Photos of Brazil
full country name Federative Republic of Brazil
capital Brasília
population 172.6 million (as of 2001)
surface area 8547400 sq km
currency real (R$)
exchange rate US$ 1 = R$ 2.98 (as of November 2004)
language Portuguese
main religion 70% Roman Catholic
Internet users 2.9% (as of 2000)
Our route through Brazil
Our route...
Salto Floriano
Salto Floriano
Iguaçu Falls / © gM
Pao de Azucar
Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado
Rio de Janeiro / © gM
We crossed the border between Argentina and Brazil near the mighty Iguaçu Falls on October 27th, 2004. We stayed in Brazil for twelve days before catching a flight to Mexico City.

During our first afternoon in Brazil, we visited the massive Itaipu Dam about 40km upstream from the Iguaçu Falls along the Rio Paraná. The world's largest hydroelectric project at the time of writing, it generates enough electricity to meet all the needs of Paraguay and 25% of the needs of Brazil. The next day, we spent our second full day at the mesmerizing Iguaçu Falls - this time on the Brazilian side where we were treated to a better overview of the falls, one amazing close up at Salto Floriano, and coatis. Coatis are relatives of the raccoon, and freely roam the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu.

A long but comfortable bus ride took us to Curitiba, from where we headed to seaside Paranaguá and Ilha do Mel. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and our day at the beach quickly turned grey and rainy. Nevertheless, we saw dolphins from the deck of the ferry on our way back from Ilha do Mel to Paranaguá.

A few words on Brazilian food: "Hope you have a huge appetite and that you are not on your own!" Food is excellent but portions are enormous, feeding at least two persons. Quite often so much food is served that there is no way to finish. At a rodízio, typically used in churrascarias (restaurants specializing in grilled foods), various meats on massive skewers are continually brought to your table. The arrival of each delicious meat dish redefines your 2-minute old definition of being full and takes you one step closer to not being able to move. It is easy, but regrettable, to overlook the salad and dessert bars (papaya creme!). At many places, the choice of fresh tropical juices is overwhelming: try cajú (cashew fruit) or guaraná.

Our last two stops in Brazil were São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Our oh so sad introduction to São Paulo was the only time in 3 years that we missed a bus. In our defence, a changeover from Daylight Savings time occurred unexpectedly on a Monday night, the night before our bus ride. Coinciding Sunday elections necessitated this unusual move in order to avoid potential problems with Brazil's electronic voting system. Once in São Paulo, we enjoyed our meat-o-licious dinners with a friend.

Rio de Janeiro is gorgeous no matter whether the sun is shining or it is raining torrents. Life is good while marvelling at the views from Corcovado and the Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf), or while strolling along the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, sipping the juice of a cold coconut, and watching people play futvolei (volleyball without hands). Enjoy!