Archive for December, 2012

Cast your minds back to every Christmas holiday / vacation you have spent in Africa!!!  Is there a place that stands out from the rest? Is there a destination or specific holiday /vacation attraction that takes its place as your number 1 “Best Travel Destination”? If so, whether it be an awe inspiring historical monument, place of immense excitement, the most beautiful place you have ever experienced or simply a place that just ‘did it for you’, here is another opportunity for you to have a shot at it again.

Below is a list of top five destinations in Africa to check out this Christmas;

Top 5 destinations to visit in Africa this season.

 

SANTIAGO

The “heart city”, industrial and farm production center, culture, gastronomy, carnival, cigars, grassroots meringue, university city, medical tourism…
The first city in the Americas to be given the same of Santiago, it was founded in 1495 by Bartolomé Colón, brother of Admiral Christopher Columbus. In 1508, the court of Spain named the city Santiago de los Caballeros, in honor of its 30 founding noblemen. It is the country’s second largest city, with 600,000 inhabitants. It is also known as “the Heart City” for its central geographical location.

Getting There

The Santiago International Cibao Airport (STI) is located 20 minutes south of the city center. It is served by the following airlines:

USA: New York (American, Delta, JetBlue), Boston (Jetblue), Miami (American), Fort Lauderdale (Spirit).

Central America: Panamá (Copa).

Caribbean: San Juan, Puerto Rico (American Eagle), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Mas), and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos (Air Turks and Caicos).

Santiago is less than an hour’s drive from Puerto Plata International Airport (POP) and less than two hours by highway from Santo Domingo.

Caribe Tours and Metro buses travel on the hour to Santiago from La Vega, Puerto Plata, Samana and Santo Domingo with connections to other major cities nationwide.

Attractions

The Monument to the Héroes of the Restoration was built in 1944 by dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo to commemorate the 100th anniversary of national independence. Until his death it was known as Monument to the peace of Trujillo.

Today, a museum displays photos of the War of Restoration 1863-1865, the battle Dominicans fought against the Spanish army for the restoration of the republic. This 70-meter high tower, located at the highest point in the city, is partially covered by marble. People flock to enjoy the views and artistic performances, especially in the evenings.

Historic center. The European neoclassicist style can be observed in the Palacio consistorial, built by a Belgian architect from 1892 to 1895. The Victorian era left its mark on Santiago’s heritage with several city center residences built in this elegant style.

Centro Cultural León. Opened in 2003 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the E. León Jimenes company, the country’s leading beer and cigar manufacturer. Its permanent exhibition, Identity, Genesis and Path is regarded as the best for an insight into the roots, heritage and cultural identity of the Dominican people.

The center constantly holds temporary exhibitions and events. The permanent exhibitions include rolling cigars by hand, located in a replica of the original factory on the premises, across a garden.

Centro Cultural de Santiago. Santiago city’s fine arts center with exhibitions of painting and sculpture, and drama, ballet and concerts.

Hospital Metropolitano (HOMS). Medical tourism has boomed now with the modern facilities at the HOMS, centrally located in Santiago. Annual medical check-up programs are popular. City dentists are also in much demand by foreigners who seek quality services at competitive prices.

PUCMM. Santiago is a university city. The leading campus is of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra right in the city.

Estadio Cibao. To be at a Cibao Stadium baseball game between hometown Aguilas Cibaenas to visit team is reason enough to visit the city. The stadium is centrally located and easily reached by taxi driver to the game. Games begin at 7:30pm from mid-October to the end of January.

Bonao. One hour south of Santiago on the Duarte Highway. This city is known for its culture. Visit the Plaza de la Cultura Cándido Bidó, a museum-art gallery, with many large murals by the late artist. The Casa  Museo Cristian Tiburcio is described as the reincarnation of Guadi in the Caribbean. Cristian Tiburcio took his family home and converted it into an eclectic museum where every wall, staircase, window, the bathroom, bed and even the kitchen cabinets have become colorful works of art. Típico Bonao on the highway, with two branches in both the south and north direction, is a popular stop for Dominican food. On Sundays in February, the Bonao Carnival competes with the carnivals of Santiago and La Vega for the carnival crowds.

