Rio de Janeiro What to Pack

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  • dvideira's Profile Photo

    Packing List - and what NOT to bring.

    by dvideira Updated Jul 1, 2004

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    packing

    Luggage and bags: Pack light! The weather in here is mostly warm even in the winter ( guess what! today is a winter day and we are having 30ºC... ),
    unless you are going to the southern states of the country on your trip ( there can be really cold ... Ok... bring at least a sweater... one never knows when the weather changes...A lightweight wrap or jacket is often needed as the major hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as the subway and most taxis and buses, are air-conditioned.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Informality is the keynote in Rio de Janeiro in terms of dressing. Jackets and ties for men are restricted to offices or for a night at the Opera.

    Lots of t-shirts (do I need to tell?), cargo shorts and bermudas for the days, jeans, chinos or khakis for the evenings. For a special night. a little-black-goes-with-everything-dress for the girls or a button-down shirt ( with trousers, of course! ) for guys will do just fine!
    Remember, summer temperatures easily reach 40ºC. Natural fabrics that breathe, like cotton and light colors will help.

    Girls: Just for the start, bring your favorite bikini. Then, buy yourself some of the gorgeous ones you will find here.

    You are going to walk a lot. Bring your confortable favorite pair of sneakers. Another pair of casual shoes for the evening. You will need dress shoes only if you are coming on business, or planning to go to the more sophisticated nightclubs. Forget your beach flip-flops at home, and join the Havaianas sandals' club in here ( see next tip )

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toiletries:
    Unless you have this really specific favorite stuff you do not live without ... there is no need to bring shampoos and beauty products They are easily available at import stores and better supermarkets.

    Warning: heavy make-up users may experience kind of a face-melting in the summer here

    Miscellaneous: You may choose... Bring your umbrellas or buy a cheap one in here....
    It may rain in here. As a matter of fact, while I'm just writing in here... Do you remember up there, the 30ºC winter day... Well, it just started raining. :o(

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  • dvideira's Profile Photo

    Havaianas Sandals

    by dvideira Updated Jul 2, 2004

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    havaianas flip-flop

    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.

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  • dvideira's Profile Photo

    Packing list - a little more...

    by dvideira Updated Jul 2, 2004

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    packing lists

    Miscellaneous: In general
    Bring your sunglasses, high sunblocks, a hat, and good mosquitos repellent as well.

    Electricity
    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.

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  • racheljapi's Profile Photo

    Pack Light

    by racheljapi Updated Dec 19, 2004

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    A group of friends at a party

    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.

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  • MartaBotelho's Profile Photo

    Important things to FORGET taking!!!

    by MartaBotelho Updated Jan 29, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: Do not take more than you need for the frist few days. One pair of shorts or a bikini, a few t-shirts, one sweater, shorts and jeans. Don't forget your favorite hiking shoes and a pair of flip-flops. A little pull bag will do the trick but bring inside another big bag that you can fold or then an empty luggage. I'll explain bellow why...

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Ok, forget your clothes except your favourite t-shirts and jeans. Shopping in Rio is so cheap that if you take a lot of luggage you won't find place to put inside all the stuff you bought. In Rio there are only two seasons: summer and summer... ooops, sorry, winter, but it's so hot that it's just like summer! So you won't need anything too worm, maybe just a sweater just for the night style. As for the rest do as I do... I go with empy bags and come back loaded with the latest trends by half price!!! And by the way, the quality of the fabrics is extraordinary! Don't forget just a rain gear if you are coming on the rainy season. Rain comes and goesin seconds, but when it comes it's like as if someone opened a hose! Shoes there are also inexpensive and good quality.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The pharmacys in Brazil are just like one big supermarket! You can find anything and everything. All of the major Medicin Companies have their products also in these places, so take only the medicins that need a prescription and that you can't live without. They have all of the usual painkillers and usual medicins. They also have naturistic medicin shops with thousands of different vitamins and other stuff. They're all good. Try the Guarana pills! They are energetic and the best solution for an afternight drunk headacke and sickness!! All natural, by the way! And take my tip: if you feel sick just drink a lot of coconut water and eat a lot of Mamao (also known as Papaya). Your body will work as a clock!

