Favorite thing: Here some examples of pronunciation in Portuguese.
a: babaca (jerk) ba-BA-ca
ã: anã (midget) a-NUN
ão: razão (reason) ra-Zoun
e, é: meta (goal) ME-tu
ê: nenê (baby) nay-NAy
i: alpina (alpine) au-PEE-na
o,ó: pó (powder) PO
ô: avô (grandpa) a-VOU
u: abutre (vulture) a-BOO-tree
b: bala (candy) BA-la
c: canto (corner) CUN-too
ç: maçã (apple) MA-sun
ce,ci: cicerone (host) see-say-ROU-nee
ch: chamada (call) sha-MA-da
d: dado (dice) DA-doo
di: dia (day) DJEE-ya
f: facil (easy) FA-seeoo
g: gato (cat) GA-too
g: gengiva (gums) jayn-JEE-va
h: hálito (breath) A-lee-too (mute)
j: jovem (young) JO-vayn
l: lata (can) LA-tu
lh: alho (garlic) A-lyoo
m: mato (woods) MA-too
n: nada (nothing) NA-du
nh: ninho (nest) NEE-nyoo
p: pato (duck) PA-too
qu: aquilo (that) a-KEE-loo
qü: cinqüenta (fifty) seen-COOay-tu
r: rato (rat) HA-too
r: parada (parade) pa-RA-da
s: sábado (Saturday) SA-ba-doo
s: casa (house) CA-za
s: pasta (paste) PASH-ta
t: tatú (armadillo) ta-TOO
v: velho (old) VE-lyoo
x: xícara (cup) SHEE-ca-ra
z: zona (zone) ZOU-na
Practice makes perfect!
Fondest memory: Above table found at ipanema.com
For more basic Portuguese help, check out: http://www.sonia-portuguese.com/
Medicine for if you get sick
Favorite thing: I got very sick when I was in Rio. I guess you can blame it on lack of sleep and too much activity. Maybe those are one in the same but I really don't think so. Anyway, if you get sick go to a pharmacy and get Trimedal. It takes care of cough, sore throats, fever, aches and pains caused by fever, upset stomach. It takes care of everything. Good thing to keep in your pocket.
Do you need a visa?
Favorite thing: The majority of European nationals need nothing more than a valid passport and a return ticket to enter Brazil. You will need to fill in an entry card on arrival which allows you to stay for a period of up to ninety days. The immigration officials will keep one part of this card and attach the other to your passport. Make sure you don’t lose this part as your departure will probably be delayed.
Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and US citizens need a visa which you can acquire from the Brazilian embassy in your home country. To ensure you are aware of the full entry requirements for entering Brazil contact your nearest embassy before travelling.
Once you have your tourist visa, you can extend it for up to another ninety days if you apply at least fifteen days before the first one expires. You can only do this once. After this you need to leave the country and re-enter if you want to stay on. While there are no rules stipulating that your return cannot be on the same day, it is customary to wait at least one day before re-entry.
Favorite thing: The currency used in Brazil is the Real (R$) and it is made up of one hundred centavos. Notes come in denominations of R$1, R$5, R$10, R$50 and R$100 and the coins in use are 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, and 50c and R$1.
When changing cash or travellers cheques you will usually find the best exchange rates in a ‘Casa de Cambio’. The other option is to use any of the major banks but in the larger cities only the head offices offer an exchange facility. It is also worth noting that the foreign exchange departments often close at 1pm, although some do remain open until 2pm or 3pm. Certain branches will only change a minimum of US$100 while others impose a fee of $20 no matter how large or small the amount being changed. Therefore, it is worth looking around before exchanging any foreign cash. US dollars are the most convenient currency to change.
Credit cards and bank cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash, once they show the Cirrus symbol and credit card logos.
I personally used only my ATM card with the visa symbol. While I couldn't use it at every location, it worked well enough. (Before going to smaller cities, make sure you have enough cash to get around and a little cushion)
Favorite thing: http://www.geocities.com/junglespikey/rio (freat honest info for backpackers)
http://discoverbrazil.com/riodejaneirotraveltips.cfm (good for general info)
Ipanema.com (good info for first timers to Rio and even some people who have been there briefly).
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/south_america/brazil/ (one of the best guides out there. Good for less opinion, more facts)
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~sergiok/brasil.html (interesting facts and opinions. View of a local)
http://www.braziltourism.org/ (Site by Brazil's dept of tourism in Washington)
www.weather.com (look up under countries to Brazil for weather for each city)
Payphones-they don't accept coins!
