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Welcome to Fortaleza!

Why Fortaleza?

7 questions that every foreigner asks before going to Brazil

1. Is it true that a foreign tourist should never venture on the streets at night?
No, it's not true! But as in every great city, be it during day or at night, certain precautions should always be taken, such as to avoid carrying valuables and keeping your eye on items such as cameras and eletronic equipment, as these are more coveted by pickpockets. It is also advisable to be accompanied by a tourist guide or Brazilian firend. If not for the safety in numbers alone, but also for the pleasure that the added source of information can offer during the way.

2. Is it necessary to speak Portuguese to communicate with Brazilians?
Yes, because the great majority of Brazilians only speak Portuguese! And no, because the warmth of the people is so great that you will end up understanding everything even if you don't speak much of their language! Visitors that speak some Spanish will not have any problem as both languages are similar. While those that speak English or any other language can resort to the international language of signs (as, obviously, anyone understands the pointing sign), or you can make it easier than that by simply smiling, which is something that any Brazilian understands like no one else! Anyway, in all hotels there will always be someone to help out in your native language, and most good restaurants you will have bilingual menus.

3. Is it advisable to take preventive vaccines before visiting Brazil?
It all depends on the region you intend to visit. If your plans include wild environments, such as the Amazon or the Pantanal, it is advisable to have the vaccine against yellow fever - but just this one, as you won't have a need for any other! But if you plan to have your vacations near beaches and cities throughout the country, there is no need for any kind of vaccine.

4. Is it possible to see Brazil by railway, as a way to see more of the country?
No! Brazil has no tradition in railway travel. On the other hand, roads and highways reach almost the entire country and bus transportation is well advanced and comfortable. But considering the continental dimensions of the country, the best way to travel is by plane. There are at least four major national airline companies and there are modern airports in every major city in Brazil.

5. Aside from Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu and the Amazon Forest, what else is worth seeing?
The list is quite long, because Brazil is as enormous as it is varied. Actually, one can say that the only thing it doesn't have is snow, which is not what a foreigner would be looking for anyway. What to see depends a great deal on your personal inclinations. History lovers should visit Petrópolis, Ouro Preto, Salvador and Manaus; those that love the beach environment should take a look at the island of Fernando de Noronha or the coastal region of Ceará, Alagoas and the south of Bahia; while those die-hard nature lovers can't miss Pantanal and the Chapada Diamantina, and if time permits, also the vast dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses, as this would be, maybe, the best guarded natural secret in Brazil.

6. Is it true that certain cities in Brazil carnival lasts one entire month?
It's not quite like that... but almost. In Salvador, in Bahia, Recife and Pernambuco, festivities really extend to quite more than the four official days and celebrations can last the whole week, aside from the preparations that precede the official days. During this period, groups promote rehearsals that rapidly become a pre-carnival. The same happens in Rio de Janeiro with the rehearsals of the Samba Schools, that - now yes! - can drag on not only for over a month, but for several months. And anyone can take part, Brazilians and foreigners alike.

7. How much would a couple spend on a two-week trip throughout Brazil?
Aside from the expenses with air tickets and lodgings that, however, are usually are part of a travel package sold by the tourit agency, prepare yourself for a pleasant surprise: Brazil is a very inexpensive country. Especially if you are coming from Europe or the United States, where the currency is worth much more than the local Real. On the average, a full-course meal in a good restaurant shouldn't cost more than US$ 15 and a day sightseeing, for instance, should cost just a little more than that. On the whole, a couple shouldn't have to spend more than the equivalent of US$ 1,500 to eat, enjoy the surroundings and tour the country during those two weeks.


EnjoyBrazil Magazine - Year 1 #2

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