Casa Cohiba Brazil Info



Casa Cohiba Brazil Info
Casa Cohiba Brazil Info
Guide through Brazil / Cumbuco
Casa Cohiba
Avenida Central do Cumbuco 2596
Phone: +55 85 8555 1678
Email: [email protected]
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Rio de Janeiro
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Quick Facts
federative republic
Real (BRL)
8,511,965 sq km
190,732,694 (2010 Census)
Roman Catholic 64.6%, Protestant 22.2%, none 8.0% (2010 Census)
In general 127V/60Hz with some cities using 220V/60Hz (North American or European plug); 110V/60Hz has
been confirmed in use in São Paulo and most other sites do not mention 127V, but 110V.
Calling Code
Internet TLD
Time Zone
UTC -3 (-2 to -4)
Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil), [1], is the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world. Famous for its
football (soccer) tradition and its annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. It is a country of
great diversity, from the bustling urban mosaic of São Paulo to the infinite cultural energy of Pernambuco and Bahia,
the wilderness of the Amazon rainforest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, there is plenty to see
and to do in Brazil.
Brazil was inhabited solely by indigenous people, mainly of the Tupi and Guarani ethnic groups. Settling by the
Portuguese began late in the 16th century, with the extraction of valuable wood from the pau brasil tree, from which
the country draws its name. Brazil was settled by the Portuguese and not the Spanish, as were the rest of Central,
South and parts of North America in the New World. Despite Portuguese rule, some parts of Brazil formed a Dutch
colony between 1630 and 1654. They founded several cities, such as Mauritsville, and many sugar cane plantations.
The Dutch fought a grim jungle war with the Portuguese, and without the support of the Republic of their homeland
due to a war with England, the Dutch surrendered to the Portuguese, though they did not officially recognize
Portuguese rule, which led to an all-out war with Portugal off the coast of Portugal in 1656. In 1665 the Peace Treaty
of The Hague was signed, Portugal lost its Asian colonies and had to pay 63 tons of gold to compensate the Dutch
Republic for the loss of its colony.
Brazil became the centre of the Portuguese Empire by 1808, when the King Dom João VI (John VI) fled from
Napoleon's invasion of Portugal and established himself and his government in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The following four centuries saw further exploitation of the country's natural riches such as gold and rubber,
alongside the rise of an economy based largely on sugar, coffee and African slave labor. Meanwhile, extermination
and Christianizing of natives kept its pace, and the 19th and 20th Century saw a second wave of immigration, mainly
Italian, German (in southern Brazil), Spanish, Japanese (In São Paulo State) and Portuguese, adding to the set of
factors that generated today's complex and unique Brazilian culture and society.
Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation on September 7th, 1822.
Until 1889 Brazil was an Empire under the rule of Dom Pedro I and his son Dom Pedro II. By this time, it became an
emerging international power. Slavery, which had initially been widespread, was restricted by successive legislation
until its final abolition in 1888. Perhaps this was the reason why the Empire was abolished in the following year:
unhappy with the end of slavery, the ultraconservatives shifted their support to Republicanism and the Emperor was
overthrown in a sudden coup d'état.
By far the largest, most populous and prosperous country in Latin America, it has also overcome more than two
decades (1964-1988) of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue democratic rule, while
facing the challenge of keeping its industrial and agricultural growth and developing its interior. Exploiting vast
natural resources and a large labor pool, today Brazil is Latin America's leading economic power and a regional
leader, overshadowing the likes of Mexico and Argentina. High rates of political corruption and unequal income
distribution, though softening from 2004 onwards, remains a pressing problem. A consequence of this is a high
crime rate, specifically in large cities.
After 20 years of democracy, the country has grown strong, and despite the social problems of the unequal income
distribution, the people try to remain happy and festive.
Owing to Brazil’s continental dimensions, varied geography, history and people, the country’s culture is rich and
diverse. It has several regional variations, and in spite of being mostly unified by a single language, some regions are
so different from each other that they look like different countries altogether.
