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10 Tips for Living in Brazil

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
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Summary: Whether it's the beaches, exciting nightlife or the banking industry that draw you to Brazil, expats seem to truly enjoy life in Brazil. We've pulled together tips from expats in Brazil about learning Portuguese, crime, international schools, renting an apartment and much more.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Comments

guest
Jul 17, 2012 13:53

Very good (and real) article as dismisses a lot of the myths promoted by media, government agencies, travel agents and others who describe brazil as an ideal inexpensive paradise....I know as my brazilian wife and I have traveled to 14 places all over brazil...... The prices of electronic goods and cars are criminally high due to taxes.....Brazil is the most taxed country in the world as one very good brazilian priest told me as he reiterated former french president DeGaulle said ,"Brazil has a great potential and will have for many years to come' or something like that...The meaning is that the people in the country do nothing to reform the very corrupt systems down there.

guest
Jul 18, 2012 22:53

I lived in Sergipe 1967-1969 when it was one of the poorer areas in Brazil. In 2011, I visited for the first time since 1969 and much has changed. The state capital Aracajú is now one of the cleanest and safest resort cities in the country ---but also one of its best-kept secrets. The city has grown immensely in the past 40 years, so most of the city is relatively new. While I visited other cities in 2011 where I was bombarded by graffiti, trash-filled streets, homeless people and dogs everywhere, crumbling old buildings, Aracajú was beautiful, modern, and clean ---and I never felt unsafe. The best thing in Sergipe is the Brazilian people. Despite not being in contact with old friends and former students for decades, I was treated like royalty. Sergipanos are warm and welcoming. They are eager to please, help, and curious about where you come from. Many of my former students were eager to host me. both in Aracajú and in the small interior town where I had lived. They held two large receptions for me, one in each town. While in Sergipe, they would not allow me to pay for anything, I was glad I didn't fill my luggage because I could hardly find room for all the gifts I received. Now, of course, prices are much higher. In the late 60s I lived on about $60/month, albeit without running water, electricity, or a sewage system. Now, I would presume I would spend about as much as I do in the U.S., but the weather is warm, beaches beautiful, basix health care free for everyone (Sergipe's health care system was the model for the national healthcare program.) It won't be as exciting as Rio if you like nightlife, but if you want a warm, comfortable, easy-going place to retire, I would highly recommend. Aracajú. I plan to return and try living there for a few months before I decide if it is the retirement place for me. Of course, I already have a huge network of friends there & I speak Portuguese, so that will help. But if I enjoyed living in Sergipe under the poorest of conditions, I expect the modern version to be even more delightful.

guest
Jun 6, 2016 14:28

The biggest hurdle is getting to know your neighbors and people you are in contact on a daily basis. It's hard not being fluent in Portuguese. I've found that most Brasilians are the most friendly people in the world. If you try to make some small conversation even in fractured Portuguese they will go out of their way to help you. Smiling helps a lot too. Be friendly. In 9 years I have never met a MEAN person in Brasil like we are used to in the US. BY THE WAY, BRASIL is spelled with an 'S' not a 'Z'.

mcousineau
Jan 1, 2018 15:31

Forget about Rio and Sao Paulo. Go to Belo Horizonte. It has beautiful parks, museums, theatre, a tropic climate that is moderated by the city's elevation, and very reasonably priced housing and food stores. I rented a nice 6-room apartment in a safe neighborhood for less than US$900 per month, and have looked at purchasing something similar for around US$150,000. There are restaurants in every price range, natural/organic food stores, a great network of bus routes, and an overall wonderful atmosphere. The only drawback is the hills - as bad as San Francisco, CA, but without the cable cars. Because I have mild mobility issues, I had to learn the bus routes that would get me to and from my apartment with a minimum of hills. Oh yes, and it's inland, so there are no beaches. When locals want a beach they go to the neighboring states of Espirito Santo. But the high elevation means that if climate change gets really bad, the weather will likely remain moderate and there will be no flooding.

GoingCrazyGoing
Jan 2, 2018 10:50

I lived in the south of Brasil SC from 2001-2005. Loved the south. Then moved to the nordeste 2005-2008 Recife Joao Pessoa. Nice and quiet too. THOSE were the good days. Now Brasil has become as expensive or more so than the US, crime and poverty is out of control. There is NO way I would live there again until things change (maybe). My BR friends tell me to go to Portugal and to forget BR. One comment on Belo - I looked for an apto to rent online OLX.COM.BR and found HUNDREDS of them very cheap and most were 3br aptos. Other cities have quite a few 1br aptos but I have never seen such a glut of 3br aptos anywhere. Tells me that there has been a huge exodus of families out of the area and that something has changed dramatically there. Would have to check it out in person to see why ?

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