2011: The Summer of Brazil
February 16, 2011 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Looking for information, tips, and suggestions about an upcoming extended trip to northern Brazil. Details within!

My husband and I (we're both from the US) area planning to be in Brazil this summer to do a program through school, but the school has never organized a trip to this area before (and we aren't sure how organized it will be in general -- the details at this point are nebulous at best). The class we will take will last one month, but we are probably going to extend our trip at least a few weeks to take in more of the country.

The class will be in Taiba in the northern part of Brazil in June, so mostly I am looking for information for that area, but we are also planning to go to RJ (at some point?) and hoping to meet my husband's biological grandfather, who has lived there for 60 years.

I know nothing whatsoever about Brazil, and so I'd like to know anything you can share, including any cultural stuff I should be aware of, tips on food to eat and things to do, ideas for how to get around and where to go, and any information on how much Portuguese I need to try to figure out (would also appreciate some ideas for ways I can familiarize myself with the language before I go).

I've seen a few previous questions, but they're all pretty old, so I thought updated info would be a good idea.

Thank you so much in advance!
posted by hansbrough to Travel & Transportation around Brazil (4 answers total)
Response by poster: Whoopsies, forgot to add that I would also be interested in any recommendations for books or guides to read/bring along. Thanks, guys!
posted by hansbrough at 5:02 PM on February 16, 2011

I know nothing whatsoever about Brazil, and so I'd like to know anything you can share.

Brazil is very big, varied, with a rich culture and a complex history. How about you start by reading some Wikipedia articles and then you could come back with more specific questions?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 4:13 AM on February 17, 2011

The state you're headed to is known for its amazing beaches. In the northern half of the country, distances between major cities are pretty great, so plan on flying to RJ (or spending a couple days on a bus). There are some pretty good discount domestic airlines, like Azul and Avianca.

For language, we know lots of people who have used the Pimsleur cds and Rosetta Stone software. With both, you only get as much out as you put in, both in training beforehand and in actually diving in once you're in Brazil and talking to people.

If you have specific questions feel free to memail me. I'm in the northeast so I know a little about the region.

Oh, and I remember in Fortaleza there was this one street that was full of shoe shops. Amazing. Well, not so much for me because I have gargantuan feet but my friends sure loved it!
posted by wallaby at 7:38 AM on February 17, 2011

I went to Manaus and various other parts of Brazil without knowing Portuguese, hoping my limited Spanish would be a start. It wasn't, at all. In the past I'd found picking up languages easy, but for some reason the sounds of Portuguese were beyond me. Before you go I strongly recommend learning some basic Portuguese in a class or some other live setting where you get to talk.
posted by anadem at 7:57 AM on February 17, 2011

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