I visited Brazil twice last year, for two weeks over the New Year period and then for six whole weeks in Easter. I’ve experienced family dinners and nights out, attempting NYE on a boat (but felt too sea sick to stay), danced a poor attempt at samba and seen monkeys in the wild. It’s a friendly, beautiful country and I love learning more and more about it.
As much as there are plenty of tips in regards to travelling around Brazil, money, safety, and touristic ventures, it is also useful sometimes to know of some random tips to ensure the best experience when visiting this vast, tropical country.
Beware of Humidity
This is very important for anyone who, like me, has thick, frizzy, curly/wavy hair, and understands what pain Monica Geller went through when yelling “It’s the humidity!”. When I visited in Easter, to save luggage weight/space I decided to leave my hair serum at home thinking “It’ll be fine, I can survive a few weeks without it”. Haha, NO. I caved in after about a week and bought some there, and next time I visit I will not be leaving my precious hair product behind. So if like me, you are in constant battle with your hair, I wouldn’t travel light in the hair care department.
If you don’t speak Portuguese, speak bluntly
This is a tip for travelling anywhere if you don’t speak the local language, as using short, simple sentences and hand gestures can help you communicate a lot. I was sat in a restaurant once, in which the waiters go around tables serving different flavoured pizza slices (it was amazing, I ate so much), and I was offered a slice of banana and ice cream pizza (dessert pizzas NEED to become a worldwide thing). I said “No thank you”, and the waiter dumped a slice on my plate anyway. Turns out I should have simply said “No” and shook my head. Even if it feels a little rude, it helps to communicate across language barriers a lot.
Street Food is Fine
Before my first trip, when I had to get about 1000000 different vaccinations (slight exaggeration), I was also given a leaflet on how to not get sick and die whilst abroad. One point that was stated was to never eat food from street stalls. This I found amusing, because I had been told many times that the hot dogs from street stalls in Brazil are amazing. It’s advice that makes sense in other countries perhaps, but I think in Brazil if it looks clean, popular, and is recommended by any Brazilian friends, it should be safe (and cheap). Also yes, the hot dogs are great. In Britain you might get some fried onions or ketchup with your hot dog, but at these stalls you can also get chicken, cheese, sweetcorn and tiny little crisp thingies plus more.
Choose Adapters Wisely
For years and years, the plus sockets of Brazil had a similar style to European plug sockets, and so usually I find myself quite okay with just using my European adapters. However sometime recently, the design in Brazil has changed, so although it still uses the two prongs as Europe does, it has a strange diamond shape. This means that if you come across the new design, your European adapter may not fit. So I have had to plug my British electronics into my European adapters that are plugged into another adapter to fit into the Brazilian plug socket. It might just be easier to buy an adapter for Brazil.
Have a Multi-Cultural Experience
An interesting thing about Brazilian people is that they seem to be descendant from nearly everywhere. They are not just of Portuguese or Indigenous heritage, but also Spanish, German, Polish, Japanese, and from all over Africa and South America, not to mention others. This means there are plenty of cultural festivals and events to experience, as well as places to visit inspired by the vast immigration to Brazil. And perhaps most importantly, it means a vast range of food to try.