Friday, 31 December 2010

Tourist Visa for Brazil

Brazil generally operates a reciprocal system for visitors to the country, and their visa requirements. If your own country requires that Brazilian citizens apply for a tourist visa in advance of travel (including USA, Canada, Australia, India & Singapore), then Brazil also requires citizens of your country to apply at your nearest Brazilian Consulate for a Brazil Tourist Visa. Cost varies due to this of course – with some present example costs at present for attending personally being US$140; C$81.25 AU$49; R1,200; S$40. This is usually for a 90-day Tourist Visa.

Citizens of Mercosul countries (Argentina, Uruguay, & Paraguay) and all other countries in South America (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, Guyana and French Guiana) also receive tourist visas on arrival in Brazil, although Venezuelan citizens only receive 60 days.

Brazil tourist visa

Most citizens of European Union countries (including United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic and most Mediterranean countries) also receive 90 days on arrival at the airport/border in Brazil, with no prior organisation necessary.

Other countries whose citizens receive 90 day Tourist Visas on arrival in Brazil include: New Zealand; South Africa; Namibia; Hong Kong; Macau; South Korea; The Philippines; Thailand; Malaysia; Israel; Morocco; Tunisia; Costa Rica; Honduras; Guatemala; Panama; Bahamas; Barbados; and last but definitely not least Trinidad & Tobago.

Citizens of Taiwan, Bhutan and the Central African Republic receive a ‘Laissez-Passer’ visa for 90 days, as Brazil has no diplomatic relations with these three countries at present.

Citizens of all other countries may require a little more organisation still, and prices vary. The full list can be seen below. Always check with your nearest Brazil Embassy or Consulate for up-to-date information though.

How to Make the Perfect Caipirinha

Caipirinha (Kye-Pee-Reen-Ya!) is the traditional cocktail of Brazil, the drink that you will see on the table at every beach quiosque, being passed around any family Sunday churrasco, and the one that you will receive for free on any boat trip worth the name.

There are only three principal ingredients for a traditional caipirinha (four if you count crushed ice as an ingredient): freshly squeezed lime juice; white sugar; and cachaça (cash-ass-ah!), Brazil’s legendary sugar cane spirit. It is the easiest cocktail in the world to make, but also surprisingly easy to mess up. If you want to impress your Brazilian hosts and Brazilian friends, a good first step is to master the gentle art of making a good caipirinha.

If you want to practice on your own first, you can buy a socador de limão. This is the wooden mortar and pestle combination that is used to grind the juice out of the fresh limes. This needs to be done with a little care though. The lime juice takes the bite from the cachaça, while the sugar takes the tang from the lime juice.

Monday, 27 December 2010

It Comes From Brazil – Açai

Açai Tree
Açai is the world’s latest Superfruit, one of those high protein fruits whose nutrient-rich content leaves it open to the application of modern marketing terms. The fruit is popular all over Brazil, although it is mostly eaten as the frozen pulp in a type of sorbet  around the coastal areas, usually with extras such as bananas, strawberries, granola and honey. The açai fruit itself comes from the thin açai palm tree which grows up to 30m high in the floodplains of the Amazon region. The palm also grows in other countries in the Amazon basin such as Peru, and even up through the jungles of Central America to Honduras and Belize. At the moment though, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, açai comes from Brazil. 

Açai fruit attached to thin branches

This may be because cultivation of the açai fruit has been easier in Brazil, with larger tracts of flat lands around the state of Para in particular which also have access to the larger Amazon tributaries for transporting away from the area, unlike those countries further up the river system. The palm may be thin but it is also sturdy, allowing Amazon natives to scale the trunk to harvest the fruit. The palm fruits hang down from the top of the trunk in panicles attached to thin branches. Each panicle contains perhaps 20-50 of the small grape-sized fruits, and there may be up to 1,000 of the fruits growing on each tree in their biannual crop. The fruits begin life green but gain their dark purple colour under the equatorial sun, which is when they are harvested, pulped and transported.