South America Guide
Post Number: 43
|Posted on Friday, October 22, 2004 - 11:31 pm: |
Conventional Long Form: Federative Republic of Brazil
Conventional Short Form: Brazil
Local Long Form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
Local Short Form: Brasil
Location and Climate
Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Roman Catholic 80%
Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Brazilian Real (BRL)
1 USD = 2.8300 BRL (October 2004)
Internet Country Code
CIA FACT BOOK
Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG)
Holidays | Best Time to Go
January 1: New Year's Day
April 21: Tiradentes Day
May 1: Labor Day
July 9: Civil Holiday (São Paulo State only)
September 7: Independence Day
October 12: Our Lady Aparecida
November 1: All Saints Day
November 2: All Souls
November 15: Proclamation of the Republic
December 8: Immaculate Conception
December 24: Christmas Eve (half day)
December 25: Christmas Day
December 31: New Year's Eve (half day)
August to November – low season, lower crowds
Carnival in February, month of December – high season, more crowds, more expensive hotels and transportation
If you’re from the US, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, you need a visa to enter the country. If you’re from the UK, you don’t. Your visa is good up to 90 days before you leave and another 90 days after you get there. You can renew it for another 90 days if it expires while you’re there. Get your visa from either a Brazilian embassy or consulate.
If you get sick or hurt, remember that medical treatment is generally good, although very expensive. Better to buy traveler’s insurance before you get there.
Don’t trust the tap water. Drink bottled water.
Although Brazil can be a vacationer’s paradise, it’s also a third-world country, and the cities contain some unsafe elements. Crushing poverty is apparent. Brazen gangs of youths have been known to assault and rob tourists at knife or gunpoint. If you keep your wits about you, you should be fine. However, you should understand the risks. Therefore, when you’re in Rio and elsewhere, take the following precautions:
- Don’t make yourself more of a target then you already are. Dress down in public; don’t wear flashy clothes or jewelry. Don’t flash cash.
- Take taxis after dark (see Transportation, below), even if your destination is only a few blocks. Do not walk.
- If you have to walk somewhere, do so only during the day and in groups, if possible.
- Shop during the day. Take only the money you need.
- Consider carrying an old wallet with 10-20 dollars and perhaps an old watch to offer the mugger in case you’re robbed.
- Take only one credit card, and use it prudently (for example, to pay the tariff at better hotels).
- If you go to a disco or club to pick up women (see Freelancers, below), watch your drink so no one drugs it. Never accept drinks from strangers.
- Don’t take a freelancer back to her place. She may offer to pour you a drink, into which she’ll put knock out drops. Once you fall asleep, she’ll rob you. Best to take her to a “love hotel” (the taxi drivers know where they are) rather than your own hotel.
- When visiting the beaches, never leave your belongings unattended and make sure you leave before dark.
- Leave your passport, other important documents, and valuable possessions in the hotel safe.
- There are Tourist Police present on the streets to assist you, but it’s not unheard of for corrupt police to commit crimes.
HIV/AIDS (2003 est.):
Adult prevalence rate: 0.7% | People living with HIV/AIDS: 660,000 | Deaths: 15,000
Transportation - Rio
Airport to City:
Take a flat-rate taxi from the airport to Ipanema or Copacabana. Cost: about US$20.
The Rio Metro is limited but efficient. There are two lines. You can take Line 1 from the city center to the Copacabana beaches in about 20 minutes. A single ride ticket is 2 BRL. A double-ride ticket is 4 BRL.
Rio taxi cabs are yellow with blue stripes. Hail them from the streets. Taxi cabs display flags that indicate the fare. A number 1 means a normal fare. A number 2 means a premium fare. You’ll pay more after 10 PM, on holidays (for example, Carnival) and Sundays, and during December, when crowds are at their worst. Ask the driver how much the fare is before you get in the cab. Tipping is not expected, but rounding up the bill and telling the driver to keep the change is appreciated.
If you need to call for a cab, remember that you’ll pay about 20 percent more. It’s worth it for the safety factor if you have to travel at night. In Rio, dial Transcoopass at 021/2560-4888 or Coopertramo at 021/2560-2022.
Buses are inexpensive (you do need exact change), but are not air-conditioned and are crowded. Also, they’re havens for pickpockets and petty thieves, especially during rush hour. If you have to take one, avoid window seats and the back rows (so you don’t look like a tourist) and don’t travel alone.
