Tuesday 26 December 2017
BRAZIL: Brasilia, Don't Honk Unless You Must Locals Hate It, Parking - Car Watchers Turn Violent Towards Cars If Not Paid
Brasilia, the capital of Brazil and the seat of government of the Distrito Federal, is a planned city.
Inaugurated in 1960 in the Central Highlands of Brazil, it is a masterpiece of modernist architecture listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and attracts architecture aficionados worldwide.
Brasilia is also an important transportation hub for travel within Brazil.
The basic structure of Brasilia was completed in just four years, from 1956 to 1960, under the leadership of President Juscelino Kubitschek, with the slogan fifty years of progress in five, and the city is in a sense a memorial to him.
The cathedral has six columns representing two hands reaching up to almighty heaven.
The city is designed in the shape of a giant bird or airplane, with various separated zones assigned for specific functions such as housing, commerce, hospitals and banking.
Running down the center of the airplane's fuselage is the thoroughfare called the Eixo Monumental or Monumental Axis and at one end lay the government buildings. The arched wings are residential zones, with several rows of medium-rise apartment blocks with small commercial districts.
The intersection is the commercial and cultural hub, with stores, hotels, and the cathedral. A huge artificial lake serves the city as both a leisure area and to diminish the effects of low humidity in drier months.
Fifty-three years after its creation (1960), Brasilia is still developing a culture of its own. The city has often been criticized as a failed utopia where rationalized modernist planning has buried the human element.
Yet Brazilians are quite proud of their capital, embodying a vision of a future when Brazil is no longer considered merely a developing country.
Getting a grasp of Brasilia's addresses may be a little perplexing at first, as they are usually shortened to acronyms. Here are some useful tips:
The Monumental Axis divides the city into north and south sectors. Acronyms ended in N refer to sectors on the northern side, while those ended in S are on the south.
SHS/SHN - Hotel sectors (Setor Hoteleiro)
SCS/SCN - Commercial sectors (Setor Comercial)
SQS/SQN - Residential sectors (Superquadras)
CLS/CLN (or SCLS/SCLN) - Local commerce sectors (Comércio Local) along the wings.
SES/SEN - Embassies sector (Setor de Embaixadas
Brasilia is the federal capital of Brazil and seat of government of the Federal District. The city is located atop the Brazilian highlands in the country's center-western region.
It was founded on April 21, 1960, to serve as the new national capital. Brasilia and its metro area were estimated to be Brazil's 3rd most populous city. Among major Latin American cities, Brasilia has the highest GDP per capita at R$61,915 (US$36,175).
Brasília was planned and developed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in 1956 to move the capital from Rio de Janeiro to a more central location. The landscape architect was Roberto Burle Marx.
The city's design divides it into numbered blocks as well as sectors for specified activities, such as the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector and the Embassy Sector. Brasilia was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its modernist architecture and uniquely artistic urban planning.
The centers of all three branches of the federal government of Brazil are in Brasilia, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. The city also hosts 124 foreign embassies.
Brasilia International Airport connects the capital to all major Brazilian cities and many international destinations, and is the third busiest airport in Brazil. It is the second most populous Portuguese-speaking capital city after Luanda.
The city was one of the main host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and hosted some of the football matches during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Brasilia also hosted the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
The city has a unique status in Brazil, as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality like other cities in Brazil.
Although Brasilia is used as a synonym for the Federal District through synecdoche, the Federal District is composed of 31 administrative regions, only one of which is the area of the originally planned city, also called Plano Piloto.
The rest of the Federal District is considered by IBGE to make up Brasilia's metro area.
Paranoa Lake is a large artificial lake that was built to increase the amount of water available and the region's humidity. It has Brazil's second largest marina, and hosts wakeboarders and windsurfers.
Diving can also be practiced and one of the main attractions is Vila Amaury, an old village submerged in the lake. This is where the first construction workers of Brasilia used to live.
According to the 2010 IBGE Census, there were 2,469,489 people residing in Brasília and its metropolitan area, of which 1,239,882 were Pardo (multiracial) (48.2%), 1,084,418, White (42.2%), 198,072, Black (7.7%), 41,522, Asian (1.6%), and 6,128 Amerindian (0.2%).
In 2010, Brasilia was ranked the fourth most-populous city in Brazil after Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador. In 2010, the city had 474,871 opposite-sex couples and 1,241 same-sex couples. The population of Brasilia was 52.2% female and 47.8% male.
In the 1960 census there were almost 140 thousand residents in the new Federal District. By 1970 this figure had grown to 537 thousand. By 2000 the population of the Federal District had surpassed 2 million.
The city of Brasília proper was planned for only about 500 thousand inhabitants, but its metropolitan area has grown past this figure.
From the beginning, the growth of Brasilia was greater than original estimates. According to the original plans, Brasilia would be a city for government authorities and staff. However, during the construction period, Brazilians from all over the country migrated to Brasilia, seeking public and private jobs.
At the close of the 20th century, Brasília held the distinction of being the largest city in the world which had not existed at the beginning of the century. Brasilia has one of the highest population growth rates in Brazil, with annual growth of 2.82%, mostly due to internal migration.
Brasília's inhabitants include a foreign population of mostly embassy workers as well as large numbers of Brazilian internal migrants. Today, the city has important communities of immigrants and refugees.
The city's Human Development Index was 0.936 in 2000 developed level, and the city's literacy rate was around 95.65%.
The Cathedral of Brasilia in the capital of the Federative Republic of Brazil, is an expression of the atheist architect Oscar Niemeyer. This concrete-framed hyperboloid structure, seems with its glass roof reaching up, open, to the heavens.
On 31 May 1970, the Cathedral's structure was finished, and only the 70 m (229.66 ft) diameter of the circular area were visible. Niemeyer's project of Cathedral of Brasilia is based in the hyperboloid of revolution which sections are asymmetric.
