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D e s t i n a t i o n s
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Divided into five geographical regions - North, North-East, Centre-West, South and South-East - the country offers widely differing tourist options in each of them. Although they all have one feature in common in the form of Brazil's natural beauty, each one has its own special feature - something that speaks out - to make discovering Brazil an adventure that runs from rivers, valleys and mountains of rare beauty to a colonial past and history that began in the 16th century.
The physical and human features of this broad land are rich and various. Because the greater part of the Amazon Basin lies within Brazilian territory, scientists from throughout the world are attracted to the region to study the Earth's largest river system and most extensive regions of virgin rainforest. Brazil has enormous expanses of untouched tropical forest and sparsely settled savannas with a scattering of isolated villages. It is a land rich in natural resources, and its burgeoning cities, huge hydroelectric and industrial complexes, mines, and fertile farmlands have placed it among the world's most productive countries. In contrast, however, Brazil is also a country that has had to struggle with a rapidly growing population, an unstable economy, periods of soaring inflation, and a highly volatile political life.
Most of the inhabitants of Brazil, the world's fifth most populous nation, are concentrated along the eastern seaboard. Its national capital, Brasília, however, is located inland, on the outer edge of intensive settlement. Planned from scratch, Brasília replaced Rio de Janeiro as the capital in 1960. Brazil is unique among the nations of the Americas: this former colony of Portugal did not become fragmented into separate countries, as did the British and Spanish possessions, but retained its identity through the intervening centuries and a variety of forms of government. The Portuguese language and the Roman Catholic religion were other unifying factors.
Brazil has a humid tropical and subtropical climate except for a semiarid area in the northeast, sometimes called the drought quadrilateral or drought polygon, that extends from northern Bahia to the coast between Natal and São Luís and receives only between 15 and 30 inches (375 and 750 millimetres) of precipitation a year.
Most of the rest of the country gets a moderate amount of rainfall, between 40 and 70 inches a year; exceptions to this are certain parts of the Amazon Basin and the sea-facing rim of the Serra do Mar, where the rains are much heavier.
Temperatures in Brazil are remarkably uniform
during the summer months (November to April), averaging about 79º F (26º
C) over most of the lowlands in January, and a few degrees less in the
highlands, depending upon elevation. The coast of Rio Grande do Sul is
also somewhat cooler, averaging around 73º F (23º C), whereas the interior
of the drought quadrilateral, the hottest region of the country, averages
about 84º F (29º C), with daytime temperatures over 100º F (38º C) in
summer. Winter temperatures (May to October) in the Amazon lowland remain
virtually unchanged from those of the summer months, but they drop to
about 79º F (about 26º C) in the drought quadrilateral. In the Brazilian
Highlands winter temperatures are about 68º F (20º C) and are even lower
toward the south where Curitiba, at 3,000-feet elevation, averages 57º
F (14º C) in June and July.
Requirements (Consular Information Sheet)
No inoculations are required for entry (except if visiting the amazon area where yellow fever vaccination is required). Drink bottled water throughout the country.
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