Music plays an important part in Brazilian identity. Styles like choro, samba and bossa nova are considered
genuinely Brazilian. Caipira music is also in the roots of sertanejo, the national equivalent to country music. MPB
stands for Brazilian Popular Music, which mixes several national styles under a single concept. Forró, a
north-eastern happy dancing music style, has also become common nationwide. New urban styles include funk name given to a dance music genre from Rio's favelas that mixes heavy electronic beats and often raunchy rapping and techno-brega, a crowd-pleaser in northern states, that fuses romantic pop, dance music and caribbean rhythms.
A mixture of martial arts, dance, music and game, capoeira was brought to Brazil by African slaves, mainly from
Portuguese Angola. Distinguished by vivacious complicated movements and accompanying music, it can be seen
and practiced in many Brazilian cities.
In the classical music, the Modern Period is particularly notable, due to the works of composers like Heitor
Villa-Lobos and Camargo Guarnieri, who created a typical Brazilian school, mixing elements of the traditional
European classical music to the Brazilian rhythms, while other composers like Cláudio Santoro followed the
guidelines of the Second School of Vienna. In the Romantic Period, the greatest name was Antonio Carlos Gomes,
author of some Italian-styled operas with typical Brazilian themes, like Il Guarany and Lo Schiavo. In the Classical
Period, the most prominent name is José Maurício Nunes Garcia, a priest who wrote both sacred and secular music
and was very influenced by the Viennese classical style of the 18th and early 19th century.
Candomble and Umbanda are religions with African roots that have survived prejudice and persecution and still
have a significant following in Brazil. Their places of cult are called terreiros and many are open to visit.
Indigenous traits can be found everywhere in Brazilian culture, from cuisine to vocabulary. There are still many
indigenous groups and tribes living in all Brazilian regions, although many have been deeply influenced by Western
culture, and several of the country's surviving indigenous languages are in danger of disappearing completely. The
traditional lifestyle and graphic expressions of the Wajãpi indigenous group from the state of Amapá were
proclaimed a Masterpiece of the World's Intangible Heritage [2] by UNESCO.
Globo, the largest national television network, also plays an important role in shaping the national identity. Nine out
of ten households have a TV set, which is the most important source of information and entertainment for most
Brazilians, followed by the radio broadcast. TVs broadcast sports, movies, local and national news and telenovelas
(soap operas)– 6-10 month-long series that have become one of the country’s main cultural exports.
Throughout its history, Brazil has welcomed several different peoples and practices. Brazil constitutes a melting pot
of the most diverse ethnic groups thus mitigating ethnic prejudices and preventing racial conflicts, though
long-lasting slavery and genocide among indigenous populations have taken their toll. Prejudice is generally directed
towards different social classes rather than between races. Nevertheless, race, or simply skin colour, is still a dividing
factor in Brazilian society and you will notice the skin typically darkens as the social class gets lower: wealthy
upper-class people are mostly white; many middle-class are mixed; and the majority of poor people are black.
Nowadays, however, Afro-Brazilians and Amerindian populations are increasingly aware of their civil rights and of
their rich cultural heritage, and social mobility is achievable through education.
In general, Brazilians are a fun-loving people. While Southerners may be somewhat colder and more reserved, from
Rio upwards people usually boast a captivating attitude towards life and truly enjoy having a good time. Some may
even tell you that beer, football, samba, barbecue and woman is all they could crave for.
Friendship and hospitality are highly praised traits, and family and social connections are strongly valued. To people
they have met, or at least know by name, Brazilians are usually very open, friendly and sometimes quite generous.
Once introduced, until getting a good reason not to, a typical Brazilian may treat you as warmly as he would treat a
best friend. Brazilians are reputedly one of the most hospitable people in the world and foreigners are usually treated
with respect and often with true admiration.
Attitudes towards foreigners may also be subject to regional differences:
• The state of Santa Catarina welcomes their Spanish-speaking tourists with bilingual signs and welcome
• In Salvador, the largest city of the Northeast, anyone talking, acting or looking like a tourist (even other
Brazilians!) could be charged higher prices, such as in parking lots, in restaurants, etc.