The hyperboloid structure itself is a result of 16 identical assembled concrete columns. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on 31 May 1970.
The seats of the three branches of the Brazilian state are located in Brasilia. Until the 1980s, the Federal Government appointed the governor of the Federal District, and the laws of Brasilia were issued by the Brazilian Federal Senate.
With the Constitution of 1988, Brasília gained the right to elect its Governor, and a District Assembly or Camara Legislativa was elected to exercise legislative power. The Federal District does not have a Judicial Power.
The Judicial Power which serves the Federal District also serves federal territories. Brazil does not have any territories, therefore, for now the courts only serve cases from the Federal District.
At the northwestern end of the Monumental Axis are federal district and municipal buildings, while at the southeastern end, near the middle shore of Lake Paranoa, stand the executive, judicial, and legislative buildings around the Square of Three Powers, the conceptual heart of the city.
These and other major structures were designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the style of modern Brazilian architecture.
In the Square of Three Powers, he created as a focal point the dramatic Congressional Palace, which is composed of five parts: twin administrative towers flanked by a large, white concrete dome the meeting place of the Senate) and by an equally massive concrete bowl the Chamber of Deputies, which is joined to the dome by an underlying, flat-roofed building.
The Congress also occupies various other surrounding buildings, some connected by tunnels. A series of low-lying annexes largely hidden flank both ends.
The National Congress building is located in the middle of the Eixo Monumental, the city's main avenue. In front lies a large lawn and reflecting pool. The building faces the Praça dos Tres Poderes where the Palacio do Planalto and the Supreme Federal Court are located.
Also in the square are the glass-faced Planalto Palace housing the presidential offices, and the Palace of the Supreme Court. Farther east, on a triangle of land jutting into the lake, is the Palace of the Dawn or Palacio da Alvorada; the presidential residence.
Between the federal and civic buildings on the Monumental Axis is the city's cathedral, considered by many to be Niemeyer's finest achievement.
The parabolically shaped structure is characterized by its 16 gracefully curving supports, which join in a circle 115 feet (35 meters) above the floor of the nave; stretched between the supports are translucent walls of tinted glass.
The nave is entered via a subterranean passage rather than conventional doorways. Other notable buildings are Buriti Palace, Itamaraty Palace, the National Theater, and several foreign embassies that creatively embody features of their national architecture.
The Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx designed landmark modernist gardens for some of the principal buildings.
Both low-cost and luxury housing were built by the government in the Brasília. The residential zones of the inner city are arranged into superquadras or superblocks: groups of apartment buildings along with a prescribed number and type of schools, retail stores, and open spaces.
At the northern end of Lake Paranoa, separated from the inner city, is a peninsula with many fashionable homes, and a similar city exists on the southern lakeshore.
Originally the city planners envisioned extensive public areas along the shores of the artificial lake, but during early development private clubs, hotels, and upscale residences and restaurants gained footholds around the water.
Set well apart from the city are satellite cities, including Gama, Ceilandia, Taguatinga, Nucleo Bandeirante, Sobradinho, and Planaltina. These cities, with the exception of Gama and Sobradinho were not planned.
The city has been both acclaimed and criticized for its use of modernist architecture on a grand scale and for its somewhat utopian city plan.
After a visit to Brasilia, the French writer Simone de Beauvoir complained that all of its superquadras exuded the same air of elegant monotony, and other observers have equated the city's large open lawns, plazas, and fields to wastelands.
As the city has matured, some of these have gained adornments, and many have been improved by landscaping, giving some observers a sense of humanized spaciousness.
Although not fully accomplished, the Brasilia utopia has produced a city of relatively high quality of life, in which the citizens live in forested areas with sporting and leisure structure the superquadras flanked by small commercial areas, bookstores and cafes; the city is famous for its cuisine and efficiency of transit.
Even these positive features have sparked controversy, expressed in the nickname ilha da fantasia or fantasy island, indicating the sharp contrast between the city and surrounding regions, marked by poverty and disorganization in the cities of the states of Goias and Minas Gerais, around Brasilia.
Critics of Brasília's grand scale have characterized it as a modernist platonic fantasy about the future.
The major roles of construction and of services namely government, communications, banking and finance, food production, entertainment, and legal services in Brasilia's economy reflect the city's status as a governmental rather than an industrial center.
Industries connected with construction, food processing, and furnishings are important, as are those associated with publishing, printing, and computer software. GDP is divided in Public Administration 54.8%, Services 28.7%, Industry 10.2%, Commerce 6.1%, Agribusiness 0.2%.
Besides being the political center, Brasília is an important economic center. Brasilia has the highest city gross domestic product (GDP) of 99.5 billion reais representing 3.76% of the total Brazilian GDP. The main economic activity of the federal capital results from its administrative function.
Its industrial planning is studied carefully by the Government of the Federal District.
Being a city registered by UNESCO, the government in Brasilia has opted to encourage the development of non-polluting industries such as software, film, video, and gemology among others, with emphasis on environmental preservation and maintaining ecological balance, preserving the city property.
According to Mercer's city rankings of cost of living for expatriate employees, Brasilia ranks 45th among the most expensive cities in the world in 2012, up from the 70th position in 2010, ranking behind Sao Paulo (12th) and Rio de Janeiro (13th).
Government,the public sector is by far the largest employer, accounting for around 40% of the city jobs. Government jobs include all levels, from the federal police to diplomacy, from the transportation bureau to the armed forces
Communications,the telephony used to be a state monopoly, and Brasilia held the HQ of Telebras, the central state company; one of the enterprises that resulted from the privatization of the system in the 90's, Brasil Telecom, keeps it HQ in the city.
