ABOUT Brazil is the largest country in South America, it occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior, sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the French overseas department of French Guiana to the north. It shares a border with every country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile. A country on a continental scale, Brazil has much more than only sun and surf to offer the tourist. It is possible to plan a trip that focuses on the cold of the mountainous regions like the Serra Gaúcha (Gaucho Mountains), in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. There is also Pantanal, the largest floodplain in the world, offering adventure and sport fishing tourism. Not to mention the 17 World Heritage Sites spread around the country. Tourism is an important economic activity in various regions of the country. With over five million foreign visitors a year, Brazil is the main destination for international tourism market in South America. The main airport is São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, near São Paulo, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic of the country and connecting the city with virtually all major cities across the world. Brazil has a large and diverse transport network, roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic as the railway system is in decline. Brazil offers tourists, an ample gamut of options, with natural areas being its most popular tourism product, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as historic and cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural and historic tourism in Minas Gerais and business trips to São Paulo city.

CLIMATE The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. There is no winter season and no period in which it is particularly dry. Rainfall is usually heavy and frequent all through the year, yielding dense, luscious vegetation typical of rainforests. Night time temperatures may drop significantly from daytime highs. However, the daily temperatures are all fairly similar as equatorial zones usually lie on the equator (although this is not always the case), placing them on the same line of latitude and, therefore, along the same pressure belt. Because it is usually overcast in equatorial zones, the daily highs do not often exceed about 33 degrees Celsius, and are usually at a comfortable temperature between 25 and 28 degrees.

BEWARE Levels of Levels of violence and crime are high. Shanty-towns (“favelas”) exist in all major Brazilian cities; they are characterised by poverty and extremely high levels of violent crime. Outbreaks of violence, particularly aimed at police and officials, can occur at anytime and may be widespread and unpredictable. Public transport is likely to be disrupted during periods of unrest. You should remain alert and aware of local conditions at all times. You should be particularly vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods, as there is often a seasonal upsurge in robberies around this time. Violence and crime can occur anywhere and often involve firearms or other weapons. You are advised to dress down, avoid wearing jewellery and expensive watches, and only carry small sums of money. Conceal mobile phones and cameras. You should be ready to hand over your valuables if threatened; do not attempt to resist attackers as they will often use their weapons, particularly if under the influence of drugs.