Introducing the country

Owing to its title as the largest (and probably liveliest) country in South America, tourists come to Brazil with high expectations - thankfully it excels every time. Some come to party on Copacabana ...

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Owing to its title as the largest (and probably liveliest) country in South America, tourists come to Brazil with high expectations - thankfully it excels every time. Some come to party on Copacabana Beach at the legendary Rio Carnaval, others come to get lost in the charming colonial streets of Salvador and the bravest of travellers venture to São Paulo, Brazil's metropolis wonderland.

With an estimated population of 206 million, it can get a little crowded at times but it's the noise, the people and the buzz that sucks tourists in. Many will visit on a South American road-trip arriving in Brazil having toured its many bordering countries. In fact, the only two countries it isn't immediately connected to are Argentina and Chile.

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, owing to the Portuguese colonisation of the country in the 16th century. Brazil later gained independence in 1822 and since then has gone from strength to strength. Its cities rival those in North America and Europe but you'll still find history and culture around every corner. Brazil might be on fast-forward to the modern age, but it still pauses every so often to celebrate its religious, colonial past.

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Best way to get around

Bus

The bus system in Brazil is great for short and long journeys. Prices are standardised but you should pay a little extra for leitos if you plan on travelling overnight.

Train

Whilst the train network in Brazil is extensive, passenger trains are often a last resort. Most train services are cargo-only and those that do transport passengers tend to be slow.

Plane

If you're hopping from city to city, travel by plane as it's the quickest way to get around the country. Consider buying a TAM Air Pass to save money if you're planning multiple flights.