• The brazil nut comes from a tree of the same name, and really does grow in the jungles of Brazil, though Bolivia exports more of them. In Brazil the nuts are called castanhas-do-pará. Brazilians actually prefer the cashew nut, which is native to the country and called simply caju.
• Rio-born author Paulo Coelho has sold around 150 million books worldwide (The Alchemist accounts for around 65 million), making him by far the bestselling writer in Portuguese of all time.
• “Garota de Ipanema” (or “Girl from Ipanema”) was written in 1962 by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, and allegedly inspired by the very real Helô Pinheiro (19 at the time), later a Brazilian model and Playboy “Playmate”.
• Born in Minas Gerais in 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, is generally regarded as the greatest football player of all time. He is the only player to have been in World Cup-winning teams three times and is the all-time leading goal scorer for Brazil (77). Brazil has won the World Cup a record five times.
• When Brazil became a republic in 1889, its leaders were obsessed with all things French: the national motto “Ordem e Progresso” (Order and Progress) was inspired by Auguste Comte’s (much longer) musing on positivism.
Everything you need to know before you set off.
Travel offers; book through Rough Guides
Planning your trip to Brazil-New
Everything you need to plan where to go and what to do.
The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.
Amazing new aerial images show uncontacted tribe in Brazil
Incredible aerial images of one of the Amazon rainforest's uncontacted tribes have been released by Survival International. The pictures, taken by photographer …
A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil
Forget about virtual-reality roller coasters, the future of theme parks just got a whole lot raunchier. Developers in Brazil are planning to build an adults…
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America
South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…