Passports: by law you must carry a passport with you at all times, but many travelers opt to carry a photocopy (preferably certified) when traveling about town and to leave their passport securely locked up at their hotel.
Visas: Brazil has a reciprocal visa system, so if your home country requires Brazilian nationals to secure a visa, then you’ll need one to enter Brazil. US, Canadian and Australian citizens need visas, but UK, New Zealand, French and German citizens do not. You can check your status with the Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country.
Entry & Exit Cards: on entering Brazil, all tourists must fill out a “cartão de entrada/saida” (entry/exit card); immigration officials will keep half, you keep the other. When you leave Brazil, the second half of the entry/exit card will be taken by immigration officials. Don’t lose your card while in Brazil, as it could cause hassles and needless delays when you leave.
Customs Regulations: travelers entering Brazil can bring in 2L of alcohol, 400 cigarettes, and one personal computer, video camera and still camera. Newly purchased goods worth up to US$500 are permitted duty-free. Meat and cheese products are not allowed.
Electricity: it is not standardized in Brazil and can be almost anywhere between 110V and 220V. The most common power points have two sockets, and most will take both round and flat prongs. Carry a converter and use a surge protector with electrical equipment.
Internet Access: most hostels, as well as many cafes and restaurants, provide Wi-Fi access. It's usually free, although hotels sometimes charge for it.
Mobile Phones: Brazil uses the GSM 850/900/1800/1900 network, which is compatible with North America, Europe and Australia, but the country’s 4G LTE network runs on 2500/2690 (for now), which is not compatible with many North American and European smartphones. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM with a passport instead of needing a Brazilian CPF (tax ID number). Local SIM cards can be used in unlocked European and Australian phones, and in US phones on the GSM network.
ATMs: they are the easiest way of getting cash in big cities and are common. In many smaller towns, ATMs exist but don’t always work for non-Brazilian cards.
Cash: Brazilian currency is the Real (often written R$). One real is made up of 100 centavos.
Credit Cards: you can use credit cards for many purchases and to make cash withdrawals from ATMs and banks. Visa is the most widely accepted card, followed by MasterCard. Amex and Diners Club cards are less useful. Visa cash advances are widely available, even in small towns with no other currency-exchange facilities.
Tipping: hotel tipping is optional for housekeepers, but appreciated. Parking is usually R$ 2 or more; assistants do not receive wages and are dependent on tips. It's customary to tip guides at the end of a tour, and certainly appreciated if you can give a little to the assistant. At restaurants a 10% service charge is usually included in the bill.
Banks 9am–3pm Monday–Friday
Nightclubs 10pm–4am Thursday–Saturday
Restaurants Noon–2:30pm and 6–10:30pm
Shops 9am–6pm Monday–Friday and 9am–1pm Saturday
Taxes & Refunds: value-added tax (VAT), levied on most goods, ranges between 17% and 20% depending on the region; it is always included in the given price. Most restaurants also add on a 10% to 13% service charge. There's no system of VAT refunds for purchases made in Brazil.
Brazil has four time zones:
Most of the country is GMT/UTC minus three hours. This includes Rio, São Paulo, the South, Northeast, Brasília and half of the Amazon.
Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and most of the Amazon are one hour behind Brasília time (GMT/UTC minus four hours).
A tiny part of Amazonas state and all of Acre are two hours behind Brasília time (GMT/UTC minus five hours).
The Fernando de Noronha archipelago is one hour ahead of Brasília time (GMT/UTC minus two hours).
Brazilian daylight saving time runs from mid-October to mid-February, during which period clocks are advanced one hour – but only in the Southeast, South and Central West.
For hundreds of years, Brazil has symbolized the great escape into a primordial, tropical paradise, igniting the Western imagination like no other South American country. From the mad passion of Carnival to the immensity of the dark Amazon, Brazil is a country of mythic proportions. Brazilian people do permanently delight visitors with their energy, fantasy and joy. Brazil is the world's fifth largest country, occupying almost half the South American continent and bordering every country on it, except Chile and Ecuador. Much of Brazil is scarcely populated, although some regions with previously low population densities, such as the Amazon, are being rapidly settled, logged and depleted. Brazil can be divided into four major geographic regions. The long, narrow Atlantic seaboard has coastal ranges between the Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia, but is flatter north of Bahia. The large highlands, which extend over most of Brazil's interior south of the Amazon Basin are punctuated by several small mountain ranges and sliced by several large rivers. There are also two great depressions: the Parana-Paragui basin in the south, which is characterized by open forest, low woods and scrubland; and the huge, densely forested Amazon basin in the north. The Amazon, 6275km (3890mi) long, is the world's largest river, and the Amazon forest contains 30% of the world's remaining forest. The richness and diversity of Brazil's fauna, much of which is endemic, is astounding, and the country ranks first in the world for numbers of species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants; second for amphibians, third for bird species; and fifth for species of reptiles. Most of Brazil can be visited comfortably throughout the year, it's only the south - which can be unbearably sticky in summer (December-February) and non-stop rainy in winter (June-August) -submitted to large seasonal changes. The rest of the country experiences brief tropical rains throughout the year, which rarely affect traveling schedules.
Population: 205,8 millions.
Capital city: Brasília.
People: 55% European descent, 38% Mulatto, 6% African descent.