Salcedo. The Route of the Murals leads to the city, less than an hour’s drive from Santiago. An hour to the northeast, the route to salcedo is lined by large murals painted on fences, walls and gateways leading into and out of the city. In addition, the draw of the town is the Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal that honors the memory of the three heroic sisters murdered by order of dictator Trujillo in 1960. 25 November celebrates the International Day for the Ellimination of Violence Against Women, commemorating the brutal crime.

Golf

Las Aromas, Santiago Golf Club. Santiago de los Caballeros • Tel  809 264-0054. Opened: 1980 • 18 holes, par 70. Located in the hills of the outskirts of Santiago, with lovly panoramic views of the city and the Yaque del Norte River.

CULTURE

Grassroots Ranches. Santiago is the capital of grassroots meringue. This “country-style” music resulted from a mix of cultures – from Germany, the accordion, from Africa, the drum. The people of the cibao are passionate about this music, also known as “perico ripiao”. There are large “typical ranches” where people take dancing seriously: Rancho Merengue, Típico La Tinaja, Rancho Típico las Colunas, dizzy Ranch and La Rancheta de Chito.

Carnival

On Sundays in February, men parade dressed in the traditional costume of a fantasy creature that combines a court jester’s outfit with a duck’s face and long cattle horns. Other carnival characters include troupes commemorating the first battle between the Indians and the Spanish colonizers, death, and many more. The processions take place along the Avenida Las Carreteras to the Monument. The Museo Folklórico Tomás Morel has traditional carnival masks on display.

Nightlife

The Gran Teatro Regional del Cibao is for fine arts presentations and leadng national and international performances, the Gran Arena Cibao is for more popular performances and sports. But Santiago is best known for its grassroots meringue ranches and there is busy activity at its many discos, as it is a university town. Alcoholic drinks are sold at nightspots only to midnight on weekdays, with crowds making the most of weekends when the curfew is extended to around 3am at many establishment.

Shopping

Larger shopping centers include Multicentro La Sirena, Supermercado Nacional, Jumbo, Pricemart, Bella Terra mall, Calle del Sol, Colinas Mall and Plaza International.

Cigars

The cigar capital of the Dominican republic is Santiago, where most of the factories are based. They include Fuente (Arturo Fuente, Diamond Crown, Fuente Fuente OpusX, Maximus, Hemingway, Cuesta-Rey, Don Carlos), Matasa (Fonseca, Cubita, José Benito, Casablanca, Licenciados, la Primera, Royal Dominicana, Ricos Dominicanos), La Aurora and Tabadom Holding (Davidoff).

 

COMPLIMENT OF THE SEASON

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

PORTUGAL

Europe’s West Coast

Portugal is in southwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, to the west of Spain, and is mountainous north of the Tagus River, with rolling plains in south. One of the world’s seafaring powers during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community.

Capital: Lisbon
Time Zone: DST +0100 UTC
Population: 10,676,910
Languages: Portuguese, Mirandese
Currency: Euro – Currently 1 EUR € = 1.3094 USD $
Climate: Portugal has a maritime temperate climate that leaves the country cool and rainy in the north, and warmer and drier in the south. – Currently 59º.

Portugal keeps all of its charm shielded behind its jagged coast – a line of sand and foam caressed by the sea breezes. Cloaked in an air of mystery that has lasted for more than 800 years, this country is genuinely diverse, and it is here that all of the most intriguing dualities become inextricably intertwined: past and present, a long cultural heritage and the simple joy of living.

A place of sun and sea, history and cosmopolitanism, Portugal’s rich collection of monuments brings great charm to the nation’s life and provide a contrast with the lightness of its inhabitants’ relaxed and carefree spirit. With its unique geographical location and its distinctive Atlantic flavor, the West Coast invites visitors to enjoy the pleasures of nature, beaches, gastronomy and entertainment. In this land filled with sunlight, an inexhaustible source of energy, the past reinforces the sense of the present.

In the midst of medieval castles and modern shops, Roman, Gothic and Manueline monuments, beaches with deep blue seas and rolling green plains disappearing into the distance, historic villages and luxury resorts, the sophisticated cuisine of great chefs and the simple delights that the sea can offer, contemporary art museums and prehistoric rock drawings, golf courses and busy, vibrant avenues, there live a people who are creative, open and welcoming, who wish to share with you the best of everything that they have and know about, appealing to your senses and celebrating life.