    Photo Equipment: Taking a camera is a must!! Rio has not only wonderfull sights to photograph but you can also take lovely photos of every day people. Just remember to put it in a plastic bag when you take it to the streets. Please do not hang it on your neck, it just turns you into a possible target for the thiefs! You can find film everywhere and I would advise you to develop your films there. There are very nice laboratories and the developing is really cheap. At least half of what I pay in my own country! I shoot mostly slide film, so I'm very choosy about the places where I develop my film, but most of the Kodak laboratories do nice work. Don't take it to Depla though, they never do as you say and the photos seem to loose colour.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Hiking shoes are a must. There's a lot of places to hike in town and on the surroundings. Take a pair of long light pants and a hat. The sun is always very strong so a pair of sunglasses are also important. Take one pair of swim trunks or bikini. They are so good there that you can buy them half price from what you pay in Europe and the States.

    Miscellaneous: Don't forget to take sunblock. You can also buy it in Rio and they have excellent national brands.
    If you like skateboarding or rollerblading, than Rio is the perfect spot for it. There's a lot of skateboard tracks and as for rollerblades they are very useful even when you are just going around Ipanema or Copacabana.

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  • nickyte's Profile Photo

    Phone cards in RIO

    by nickyte Written Mar 17, 2005

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    International Phone Card

    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.

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  • morgane1692's Profile Photo

    The tiny beach essential:

    by morgane1692 Written Sep 18, 2004

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    driftwood + sandals, what else do you need?

    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.) ;-)))

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Camera gear, but be discreet

    by acemj Updated Nov 15, 2003

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    Photo Equipment: Rio is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen and you'll definitely want to capture it on film. If you have a small digital camera this would be ideal since you won't want to carry around noticeable and expensive camera equipment which might attract unwanted attention on the street.

    I left my camera that you see in this photo at my hotel most of the time, but when I visited Sugarloaf and Corcovado, I had to bring out the big guns!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Dental floss bikini NOT required

    by Dabs Written Apr 6, 2006

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 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.

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  • Zarah's Profile Photo

    I love Deet

    by Zarah Written Jan 25, 2004

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    Luggage and bags: Do not bring anything flashy with you.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Casual is the dress code...bring light pants to keep your legs covered and protected from mosquitoes at night.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Pepto just in case. Pharmacies are all over the city.

    Miscellaneous: Mosquito repellant with deet is a must, especially with occassional yellow/dengue fever outbreaks.

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Sunblock . . . normally

    by acemj Updated Jan 28, 2004

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Summer is December through March and winter is June through September so be ready for the exact opposite seasons if you are traveling from the northern hemisphere. Even in Rio's winter, however, temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees celsius (or around 66 degrees F). If you're here in the summer it can be close to 40 degrees C (over 100 F) and the sun can be very bright.

    Because of the crime, I would recommend wearing clothes that are not flashy. Leave your fancy jewelery and watches at home.

    Miscellaneous: Bring sunblock or just buy it in Rio. Normally you'll need it, although I didn't see the sun too much on my trip!

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  • tijuca's Profile Photo

    Take Two Suitcases - One Empty Inside the Other

    by tijuca Updated Jul 20, 2003

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    Luggage and bags: The first time I returned to Rio after living there as a kid, I took two full suitcases. Big mistake. There was no where to put anything I bought in Rio.

    Now I take two suitcases, but I leave one empty and pack it inside the other. When it is time to leave, all "lembrancas" (souvenirs) go into the empty bag. I've never again experienced problems returning with my treasures.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Cotton shirts breath. I do not go to Rio in the "summer" (our winter months). I can still remember walking home from school in jeans and feeling them stick to my legs from the humidity. If you go in the summer, plan to wear as little as possible; shorts and a t-shirt will suffice almost everywhere during the day, except in churches and finer restaurants. Either wear tennis shoes or beach sandals. Try to blend in as much as possible. Nothing loud that will attract attention to you.

    If you plan to eat at the nicer restaurants at night, they probably have a dress code, so take along a sports jacket and a pair of slacks, just in case. Gringos are forgiven for many things they do, so the dress code may be waived. But why take a chance? You can always buy beautifully made shoes and leather goods in Rio. You can buy anything in Rio, however, clothing is not (except t-shirts) inexpensive there.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can buy all of these things in Rio at any "farmacia." There is one around every corner. Grocery stores abound, and they carry almost every product you can buy in the U.S. If you exchange your dollars at the travel agencies (see tip), you'll usually find everything is much less expensive in Brazil (except clothes).