The official Postal Service or Correios HQ is located in the city as well.
As it is the main place of Federal Government news, it is also notable the activities of TV stations, including the main offices of four public networks like TV Brasil/Agencia Brasil, TV Camara, TV Senado and TV Justiça, the regional offices of four major private television networks like Rede Globo, SBT, Rede Bandeirantes and Rede Record and a main affiliate of RedeTV.
Banking and finance,headquarters of the Banco do Brasil and the Caixa Economica Federal, both controlled by the Federal Government, and the Banco de Brasilia, controlled by the city local government.
It is also the site of the headquarters of the Central Bank, the main government regulatory agency of the financial sector.
Entertainment,the shopping malls Conjunto Nacional, ParkShopping, Patio Brasil Shopping, Brasilia Shopping, Boulevard Shopping, Taguatinga Shopping, Terraço Shopping, Gilberto Salomao and Iguatemi Brasilia.
Information technology Politec, Poliedro, CTIS, among others, and legal services.
In the city include Construction Paulo Octavio, Via Construçoes, and Irmaos Gravia among others.
Food processing like Perdigao, Sadia.
Furniture Making,Recycling like Novo Rio, Rexam, Latasa and others.
Pharmaceuticals like Uniao Quimica.
The main agricultural products produced in the city are coffee, guavas, strawberries, oranges, lemons, papayas, soy beans, and mangoes. It has over 110,000 cows and it exports wood products worldwide.
The Federal District, where Brasilia is located, has a GDP of R$133,4 billion (about US$64.1 billion), about the same as Belarus according to The Economist. Its share of the total Brazilian GDP is about 3.8%.
The Federal District has the largest GDP per capita income of Brazil US$25,062, slightly higher than Belarus.
The city's planned design included specific areas for almost everything, including accommodation, Hotels Sectors North and South. New hotel facilities are being developed elsewhere, such as the hotels and tourism Sector North, located on the shores of Lake Paranoa.
Brasilia has a range of tourist accommodation from inns, pensions and hostels to larger international chain hotels. The city's restaurants cater to a wide range of foods from local and regional Brazilian dishes to international cuisine.
At the end of the Eixo Monumental or Monumental Axis lies the Esplanada dos Ministerios or Ministries Esplanade, an open area in downtown Brasilia. The rectangular lawn is surrounded by two eight-lane avenues where many government buildings, monuments and memorials are located.
On Sundays and holidays, the Eixo Monumental is closed to cars so that locals may use it as a place to walk, bike, and have picnics under the trees.
Praça dos Tres Poderes or Square of the Three Powers is a plaza in Brasilia. The name is derived from the encounter of the three federal branches around the plaza: the Executive, represented by the Palacio do Planalto or presidential office.
The Legislative, represented by the National Congress or Congresso Nacional and the Judicial branch, represented by the Supreme Federal Court or Supremo Tribunal Federal. It is a tourist attraction in Brasilia, designed by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer as a place where the three branches would meet harmoniously.
The Palacio da Alvorada is the official residence of the president of Brazil. The palace was designed, along with the rest of the city of Brasilia, by Oscar Niemeyer and inaugurated in 1958.
One of the first structures built in the republic's new capital city, the Alvorada lies on a peninsula at the margins of Lake Paranoa. The principles of simplicity and modernity, that in the past characterized the great works of architecture, motivated Niemeyer.
The viewer has an impression of looking at a glass box, softly landed on the ground with the support of thin external columns. The building has an area of 7,000 m2 with three floors consisting of the basement, landing, and second floor.
The auditorium, kitchen, laundry, medical center, and administration offices are at basement level. The rooms used by the presidency for official receptions are on the landing. The second floor has four suites, two apartments, and various private rooms which make up the residential part of the palace.
The building also has a library, a heated Olympic-sized swimming pool, a music room, two dining rooms and various meeting rooms. A chapel and heliport are in adjacent buildings.
The Palacio do Planalto is the official workplace of the president of Brazil. It is located at the Praça dos Tres Poderes in Brasília. As the seat of government, the term Planalto is often used as a metonym for the executive branch of government.
The main working office of the President of the Republic is in the Palacio do Planalto. The President and his or her family do not live in it, rather in the official residence, the Palacio da Alvorada.
Besides the President, senior advisors also have offices in the Planalto, including the Vice-President of Brazil and the Chief of Staff. The other Ministries are along the Esplanada dos Ministerios.
The architect of the Palacio do Planalto was Oscar Niemeyer, creator of most of the important buildings in Brasilia. The idea was to project an image of simplicity and modernity using fine lines and waves to compose the columns and exterior structures.
The Palace is four stories high, and has an area of 36,000 m2. Four other adjacent buildings are also part of the complex.
The Portuguese language is the official national language and the primary language taught in schools. English and Spanish are also part of the official curriculum.
- American School of Brasilia
- Brasilia International School (BIS)
- Escola das Naçoes
- Swiss International School (SIS)
- Lycee français François-Mitterrand (LfFM)
- Maple Bear Canadian School.
- British School of Brasilia.
Brasilia has two universities, three university centers, and many private colleges.
Tertiary educational institutions are:
- Universidade de Brasilia – University of Brasilia (UnB) (public)
- Universidade Catolica de Brasilia – Catholic University of Brasilia (UCB)
- Centro Universitario de Brasilia (UniCEUB)
- Centro Universitario Euroamaricano (Unieuro)
- Centro Universitario do Distrito Federal (UDF)
- Universidade Paulista (UNIP)
- Instituto de Educaçao Superior de Brasilia (IESB)
Brasilia–Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport serves the metropolitan area with major domestic and international flights. It is the third busiest Brazilian airport based on passengers and aircraft movements.
Because of its strategic location it is a civil aviation hub for the rest of the country.