DESTINATIONS IN PORTUGAL

 

 

 

Lisbon: Often compared to San Francisco in the United States, Lisbon is a juxtaposition of urban sophistication and antique charm. See the historic port of Belem and the huge Praca do Comercio waterfront market, as well as Castelo de Sao Jorge with its free admission in the Alfama district.

Faro: In the capital of the Algarve region, you can find beaches, nightlife, and Moorish buildings along the coastline. You can still see the scars from a catastrophic tidal wave in 1755, however, sights like the eerie Capela de Ossos, or Chapel of Bones decorated with the remains of more than 1200 previous monks, and the Carmo Church are some of the architectural highlights that make up the landscape.

 Oporto: Located at the mouth of the Douro River and the Douro Valley, Porto, locally called Oporto, is Portugal’s second largest city, and features a lot of wine bars serving food and port, the country’s namesake wine. Shop in the Ferreira district, the cosmopolitan center of Porto, or see some of the museums or churches before setting sights on a nice glass of port served with your meal to enjoy.

TIPS

Azulejos: These are traditional hand painted Portugese tiles, and can be found all over the country. Normally blue and white, they can be found in churches, public buildings, and for sale in local shops.

When To Visit: About six weeks before Easter, Carnaval is celebrated, making a huge appearance with parades and parties, similar to celebrations across other parts of the world.

Food: Cod is one of the traditional staples, along with varieties of caldo, a mixed broth, and sopa de marisco, shellfish soup, and the traditional caldeirada fish stew. Port is the primary wine recognized, but Portuguese white wines are also excellent.

Phrases: Yes = sim, no = não, hello = olá, please = por favor, thanks = obrigado

Tipping: The standard tip of 5-15 percent is fine, but check the bill and round up to the next whole Euro as the service charge is normally included. Cab drivers expect an extra 10 percent.

TOUR PORTUGAL: For affordable  Hotel Accommodation, Visa, Flight Ticket, Airport Transfer  CLICK

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EXPERIENCE THE SWEET CREOLE WAY OF LIFE

 

REUNION ISLAND
Capital: Saint-Denis
Time Zone: UTC+4
Population: 781,962
Languages: French, Creole
Power: 220V, 50Hz
Currency: euro – Currently 1 EUR € = 1.2904 USD $
Climate: Reunion has a tropical climate, with the temperature moderated with the elevation as you climb. Seasonally, the island is cool and dry from May to November, and hot and rainy from November to April with the greatest risk of cyclones in February and March. – Currently 89º, Partly Cloudy

DESTINATIONS

Saint-Denis: Colonial French architecture can be seen around Saint Denis, and the restaurants are the best on the islands. See the Leon Dierx Art Gallery, with interesting collections of local artists, and the Botanical Gardens, and especially Le Barachois, the main thoroughfare near the waterfront with the nicest cafes and shops. From here you can book trips into the surrounding mountains or Cirques, but before you go, spend a few hours in the African influenced Grand Marché.


St-Gilles-les-Bains: Beaches are a big attraction, judged by the crowded weekends on the multicolored sands. Although sharks are common in the waters, the beaches at St-Gilles-les-Bains are protected by coral and are considered safe, as is Saint-Leu about 10 miles to the south. There are restaurants in the main town that make spending time here very easy. Saint-Paul is 6 miles to the north and worth half a day to stroll through the nation’s previous capital and see the colonial buildings.


Cilaos: A simple spa resort in the late 1800s, Cilaos is a small town nestled inside a mountain crater called a cirque with fantastic views of the surrounding landscape, plus a small museum and thermal spas to occupy you after going on hikes through the area. Longer day hikes are possible to areas like the Cirque de Mafate, a very remote and difficult to access area of ridges and small villages, or the Cirque de Salazie, more easily accessed with waterfalls like le Voile de la Mariée, the Bride’s Veil.

TIPS

Culture and Language: The island is casual in its approach to life and suits are uncommon. French is spoken and knowing a few phrases will make your life easier.
Banking: Note that the local currency is the Euro, local banks will help exchange most currencies, and most stores will take credit cards and traveller’s checks with ease.
When To Visit: April to September is the peak tourist season and also has the best weather for hiking and traveling the island, although May and June can often be relatively quiet. Towns and villages have annual festivals honoring the town staple, for example, vanilla in Bras-Panon in mid-May, saffron in Saint Joseph in August, and lychees in Saint Denis in mid-December.
Food: The French influence is easy to see but mixes with India spices and African staples. Rougail, a vegetarian chutney with tomato and hot spices, fricassees or garlic, ginger and tomatoes served with rice, beans or lentils, or stews of poultry, meat or fish, often ending with sweet potato cake, chocolate tarts and puffed pancakes with banana examples of the desserts.
Phrases: Yes = oui, no = non, please = s’il vous plait, thank you = merci, do you speak English = parlez vous anglais?
Tipping: Check your bill, as a 10% service charge may have been added, and include the same as a gratuity for good service.