Most Brazilians are honest and genuinely friendly, but many are used to small acts of corruption in their everyday
lives, the so-called jeitinho brasileiro. If you obviously look like a tourist, you are a potential target; for instance, a
vendor may try to sell goods at higher prices, or a taxi driver may choose the longest route to the destination. It
doesn't mean that you can't trust anyone, just that you have to be a bit more alert and careful, particularly if someone
seems too friendly.
Whereas the "Western" roots of Brazilian culture are largely European, especially Iberian, as evidenced by its
colonial towns and even sporadic historic buildings between the skyscrapers, there has been a strong tendency in
recent decades to adopt a more "American way of life" which is found in urban culture and architecture, mass media,
consumerism and a strongly positive feeling towards technical progress. In spite of that, Brazil is still a nation faced
towards the Atlantic, not towards Hispanic America, and the intellectual elites are likely to look up to Europe,
especially France, as source of inspiration, rather than the US. Many aspects in Brazilian society, such as the
educational system, are inspired by the French, and may seem strange at first to Anglo-Saxon visitors.
Brazilians ARE NOT HISPANIC. Some may be offended if a visitor openly says that, or tends to believe that
Brazilians have Spanish as a primary or secondary language, visitors will receive a warmer welcome if they try to
start conversations in Portuguese, but even if the visitor speaks Spanish towards Brazilians, they're likely to answer
in Portuguese.
The contrasts in this huge country equally fascinates and shocks most visitors, especially Europeans, as well as the
indifference of many locals towards the social, economic and ecological problems. Whereas an emerging elite of
young, well-educated professionals indulge in amenities of modern society, child labor, illiteracy and subhuman
housing conditions still exist even in regions blessed by economic growth and huge foreign investments such as São
Paulo or Rio.
As much as Brazilians acknowledge their self-sustainability in raw materials, agriculture, and energy sources as an
enormous benefit for the future, most of them agree that without huge efforts in education there will hardly be a way
out of poverty and underdevelopment.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Brazil has faced an increasing wave of immigration from China, Bolivia and
Brazil is a huge country with different climate zones. In the North, near the equator there is a wet and a dry season;
from about São Paulo down to the south there is spring/summer/fall/winter.
Holidays and working hours
Brazil observes the following 13 national holidays:
• New Year - 1st January
• Carnival - February/March (Movable - 7 weeks before Easter. Monday and Tuesday are the actual holidays, but
celebrations usually begin on Saturday and last until 12PM of Ash Wednesday, when shops and services re-open.)
• Good Friday - March/April (movable) two days before Easter Sunday
• Tiradentes - 21st April
• Labour Day - 1st May
• Corpus Christi - May/June (movable) sixty days after Easter Sunday
• Independence Day - 7th September
• Patroness of Brazil - 12th October
• All Souls' Day (Finados) - 2nd November
• Republic - 15th November
• Christmas - 25th December
Working hours are usually from 8AM or 9AM to 5PM or 6PM. Banks open Monday to Friday, from 10AM to
4PM. Street shops tend to close at noon on Saturday and only re-open on Monday. Shopping malls normally open
from 10AM to 10PM, Monday to Saturday, and from 3PM to 9PM on Sundays. Some malls, especially in large
cities, are also open on Sundays, although not all the stores may be open. It is also possible to find 24-hour stores and
small markets that are open even on Sundays.
Brazil is one of a few countries that uses both 127 and 220 volts for everyday appliances. Expect the voltage to
change back and forth as you travel from one place to the next -- even within the same Brazilian state, sometimes
even within the same building. There is no physical difference in the electric outlets (power mains) for the two
Electric outlets usually accept both flat (North American), and round (European) plugs. Otherwise adaptors from flat
blades to round pins are easy to find in any supermarket or hardware shop. Some outlets are too narrow for the
German "Schuko" plugs. The best makeshift solution is to buy a cheap T-connection and just force your "Schuko" in,
-the T will break, but it will work. Very few outlets have a grounding point, and some might not accept newer North
American polarized plugs, where one pin is slightly larger. Again, use the cheap T. Near the border with Argentina,
you might occasionally find outlets for the Australia/New Zealand-type plug. If crossing the border, you'll probably
need this adapter as well.
