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Brazil (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Jan 2002
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Here is the real Brazil: the people, the food, the architecture and the music. Features expanded coverage of ecotourism: where to go, where to stay and how to get there. New special section on wildlife and travellers' favourite spots: the Amazon and the Pantanal and a colourful section on the world's biggest party, Carnavale in Rio.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The guidebook has 752 fact filled pages including well researched Facts about Brazil, Facts for the Visitor, and Natural Brazil.
A few weak areas:
The language area should be strengthened by providing more information on pronunciation. The information they give for consonants t, d, and r is incorrect because it is only partially complete.
Where and how to exchange money needs to be updated, especially when exchanging cash.
Budget and moderately priced accommodations for Rio should be expanded. (Frommers does a better job in this area.)
Visa information needs to be updated. A Brazilian visa now costs $100 for US citizens.
Brazil is somewhere in between. The book does not suffer from excessive ideologization and does not fancy itself as a latter-day Marxist's political history handbook. America-bashing was kept to a minimum. This is refreshing.
There is fairly good amount of practical info (some of it is out of date), although nothing has been done to address the chronic ailment of Lonely Planet: shameless recycling of "general info", which in most cases is either misleading or simply insults your intelligence. The guide, as before, has no idea how most people book ticket these days; and nuggets of deep knowledge and inside advice like "your camera can get damaged, lost or stolen" (you don't say - how many years of travel experience helped you acquire this rare insight?) makes you wish you could have your money back.
However, useless passages are essentially harmless (apart from making the guide thicker than it needs be). More regrettable is the stuff that's MISSING: that is, focus and helpful informed opinion. It seems that, once a traveller got to Brazil, got a place to stay and figured out the cheapest way to get around, he's not entirely sure why he is there in the first place. Descriptions of the places to see are lazy, unenthusiastic and uninspired. The authors seem to have been going through the motions.
With abundance of books on Brazil on the market, there is no compelling reason to stick with this one other than brand loyalty.