Detours: Stand clear of protests or demonstrations, which while uncommon can uncover heated tempers, and note that the island is home to an active volcano in the southeastern corner of the island, which occasionally erupts and sends lava flowing into the ocean, crossing and covering any roads in the way, so detours may be needed. Other than that, all you need is a little common sense when visiting.

 

MOLDOVA

Summary: Moldova is in eastern Europe, northeast of Romania, and is mostly rolling steppe, with a gradual slope south to the Black Sea. Moldova enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland, but has no major mineral deposits. It has begun to enjoy recent progress from its small economic base, but still remains a quiet country.
Capital: Chisinau
Time Zone: DST +0300 UTC
Population: 4,324,450
Languages: Moldovan, Romanian, Russian, Turkish
Power: 220 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Moldovan Leu – Currently 1 MDL = 0.0814 USD $
Climate: Moldova is landlocked, and has moderate winters and warm summers. – Currently 50º, Light Rain Shower

DESTINATIONS

 Chisinau: Founded in 1470, Chisinau was once the center of Eastern Orthodox culture, and offers sites like the Fine Arts Museum and the History and Regional Lore Museum, and a popular day trip destination of the man-made Chisinau Lake, clean enough to swim in, and easy enough to let tourists and locals rent boats to navigate upon its waters.
Cahul: Cahul is a spa town 155 kilometers south of the capital, and attracts visitors with its thermal baths and mud treatments, making the area one of the main resort locations in the country dating back to before the 14th century, as explained in its Museum of Cahul.
Cricova: Only about 20 kilometers from Chisinau is this rare find: the Soviet wine cellar that houses 30 million liters. It is a massive underground complex, and only recently opened to the public, that you can literally drive through 60 kilometers of storage 100 meters below ground in an old limestone mine and stop for wine tasting and meals. The price tag may be over 50 euro, but it is worth it for the unique experience.

TIPS

Security: Although there have been reports of items stolen from residences or hotel rooms, Moldova is generally safe and welcoming. To be sure, travellers should avoid Trans-Dniester and Gagauzia, where separatist movements are more active.
Taxis: There are two types of cabs – government ones which are metered and private ones which are not. This means you can negotiate the fare before taking a ride in a private taxi.
When To Visit: Autumn in Moldova is beautiful and picturesque, so plan on visiting during September or October if you can. Of course, the main national holiday on August 27, Independance Day, which is beginning to bloom.
Food: Moldovan cooking is strongly influenced by Russia and Turkey. You can find kebabs on the menu next to dumplings and cornmeal mush. Tochitura Moldoveneasca is a pork meal, pan fried and served with a pepper sauce and a bit of fried egg.
Tipping: A tip of 5 to 10 percent is standard for restaurants and taxi drivers.

Wine: Moldova has a strong tradition in wine-making, and many people have their own wine cellars and make their own wine. Be sure to stop and visit some of the many local vineyards.

WHERE TO EAT & PARTY IN SINGAPORE

Singapore is a group of islands in southeastern Asia between Malaysia and Indonesia and has a terrain that is mostly lowlands, with a central plateau that houses a nature preserve and catches rainwater, and is home to the world’s biggest water port based on raw tonnage. Founded in 1819 as a British colony to inspire trade within the island archipelago of south Asia, Singapore has a healthy economy that rivals in GDP those of Western Europe built on international trade, stable inflation and an overall corruption free political and fiscal environment.
Capital: Singapore
Time Zone: UTC + 8
Population: 4,608,167
Languages: Chinese, Malay, Tamil, English
Power: 230 V, 50 Hz
Currency: Singapore Dollar – Currently 1 SGD = 0.8200 USD $
Climate: Singapore has a tropical climate and tends to be hot, humid, and rainy, with a dry northeastern monsoon from December to March and a wet southwestern monsoon from June to September. – Currently 91º, Mostly Cloudy weather4icon.gif

Singapore astounds with its ability to change. In this dynamic city, it only takes a year or two for side
streets to turn into hip enclaves, for the sky line to welcome yet another signature skyscraper, for
fashion trends to morph from causal dressing to power suits then back again. And, the young city
that used to go to bed at 3am is now an all-night party queen that stumbles home at 7am in time for
breakfast.