This makes for a large number of takeoffs and landings and it is not unusual for flights to be delayed in the holding pattern before landing.
Following the airport's master plan, Infraero built a second runway, which was finished in 2006. In 2007, the airport handled 11,119,872 passengers. The main building's third floor, with 12 thousand square meters, has a panoramic deck, a food court, shops, four movie theatres with total capacity of 500 people, and space for exhibitions.
Brasilia Airport has 136 vendor spaces. The airport is located about 11 km (6.8 mi) from the central area of Brasilia, outside the metro system. The area outside the airport's main gate is lined with taxis as well as several bus line services that connect the airport to Brasilia's central district.
The parking lot accommodates 1,200 cars. The airport is serviced by domestic and regional airlines TAM, GOL, Azul, WebJET, Trip and Avianca, in addition to a number of international carriers.
In 2012, Brasilia's International Airport was won by the InfrAmerica consortium, formed by the Brazilian engineering company ENGEVIX and the Argentine Corporacion America holding company, with a 50% stake each.During the 25-year concession, the airport may be expanded to up to 40 million passengers a year.
In 2014 the airport received 15 new boarding bridges, totaling 28 in all. This was the main requirement made by the federal government, which transferred the operation of the terminal to the Inframerica Group after an auction. The group invested R$750 million in the project.
In the same year, the number of parking spaces doubled, reaching three thousand. The airport's entrance have a new rooftop cover and a new access road. Furthermore, a VIP room was created on Terminal 1's third floor.
The investments resulted an increase the capacity of Brasilia's airport from approximately 15 million passengers per year to 21 million by 2014.Brasilia has direct flights to all states of Brazil and direct international flights to Atlanta, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Miami, Panama City, and Paris.
Like most Brazilian cities, Brasilia has a good network of taxi companies. Taxis from the airport are available immediately outside the terminal, but at times there can be quite a queue of people.
Although the airport is not far from the downtown area, taxi prices do seem to be higher than in other Brazilian cities. Booking in advance can be advantageous, particularly if time is limited, and local companies should be able to assist airport transfer or transport requirements.
The Juscelino Kubitschek bridge, also known as the President JK Bridge or the JK Bridge, crosses Lake Paranoa in Brasilia. It is named after Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, former president of Brazil.
It was designed by architect Alexandre Chan and structural engineer Mario Vila Verde. Chan won the Gustav Lindenthal Medal for this project at the 2003 International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh due to outstanding achievement demonstrating harmony with the environment, aesthetic merit and successful community participation.
It consists of three 60 m (200 ft) tall asymmetrical steel arches that crisscross diagonally. With a length of 1,200 m (0.75 miles), it was completed in 2002 at a cost of US$56.8 million. The bridge has a pedestrian walkway and is accessible to bicyclists and skaters
The Brasília Metro is Brasília's underground metro system. The system has 24 stations on two lines, the Orange and Green lines, along a total network of 42 km (26 mi), covering some of the metropolitan area.
Both lines begin at the Central Station and run parallel until the Aguas Claras Station. The Brasilia metro is not comprehensive so buses may provide better access to the center.
The metro leaves the Rodoviaria (bus station) and goes south, avoiding most of the political and tourist areas. The main purpose of the metro is to serve cities, such as Samambaia, Taguatinga and Ceilandia, as well as Guara and Aguas Claras.
The satellite cities served are more populated in total than the Plano Piloto itself the census of 2000 indicated that Ceilandia had 344,039 inhabitants, Taguatinga had 243,575, and the Plano Piloto had approximately 400,000 inhabitants, and most residents of the satellite cities depend on public transportation.
A high-speed railway was planned between Brasilia and Goiania, the capital of the state of Goias, but it will probably be turned into a regional service linking the capital cities and cities in between, like Anapolis and Alexania.
The main bus hub in Brasilia is the Central Bus Station, located in the crossing of the Eixo Monumental and the Eixao, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Three Powers Plaza. The original plan was to have a bus station as near as possible to every corner of Brasilia.
Today, the bus station is the hub of urban buses only, some running within Brasilia and others connecting Brasília to the satellite cities.
In the original city plan, the interstate buses should also stop at the Central Station. Because of the growth of Brasilia and corresponding growth in the bus fleet, today the interstate buses leave from the older interstate station called Rodoferroviaria, located at the western end of the Eixo Monumental.
The Central Bus Station also contains a main metro station. A new bus station was opened in July 2010. It is on Saída Sul (South Exit) near Parkshopping Mall and with its metro station, and it's also an inter-state bus station, used only to leave the Federal District.
The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Brasília, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 96 min. 31% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day.
The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 28 min, while 61% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 15.1 km, while 50% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.
The main stadiums are the Brasilia National Stadium Mane Garrincha which was reinaugurated on May 18, 2013, the Serejao Stadium home for Brasiliense and the Bezerrao Stadium home for Gama.
Brasilia is known as a departing point for the practice of unpowered air sports, sports that may be practiced with hang gliding or paragliding wings.
Practitioners of such sports reveal that, because of the city's dry weather, the city offers strong thermal winds and great cloud-streets, which is also the name for a manoeuvre quite appreciated by practitioners.
In 2003, Brasilia hosted the 14th Hang Gliding World Championship, one of the categories of free flying. In August 2005, the city hosted the 2nd stage of the Brazilian Hang Gliding Championship.
Brasilia is the site of the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet which hosted a non-championship round of the 1974 Formula One Grand Prix season. An IndyCar race was cancelled at the last minute in 2015.
The city is also home to Uniceub BRB, one of Brazil's best basketball clubs. Currently, NBB champion. The club hosts some of its games at the 16,000 all-seat Nilson Nelson Gymnasium.