Favorite thing: The payphone system is very different in Brazil. While they used to use tokens now they use phone cards specifically for payphones. It sounds very strange at first but it's a lot more convenient then carrying a bunch of coins. You can purchase this card at almost all of the newsstands and/or many bars. I think you can also get them at some groceries. If you do need one it should not be hard to find, Brazilians carry them around like we Americans carry around credit cards.
Fondest memory: Each card is good for a predetermined number of calls, usually 20 or 40. The digital display on the phone shows how many calls you have left. Regular phones in Rio have seven-digit numbers, and celular phones have 8.
For calls within Greater Rio and Niteroi, dial the number directly. If you want to reverse the charges (collect call), dial 9 before the phone number. For long distance domestic calls first dial 021, then the city code, followed by the phone number. To call São Paulo, for instance, you would dial 021-11-***-****. To reverse the charges dial 9021-11-***-****.
To make international phone calls you have to start with 0021, followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. To call London, for instance, you would dial 0021-44-171-***-****. If you do not know your country code (a lot of people don't) call 000-333 for assistance of an international operator. They speak English, and are very helpful.
If you are calling Rio de Janeiro from abroad, you have to dial your international access number, followed by the country code 55, the city code 21, and phone number. If you are in New York, for instance, you would dial 11-55-21-***-****. Call your local operator for more details.
Weather forecast or history
Favorite thing: If you want to take a look at the weather forecast or even at the history of any past day and/or years, this is a good link .
This link may be helpful not only to your trip to Rio... It is great when we are planning a trip and wanting to know at which time of the year the weather would suit more our purposes...
The "History & Almanac" part of it shows the variations of temperature, winds, etc, hour by hour of a day.
- Family Travel
Do you need a Visa ???
Favorite thing: Travelers coming from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and other neighboring countries can enter with a simple photo I.D.
If you are coming from a country which requires Visas from brazilian people, you will probably need to get one to. This is not a revenge... just what is called "reciprocity rules" in the world of diplomacy. That is not supposed to be a big deal. Just make sure you apply for it.
Most people go for the regular tourist visa, which allows you to stay for as long as three months (you can renew if necessary). There is also a transit visa, good for ten days only. Both are easy to get.
There is a link when you can check if you need it or not.
List of Countries
In case you are going to need it, there is a list of things you will need to get it:
. passport valid for at least an additional 6 months
. copy of round-trip ticket
. 1 recent passport-size photo (color or B&W)
. some kind of proof you have spending money to bring
. certificate proving you took the right vaccines, depending on where you are coming from, or going to
. a visa application form (available at the Brazilian consulate or embassy).
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Brazilian currency is the Real.
There are R$100, R$50, R$20, R$10, R$5, R$2 and R$1 bills ( as a matter of fact there are two types of R$ 10 bills )
In the 80's we had a plague of a galloping inflation, as in 50% a month. The currency changed names frequently, and trying to keep up to date was quite hard even for us.
Brazilians finally started to enjoy some economic stability in the 90's, with the creation of the real and we had a time when
the real was originally quoted US$1.
In 1999 the government stopped interfering in the exchange rate, and the real underwent a major devaluation.
This devaluation couldn't be better news for travelers visiting Brazil.
The current exchange rate is around US$1=R$3
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Please, do not ask me why.... but there are two types of each coin - except for the R$ 1 coin
The real is divided into 100 centavos.
Coins are handy for a bus ride, gum, and the coffe ( cafezinho ), of course.
The value of the real against the US dollar varies according to the daily rate. Banks and exchange bureaux charge a commission on exchange transactions, which the visitor should check beforehand. As elsewhere, the rates of exchange for cash and travellers' cheques are marginally different, and coins are not exchangeable. Money changers are obliged by law to display net rates of exchange. Receipt notes must be issued by law; it is advisable to keep these until after departure
- Family Travel
Bringing and Exchanging money...
Favorite thing: Traveler's Checks
Yes, it's the safest way, couldn't agree more, but... you will get a worse rate than you would for cash. It may be a good idea to bring some checks for an emergency, though.
Cash is always convenient to bring as spending money and you may use a money belt inside your pants until you get to your hotel, and any decent hotel will offer a safety box in the bedroom closet.
Credit Cards & Debit Cards
Plastic is very popular in Rio, and it will avoid carrying too much cash around. Visa, AmEx, MasterCard and Diner's are the most widely accepted, probably in this order. Cards are great to pay your hotel bill, most restaurants, and shopping sprees. If your bank or credit card uses the Cirrus system, you may also withdraw cash at many ATM's.