    Photo Equipment: Depending on the cost and the quality of your equipment, you might consider insuring your photo equipment before leaving your homeland. Then your trip will surely be carefree.

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    • Business Travel

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  • andal13's Profile Photo

    Hot in the city

    by andal13 Written Jul 27, 2003

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    The thermometer and me

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I visited Rio in July, that means winter; if you enlarge the picture, you will see that the street thermometer registers 30º C (86º F). So take your summer clothes, and do not forget your sun block!!!

    Visité Río en julio, es decir, en invierno; si agrandas la foto verás que el termómetro callejero registra 30º C. Así que lleva tu ropa de verano, ¡¡¡y no olvides el protector solar!!!

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  • SumTingWong's Profile Photo

    Hidden Sun

    by SumTingWong Written Mar 8, 2003

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    Copacabana

    Luggage and bags: As always, try to pack as light as possible, but you can bring more than one bag to Rio if necessary. (I didn't)

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: sterdy sandels are the best to have. Sneekers can be useful also.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: As you would take anywhere, Rio has good hospitals.

    Photo Equipment: Have a camera, this is a must. A 28-300mm lense was great. A panaramic lense would be good also.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Beach stuff, Rio can have "hidden sunshine", meaning the sun is still extremely powerful even if it is clowdy. Has sun screen!

    Miscellaneous: A hidden money-belt would be helpful in Rio. Pickpockets are common and you don't want to loose all your cash. A good idea is to carry a second wallet and if you are robbed just give up your second walet with a few Reais in it. Don't ever carry larger sums of money on you while in Rio (or Sao Paulo), keep in in a hotel safe or storage box!

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  • Alless's Profile Photo

    just a little help with Packing list

    by Alless Written Jun 4, 2003

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring your favorite pair of sneakers ( or any other comfortable walking shoes)-casual wear ( casual shoes ,casual pants like chinos or khakis and a Polo shirt for the evening .A suit and tie and dress shoes are not really necessary, unless you are coming on business.Comfortable clothes are a question of survival ( like cotton, linen). Bermudas or cargo shorts with lots of pockets / pair of jeans.You will need plenty of T-shirts.Bring a nice sweater if you are coming during the colder months and a sweat suit even if you are coming in the summer, as you may want to sleep in it when you turn the air-conditioner full blast at night. A favorite casual jacket is a good addition, if you are coming in the winter or fall. A light rain jacket is always a good addition, as it does rain in Rio.
    - special note to socks: knee-length socks are a fashion no-no in Rio. If you want to look like you belong, go for shorter socks, and do not pull them all the way up. Socks are never to be worn with sandals, either.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: 110 V and 60 Hz is how electricity goes here. Few hotels have dual voltage in the bathroom. Make sure your electric razor, toothbrush, and hair-drier are suitable to our standards, or they will only take up precious space in your luggage.Women who cannot live without a heavy layer of make-up may experience their faces melting in the summer heat. Wear as little make-up as you can live with, and make sure it is suitable for hot weather. Invest on top quality sunscreen, and let your skin breathe freely. Brazilian women generally wear very little eye-shadow, and also go easy on mascara. Nobody wears make-up at the beach. Bring a high SPF sunblock lipstick instead. Quality shampoos, grooming, and beauty products are easily available at import stores and better supermarkets.
    - Medical Supplies are easy to find in Rio de Janeiro , there are 24 h drugstores , but dont't forget to take with you your own medicine, like aspirin , band -aids , etc

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There are hot and sunny days even in the winter. You need something to wear at the beach. -If you forget the beach sandals, buy a pair of Havaianas at local shops.Pack your favorite bathing suit or bikini to wear on the first day. Many guys wear surfer's trunks, and take them off every now and then to keep the tan line in check.Last but not least, black umbrellas at the beach look very funny - especially if you are fully clothed.

    Miscellaneous: The first thing to keep in mind while packing, is that Cariocas dress casual and light. The second is that if you forget anything, you will find something similar at local stores...

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