Temperatures seldom hit extremes. 17°C to 28°C (63 to 82°F) are the average lows and highs, but it can get as low as 1°C (34°F) in winter and get as hot as 34°C (92°F) in September/October.
In dry season (August–September) the city's landscape, normally very green, becomes desert like and everyone must drink lots of water to prevent the unpleasant effects of dehydration.
On the other hand, during those months the city is blessed with a gorgeous sunset in spectacular shades of orange, pink and red. The best months to go are probably May and June - still green, but no longer so hot, with fewer chances of rainfall.
Official tourist info can be obtained from State Secretariat of Tourism of the Distrito Federal. There are also stands in the airport, the new rodoviaria and the Praça dos Tres Poderes.
Due to long distances and falling prices in air travel, flying has become a practical way of getting to Brasilia. The city is a national air travel hub, and there should be plenty of flights.
In fact you may find your plane touching down at Brasilia airport even if you're not starting or ending anywhere near, such as Salvador to Belem.
On the other hand, despite being a major international capital, getting in directly from abroad is difficult in most cases. Most flights are domestic, and you will have to go through Brazilian customs and immigration elsewhere and re-board.
However, there are currently several international non-stop flights from: Orlando (TAM), Buenos Aires (Aerolineas Argentinas), Paris (Air France), Lisbon (TAP Portugal), Lima (Lan Peru) and (TACA), Bogota (AviancaTaca), Miami (TAM Brazil) and (American Airlines), Panama City (COPA), Montevideo (Pluna), Santa Cruz, Bolivia (Amaszonas Airlines), Atlanta (Delta Airlines), Punta Cana (TAM), and seasonal to Santiago and Aruba (GOL).
Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport, Brasilia's airport is situated 11 km (7 mi) from the city center and has one of the few tourist information services in town.
It also has an exchange office at the arrivals area, another one at Banco do Brasil open Mo-Fri 11:00-16:00, departures area and several ATMs.
There is an Executive Bus from airport to hotel zone and the central region for R$10.
Taxis are annother convenient means of getting from the airport into the city. They are relatively expensive for Brazilian standards and the 20-minute drive to the hotel zone should cost about R$30–40. Regular buses number 102 and 102.1 are frequent and significantly cheaper.
They link the airport to the main bus terminal at Rodoviaria, from where you can catch buses or the subway to other parts of the city.
Due to its central location, Brasilia is well served by a bus network that connects it with the rest of Brazil. Travel times are about 15 hours from Sao Paulo, 18 hours from Rio, 10 hours from Belo Horizonte and 3 hours from Goiania.
Buses from other states arrive at a dedicated bus station called rodoviaria, that is located at the central road (EPIA) and is connected to the city center by bus number 131, frequency each 10–20 minutes, from 5AM to midnight and taxis.
Drivers coming from southern and Center-west states will arrive by the Saada Sul entrance. From other states, you'll enter Brasilia by Saida Norte. After you're inside the Federal District, keep following the Brasilia indicating traffic signs and Zona Central if you're staying at the hotel sector.
The Eixo Rodoviario Road, that crosses the city's south, central, and north sectors, can be identified by the characteristics double strip of yellow raised pavement markers separating the two lanes of the road.
Mapframe Rent a car, ride the buses, take a cab, hitchhike, but whatever you do, don't plan on getting around Brasilia on foot. The city was designed under the assumption that every resident would own an automobile.
Obviously things didn't turn out that way, and the city's public transport is a solution to an almost deliberately designed problem. Fortunately it works fairly well. Note that the roads have few crosswalks or traffic lights, so being a pedestrian also requires some caution.
Most local buses start from or go through the rodoviaria, at the precise center of the city, and run along the wings serving the residential zones or through the Monumental Axis.
Some bus lines are very useful for moving around, as they link the central area of Brasilia or Setor Comercial, Setor de Diversoes etc. to Esplanada dos Ministerios, the airport and some of the main avenues L2 and W3.
These used to be stripped red-and-white buses called zebrinhas or little zebras but now they are only distinguished from other bus lines by their numbers.
Unlike many other Brazilian cities, passengers in Brasilia board buses by the front door. Buses must be flagged, otherwise they will only stop when a passenger requests to hop off. Single fares are R$3.00 for travel within Brasília. There is no advance sale of tickets, pay as you board.
Taxis are relatively expensive in Brasilia and usually cannot be hailed on the streets. Taxi stands, however, are close to all tourist attractions and any hotel will be able to call a cab or provide the phone number of the best known dispatch offices.
All taxis must have taximeters and can start charging only after the passenger has boarded. When arriving at Brasilia airport, taxis are located immediately outside the arrival terminal.
Although the airport is not far from downtown Brasilia, taxi prices are expensive compared to other cities in Brazil, and often there can be a long wait before a taxi become available.
Pre-booking taxis or airport transfers is possible, although somewhat limited, through companies such as Brazil Airport Transfers.
The Metro subway system started operating in 2001. Its Y-shaped line starts in the main bus station Rodoviaria de Brasilia Central station and makes its first stop at Setor Comercial Sul or Galeria station, which is fairly near some hotels South of Monumental Axis.
It runs along the south wing, stopping at blocks 102, 108, 112 and 114, then going through suburbs. The subway uses to operate 6AM-11:30PM from Monday to Friday some stations stop selling tickets at 10:30PM, and from 7AM-7PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Its common to be offered special timelines on some holidays, like New Year's Eve and the April 21st city's anniversary.
It's not particularly useful for tourists, as it does not visit the main attractions but does stop at attractions such as the Buddhist Temple. Single fare: R$4.00,R$3.80 with the rechargeable metro card.
Some stops are still under construction and are indicated with a black dot as opposed to white dot on the metro map.
Before going on the subway remember to have pocket money in small bills or coins,the Metro doesn't accept credit cards and won't give change above R$20.