Religion: 70% roman catholic, also a significant proportion either belonging to various cults or practicing animism.
Corcovado lookout is set 709 m.a.s.l., at the very top of the mountain with the same name. From there, the visitor can see nearly the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. Also located at this world-famous tourist site, is the “Cristo Redentor” statue (Christ, the Redeemer). It is accessible by car, using Corcovado road, but we will arrive by train, departing from the Cosme Velho station. Corcovado is set right in the "Tijuca Rainforest National Park” (the largest urban park in the world) which is in the heart of the city of Rio, being considered by locals as the “lung of the city”. From Copacabana the bus takes the route through tunnel "Rebouças", which intersects the surrounding mountain range, reaching "Laranjeiras District". From there, a cogwheel train, constructed by Swiss engineers, takes visitors up–passing lovely parts of the forest allowing visitors to have panoramic views of the city while climbing up. Finally, after reaching the mountain top, escalators are available as well as elevator to assist passengers reaching the statue – which stands on its 28 meters of height. And the most marvelous view of the city. Lunch is optional.
Drive along the downtown area of Rio until reaching the famous football stadium of “Maracanã” (inside visit not included). From there continue back through the center of town (old part of the city) passing by the Sambadrome, Modern Cathedral and Municipal theatre. Continuing via Flamengo Park until reaching Urca neighborhood and Praia Vermelha cable car Station where you will be taken to the Urca Mountain (mid-way station) with its gardens and look-out points. Then, the second part of the ride will take you to the peak of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, 400 m.a.s.l. Sugar Loaf is located in a neighborhood called Urca at the entrance of Guanabara Bay. It is group of two mountains, one called Urca Mountain and the other called Sugar Loaf. The original cable cars were inaugurated in 1912. In 1972, the construction of a new aerial path was concluded within new standards and using modern technology. Corcovado lookout is set 709 meters above sea level, at the very top of the mountain with the same name. From there, the visitor can see nearly the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. Also located at this world-famous tourist site, is the “Cristo Redentor” statue (Christ, the Redeemer). Corcovado is set right in the "Tijuca Rainforest National Park” (the largest urban park in the world) which is in the heart of the city of Rio, being considered by locals as the “lung of the city”. A cogwheel train, constructed by Swiss engineers, takes visitors up–passing lovely parts of the forest allowing visitors to have panoramic views of the city while climbing up. Finally, after reaching the mountain top, escalators are available as well as elevator to assist passengers reaching the statue – which stands on its 28 meters of height. And the most marvelous view of the city!
An evening excursion to a rousing Brazilian Show of music, which can be experienced all year-round. The show is a display of the Brazilian rhythms and traditions. The exotic costumes worn by performers and the contagious sound of the drums are a sight apart. Dinner: Barbecue restaurant. Salads, endless variety of meat served continuously and also with several accompaniments, ending with dessert. (Drinks not included).
This is a unique walking tour which gives visitors a feeling of the legends and stories that woven the narrow streets and old historical buildings of downtown Rio. The walk includes a visit to many interesting points, such as Sâo Bento Monastery, Calendarioa Church, Praça XV, Travessa do Mercado, Imperial Court, the cultural center located in the beautifully-restored Banco do Brazil, Casa Fraça, Ouvidor Street and Gonçcalves Dias Street with the traditional Confiteria Colombo. The walk continues to Uruguaiana Street, Carioca Square up to the Metropolitan Cathedral where you will board the transportation to go back your hotel.
An evening excursion to a rousing Brazilian Show of music, which can be experienced all year-round. The show is a display of the Brazilian rhythms and traditions. The exotic costumes worn by performers and the contagious sound of the drums are a sight apart. Dinner (optional): Barbecue restaurant. Salads, endless variety of meat served continuously and also with several accompaniments, ending with dessert. (Drinks not included).
Located some 800 m.a.s.l., Petropolis “The Imperial City” is the state of Rio de Janeiro's most sought after mountain Resort City and fourth largest commercial center. It is chiefly a monument to Dom. Pedro II, emperor of Brazil from 1831 until his exile in 1889. Emperor Pedro I, who purchased land in the spectacular Serra do Mar for a projected summer palace, first envisioned Petropolis in the 1830's. However, it was his son Pedro II, who actually built the palace and the quaint town surrounding it. The idea was to maintain a refreshing refuge from Rio's wilting summer heat. The highway linking Rio and Petropolis is an engineering marvel. Its concrete bridges soar over green valleys and the road curves around mountain walls revealing exquisite views of the horizon. Includes lunch.
Ride by open off-road jeep through Jardim Botânico district and start the climb of the Tijuca Forest reaching the Chinese View look out spot where a short stop is made for the magnificent view. Continue the ride until we reach the Tijuca National Park, an area of 3.200 hectares of protected Atlantic Forest and shelter to a variety of birds and butterflies as well as "prego" and "sagui" monkeys. The forest is also home to hundreds of species of plants, many of them threatened by extinction. Located in the heart of the city, the Tijuca National Park is the largest urban reserve in the world. A 15 minutes walk is planned from this point until the waterfall of Cascatinha where there's a rest stop and refreshments available. Continue by jeep through the forest passing by Mayrink Chapel, Açude da Solidão descending via São Conrado beach and returning to the pier via beaches.