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Brazil travel tips on money saving, personal safety, sightseeing, and enjoying your trip to the fullest from InfoHub suppliers and community members.
General info
Submitted by M10406 on 2007-04-25
Many restaurants are Pay by kilogram is the way to go and they are available everywhere. Suggestions include:
- Marius,
- Porcão,
- Palace,
- Fazendola.

Taxis are the way to travel in Rio. They are fairly ... view more inexpensive and is by far the safest way to travel unless you have a personal guide.

Places to visit:
- Corcovado,
- Pao de Acucar,
- Jardim Botanico,
- Escadaria Selaron,
- Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas,
- Ipanema,
- Copacabana,
- Barra.

Side trips:
- Angra dos Reis,
- Buzios,
- Paraty,
- Ilha Grande.

Currency Exchange in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
Submitted by M05740 on 2007-05-08
In Brazil the foreign exchange rates fluctuate daily. With very few exceptions banks do not exchange currency.

Use the officially licensed exchange stores (they display a Autorizado pelo Banco Central sign). There are ... view more two exchange booths in each terminal of the International Airport just after Customs. Their rates, however, are rather high. But, there are several exchange stores in Copacabana, Ipanema, etc.. It is a good idea to check the rates in more than one.

The offered rates are not subject to commissions, taxes or fees in addition to the offered rate. Except in a few places such as some of the few banks that do currency exchange operations.

Beware of unauthorized persons offering better rates.( luggage carries, taxi drivers, etc..)

After hours, on weekends and holidays you may withdraw Brazilian Reais using your ATM card in any machine that displays one of the logos printed on the back side of your card.(Cirrus, Honor, Eurocard, ...)

Most hotels receptions will exchange currency. However their rates usually are the worst. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and stores.

When making payments in cash, the local Brazilian Reais are preferred by the majority of the merchants instead of foreign currency.

Enjoy your visit to the "Cidade Maravilhosa" [The marvelous city]!

What to bring when travelling to Bahia, Brazil
Submitted by M05076 on 2008-03-20
There are many upscale stores and shopping malls, so almost everything can be purchased there.
- Take light and comfortable casual clothes.
- A bathing suit, a beach towel and sandals are necessary. S
- Sun block ... view more and hats are recommended as well.

It is not smart to wear or take along your best accessories and jewelry when traveling, rather modesty is suggested in this area.

Note: You should also have a pocket dictionary with you.

Brazil
Submitted by M16603 on 2009-05-27
Opposite to the seasons experienced in the northern hemisphere, Brazil’s summer runs from December to March and its winter months are between June and August. The main seasonal changes occur in the south of the country ... view more and summer is the best time to visit to avoid frost, the possibility of snow and prolonged rain. Coastal areas like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are warm year round but can get stifling in summer with temperatures in the high 30°Cs and sometimes reaching the low 40°Cs. The northeast is also warm but benefits from a cool breeze that alleviates the heat during the summer months.

Tropical rains are a year round occurrence throughout the country and often amount to short sharp periods and rarely, if ever, impact on travel plans. Unsurprisingly, the Amazon receives the most rainfall with January to June seeing the heaviest downfalls. Although heavy with humidity, this can be the best time to navigate the rivers and catch sight of wildlife that would not be seen during the dry season.

The busiest period to visit is between mid-December until the close of Carnaval which takes place in February or early March. It’s a good time to soak up the celebratory mood of the country but it’s advisable to book accommodation well in advance. The major hotspots are also packed and heaving with foreign and Brazilian tourists during Easter and July, when the schools enjoy their winter vacation break.

Travel safe with little money
Submitted by M06018 on 2009-08-03
Rio offers the same facilities as any other big city in the world. There`s no need to travel with a large amount of cash. Credit cards are largely accepted in most places including some street markets. Nowadays many ... view more places also accept the debit cards if you don`t want to use much of your c/c.

Us dollar is also accepted by most shops, so for a short time period in the city, there`s no need of exchanging money. There are several ATM machines spread in the city for international cards. You can use at the airport or check with the hotel concierge to find the nearest one to you. The exchange shops usually use a better rate, but they are open from Monday to Friday only. To exchange money on the weekends you need to do it at a hotel.

Tipping in Brazil
Submitted by M06018 on 2009-08-03
- In most cities in Brazil restaurants and bars present the check with 10% included. Some night clubs use a bit higher percentage. You can use cash or credit card to pay the bill including tips.
- Brazilians don`t tip ... view more taxi drivers.
- Beauty shops don`t ask for tips, but as locals are used to tip these services they expect to be tipped. 10 to 20% is applicable.
- Delivery services are largely tipped.