In 2009/2010, a the IEC 60906-1 was introduced to Brazil and some newer buildings already have it. It is backwards
compatible with the Europlug, but it has a receded socket. Again, T-plugs can be used as adapters for other common
Frequency is 60Hz, which may disturb 50 Hz electric clocks. Blackouts are less and less frequent, but you always
run a risk at peak of high season in small tourist towns.
See also: Travel topics -- Electrical systems
Brazil is the fifth largest country on
earth. It is divided into five regions,
mainly drawn around state lines, but
they also more or less follow natural,
economic and cultural borderlines.
Regions of Brazil
North (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins)
The Amazon, the rain forest and frontier life, with remarkable Amerindian influence. Note the states of Mato Grosso and Goiás in the Center West
region (below) are mostly within the Amazon Basin as well.
Northeast (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe)
Strong black culture (especially in Bahia) mingles with early Iberic folklore and Indigenous traditions. This is often considered the country's most
beautiful coastline, and has the sunniest and hottest climate; but it is also the country's driest and poorest region. Capital of the "Forró" musical
Central West (Distrito Federal (Federal District), Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul)
The Pantanal wetlands, great farms, young cities, the cerrado and the Federal District, with its otherworldly modernist architecture. Birth place of
the "sertanejo" music style.
Southeast (Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo)
The cosmopolitan heart of the country. São Paulo and Rio are the largest cities of the country and its economic and industrial hub; there are also
some century-old colonial towns, especially in Minas Gerais.
South (Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina)
Is a land of valleys and pampas where a strong gaucho culture (shared with Uruguay and Argentina) meets European influences. It has the best
standard of living in Brazil with only two large cities (Curitiba and Porto Alegre) and several mid-size cities and rural settlements. Great German,
Italian, Polish and Ukrainian took place in the region during the 19th century.
Brazil has many exciting cities, ranging from pretty colonial towns and coastal hideouts to hectic, lively
metropolises; these are a few of the more prominent travel destinations:
• Brasília - The capital of Brazil, and an architectural spectacle. Noteworthy buildings include a basket-shaped
cathedral, the beautiful Arches Palace (seat of the Ministry of Justice) and others.
• Florianópolis - The city is located in an island in the Atlantic Ocean in the southern state of Santa Catarina, with
lakes, lagoons, amazing nature and more than 40 clean, beautiful, natural beaches. Major destination for
Argentines during the summer months.
• Fortaleza -- The 4th biggest city in Brazil, blessed with beautiful beaches. Home of the Iracema Beach street
market. A good base for exploring the beaches of the northeastern coast, including Jericoacoara. Famed for forró
music and comedians.
• Manaus - Located in the heart of the Amazon, is the capital of Amazonas State and it is also the biggest city of the
Amazon. At Manaus the rivers Negro and Solimões meet to became the Amazonas River. The best place to go to
visit the Amazon rainforest. It is a gateway to the Anavilhanas and to Jaú National Park.
• Porto Alegre-- a major city between Argentina and São Paulo and gateway to Brazil's fabulous Green Canyons.
• Recife - A major city in the Northeast region, originally settled by Dutch colonizers. Nicknamed "The Brazilian
Venice", it is built on several islands linked by many bridges. Rich in history, art and folklore. Do not miss
neighboring Olinda and Porto de Galinhas. The city is also a gateway to the amazing archipelago of Fernando de
• Rio de Janeiro - World famous, beautiful city that welcomes visitors with that big statue of an open-armed Jesus
atop Corcovado Hill.
• Salvador - The first capital of Brazil is home to a unique blend of indigenous, African and European cultures. Its
Carnival fun is famous, and the influence of African culture and religion is remarkable.