If you are not using city tour services, it would be a good idea to have a car available. The urbanistic plan of Brasilia was highly based on individual motorized transportation, so it is not surprising that a visit to the city will be much more pleasing having a car.
Unlike other Brazilian big cities, traffic in Brasilia is not a major problem, although there are some jams during rush hours.
There are public parking lots available at main sites, although it can be hard to find spots sometimes. As in other Brazilian towns, there usually are some watchers, people that offers to watch your car supposedly to protect it from robbers, expecting to get some money in return.
They usually behave like beggars, although they can turn violent towards the cars if not paid, scratching or chipping the paint job, so it would avoid some trouble to just give a little money, something around 2 reais.
If it bothers you, you can always park your car a little further from the main destinations, where there are no watchers, or in a paid garage, when available.
Drivers behave a little differently than in other places in Brazil:
Stop at pedestrian crossings - pedestrians will wave a hand before crossing or usually simply start walking. Keep an eye on the sidewalks at all times. Policemen enforce this rule and you can get fined if you disrespect it. Other cities are beginning to enforce this law as well.
Use of horns,do not honk unless you really need to for safety reasons. Brasilienses hate it and really appreciate their driving to be as silent as possible.
It is paramount to have a detailed map in hand when driving through the city, especially in the central area. It is far more convenient to have a good GPS system, because the access of some streets can be confusing, as there are lots of elevated interchanges and ramps.
Do not expect the signs to be clear and ubiquitous, there are no signs telling you on what avenue you are on and streets rarely intersect.
Smaller streets do not have names as they are defined by being between this and that square. This said, once you have understood the logic that rules ramps and intersections, theoretically you can throw your map away.
The Three Powers Square or Praça dos Tres Poderes at the eastern end of the Monumental Axis. Includes the seats of the country's 3 highest authorities: the Congress, the Presidential Palace called Palacio do Planalto and the Supreme Court.
The axis itself is aligned such that on April 21 Tiradentes Day, marking the death of the Brazilian independence martyr, the sun rises precisely between the two towers of Congress. The bronze statue of two abstract figures is named Os Candangos and represents the pioneering spirit of the workers who built the city.
There's also a blind justice statue by the Supreme Court, a small museum about Juscelino Kubitschek, the Pantheon, the Eternal Flame monument, and a model, built to scale, of Brasilia itself, in an underground space.
The façade of the Palace of Justice has waterfalls that contrast with its stern geometrical beauty.
National Theater Claudio Santoro - Brasilia's main theatre features 3 main halls for plays and concerts, art galleries and temporary art exhibitions, from 12h until 20h.
Public works of art - Some of the finest Brazilian artists have created works in Brasilia: Burle Marx (landscape design), Athos Bulcao (geometric tile panels), Oscar Niemeyer (buildings and sculptures) Ceschiatti and Bruno Giorgio (sculptures). These can be seen on the streets, open air and for free.
Dom Bosco Church, Av. W3 sul, quadra 702. A beautiful modern church built on concrete and blue stained glass. Bosco was a 19th-century Italian priest whose writings, some say, prophesied the creation of Brasilia.
It's impossible not to notice the huge crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the square church.
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) - SCES, Trecho 02, lote 22. Holds all kinds of exhibitions and cultural events. Russian paintings, musical concerts, documentaries, plays, thematic movie festivals, photography, you name it.
There is no permanent exhibition or attraction so you've to check the programme before going or just go there and enjoy what's available. The easier way to reach it is through its own free bus line that runs from the city center and back.
Check the official bus schedule for an up-to-date information. Opens Thu-Sun from 9h until 21h. Entrance fees may vary greatly or even be free depending on what's going on. But one thing is certain: it's usually CHEAP.
Parque Olhos D'Agua - A park in the northern wing of the city that is mainly used for jogging. It also has many springs, streams and a small pond. Many of its facilities include a playground and two outdoor gyms.
Paranoa Lake - Pontao has lakeside restaurants and a park while the Ermida Dom Bosco near SHIS QI 29, bus line 100/123 chapel provides gorgeous views of the city from across the Lake, an excellent place to watch Brasilia's famous sunsets. You can swim in the lake at the Ecological Park next to the Ermida.
Brasilia National Park - Cerrado vegetation and fauna, plus natural swimming pools.
Poço Azul - A waterfall forming beautiful blue pools on a quartz rock.
Cinema Festival - Brasilia hosts one of the most important festivals of Brazilian cinema. The Festival de Cinema Brasileiro takes place late October/early November and screens independent and mainstream movies that will hit the theaters the following year. Both short and feature films are presented, but the movies have no subtitles.
State Secretary of Culture of the Distrito Federal Agenda - The biggest cultural schedule of Brasilia. It keeps track of all exhibitions and shows playing in the city. You can choose the listings by month or type of attraction or see the complete schedule for the current month.
Basketball - If you happen to be in Brasilia between January and June, you should not miss the games of Brasilia's home team Universo BRB for the national league of basketball.
Runner-up of the 2009 season, Universo is well known for playing great games and drawing a big audience for Brazilian standards, which peaked 11.000 people during the 2009 finals.
The season games happens in Clube da CEB or CEB's club, at SGAS 904. Ticket costs R$10.00. If you actually want to play basketball, the city's park has plenty of courts available for public use. Your best chance to catch some locals playing is going on the weekends.
Jogging - Brasilia's most popular sport by far. There are running tracks in the National Park and in the City's Park. The Eixo Rodoviario road is closed to traffic on Sundays (8h-18h) and can be also used for jogging, cycling and skating.
Jogging on weekends in the City's Park is one the most popular activities among locals. Don't miss the coconut water vendors. Besides that, 5 km and 10 km races happens almost bi-monthly.