Photograph Rio
Submitted by M06018 on 2009-08-03
Visiting a big city request some precautions. Rio is definitely a city to photograph. You can be perfectly safe bringing your camera, video camera, watches or any professional equipment. The recommendation is not to ... view more expose them in crowded areas such as Downtown, beaches or during a soccer match.
Tips for Restaurant
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
Restaurants
* Most restaurants will add a 10% service charge on the bill, and this is all the tip a Brazilian will ever pay. It is also what most waiters survive on, however it is not mandatory but many times is ... view more included. In some tourist areas you might be tried for extra tip. Just remember you should not exaggerate.

* There are two types of self-service restaurants (sometimes both options are available in one place): all-you-can-eat buffets with barbecue served at the tables (called "rodízio"), or a price per weight ("por quilo"), very common during lunchtime throughout Brazil. Load up at the buffet and get your plate on the scales before eating any. In the South there's also the Italian "galeto", where you're served different types of pasta, salads, soups and meat (mostly chicken) at your table. * Some Brazilian restaurants serve only meals for two. The size of the portions might not say in the menu, -ask the waiter. Most restaurants of this category allow for a "half-serving" of such plates (meia-porção), at 60-70% of the price.

* Fast food is also very popular, and the local takes on hamburgers and hot-dogs ("cachorro-quente", translated literally) are well worth trying. Brazilian sandwiches come in many varieties, with ingredients like mayonnaise, bacon, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, corn, peas, raisins, french fries, ketchup, eggs, pickles, etc. Brave eaters may want to try the traditional complete hot dog (just ask for a completo), which, aside from the bun and the sausage, will include everything on display.

* Large chains: The fast-food chain Bob's is found nationwide and has been around in the country for almost as long as McDonald's. There is also a national Arab fast-food chain called Habib's. Recent additions, though not as widespread, are Burger King and Subway. Pizza Hut is rare.

Contact by phone
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
Brazil has international telephone code 55 and two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long.

By mobile phone
When traveling to Brazil, even though it may seem best to carry your cell phone along, you ... view more should not dismiss the benefits of the calling cards to call the ones back home. Get yourself a Brazil calling card when packing for your trip.Brazil phone cards

Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo, Claro, OI and TIM, all of them running GSM networks (Vivo still runs a legacy CDMA network, which is being phased out). There are also smaller operators, like Nextel (iDEN Push-To-Talk), AEIOU (GSM in São Paulo city only), etc.

Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc. Vivo uses 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies, while other operators uses 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies. 3G/HSDPA coverage is available mostly on big cities on the southeast states and capitals. Some states use 850 MHz but others use 2100 MHz for 3G/HSDPA. If you need to unlock a phone from a specific operator, this can be done for a charge in any phone shop.

So far, Vivo and TIM are the only operators that can send text messages to cell phones abroad. Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company.

Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them. The Farmácia Pague Menos sells them at official (phone company) price, somewhat cheaper. Calls to cell phones (even local) will use up your credits very quickly (nearly as expensive as international calls). Calling the USA costs about one real per minute.

Sleeping place in Rio
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
High season in Brazil follows the school holidays calendar, December and January (summer) being the busiest months. New Year, Carnival (movable between February and March, see Understand above) and Holy week are the peak ... view more periods, and prices can skyrocket, especially in coastal cities like Rio and Salvador. Also, during those holidays, many hotels restrict bookings to a 3 or 4-day minimum and charge in advance.

Hotels are plentiful in just about all areas of Brazil and can range from luxury beach resorts to very modest and inexpensive choices. The Brazilian tourism regulation board imposes specific minimum attributes for each type of facility, but as the 1-5 star rating is no longer enforced, check in advance if your hotel provides the kind of services you expect. Make sure if breakfast is included otherwise will be TOO expensive!

Motel is the local term for a "sex hotel". There's no social stigma per in staying in one, but the room service and rates are geared to adults staying for a few hours with most discretion and privacy.

Tips for Brazilian Drinks
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
Liquor - Brazil's national booze is cachaça (cah-shah-sah),40% sugar-cane liquor. The strength can be hidden in cocktails like caipirinha, mixed with sugar, lime juice and ice. Using vodka is nicknamed caipiroska ... view more or caipivodka.