Visa card holders may withdraw cash from the Banco do Brasil and Banco Itaú and Bradesco. Card holders with a PIN number may obtain cash from the 24-hour machines; those without will have to await verification, available from 10 am to 4 pm - banks working hours from monday to friday ( mind public holydays! )
MasterCard holders with a PIN number may obtain cash from any 24-hour machine which lists CIRRUS among its participating banks.
Cash withdrawals on American Express card: Call 0800-785050.
Remember... ATM machines here will "speak" portuguese. Maybe it's better to ask some help from BANK STAFF ... never from "helpful" strangers....
Fondest memory: In a Nutshell...
Whenever you exchange money, you lose money, so try not to exchange too much more than you think you will need.
ATM's with Cirrus system are your best bet. They use the same exchange rate that your credit card company will use back home, when your expenses in Brazil are due.
Before departure from home, visitors are encouraged to check the acceptability of their credit and/or cash cards with their local bank.
ATMs can be found almost everywhere; some machines provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (R$) facilities for major credit cards.
Travel agencies with currency exchange desks offer attractive rates, followed closely by major banks like Banco do Brasil or Citibank.
Luxury hotels have an exchange desk, most times offering offensively low rates. On weekends or after banking hours they are your only choice, though.
Of course, do not never, ever, exchange cash with strangers in the street
For reasons of the laws of supply and demand, any currency other than US$ or Euros could not be the best choice to bring to Rio... ( There is a strong demand for US$, so this is the currency that gets the best rates ).
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: Below is a picture of what the trash cans look like here. I know this seems like a random and stupid tip but it is important to know. Please do not litter in the cities down here. Plus, if you are a smoker there is a metal bar right on the outside of the trash can (right where you put the trash in). You can use that to put out your cigarette and then throw it into the trash can. It's good to be extra courteous in another city and help keep the beauty you came to visit alive.
Can you bring your curling iron? YES
Favorite thing: You don't need to buy an adaptor of any sort for Brazil. Any electronic bought and made for US use can be used in most parts of Brazil (ie. bigger cities). When you get into the really cool smaller towns you might have to go with wet hair.
Fondest memory: Electricity can vary within cities. Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo use 110 volts AC, Bahia (Salvador) and Manaus 127 volts AC, in Brasilia and Recife 220 volts AC. Most hotels do provide 110-volt & 220-volt outlets or adaptors. Check with your hotel which voltage is used in your room to avoid damaging your electronic equipment.
General Weather patterns for major regionsJune-Nov
Favorite thing: This is officially the dry season in the Amazon, with October being the driest month. June and July are the months when the water level is at its highest, due to the quantity of rain that has fallen in the wet season. During these months it is possible to navigate through the flooded forests with a canoe to get a better view of the tops of the trees and the animal life that exists there. Temperatures in the dry season can rise to above 30°C (86°F).
Temperatures can be as cool as 10°C (50°F) in the winter and warm clothing is necessary, especially at night. The dry season is the nesting and breeding season. Hundreds and thousands of birds crowd the trees and the white sand river beaches are exposed with jacarés (crocodiles) basking in the sun.
In the winter the average temperature is 15°C (59°F). During this season the water is much diminished, as are the birds and insects.
Fernando de Noronha
September to December is the dry season. October is the driest month, when rainfall will not be greater than 9mm (0.36 inch) in a 24 hour period.
July and August is officially the rainy season, when the temperature drops to around 26°C (79°F) and the rainfall is heavier than throughout other months. There are still many sunny days during these months and shorts and a t-shirt can always be worn. Although it is the rainy season in nearly the entire state, inland in the mountains this is the dry season.
Rio de Janeiro
Between June and August is the dry season in the state of Rio, with the rest of the year rainy to a greater or lesser degree. Although it is drier it is cooler than in the summer with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 32°C (72°F - 90°F).
Fondest memory: Remember that it also depends on that particular season.
What Is A Posto?
Favorite thing: In planning a trip to Rio and the beaches you will likely start hearing about Postos. For example, your hotel may be located in Ipanema, near Posto 9. For someone new to Rio this might have about as much relevance as telling an African nomad that you're heading to Sam's Club and does he want you to pick something up for him.
Postos are basically small 2 story buildings that look like watch towers, positioned right on the beach near the sidewalk. In them you will find a toilet or two and showers. It costs you about 40 cents to get in. In Copacabana they go from Posto 1 to Posto 6. You then go round Aproador, (which is just an outcrop of rock that has great views for photos), and you're on Ipanema beach that goes from Posto 7 to Posto 12 (when you actually end up in Leblon).
And no, there are no mailboxes at the Postos.