Internet Cafés – Rio/Sao Paolo
Cybercafe Internet Center - Downtown
Rua da Alfandega, 80/401, Rio
(near Uruguaiana Subway Station (Metro)
Tel: (55) (21) 224 1743
Cost/Hour: US $5
Hours: M-F/8A – 9P; Sa/8A – 3P
195, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana Avenue, shop 106, Rio
Tel/ Fax: (55) (21) 542 3348 / (55) (21) 542 3348
Cost/Hour: BRL 10
Hours: M-Sa/9A – 10P
R. Ministro Godoi 1169, Sao Paulo 05015-001
Tel/ Fax: (55) (11) 38651479 / (55) (11) 2805660
Cost/Hour: US $3
Hours: M-F/11A – 11P (Tu/3P – 11P)
Net Corner (A Internet a seu alcance)
Loja de Campinas, Rua Coronel Quirino, nº 1.252,
Bairro Cambui, Campinas, São Paulo
Tel: (55) (11) 3842-0072
Cost/Hour: BRL 6
Hours: M-F/9A – 10P; Sa/9A – 3P
Telephone numbers: 7 digits for land lines, 8 digits for cell phones
Long-distance country code: 55
In Rio: dial the number directly
Long-distance domestic calls: 021 + city code + phone number
International calls: 0021 + country code + area code + phone number
Collect calls: 9 before the numbers
City codes: Brasilia 61, Rio de Janeiro 21, São Paulo 11
Police: 190; Ambulance: 192; Fire: 193
110 volts or 220 volts; two round-pin plugs are standard. You’ll need an adapter.
Since Brazil is close to the ocean, you’ll have lots of fresh seafood to choose from. Also, try the feijoada. It’s Rio’s signature dish. It’s made from pork and black beans, and comes with rice, kale, and flour of manioc, which is an indigenous tuber, similar to a potato.
When you’re really hungry, definitely visit a Churrasco restaurant. Waiters bring large slabs of grilled meats (pork, beef, sausages, prime rib, etc.) on skewers and cut slices for you. There’s also a buffet for salad items and side dishes. It’s all you can eat.
Budget to moderate-priced restaurants run from $5 to $15 per person. Ten percent is added to the bill for a service charge. Rio Restaurant List
Prostitution itself is not illegal, but pimping is. Legal prostitution here takes several forms:
Sauna Houses (Termas). Your best bet for action during the day in Rio. These are full sex clubs with sauna/massage facilities and a boite (bar) or two. You pay an entry fee (average 40 BRL). Bikini-clad women see to your pleasure in private rooms (typical fee: 100-130 BRL for a 40-minute session, more for a 60-minute session). Credit cards accepted.
You dress in a bathrobe and flip-flops. Spend some time (kissing, sharing drinks – drink prices are the same for you and her) with your selection before going to the cabine (room). Some women tend to be aggressive (initiate kissing, grabbing, etc.); the less attractive ones even more so. Rio Terma List
The most popular spots in Rio are at Help disco, the boites, or the cafes along Copacabana beach. Get to Help early, best action starts around midnight. Hour sessions: about 100 BRL. All night: US $100. Prices and talent level drops after 2 AM. Hit the cafes in the mid-afternoon (4 PM). Don’t pay up front. Pay after the fact.
If you can understand Portuguese, try the personals section of publications such as O Globo, O Dia, and Jornal do Brasil. More info here
Escort Agencies (Acompanhantes). Rio outcall escorts are generally available from noon until early morning hours. Prices are normally 150 BRL for 1 hour and 200 BRL for two. It’s best to have some command of Portuguese, so you can give your preferences to the operator and to the lady when she arrives. Escorts tend to be slightly less attractive as the better Help or termas workers. Of course, YMMV. Rio Escort List, more information
Massage Parlors (Clinica de Massagem). Massage parlors are popular in Sao Paolo. Try Antares, CelCenter, or Francebel.
Brothels. The traditional brothel scene is stronger in Sao Paolo. The comfortable Bomboa is a popular place to go.
Streetwalkers. If you’re interested and in Rio, you’ll find them along Ave. Atlantico (the main street along Copacabana) after dark. They tend to be unattractive or strung out on drugs, and all too often, transvestites.
Rio City Guide
Insider’s Guide to Rio