Wakeboard - Wakescola de Brasilia. The only wakeboard school in the city. Expensive.
Brasilia's residential wings have many local shops such as groceries, drugstores, bakers, restaurants, hairdressers and so forth, and that is where townspeople do much of their daily shopping.
The now somewhat decadent W3 avenue used to be the equivalent of a city's high street and still concentrates a large portion of the city's street commerce. Shopping malls, however, also play an important part when it comes to shopping in town.
The Setor de Diversoes is a fairly nice shopping area at the center of the city, very close to Rodoviaria. The northern side, called Conjunto Nacional, is a bit more upscale, while the southern side has interesting small shops with books, music, and clothing that appeal to the local skateboard-riding youths.
Notice that this southern side at night is very dangerous, being the favorite spot for hookers and drug dealers.
On Sundays there is a flea market at the base of the Television Tower. Half of the stands are also open during the week and you can get local crafts and souvenirs hard to find in shopping malls.
Some off-center places can also be of interest for travellers.
The imports market popularly known as Feira do Paraguai is the place to go for cheap electronics ,cameras and replacement accessories, batteries etc. and other travel items such as backpacks, flashlights and so forth. From Rodoviaria, take bus 124.2 shorter trip or bus 124.
Records and books - FNAC, at the Parkshopping mall has a good assortment of English-language travel guides and Brazilian music CDs. Livraria Cultura, at the Casa Park mall, has bilingual staff and an extensive collection of Brazilian CDs and foreign-language literature especially in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.
Both malls are close to each other and can be easily reached by subway through the almost self-explanatory named Shopping station.
Brasilia does not have a typical, regional cuisine. Nevertheless, restaurants serve food from many Brazilian states, as well as international fare. Self-service or por quilo restaurants are very common and usually cheaper than their a la carte counterparts.
Most of Brasilia's real table service restaurants are located at the residential wings, usually a bus or taxi ride away from most tourist attractions.
One of the most popular streets is the CLS 405 from rodoviaria, take bus 114, with choices ranging from sushi to Brazilian, Mexican and French food. Regarding tips, visitors are expected to pay at least 10% of the bill.
Such amount is commonly printed on the invoice and most of the time it's OK to include the tip in your credit/debit card since most of the restaurants share the total amount with all employees. Self-service restaurants usually don't charge tips.
A convenient place for finding reasonably priced food is the food court of the Conjunto Nacional mall. The mall is located right beside the main bus terminal rodoviaria and at walking distance from many hotels and of the main attractions such as the Three Powers Square.
SCLS 201. Right beside Banco Central's main building, this street is packed with cheap self-service restaurants and a few ranging from mid-range to splurge.
Local chain Giraffas in several locations around town rivals McDonalds in the fast food market by serving sandwiches and cheap beef/chicken + rice-and-beans set meals.
Green's has lots of options for vegetarians or people craving healthy food. Imagine, sprouts! They also have fish and meat. That is definitely not a cheap place
Velha Guarda 302 Norte, Bloco D - It may be the most Brazilian experience a foreign visitor could have, a cheap and totally out of the beaten path reataurant. Very simple profile and accommodations, but very well served in what matters, the food.
They have menu of the day, which varies along the week but always with a huge portion of beef/poultry/pork plus salad, egg and rice & beans. Price: R$9.00
Don Durica – SCLN 201, Bloco A,Mo-Sat 11:30AM-3PM/6PM-midnight. This all-you-can-eat buffet offers more than 50 dishes for lunch, mainly from Minas Gerais cuisine.
Vegetarians may try and escape ubiquitous meat dishes of Brazilian cuisine at Bardana - SCLS 405 bloco A. Try the tropical juices too.
Bottarga Ristorante - SHIS QI 05 conjunto 09 Tue-Sat 12:30-15:00 and 20:00-00:00. Sun 12:30-16:30. French-Italian inspired cuisine. Main dishes from R$49 simple risotto to R$99. Good selection of wines for Brasilia.
Despite not being particularly famous for its nightlife, Brasilia has some hangouts that save visitors from night-time boredom. Please observe that smoking in the dancefloor is not allowed - all clubs have an smoking area, so people can smoke or just get some fresh air without leaving the club.
Beirute - CLS 109 Bloco A near 108 Sul metro station. Opens daily, until 2AM. One of the oldest and most traditional bars in town, serves reasonably priced beer and Arab food, and attracts a mixed crowd of students, journalists, gay people and intellectuals.
Is also one of the best places to pick up flyers and find out the best parties to go.
Club 904 - SGAS 904 - Asa Sul. It hosts two of the parties that gathers most of the youth in the city. 5uinto on Thursdays, an electronic music party and Play, on Fridays, a rock music party.
Gate's Pub - CLS 403 Bloco B near 102 Sul metro station. This pub-cum-club has a dartboard and is one of the few places to offer a week-round choice of nights, ranging from Brazilian music to alternative electronic stuff. Opens Mo/We 9PM, Tu/Thu/Sat/Sun 10PM. Fri 11PM. Admission R$5 - R$18 there are usually discounts before 11PM.
Por-do-Sol - CLN 408 BL C, s/n lj 24 - Asa Norte. Favorite bar of University of Brasilia students. It is always crowded, so it is a great place to see different people. The beer doesn't get any cheaper elsewhere. You have to get it on the counter, though.
You can see the youth of Brasilia over here, drinking beer and talking about anything. Some consider the whole 408 quadra as a sort of alcoholic set-up, due to the many bars.
UK Brasil Pub - SCLS 411 BL B Lj. 28 - Asa Sul. Live music with local bands, mostly covers of famous bands. Doesn't accept credit cards. There's a separate room where you can smoke. Tu-Sa from 18h.
