30 amazing facts about Brazil, home to a hidden mountain and a ghost town in the jungle
People in Brazil. Photo: Time Magazine

When thinking about the country of Brazil on the international travel scene, for many it is a long haul destination. Yet it is worth making that journey because it is exciting, enticing and much more.

Want to know more about Brazil? Here are 23 Interesting Facts about Brazil that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

1. Osama Bin Laden-themed bars are something of a trend in Brazil. Well, there is a couple, anyway. Bar do Bin Laden in Sao Paulo – run by an Osama lookalike – and Caverna do Bin Laden, or “Bin Laden’s Cave” – which can be found just in Niteroi, around 25 kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro, according to Telegraph CoUK.

2. Some 1.5 million-2.5 million Brazilians are of Japanese descent. Many immigrants brought with them seedlings of cherry trees and cherry blossoms can be viewed outside homes in Sao Paulo, and in public parks in Curitiba.

3. Fishermen in Laguna, in the southeast of Brazil, are able to use dolphins to help them catch dinner. The animals will herd fish towards waiting nets, even flicking their head to indicate that the trap has been set. The practice has been going on for generations, the fishermen say, but was only recently been reported by Western media.

4. The country’s motto is “Ordem e Progresso”, meaning “order and progress”.

5. São Vicente, near Sao Paulo, is the oldest city in Brazil and was Portugal’s first permanent settlement in the Americas. Established in 1532, it is the birthplace of footballer Robinho.

6. Brazil’s highest mountain is the Pico da Neblina (Mist Peak), on the border with Venezuela, at 2,994 meters (9,823 feet) above sea level. Due to it being almost permanently shrouded in cloud, it was not discovered until the 1950s and was first ascended in 1965 (12 years after Everest).

7. Brasilia, the country’s capital, took just 41 months to build, from 1956 to 1960 (Rio had been the capital for the previous 197 years).

8. Brasilia looks like an airplane from above.

9. It is estimated that the Amazon in Brazil has more un-contacted tribes than any other destination in the world. The government department of FUNAI has confirmed the presence of 67 isolated tribes who have no contact with the outside, as said by Udrive.

10. A number of Nazis fled to Brazil after the Second World War, including Josef Mengele (the “Angel of Death”), known for his cruel experiments and fascination with twins. The high rate of twin births in the town of Cândido Godói, near the Argentine border, has been attributed to him (but disproven).

11. Brazil has been the world’s largest exporter of coffee for more than 150 years. It supplied around 80 percent of the world’s coffee in the 1920s; that figure has fallen to around a third.

12. Tours of Brazil’s shantytowns, or “favelas”, have become popular tourist attractions in recent years. Among the most famous is colorful Santa Marta in Rio de Janeiro which has been visited by the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Beyonce.

13. Sao Paulo has some of the world’s worst traffic jams. According to Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego, the city's traffic management agency, a congestion record was set on November 15, 2013, with a total of 309 kilometers (192 mi) of queues around the city during the evening rush hour.

14. Brazil has 21 Unesco World Heritage Sites. Among the best known is the Iguacu National Park, home to one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls at 1.7 miles wide and with a total of 275 drops. It is also occupied by several rare and endangered species, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. Among the newest are the Pampulha Modern Ensemble, a garden city project by Oscar Niemeyer, added by Unesco in 2016, and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site, inscribed in 2017.

15. The Amazon River is the world’s largest by volume of water discharged. Around 209,000 cubic meters per second flow into the Atlantic Ocean – more than the next seven largest rivers combined and enough to fill Lake Baikal – the world’s deepest lake – in less than four years. During the wet season, the river is up to 30 miles wide.

16. The most popular surname in Brazil is Silva.

17. The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro weighs 635 tonnes, is 38 meters high including its pedestal and was named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” in 2007. It was damaged by a lightning strike in 2014.

18. Brazil has more than 4,000 airports – more than any other country other than the US (which has a remarkable 13,513).

Top 23 Facts about Brazils You (Probably) Didn't Know
One of Brazil's Airports. Photo: Only Private Jets

19. Some 1.5 million-2.5 million Brazilians are of Japanese descent. Many immigrants brought with them seedlings of cherry trees and cherry blossoms can be viewed outside homes in Sao Paulo, and in public parks in Curitiba.

20. Around 6.4 million tourists visit Brazil each year, one of the fewest of any country in the world as a percentage of its total population. Half of them head to Rio.

21. The world’s largest open-air garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, was once found in the Brazilian city of Duque de Caxias. It closed in 2012.

22. Brazil is one of the world’s most bioperse countries, with a total of four million plant and animal species, according to estimates. It has more species of monkeys than any other nation.

23. Henry Ford spent huge amounts of money trying to create rubber plantations and factories in the middle of the Amazon jungle. A town built in imitation of the American Midwest, and called, modestly, Fordlandia, grew up on the shores of the Tapajos river. The remains of his ultimately shattered dream can still be seen. This industrial ghost town is difficult to get to, but worth the effort.

There’s a Brazilian island where the largest population are snakes

The Snake Island or Ilha Queimada Grande is not inhabited by humans. In fact, the island is so dangerous that humans aren’t even allowed to embark it.

The island is populated by the Golden lancehead snake, and it is estimated that there is one snake per square meter. This type of snake is also present on the mainland, but their island cousins are much more venomous.

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Brazil facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

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