, monasteries, forts, and other structures still intact. Some of the most concentrated and best‑preserved colonial buildings can be found in old gold‑mining towns such as Ouro Preto, but many other cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis, Salvador and Goiânia have quite significant colonial centers as well.

Shopping

Similar to the rest of Latin America, hand‑crafted jewelry can be found anywhere. But precious stones are the main shopping attraction. In regions that are largely populated by Afro‑Brazilians you'll find more African‑influenced souvenirs, including black dolls. Havaianas sandals are also affordable in Brazil and supermarkets are often the best place to buy them. A Brazilian woven cotton hammock is a nice, functional purchase as well. Shopping Malls are in all metropolitan cities.

Gastronomy

Brazil's cuisine is as varied as its geography and culture. While there are some quite unique dishes of regional origin, many dishes were brought by overseas immigrants and have been adapted to local tastes through the generations. Brazil's national dish is the Feijoada, a hearty stew made of black beans, various pork and beef. It's served with rice, garnished with collard greens and sliced oranges. It's not served in every restaurant but it is typically offer it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Don't eat too much feijoada the first time ‑ this is a heavy dish! Most popular is the Churrasco a Brazilian barbecue, and is usually served "rodizio" or "espeto corrido" (all‑you‑can‑eat).