• São Paulo - Brazil's largest, richest and most cosmopolitan city, where you can find strong influences of several
ethnicities, including Italian, Korean, Japanese, German, Russian, Caribbean, Greek and Arab.
Other destinations
Amazonia - jungle tours, wildlife, floated wood, the mysteries of the Amazon
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Chapada dos Veadeiros — cerrado (tropical savanna) wildlife and stunning waterfalls
Fernando de Noronha — tropical island paradise in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, is protected as a Marine
National Park since 1997 and a World Heritage Site
Ilha Grande
Iguaçu Falls — world-famous waterfalls
Ilha do Marajó
Lençóis Maranhenses
Pantanal — the world's largest wetland hosts lots of eco-tourism and vast biodiversity, including caiman, jaguar,
anaconda, giant anteater, primates, giant otter, and piranha
Get in
Visa requirements
• Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, meaning that whenever visa fees and restrictions are applied
to Brazilian visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same measures for that country's visitors.
• Citizens from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela may enter
the country with a valid ID card and stay up to 90 days.
• No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days from holders of passports from these countries, unless otherwise
indicated: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Croatia, Czech Rep., Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana,
Honduras, Hong Kong SAR passport, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, South Korea, Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino,
Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia,
Turkey, United Kingdom (Including British National (Overseas) passport holders), Uruguay, Venezuela (60 days)
and Vatican City. Note that the immigration officer has the right to restrict your visa to less than 90 days, if he
deems fit. (This has been done routinely for lone male travellers arriving in Fortaleza, allegedly to combat
prostitution tourism.) He will then state the number of days (e.g. 60 or 30) in pen writing inside the stamp just
given in your passport; if not, it remains as 90 days.
• Citizens from all other countries (complete list [3]) do require a visa. The fees vary depending on reciprocity: for
example, US citizens have to pay at least US$160 for a tourist visa and US$220 for a business visa. As of
November 2008, citizens of Canada should expect to pay at least CDN$ 117.00 for a tourist visa, not including
any handling or processing fees. Cost of Brazil visa for citizens of Taiwan or Taiwanese passport holder pay $20
(Reference from Embassy of Brazil in Lima, Peru) and 5 days to process. The reciprocity, however, also
frequently applies to visa validity: US citizens can be granted visas valid up to 10 years and, likewise, Canadian
citizens for up to 5.
• Tourist visas (including those granted on the spot in immigration control) can be extended at any office of the
Policia Federal. Since 01.10.2012 Tourist Visas granted to citizens of the Schengen Area can NOT be extended
anymore. All state capitals, and most border towns and international ports have one. Tourist visas only be
extended once, for a maximum of 90 days, and under no circumstances can you be granted more than 180 days
with a tourist visa for any 365-day period. You should contact the federal police about 1 week before your visa
expires. The handling fee is currently R$ 67 (Oct. 2008). You may be asked for an outbound ticket (book a fully
refundable one on the internet, then cancel when your visa is extended), and a proof of subsistence (for which
your credit card is mostly accepted.) In order to apply for the extension, you must fill out the Emissão da Guia de
Recolhimento [4] on the Federal Police website, which you will carry to the Banco do Brasil in order to pay the
fee. Do not pay the fee until you have spoken with a federal police officer about your case. If she/he denies the
extension of your visa, you must have a bank account in Brazil in order to receive a refund.
• The requirement to first enter Brazil within 90 days of the issue of the visa now only applies to nationals of
Angola, Bahrain, Burma, Cambodia, Cape Verde, China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Greece,
Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, The
Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Syria, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Tunisia. Failure to enter Brazil within
90 days will invalidate the visa, no matter how long it is otherwise valid for.
Entry vs. exit stamps
Immediately after your passport is stamped by the Brazilian Federal Police, ensure that the last number on the right-end of the stamp is a 1. A
number 1 indicates that you entered the country and a number 2 indicates that you exited. Some federal police officers have mistakenly given
foreigners the number 2 stamp upon entering. If you have the number 2 stamp and try to extend the visa in a city that is not your port of entry, you
will be told to return to the city where you received the incorrect stamp so that it may be corrected before you can receive the extension.
