When I look at photos of when i first arrived here....i cringe!!! so here are some tips to stop you looking too foreign.....
Dont dress like you are going on safari (no kahki shorts, sandles with socks, safari hat type combination)
Dress is casual but dont wear havaianas to a fancy night club or restaurant.
Girls...you dont have to wear a teeny tiny string bikini but go as small as you dare!! Many brazilian friends say they can tell who is foriegn on the beach, not by their pale skin but by the old fashioned ´parachutes´ that foreign ladies insist on parading around in!!
When going to the centro (downtown), again, avoid the havaianas. Bermuda shorts will also make you obviously foreign.
Wearing yellow and green combinations and clothes with the Brazil flag on are great, but they will make you stand out (if its not the world cup!)
Most of all, dress simply, cheaply and stylishly....people from Rio are some of the most stylish in the world!! Just leave your expensive designer clothes and jewellery at home.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring lots of sunscreen and use it! Nothing says foriegner like bright red skin!!
Be aware that the sun is very strong, women, remember to wear a slip under that sundress.
Pack your sunglasses or a hat, and don't forget to bring a bathing suit and flip flops.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sun screen and moisturizers are readily available.
Photo Equipment: Do not leave your valuables unattended. There are reports of theft from the beaches. If you intend to swim, leave your camera at the hotel.
Specially if you choose the high season period which starts from December to February, just dress casual and you will feel alright. Rio can be very hot in the Summer so it might be a good idea if you think about bringing light clothes, but you can separate a very light jacket just in case it rains or if you need to go to any place in the mountains, it can be a little cold up there!
IN THE PHOTO, ME AND MY ENGLISH FRIENDS CLARE AND IAIN IN IPANEMA BEACH
Luggage and bags:
Do not take anything expensive and travel light
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Again, nothing expensive is needed, old tennis shoes, T-Shirts etc... Anything new or expensive/nice loking will make you more of a target for petty theft
Photo Equipment: Don't flash these items around, agai you could find yourself a target
Slip free sandals/flip flops because the sidewalks can be slippery when wet. As for clothes, pretty much anything goes...wear whatever you want but it's best to pack light weight clothing. The dress code is pretty casual, even at night clubs and stuff so you don't have to dress up.
Miscellaneous: Tap water is safe to drink in most places so instead of buying bottled which adds up in expense and environmental costs, bring along a re-usable plastic water bottle.
If you're planning on visiting the beach, women's attire is the less worn the better. Although I was advised that everyone would be wearing dental floss bikinins, we saw very few but most every woman on the beach had on a bikini. Men's beach attire was a little more varied, everything from speedos to the longer length swim trunks.
Even in the nicest restaurant we ate at (Marius), we were not uncomfortable in slacks.
If you are planning on doing any hiking, bring along a pair of tennis shoes, even my good walking sandals wouldn't have been comfortable on our hike in the Tijuca Forest
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is a must
Our mid range hotel had minimal toiletries, just shampoo and soap so bring along the rest
Photo Equipment: Quite a lot of things I read suggested bringing disposable cameras instead of more expensive equipment but except for the football match, I carried my digital camera in my pocket. You might bring a disposable if you are planning on visiting the beach and going for a swim.
Miscellaneous: I was able to plug my camera recharger straight into the outlet, our hotel took straight and round plugs.
Luggage and bags:
Bring as little as possible because you will buy a lot...bring an extra empty duffle bag to fill it with your loot.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: casual beach clothing. you can buy a lot of cute things here with light fabrics, for cheap prices. some shirts, tank tops, skirts. A pair of jeans for night if you want or if you are going to the movie theater (they use enough AC to freeze your coke) and a light sweater or scarf. When sleeping use the AC otherwise you wake up feeling dead. But you should sleep in long sleeve shirt at least and maybe pants or else you will get a cold that lasts several days.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen...it is too expensive here it costs on average 30 Real or $15 usually more. You can get anything at a pharmacy...usually without a prescription if you just describe your symtoms to the pharmacist. Also bring aloe vera for those first few days when you get a sunburn...it costs $10 here or 20 Real
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: You rent umbrellas and chairs on the beach. You just find a spot on the beach you like and a vendor will set up whatever you want for you. dont bring a towl to the beach, buy a sarong to cover your chair or lay on the sand. A towel is heavy, takes a lot of space and you dont need to dry off, the air is so hot you dry quickly.
Miscellaneous: Bring some food stapels if you must...peanut butter is 20 real here...thats is like $10. Everything else they have here...I do miss Trader Joes, and just all the options our HUGE grocery stores offer in America.
Luggage and bags:
Bring one bag and a small carry-on
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Tennis Shoes
two short sleeves for hanging out.
Light jacket/poncho in case of rain
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Bring your Suntan lotion and your bug repellent.. You will need it.