ABC’S TO DINING

Singapore is one of the big melting pot that is less divided by dinning genres than it is by geography.
Indians, Malays, Chinese, Arabs, Dutch, French, Italian – you their culinary mark on Singapore
throughout the centuries. This has resulted in a plethora of high-end and humble eating places of
every stripe imaginable.

By far the most prevalent form of eating establishments in Singapore are traditional “hawker
centres”, where small stalls that specialize in one or two types of dishes sell their food at bargain
prices. Hawker centers are open air and offer a great way to learn more about our unique local
dishes

Air-conditioned “food court” are found in large malls and shopping centres, branded under big
players such as food junction and kopitiam. These food courts offer a cosmopolitan spread, and you
are just as likely to find Japanese and Thai cuisine alongside the usual hawker favourites.

MALAY AND MUSLIM CUISINE borrows from the influence of Arab traders as well as its regional
roots to present a variety of fragrant, spicy and earthy dishes. With characteristic tastes of coconut
cream, chilli, cumin, belacan (prawn paste), ginger, lemongrass, and palm sugar, Malay food is spiced
but not necessarily spicy, and ranges from dry curry – like gravies to grilled meats. As most Malays
are Muslim, their cuisine is halal; a religious certification that ensures the food contains no pork or
meats not properly slaughtered in the name of Islam. In Singapore, large enclaves of Malay eating
places are found in little India, kampong glam and geyland seria.

CHINESE CUISINE has profoundly influenced the food culture of Singapore, with its myriad of
regional cuisines such as Cantonese, Hainanese and, more recently, Shanghainese. Humble street
food, such as chicken rice, fish ball noodles, and roast meats, have roots in Chinese; while modern
fine dining restaurants have created gourmet versions of Chinese dishes.

INDIAN CUISINE is distinctive and easily enjoyed in its tremendous variety. Items from south India
typically include hot curries, rice, flat breads, and colourful Hindu vegetarian creations. Northern
Indian cuisines includes tandoori, the famous method of dry grilling in a charcoal oven, as well as
cooler yogurt based dishes and gravies. Indian species impart an unmistakable flavour and fragrance
to its cuisines, which ranges from mild to strong in Singapore. The versatile dishes and culture have
been successfully incorporated into fine dining restaurants.

Indigenous to Southeast Asia, and found particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, Peranakan
cuisine is the happy marriage of Chinese and Malay food culture. Created when Chinese seafarers
intermarried with the local Malay population from the 17th century, peranakan culture has a
distinct identity. Peranakan cuisine incorporates pork as a result of its Chinese heritage, and yet is
heavily dependent on Malay species for its distinctive taste. Each dish is impossibly time consuming
and complex in its preparation, but offers harmonised layers of texture, flavour and glorious
presentation.

Plan your trip to singapore now

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BRAZIL

Summary: Located in Eastern South America, Brazil is South America’s largest country by size and population, and shares a border with every country except for Chile and Ecuador. Although the terrain is mostly flat to rolling lowlands in the northern part of the country surrounding the Amazon River, it gets more varied further away with some plains, mountains and a narrow coastal belt. Brazil has strong agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors, and is South America’s economic and international leader.

  • Capital: Brasilia
  • Time Zone: Standard Time -0300 UTC
  • Population: 196,342,592
  • Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, English, French
  • Power: 110 V to 120 V and 220 V, 60 Hz Currency: Brazilian Real – Currently 1 BRL = 0.4682 USD $
  • Climate: Brazil is mostly tropical, but is temperate in the southern part of the country, which can get the occasional frost. – Currently 73º, Brasilia Weather Forecas

