ATM & Banks in Brazil
Brazil offers a number of banks, unfortunately not all accept international cards. In a number of cases I was not able to draw money at all, even though the bank should have accepted the card or the ATM was simply broken.
If you arrive in Brazil during carnival you will find all banks closed and hardly any foreign exchanges open. What makes matters worse that some shops during this time do not accept foreign currency.
This was my experience during carnival 2007 where I could not get Brazilian currency and could at some points not pay, even in tourist shops!!
I stayed in Bahia from 16th until 25th June (S. Joao). Everywhere you could hear "forro", and in the night there are forro bands all over. You´ll have to learn and dance it (and very close one each other)!
For those like me, who never heard forro before, listen to Calzinha Preta.
If you miss the elevator, these huge things are remarkably easy to miss, you will have to walk up the hill to reach the upper city. Along the way you will see things that many tourists may miss, such as hanging your laundry on the wall to dry.
Musical instruments are on display and for sale all over Pelourinho and in the Mercado Modelo. Above all we find traditional percussion instruments, like berimbaus, abataques, bongos, timbaus, cuicas, congas, djembes and more. If you shop around you can find some pieces of great beauty and quality made by local craftsmen.
One of the places which is much more than a cut-above is Mestre Lua's Atelier Percussivo in Pelourinho. Mestre Lua is a capoeira master who crafts percussion instruments of great beauty and quality. His shop is located at Rua Inacio Ociole, no. 3 (close to the Igreja Sao Francisco), and the interior looks like something of a living museum. The diference is that these instruments are made to play. They are also pricier, but still far less expensive than anything similar purchased in Europe. The telephone number of the shop is 3488 3600 and Mestre Lua's home phone is 3636 8118. He also organizes percussion classes and workshops. traditional musical instruments, especially percussion instruments like berimbaus, abataques, bongos, timbaus, cuicas, congas and djembes prices vary but are quite resonable regarding the quality
Just behind the Catedral Basilica, you'll find this tram that will take you down to the lower town. I believe it was 1.50 reais and it takes about 3 minutes, so it definitely beats walking. However, it doesn't beat the Elevator Lacerdo which is even cheaper and provides better views.
***update*** oops, thanks to VTer Kittlelite who told me that the Plano Inclinado costs the same as the Elevator Lacerdo at the bargain of only 5 centavos!! Thanks, Kittlelite!