Photo Equipment: If you are with a group of 5 or more guys you can take pictures and video. Otherswise get a disposable.
Luggage and bags:
You will have to buy an extra one, becaue the prices here are so cheap that for sure you will buy more clothes!;)
Miscellaneous: So many souvenirs that you will take back home, this is my friend Pierre in his first visit to Rio, and guess what he is coming back again!;)
If going in August-September, remember that it's rainy in Rio. Ok, it won't rain the whole time, but when it does it does it heavily. So, don't forget your umbrella, your raincoat, and waterproof shoes. I ruined two pair of shoes, because Peruvian shoes are not resistant to Brazilian rains :(
Photo Equipment: Bring everything you need from your country. Cameras, lenses, films and other related devices are expensive in Rio. I forgot my camera in LIma and had to buy one in Copacabana, which was cheaper than in other areas in Rio. However, when I returned I found the same camera in my country at half price :(
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: If you plan to go to the beach and forgot your swimsuit or bikini, don't worry. Rio is the paradise for buying bikinis and throngs. However, if you prefer something more conservative, don't forget to bring yours. One-piece swimsuit for ladies are a rare object in Rio, and you may loose time searching for one.
Miscellaneous: When you arrived at Rio de Janeiro International Airport (GIG) after the immigration checks, before to get out the airport you can go to the telephone wicket to buy a calling card. With this card you can call practically every where in the world from any public phones in Rio. Phone cards are also everywhere being sold, in a kiosk, magazine stand, supermarket, foreign exchange places and restaurants. Phone booths for public in Rio are numerous but some are not well maintained and out of service. For privacy, it is best to use the phone center shops. Calling a cell phone in Rio is quite expensive and can be done in any Locutorio or Internet-Phone places which are everywhere in Rio.
Luggage and bags:
Easy to carry bags, nothing to fancy
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Light clothes especially in the summer. Brazilians dress on the casual side so go ahead and leave the tux or gown at home. Oh, and if you have time to shop, leave room. There are great clothes there at a very good price.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: the norm
Photo Equipment: the norm. Always best to bring film from home so you don't have to track it down while there nor pay a tourist price.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: good walking shoes for treks outside the city.
Sunscreen! Unless you are a regular tanner, bring 30 for your first couple of days then go down to 15. Never not wear sunscreen and re-apply often.
Miscellaneous: You can bring any plug in items, ie curling iron. Also, be careful walking around with a laptop in a laptop case. People watch for those and snatch them off your shoulder (in certain areas). If you must bring your laptop and carry it around, put it in a back pack made to carry laptops. It's safer.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: ...these flip flop sandals are in everyone's Rio wardrobe. They may look exactly like the ones you've had back home all your life, but they're not. Really. These are BRAZILIAN. So buy yours, wear them to the beach, then drop them on the beach or just carry them along as you stroll up and down the golden sand, enjoying the view(s.) ;-)))
Bring your sunglasses, high sunblocks, a hat, and good mosquitos repellent as well.
The voltage is 110 volts, 60 cycles. In most hotel bathrooms there is a 220-volt outlet. If you're coming from Europe you may need an adapter plug. Sockets will take plugs with round or flat pins, but not usually the flat ones where one side is wider than the other.
Luggage and bags:
As I was saying... do not bring your beach sandals with you. Try the Havaianas!
What is reallly special about them??? I do not know! They are flip-flops that look like flip-flops and yet they became a fever that is spreading worldwide.
Created in 1962 and inspired in a japanese Zori sandal the Brazilian version had a plus point which made all the difference; it was made of a natural and 100% local material, rubber, which guaranteed that the sandals were both long-wearing and comfortable.
To state the difference with the imitations that soon rised, the advertisement slogan for it was for long years : "the ones which do not lose their shape, have no smell and on which the straps do not break"...naïve times those...
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Both pretty and a pleasure to wear they became a cult object.
These sandals are the face (or the feet! ) of at least three generations of Brazilians. They survived the hippie movement, strode through the 70's, 80's and 90's and are in fine form today.
They are democratic: the rubber sandals worn by the country's president, supermodels and street kids alike
From the BBC News: "Havaianas have already taken the US and Australia by storm, and now the UK importer is selling 50,000 pairs a week"
When I went to Austria last year I had to take with me 14 pairs of Havaianas... Just people wanting to have theirs... ( I was afraid I was
going into troubles at customs.... )
Miscellaneous: And doing my homework in order to build this page, I found out at the Havaianas website a link for "where to buy havaianas¨ all over the world.
But if you want to have yours and you are coming to Rio... buy it here. It will cost you way less. They are really cheap here. And they can be quite expensive out there.
They are incredibly easy to find in here. You almost bump into them everywhere. They are found at supermarkets, some drugstores, sport shops, almost everywhere indeed.