WHY TRAVEL TO BRAZIL

A better question would be: Why not travel to Brazil? With the only exception being snow, Brazil offers everything that any traveler could possibly be looking for: varied culture, colorful wildlife, deserted beaches, compassionate and lively people, luxury and leisure, passionate sports, extreme activities, affordability, charm and sophistication, delectable cuisine… and so much more. No matter where you are in Brazil, there’s never a dull moment. There’s always an opportunity to relax, and to absorb the Brazilian atmosphere in all 6 (yes, 6!) of your senses. Brazil is full of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, and experiences that every traveler should enjoy… See the incredible views of Rio de Janeiro, arguably the most beautiful city in the world, sandwiched between the mountains and the sea. Hear the pandeiro of a samba group at a local bar, or the roar of the crowd at a soccer game as their team scores a gooooooool! Smell the aroma of the fresh seafood at a small beachside restaurant, blended with the salty mist drifting in from the sea. Taste the bitterness of the exotic tropical fruit acerola and the sweetness of the exquisite cacau. Indulge in the spicy seafood stew known as moqueca, washed down with chopp, a delicious draft beer with a creamy head. Feel the sun warming your muscles as you play beach volley with new friends on the sand of Ipanema Beach. Experience a culture full of life and laughter – one you’ll never forget and will carry with you for the rest of your life.

DESTINATIONS IN BRAZIL

  • Brasilia: Built further towards the center of the country to help bring in tourists and business, the capital city has a mix of architecture and urban planning that was built in only three years. After taking pictures of the buildings, make your way north to the Parque Nacional de Brasília for a swim and to relax. The 135 mile drive further north to Chapada dos Veadeiros is worth a full day trip – waterfalls, natural swimming pools, cliffs and oases mix in this national park and attract ecotourists from all over.
  • Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro may be known by only one thing – the legendary Carnaval, which makes a long weekend just before Ash Wednesday, however it holds many more surprises. Among the sights to see are the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado peak, the cafes along the Rua do Ouvidor, the 365 steps leading up to the Igreja da Penha, the Sao Bento Monastery, and the jazz and local music clubs in the area of town called zona sul. Oh, and don’t forget the beaches, of course.
  • Sao Paulo: About 18 million people live in São Paulo, and with its international demographics, it has become a strong, cultured city. You can be busy admiring the museums like the Fundacao Maria Luiza e Oscar Americano, where you can sip at a cup in a tea house before strolling the grounds, and the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo featuring international masters and is located downtown, and the wide Parque Ibirapuera which is surrounded by a planetarium and other museums.
  • The Amazon: In the northern part of the country lies one of the world’s most renowned rivers – the Amazon. The basin area welcomes ecotourists and features some of the richest and most diverse rain forests, and it doesn’t take a long trek down the river to see anacondas, barracuda and piranhas. There are also more than 200 kinds of mosquitoes, so bring some repellant. The main river cities of Manaus and Belém will both offer rides down the river, but many tributaries are unexplored. Salvador: The Brazilian martial art called Capoeira originated here – looking to an outsider as a kind of dance hiding graceful and deadly moves. The city itself is large and beautiful, and sits right on the coast offering many beaches for weary travellers. While you’re here, take a ride through Pelourinho and Anchieta, two sections of town with great architecture, shop for art and local craftsmanship at the Mercado Modelo market, and absorb some of Brazil’s history at the Museu Afro-Brasileira.

TIPS

  • Water: The local water is filtered and safe to drink, although most still drink bottled water. The local milk is pasteurized and shouldn’t pose a problem.
  • Touching: Touching is common in Brazilian culture. Even business executives will greet each other with a kiss on each cheek, a la Europe, and professional embraces or hugs are also common. If you’re not sure how to act, let the local lead. Stop Signs: Stop signs are frequently ignored at night, as well as red lights, as the drivers slow to a fast crawl through the intersection, so pay close attention if you drive, or take a licensed taxi.
  • When To Visit: The southern part of Brazil is less constant than the rest of the country, so expect hotter humid summer weather from December to February, and rainy weather from June to August. Summer has more tourists, local and foreign, however, Carnaval is in late February or early March, just before Ash Wednesday.
  • Food: Some of Brazil’s fine foods include chile and palm oil covered meat and fish, served with rice.
  • Phrases: Yes = sim, no = não, hello = olá, please = por favor, thanks = obrigado
  • Tipping: Check your bill, as a service charge is often included, otherwise, tipping 10% is fine.

NOTE: Some of Brazil’s destinations are teeming with people, and it only takes a little common sense to be safe and secure. Avoid the favelas, the shanty suburbs, leave valuables behind on trips to the beach, and be aware of your surroundings.