Brasília Kubitschek International is one of Brazil’s most modern and highly regarded airports. The country’s second largest airport definitely scores top marks for its wide selection of nearly 140 shops and restaurants (of which much more later), and the fact that a brand new terminal opened its doors there in August 2010. The new facility has helped to ease the airport’s congestion problems.
Named after a former president, Brasilia International is located right slap bang in the middle of this vast country and consequently serves as a very useful domestic hub, with flights to 44 destinations all over Brazil. Passenger traffic has grown strongly in recent years as the country’s economy has gone from strength to strength, and it now stands at 14 million a year
Yet amazingly, Brasília International can only boast just a handful of direct international flights to destinations such as Lisbon, Lima, Miami and Atlanta. We are sure more international routes will follow soon especially now that the new terminal has opened, and that Brazil is gearing up to host the World Cup in 2014.
What the predominantly domestic passenger mix does mean, however, is that recognisable international brand names are pretty thin on the ground. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are looking to track down a last-minute souvenir or gift, but if you are after the reassurance of the big brands head to the main duty-free store, which is run by Swiss travel-retail giant, Dufry.
It stocks a full range of duty-free liquor, tobacco, fashion, watches, toys, cosmetics, fragrances, electronics and confectionery. Givenchy, Cacherel, Yves St. Laurent, Tag Heuer, Christian Dior, Emporio Armani, Sony, Olympus, Godiva and Montblanc are just a few of the blue-chip names jostling for shelf space. For a full run-down of what’s on offer check out the retailer’s website, www.dutyfreedufry.com.br
. Unsurprisingly, it is in Portuguese only, but is easy enough to follow thanks to the pictures.
Hot products flying off the duty-free shelves at Brasília airport at the time of writing (May, 2011) include Old Parr whisky ($36/£22), 212 VIP Carolina Herrera perfume ($77/£48), Oakley sunglasses ($184), Victoria’s Secret Strawberries & Champagne hydrating body lotion ($11/£6.80), and the Nikon Coolpic L19 digital camera ($139/£86).
If you are looking for a souvenir of a comestible nature, head to the Origem Brasil outlet (www.origem.com.br ). It sells a wide range of cachaça, Brazil’s famous white spirit, which is made from cane juice rather than molasses and used in the classic caipirinha cocktail. Brazilian wines, an emerging force on the New World wine scene, are much in evidence here too, as well as local cheeses, cigars, crystallised tropical fruit, jams, honey, and preserved peppers.
Chamma da Amazonia comes highly recommended for those looking for a trendy gift for a stylish, eco-conscious friend. This Brazilian retailer sells eco-friendly beauty products and fragrances using raw materials from the country’s endangered Rain Forests.
Fragrances are made with Amazonian plants such as patchouli, lavender and priprioca, as well as edible fruits such as açaí, cupuaçu, guaraná and passion fruit. See www.chammadaamazonia.com.br
to have a look at what else the retailer has to offer.
On the fashion front Bee is a colourful women’s clothing style full of bright, breezy styles, which will definitely strike a chord with anyone who loves that Rio carnival vibe and the general ‘carioca’ lifestyle (think beach volleyball, sun, sea and all-night partying). Have a look at www.beebrasil.com.br
to see if their styles are up your “rua”, as they say in Portuguese.
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a special gift for a loved one and are willing to max out on the credit card, Natan might well be worth a look. This high-end Brazilian jeweller, which has 10 store locations across the country, offers varied collections, mixing classical, contemporary, feminine and masculine designs. The store also stocks high-end watches, and attractive leather purses, wallets and bags.
Brazil is famous for its gems and precious stones so one store that is well worth browsing is the Minerais Gemas e Jóias outlet. It sells a broad range of precious stones such as agate, alabaster, amazonite, amethyst, quartz and beryl, which can then be placed into various pieces of jewellery. The store also stocks a range of decorated products, which include bottle openers, chess sets, goblets and even clocks.
Other stores that might merit a few minutes of your precious time while at Brasília airport include the La Selva bookstore, whose books are mainly in Portuguese as you’d expect, the florist Flor & Cia, and a CD shop called Aero Music. There is even a sports store, www.aerosports.com.br
, which features sports clothing brands such as kappa, adidas, umbro, Spalding and Victorinox, as well as sporting equipment. The Brazilians are clearly a sporty lot even when they are travelling.
Unofficial Brasilia airport shopping