Due to its booming economy many Brits are looking at Brazil as a possible new home. With huge publicity surrounding the country that will be hosting the World Cup in 2014 and Rio Olympics in 2016, now really is the time to move if you want to make the most of Brazil’s burgeoning economy, as well as everything else it has to offer, including the sun, beaches, music, huge nature reserves, football and much more.
This year Brazil became the sixth-biggest economy in the world, overtaking the UK. It’s currency, the Real, is worth more than double what it was 10 years ago. With the country continuing to discover new oil and gas reserves off its coast – one of the reasons for its initial economic growth. It’s possible that Brazil will become one of the top five oil producers in the world in forthcoming years, and establish itself as a global power for years to come. Other prominent industries in Brazil include the mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
Considering Brazil is the fifth biggest country in the world by size and by population, and includes areas dominated by rainforests and nature, it’s hard to know how this economic upturn will affect the best expat destinations for those looking to move abroad to Brazil. This is a list of some of Brazil’s most prominent destinations and a fewer lesser known, giving some background to what to expect from these destinations.
Moving to Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the most famous city in Brazil, home to Copacabana and Ipanema beach, and the iconic Christ statue on one of the many hills that separate the different areas of the city. With the 2014 World Cup getting ever closer, where Rio will be one of the main hosts, and the Rio Olympics coming up in 2016, the city is currently going through some rapid infrastructural changes. Much has been done to improve transport infrastructure, and considering this is a city contained by the sea and it’s hilly landscape, this has largely involved trying to improve public transport and limit the amount of cars on the roads themselves. Other initiatives include cracking down on crime, improving the appearance of main streets and cleaning the shanty towns, known in Brazil as favelas.
All of this gives the impression that Brazil will be quite chaotic up until the Summer Olympics come to an end in the summer of 2016. This will no doubt be the case in many of the busy areas of the city such as Centro in the daytime, Lapa at night, and both Copacabana and Ipanema throughout the day. But there are always areas like Santa Teresa, Leblon and Urca where one can find some peace, and this will remain the same no matter how crazy things are getting in the central and Southern beach areas.
Rio is home to a number of the major oil, telecommunications and media companies, as well as Brazil’s research and development sectors, so workers in these fields should consider Brazil as a possibility. Macaé, the epicentre of Brazil’s petroleum industry is located around 180km North-East from Rio de Janeiro, and has a constant demand for foreign expats.
Moving to Sao Paulo
Brazil’s economic growth can be seen at its most dramatic in Sao Paulo, where the prices of rent, food and going out have increased rapidly over recent years. An example of the way in which Brazilians are spending their new wealth can be seen in the price of live concerts, with Paul McCartney’s appearance at the Morumbi stadium last year having tickets ranging from £45 to £220. Take into account that it only costs roughly £6 to see Sao Paulo’s football team play there and you can understand how high this price is for the average Brazilian. Obviously the appearance of McCartney is also a reflection of the kinds of international stars who are being attracted to Sao Paulo, and it is also true that the city has become a major entertainment and cultural hub, with theatres and modern art galleries alongside a never-ending stream of music concerts, as well as a thriving local scene of artists.
Sao Paulo is home to BOVESPA (the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange), the second largest stock exchange in the Americas, and has a lot of headquarters for large organisations, one of the reasons it attracts many expats moving abroad. Jardins is undoubtedly the best neighbourhood to live in Sao Paulo, and attracts many workers from the financial sector. With its boutique shops, fashionable restaurants and large gardens, it could almost be mistaken for Beverley Hills.
All of these factors make Sao Paulo the perfect destination for those wanting to get the most out of Brazil’s burgeoning economy and city life, but also within reach of the coast, with a multitude of beaches only a few hours’ drive away, making weekends at the beach a real possibility.
Moving to Brasilia
As the capital of Brazil, Brasilia is home to much of the country’s politics, as well as a large foreign expat community, who are largely there working as diplomats, journalists or foreign correspondents. This city has 2.5 million residents, which is small compared to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, but spreads them out over a large area which is extremely well connected by public transport and easy to drive around, with many residents using their car for most journeys. It is therefore a more tranquil place to live than the country’s bigger cities, and a comparison could be made with Washington D.C. or Ottawa, two other similarly restrained capitals.
Life in Brasilia is very different to that in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. This is a custom-made capital and sits in the geographic centre of the country, meaning that the nearest beach is very far away. The carnival culture and bright music of the coastal regions are here replaced by a more Western culture, with modern art and theatre a favourite pastime, and music that tends to be more influenced by rock, metal and international pop.
Moving to Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte is the fourth largest city in Brazil. It is based in Minas Gerais, an area rich with minerals, and perfect for farming. It has therefore become the distribution and processing centre for Brazil’s agricultural and mining region. Also, via revolutionary ideas regarding the local government making sure every citizen can eat, it has erased much food poverty and thus the difference between the rich and poor is not as pronounced as in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. As with Brasilia, there are no beaches, but this is a city with a longer history and has managed to compensate the lack of a beach lifestyle with a diverse alternative scene. Rock and pop music are particularly popular, and there are many bars and pubs dotted throughout all the neighbourhoods.
Serra, Savassi and Lourdes are all popular neighbourhoods for British expats. The local area includes historical towns such as Ouro Preto, Diamantina and Tiradentes, and there is plenty of nature on the doorstep, which makes for a perfect break from the city. It’s also a city well-linked to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro so an expat moving there will never be far away from the financial and cultural centres of Brazil.
Other Expat Destinations in Brazil
As already mentioned, Brazil is a huge country and there are many popular destinations for expats, including cities in the South of the country such as Curitiba and Porto Alegre with similar traditions to Argentina; small fishing villages like Trancoso which have become beacons for celebrities during the British summer (Leonardo Di Caprio and Matt Damon are regulars in Trancoso); the large island city of Florianopolis which has experienced huge growth in recent years; and many other notable cities. This is a country on the rise, and with the huge amount of land and resources, and a growing infrastructure, it is a destination with many possibilities for expats looking to move abroad.