• By law you are required to produce your outbound ticket upon entry, but this is only enforced in exceptional
cases. Even if you are asked, you could often get away with explaining that you are taking the bus to Argentina,
and couldn´t buy the ticket in, say, Europe.
• If you overstay your tourist visa, you will be fined R$8.28 per day (as of October 2007), for a maximum of 100
days. This means that even if you stay illegally for 5 years, the fine will never exceed R$828. You will be made to
pay this at the border crossing. As this can take time, it could be wise to do it a few days up front at a federal
police office, especially if you have a domestic to international flight connection. The federal police will then give
you 8 days to get out of the country. If you don´t pay your fine upon exiting, you will have to pay the next time
you enter. The fact that you have been fined for overstaying in the past does not normally imply future difficulties
with immigration, but you´d better keep all receipts and old passports for reference.
• If you want to enter/exit the country for some reason without coming in contact with the immigration authorities,
there are numerous tiny border towns that have virtually no control. You will perhaps be told by the local police
(who don´t have stamps or computer registers for immigration) to contact the federal police in such and such
nearby town.
• When you are travelling from certain tropical regions to Brazil you need a yellow fever vaccination and the
certificate showing you had this. Note that it is illegal to bring in animals, meat, dairy, seeds, plants, eggs, honey,
fruit, or any kind of non-processed food without a permit. Contact [[email protected]] for more
By plane
The cheapest airfares are from February (after Carnaval) to May and from August to November. Tickets from New
York, for instance, can cost as little as US$699 including taxes. Many undersubscribed flights within Brazil can be
had for bargain prices.
By far the largest international airport in Brazil is São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (IATA: GRU
ICAO: SBGR), the hub of TAM airlines [5], which has direct flights to many capital cities in South America. Other
direct flights include: North America: New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas,
and Toronto. Europe: Lisbon by TAP, Madrid by Iberia, Amsterdam and Paris by KLM-Air France, London by
British Airways, Frankfurt and Munich by Lufthansa. Asia: Seoul by Korean Air, Tel Aviv by ELAL, Doha by Qatar
Airways, and Dubai by Emirates.
The second largest airport in Brazil is Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, (IATA: GIG ICAO: SBGL)
the home of Gol Transportes Aéreos [6], which flies to many regional destinations including Montevideo, Buenos
Aires and Asuncion. Other direct flights include: North America: Delta Air Lines flies to Atlanta, and New York, US
Airways flies to Charlotte, and United Airlines to Washington, D.C., and Houston. Africa: Taag Angola to Luanda
about 3 times a week. Europe: Paris by Air France, Rome by Alitalia, London by British Airways, Madrid by Iberia,
Amsterdam by KLM, Frankfurt by Lufthansa, Lisbon and Porto by TAP Portugal.
The Northeastern capitals have slightly shorter flying times to Europe and North America:
Natal: Direct flights to Lisbon by TAP, Amsterdam by Arkefly.
Recife: Direct flights to Lisbon by TAP, Madrid by Iberia, Atlanta by Delta, Miami by American Airlines and
Frankfurt by Condor.
Fortaleza: Direct flights to Lisbon by TAP, Madrid by Iberia, Cabo Verde by TACV, and Italy by Air Italy.
In addition to the above, TAP flies directly to Salvador, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Porto Alegre. TAP
Portugal [7] is the foreign airline with most destinations in Brazil, from Lisbon and Porto, and provides extensive
connection onwards to Europe and Africa.
Air travel in Brazil has increased exponentially in the past few years, partly as a result of the poor condition of many
Brazilian roads(qv)and the absence of any viable railroad network (cf India). It is still relatively inexpensive with
bargains sometimes available and easily the best option for long distance travel within the country. Some major
airports, particularly those in São Paulo and Rio, are, however, becoming very congested.
