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Practical information Brazil

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Brazil : Travel Information before you go!

Area

3,287,612 sq mi

Flights

It takes 11 1/2 hrs to fly from London to Rio de Janeiro, located 5,761 mi from the English capital, and 8 hrs to go from London to Sao Paolo. The Brazilian airline TAM Airlines provides daily flights from London Heathrow to Sao Paolo and daily flights from London to Rio de Janeiro. The outward and return journeys are night flights.

Population

190,732,694

Airports

Galeão airport is 7.46 miles from Rio, and the trip costs around £19 in a taxi. Salvador airport is 20 miles from the town centre. The trip in a taxi also costs around £19. In both cases, airport shuttles go to the city centres for around £9.

Languages

Portuguese is the official language. People in the large cities speak English, and most Brazilians understand Spanish.

Required travel documents for

For British citizens it is necessary to have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the return date.

Religion

Catholicism is the official and main religion, and accounts for 88% of the population. Brazilians also practice candomblé and umbanda, cults of African origin.

Currency

The currency is the Brazilian Real (BRL). You can exchange money in banks, which are generally open from Monday to Friday, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, although opening hours may vary from state to state. You can also go to a bureau de change or a travel agency, or use one of the counters found in the airports and in city centres. Many hotels, restaurants and shops accept payment by credit card. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are the most widely used cards and can also be used to withdraw money from banks. Banks also cash travellers cheques, though the rate is usually quite poor.

Local transportation

Due to the size of the country, the plane is the best means of transport from city to city. There are daily flight connections to the state capitals and large towns. Take direct flights. The bus, which is rapid and cheap, is good for short distances, but the network also criss-crosses the country. For a longer trip, consider the over-night bus. Renting a car allows you to discover the inaccessible. It is better to have an international licence for car-rental, even if you are not obliged to. The roads are well maintained, however motorways and expressways are rare, as are service stations in certain regions. There are national and international car-rental agencies in all the large towns. If you choose the car: be very careful, as Brazilian driving is anarchical. Amongst other things, remember that at night, in the towns, Brazilians do not stop at red lights. In the centre of Rio, forget the car and take the taxis that circulate around the town; they are numerous and inexpensive, but all the same, be careful. Elsewhere, minibuses called jardineiras travel along the coast. Otherwise, it is preferable to walk. You can easily get around Salvador, due to the escalators and funicular railway systems that connect the different districts.

Health

No vaccine required. However, a vaccination against yellow fever is recommended for the North of the country. If you are going to the Amazon region, think about taking an antipaludism treatment and medicines against malaria. In the whole territory, avoid drinking water from the tap, eating raw vegetables, or walking bare foot because of parasites. Also, beware of swimming in fresh water and in stagnant and marshy water, especially in the Northeast.
Don't forget to bring sunscreen and a mosquito repellent product.
Watch out: if you go to Para State (Belem's countryside), some bats, also called vampires, can pass on the rabies virus. Thus, avoid walking at night in the countryside.

Electricity

Voltage is 110 V, except in Recife (220 V). An adaptor is essential, though most hotels provide them.

Tourist numbers

Brazil received 4.8 million foreign tourists in 2009.

Taxes and tips

Generally speaking, service is included (10 %) in hotels and restaurants. If this is not the case, leave a tip of the same amount, or depending on the quality of the service. There is no obligation to do so. However, it is suggested to leave a tip for guides and luggage porters.

Telephone

To telephone Brazil from the UK, dial 00 + 55 (country code) + regional code without zero (Belém : 091, Manaus: 092, Recife: 081, Rio de Janeiro: 021, Salvador: 071) + n° of other party.
From Brazil to the UK, dial 00 + 44 + n° of other party without the initial O.
From one region to another: regional code + n° of other party.

Brazil : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Embassy of Brazil
14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL. Tel: 020 77474500
The tourist office acts as a tourist service.

At the destination

British Embassy in Brazil
Setor de Embaixadas Sul
Quadra 801, Lote 8
CEP 70408-900
Brasilia - DF, Brazil
tel: (55) (61) 3329-2300
fax: (55) (61) 3329-2369
http://www.ukinbrazil.fco.gov.uk

British Consulate-General
Praia do Flamengo 284/2 andar
22210-030
Rio de Janeiro RJ
Tel.:+55 (21) 2555 9600.
http://ukinbrazil.fco.gov.uk/en

Tourist information:
Embratur, Uruguaiana street 174, 8th floor, in Rio. Tel:+55 (21) 509-6720. 509 6017.
Bahiatursan plaça Municipal, in Salvador. Tel.:+55 (21) 321 2463. 321 2463.