Landscape Pub - SHIN CA 7, Bloco F-1 - loja 33 - Lago Norte. This pub has two floors: the dancefloor and a dancefloor-lounge upstairs, and an external area when you can smoke, chat and meet new people. It's a reduct of the underground scene of Brasilia,there you can hear Beatles, Strokes and some new DJs.
Chiquita Bacana - 209 Sul, bloco A - loja 37 - Asa Sul near 108 Sul metro station. It's a nice bar in Brasilia. It's not a cheap one,one Stella Artois Long Neck costs R$5, but they have a good decoration and a good variety of booze and snacks. They have narguiles to rent too.
Agua Doce Cachaçaria - CLS 412, Bl A Lj 3 - Asa Sul near 112 Sul metro station. Specialized in cachaça, the Brazilian destilled beverage made of sugar cane. Opens Tuesday to Sunday until 2AM.
Bonnaparte - SHS Quadra 02 Bloco J, S/N - Setor Hoteleiro Sul - Brasilia - DF - Brasil. The bar is in principle like a canteen with 3-4 TV sets. Keep away from this place, especially if you are on a budget trip. They don't inform you about the entrance fee before you leave. It will cost you 36 reais for a single beer
Although the city's music scene is no longer as vibrant as it was in the 80s, when it bred some of the greatest pop/rock talents of recent generations with bands like Capital Inicial and Legiao Urbana,live shows of local bands are frequent.
Daily listings in Portuguese can be found at the local newspapers or the Correioweb and Candango websites.
Most of the city's accommodation is located at the Hotel Sectors SHS and SHN, two central areas located on both sides of Eixo Monumental. During weekdays, hotels are usually busy due to the capital's political activity and it is advisable to book in advance.
Typical prices are R$200 for a double room and R$95 for a single. Most ot the hotels have an off-price for the weekends.
Many simple pousadas are located at W3 Sul avenue. They are often non-regulated by tourist authorities and their quality and security may vary greatly. In 2008, the local authorities shut these pousadas; do not rely on them existing anymore.
Designed by Oscar Neimeyer and inaugurated in 1958, this hotel completes the Brasilia/Neimeyer experience. It was the first hotel in the city. Recently revamped maintaining the strict modernist 60's style.
Always remember though, never show off any of your money. Not only will this be considered as an insult to less fortunate citizens, you will be an advertising for a mugging.
Brasilia is a safe city, but usual measures should be taken. At night, the area near the central bus station is not considered to be safe because of prostitution and drugs. Avoid walking alone at night throughout the city.
There are an increasing number of cases of flash kidnap. This consists of attacking people near or inside their own car, robbing and getting away with the car, and sometimes driving with the owner to make them withdraw money from automatic cash machines or even committing other kinds of violence.
Local Police give some advice on how to avoid these crimes:
Try to walk with company, avoiding deserted places or those with bad illumination. Be aware of people approaching to ask for information, especially during the night.
When coming out of a bank, verify if you are being followed or if there are suspicious people near the vehicle
Approaching your car, have the keys ready, to make it easier to get into the car.
Going home or to your hotel, do not park immediately. Watch the sides of the buildings and corners and only then stop the vehicle. Do not react to any kind of crime, as the criminals do not act alone.
Police officers are usually polite, but as they have to deal with considerable violence they might appear harsh in situations when they have to be alert.
Respect is the key for good interaction. In case of police intervention at a crime i.e. when they withdraw their guns, lay down on the floor and put your hands on your head and don't make any subtle movement.
Do not react if searched. Follow instructions and, as it is possible, inform someone of your situation by phone.
To get police assistance, dial 190 in any public or private phone.
For medical emergency, dial 192. Be mindful that English-speaking operators may not readily available, and you will be facing a language barrier.
Although drug consumption does not lead to incarceration, it is still a crime in Brazil, and being caught with small amounts of illegal substances may lead to bureaucratic complications when leaving the country.
Selling or transporting drugs for use of others is considered trafficking, a very serious crime, and will lead to severe consequences. So, do not use or carry drugs of any kind.
The area code to Brasilia and region is 61 add Brazil's 55 if dialing from abroad. All 7-digit telephone numbers have recently been converted to 8-digit by adding a 3 before the number.
Neon Lights cybercafe, SRTVS, Patio Brasil mall - 2nd Floor Conveniently located inside a large shopping mall next to the South Hotel Sector. Opens Mo-Sat 10AM-10PM. R$6/hour.
Media Cyber, Brasilia Shopping mall, G1 floor. Next to the North Hotel Sector. Has printing and scanning services and sells disks and recordable CDs. Most expensive Cyber ever R$8/hour.
RedShot, SCLS 409 Bloco D Loja 30 from rodoviaria, take bus 114. This lan house is aimed primarily at gamers, but has cheaper connections. Opens daily from 10AM. R$3–4/hour.
There are also many Wi-fi hotspots scattered around town, including the food court of the airport and various hotels.
Attractions to visit:
Pirenopolis - an old Portuguese colonial town surrounded by several waterfalls.
Chapada dos Veadeiros - A National Park with plenty of cerrado wildlife and spectacular waterfalls.
Itiquira waterfall - this beautiful 168m-high warterfall is little more than 100 km from Brasilia, a safe and pleasant 2-hour drive going northwest; exit the city through the Ponte do Bragueto and continue on highway BR020 to Planaltina and then Formosa.
Alto Paraiso de Goias - 230 km North of Brasilia. It's the main gate to the Chapada dos Veadeiros region. It's also known from its hippies and esoteric communities.
Cavalcante - 320 km north of Brasilia. It's part of the Chapada dos Veadeiros national park. Also known from the Kalunga communitties, descendants of escaped slaves.
Caldas Novas -300 km south of Brasilia. Caldas Novas is popular for its hot springs that attract travellers all year round.