By car
The main border crossings are at:
• with Uruguay: Chuy/Chuí, Bella Unión/Barra do Quaraí, Artigas/Quaraí, Aceguá/Aceguá, Río Blanco/Jaguarão,
and between Rivera/Santana do Livramento
• with Argentina: Paso de los Libres/Uruguaiana, Santo Tomé/São Borja, Bernardo de Irigoyen/Dionísio
Cerqueira, Tobuna/Paraíso (Santa Catarina), Comandante Andresito/Capanema, and between Puerto Iguazu/Foz
do Iguaçu
• with Paraguay: Ciudad del Este/Foz do Iguaçu, Salto del Guaira/Guaíra, and between Pedro Juan
Caballero/Ponta Porã
• with Bolivia: Puerto Suarez/Corumbá, Cobija/Brasileia/Epitaciolandia, San Matías/Cáceres and between
Riberalta/Guayaramerin/Guajará-Mirim (the bridge over Mamoré river will be ready in 2007)
• with Peru: Iñapari/Assis Brasil
• with Colombia: Letícia/Tabatinga No road connections on either side of the border.
• with Guyana: Lethem/Bonfim
In certain border towns, notably Foz do Iguaçu/Ciudad del Este/Puerto Iguazu, you do not need entry/exit stamps or
other formalities for a daytrip into the neighbouring country. These same towns are good venues if you for some
reason want to cross without contact with immigration authorities.
By bus
Long-distance bus service connects Brazil to its neighboring countries. The main capitals linked directly by bus are
Buenos Aires, Asunción, Montevideo, Santiago de Chile, and Lima. Direct connections from the first three can also
be found easily, but from Lima it might be tricky, though easily accomplished by changing at one of the others.
Those typically go to São Paulo, though Pelotas has good connections too. It should be kept in mind that distances
between Sāo Paulo and any foreign capitals are significant, and journeys on the road may take up to 3 days,
depending on the distance and accessibility of the destination. The national land transport authority has listings[8] on
all operating international bus lines, and the Green Toad Bus [9] offers bus passes between Brazil and neighbouring
countries as well as around Brazil itself.
By boat
Amazon river boats connect northern Brazil with Peru, Venezuela and Colombia. The ride is a gruelling 12 days
upriver though. From French Guiana, you can cross the river Oyapoque, which takes about 15 minutes.
By train
Train service within Brazil is almost nonexistent. However, there are exceptions to the rule, including the Trem da
Morte, or Death Train, which goes from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to a small town just over the border from Corumbá in
the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. There is still a train line from there all the way to São Paulo which at the moment is
not in use, but bus connections to São Paulo via the state capital, Campo Grande, are plentiful. The journey itself is
reputedly replete with robbers who might steal your backpack or its contents but security has been increased recently
and the journey can be made without much difficulty. It goes through the Bolivian agricultural belt and along the
journey one may see a technologically-averse religious community which resembles the USA's Amish in many
Get around
By plane
Brazil Air Pass
If you intend to visit various cities within Brazil, you should consider getting a Brazil Air Pass, offered by TAM or Gol— you purchase between 4
and 9 flight tickets which can be used at any time for any destination within Brazil served by the airline. A typical 4-ticket pass starts at around
US$580 while a full 9 tickets will run around US$1150. In addition, Gol also offers a cheaper flight pass good for travel only within the Northeast
of the country. These passes can only be obtained before arrival in the country, and you must prove that you have already purchased international
return trip tickets or tickets for onward travel.
Air service covers most of Brazil. Note that many flights make many stops en route, particularly in hubs as São
Paulo or Brasilia. Most all airports with regular passenger traffic are operated by the federal Infraero.[10]. They have
a very convenient website, with an English version. It lists all the airlines operating at each airport, and also has
updated flight schedules.
There are now several Brazilian booking engines that are good (although not perfect) for comparing flights and
prices between different companies. They will mostly include an extra fee, hence it is cheaper to book on the airline's
own site.