Beer - Most Brazilian beer brands tend to be less thick and bitter than actual German, Danish or English beer. More than 90% of all beer in Brazil is Pilsner, is usually drunk very cold (at a temperature below 0ºC). The most popular brands are Brahma, Antarctica, Bavaria, Skol. Traditional brands include Bohemia and Itaipava.

Drinking beer in bars: draft or bottled beer. Draft beer is called chope or chopp ('SHOH-pee'), and is commonly served with one inch of foam. Bottled beer(600ml) are shared among everyone in small glasses. Brazilians like their beer nearly ice-cold - hence, to keep temperature down, bottles of beer are often kept in an insulated polystyrene container.
Soft drinks. Nothing beats coconut water (água de côco) on a hot day. Côco gelado in the coconut itself, drunk with a straw. Guaraná; is a carbonated soft drink made from the guaraná berry The major brands:Antarctica, Kuat.

Fruit juices - Fruit juices are very popular in Brazil. Notably Rio de Janeiro has fruit juice bars at nearly every corner. *Açai (a fruit from the Amazon) is delicious and nutritious (rich in antioxidants). Traditionally used blended in combination with guarana (a stimulant)powder and sometimes a banana to re-energize from late-night partying It is served cold as a consistency soft ice.
* Maracuja (passion fruit)this has a relaxant effect)
* Caju (cashew fruit)
* Manga (mango) are also great juice experiences. Brazilians have great taste when it comes to mixing juices.

Holidays and Working Hours
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
Holidays and working hours

Carnival dates (Sat-Wed)
* 2011: 05-09 March
* 2012: 18-21 February
* 2013: 09-12 February
* 2014: 01-04 February

Brazil observes the following national holidays (only 13 days ... view more during all year):
* New Year - 1st January
* Carnival - February/March (Movable - 7 weeks before Easter, see box for precise dates. Monday and Tuesday are the actual holidays, but celebrations usually begin on Saturday and last until 12PM of Ash Wednesday, when shops and services re-open.)
* Good Friday - March/April (movable) two days before Easter Sunday
* Tiradentes - 21st April
* Labor Day - 1st May
* Corpus Christi - May/June (movable) sixty days after Easter Sunday
* Independence Day - 7th September
* Patroness of Brazil - 12th October
* All Souls' Day (Finados) - 2nd November
* Republic - 15th November
* Christmas - 25th December

Working hours are usually from 8am or 9am to 5pm or 6pm. Banks open Monday to Friday, from 10AM to 4PM. Street shops tend to close at noon on Saturday and only re-open on Monday. Shopping malls normally open from 10am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 3pm to 9pm on Sundays. Some malls, specially in large cities, also open on Sundays. And is also possible to find 24h stores and small markets that open even in the Sundays.

Rio de Janeiro City and Districts
Submitted by M15092 on 2010-06-19
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscape, its laid-back beach culture and its annual carnival.

The harbor of Rio de Janeiro is ... view more comprised of a unique entry from the ocean that makes it appear as the mouth of a river. Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular geographic features including Sugar Loaf mountain at 395 m (1,296 feet), Corcovado Peak at 704 m (2,310 feet), and the hills of Tijuca at 1,021 m (3,350 feet). These features work together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Rio de Janeiro will host many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup games, including the final, and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, becoming the first South American city to hold either the Summer or Winter Olympics.

Districts

* Centro including Santa Teresa. The city's financial and business center also has many historic buildings from its early days. The most important ones are: The Municipal Theater, The Tiradentes Palace, The Metropolitan Cathedral and The Pedro Ernesto Palace.
* Zona Sul (South Zone) including Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Sugar Loaf and Corcovado Mountains.
* Zona Norte (North Zone). The Maracanã stadium and more.
* Zona Oeste (West Zone), a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches! Most of the Olympics in 2016 will be hosted there.

One night in Manaus
Submitted by M13902 on 2010-10-28
Before going to the jungle, I suggest one night in Manaus. The city has a lot of history and an amazing monument: the Amazonas Opera House, built during the rubber boom period (end of the 19th century).
Meeting of the Waters
Submitted by M13902 on 2011-03-02
Manaus is located at the banks of Negro River. A little down further, the dark waters of this river meet the muddy waters of Solimões River without mixing, creating an unforgettable display of color and light.
This is ... view more a really good tour to begin a tour in the Amazon Rainforest.
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