The FIFA World Cup is an international men’s football tournament held every four years in different venues; it is like the Olympics of football. This year will be the 20th World Cup and will be held in Brazil for only the 2nd time. It will be held from June 12th- July 13th in twelve major cities in Brazil. Many of the cities have built new arenas or completely revamped existing ones. If you are planning on going to the sporting event, here are some things you will want to plan for and sites you will want to make sure to visit.
Brazil is the largest country in South America, covering over half of the continent. It is the 5th largest country in the world and the 5th most populated. The two largest cities are Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The official language is Portuguese although most natives speak other languages as well. Most of Brazil has tropical weather, but it varies greatly among different regions. If you will be visiting during the World Cup, it is Brazil’s winter from June through September. However, most regions of Brazil do not have a true winter. It will also be the dry season, so rain will not be as much of an issue.
Traveling to a different country takes proper planning. If you are a U.S. citizen, you will need a Visa to enter Brazil. Visas must be used within 90 days of issue. You may also want to talk to your doctor about additional immunizations that you may need prior to your trip. You will want to plan out how you are going to travel around. It is not advisable to rent a car, as it can be quite difficult and drivers in Brazil can be extremely aggressive on the road. The most economical way to travel from city to city is an airpass that is offered by Varig and TAM airlines. It must be purchased prior to your trip; prices vary depending on which package you choose. It is valid for 21 days after the first use. Bus travel is also an affordable option. Another thing to consider is money. Credit cards and ATM machines are widely available in larger cities and offer the best exchange rate. Cash is also another option, but then you will have to worry about it getting lost or stolen. You will not want to use traveler’s checks because you will end up losing a great deal of money with the exchange.
Guide to Brazil Cities hosting the World Cup
The World Cup includes 64 football matches that will be held in 12 major cities in Brazil. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the World Cup, FIFA has also established Fan Fests in which the matches can be watched on a huge LED screen in such places as the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. A full list of Fan Fest locations can be found on their official website at http://fifa.com. If you plan to travel to the different cities hosting the football matches, you may want to check out some of the breathtaking scenery and beaches, and take time to experience the rich history and culture that can be found in Brazil.
The twelve host cities include:
Belo Horizonte is surrounded by Serra do Curral, a small mountain range with wonderful hiking and photography opportunities.
Cuiaba is the exact geographic center of South America. Its border is the mountain range of Chapado dos Guimaraes. The National Park attracts millions of tourists annually, who come to witness its scenic views.
Fortaleza is one of the main tourist destinations in Brazil because of its amazing beaches and nightlife. There is a seafood restaurant on the beach that is built on the sand and there are also several bars and night clubs. The stadium has been completely refurbished for the World Cup.
Natal is a preferred destination for many tourists. It is known for its breathtaking beaches, including Ponta Negra, Genipabu, Redinha, Pipa and Pirangi. It is known as “Sun City” because of its tropical climate that boasts of its 300 sunny days a year.
Recife is rich with Dutch history and landmarks. Its two best beaches include Boa Vigem and Port de Galinhas.
Salvador was the first urban area in Brazil to be settled by the Portugese. Elevador Lacerda, the first public elevator in the world, is one of this city’s main attractions. If you take a ride to the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city, including Baia de Todos os Santas (All Saints Bay). They have built a brand new stadium housing 52,048 fans for the World Cup.
Brasilia was built to replace Rio de Janeiro as the capital of Brazil. It is a modern city that encompasses the government buildings, including the country’s Executive and Legislative Powers and the Supreme Federal Court. It is also known for its Avant-Garde architecture. It is the home of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia and the Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge.
Curitiba is the most populated region of Southern Brazil and home of the Botanical Garden.
Manaus has one of the most magnificent natural attractions in Brazil. At the confluence of the Negro (Black) River and Solimoes (Amazon) River, there is a stretch of over 18 kilometers where the two rivers flow side by side without the dark colored and muddy waters combining together. Manaus is also known for its tropical climate with 80% humidity. The good news is that June through November is the dry season.
Porto Alegre has much milder temperatures than the rest of Brazil and has four distinct seasons, including snow in the winter months.
Rio de Janeiro is still Brazil’s most popular tourist destination. The two most famous attractions include Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Cocovado Mountain. It has both colonial architecture, to revisit the past, and modern buildings. It is known for its natural beauty, history and culture.
Sao Paulo is one of the most populated cities in the world, with over 11 million inhabitants. It is the business and finance capital of Brazil.