The Brazilian airline scene completely changed at least twice over the last 10 years or so. The largest carriers are
now TAM[11] and Gol [12], which share more than 80% of the domestic market between them. The traditional
Varig is now just another brand of Gol. Others include WebJet [13], Avianca [14], and Azul [15]. TRIP [16] has
short-haul flights to smaller airports throughout the country, and Pantanal [17] and Puma [18] are growing in the
same segment. Portuguese TAP [7] has a few domestic code shares with TAM. There are also a number of regional
companies, such as NHT [19](Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina). Price differences, at least if a ticket is
purchased on the internet well in advance, are so small that it´s rather meaningless to call any of these "low cost",
although WebJet and Azul have lately been a notch cheaper for domestic flights.
Booking on the domestic carriers' sites can be frustrating for non-Brazilian citizens. Often, you will be asked for
your CPF (national identity number) while paying by credit card. Even if you -as a foreigner- have a CPF, the sites
will often not recognize it. Gol now accepts international cards, but the system is buggy (Oct.2010). One trick that
might work is to visit one of the airlines' foreign websites, although prices may vary. Many flights can also be found
on foreign booking engines where no CPF is needed. If you book weeks in advance, most carriers will give you the
option to pay by bank deposit (boleto bancário), which is actually payable by cash not only in banks, but also in a
number of supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores. Buying a ticket at a travel agent is generally R$ 30 more
expensive, noting that certain special offers only can be found online.
Be aware that many domestic flights have so many stops that some, including yours, may be missing from the
listings in the airports. Double check your flight number and confirm with ground staff.
Certain domestic flights in Brazil are "international", meaning that the flight has arrived from abroad and is
continuing without clearing all passengers through customs and immigration. This means ALL passengers must do
this at the next stop, even those having boarded in Brazil. Do NOT fill out a new immigration form, but show what
you were given upon actual arrival to Brazil.
By car
See also: Driving in Brazil. Brazil has the largest road network in Latin America with over 1.6 million kilometres. A
car is a good idea if you want to explore scenic areas, e.g. the historic cities of Minas Gerais, the Rio-Santos
highway, or the beaches in North-East Brazil. There are the usual car rental companies at the airports.
Many roads are in good condition, especially in the east and south of the country and along the coast. In other areas
and outside the metropolitan regions there are also gravel and dirt roads for which an off-road vehicle can be
strongly recommended. This especially applies to the Amazon area where many roads are difficult or not at all
passable during the rainy season from November to March. This is why it is advisable to travel with a good map and
to be well informed about distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time. Road maps of the brand Guia 4
Rodas (can be bought from most newsstands in Brazil) provide not only maps and distances but also information
about current conditions of the roads. Cochera andina [20] publishes useful information on almost 300 routes in the
country. In theory, the driving rules of Brazil resemble those of Western Europe or North American. In practice,
driving in Brazil can be quite scary if you are used to European (even Mediterranean) or North American road
culture, due to widespread violations of driving rules, and the toleration thereof.
Distances kept to other vehicles are kept at a bare minimum, overtaking whenever close to possible, and changing
lanes without much of a prior signal. Many large cities also suffer from hold-ups when you wait at a red light in the
night. Even if there is no risk of robbery, many drivers (including of city buses) run red lights or stop signs at night
when they do not see incoming traffic from the cross street. Drivers also indulge in "creative" methods of saving
time, such as using the reverse direction lanes. In rural areas, many domestic animals are left at the roadside, and
they sometimes wanders into the traffic. Pedestrians take enormous chances crossing the road, since many drivers do
not bother to slow down if they see pedestrians crossing. The quality of the paving is very varied, and the presence of
enormous potholes is something that strongly discourages night-driving. Also consider the risk of highway hold-ups
after dark, not to mention truck drivers on amphetamines (to keep awake for days in a row).
• In Brazil cars are driven on the right hand side of the road.
• A flashing left signal means that the car ahead is warning you not to pass, for some reason. If the car ahead of you
wants to show you that it is safe to pass it will flash the right signal. The right signal is the same signal to indicate
that you're going to stop on the side of the road, so it means you're going to slow down. On the other hand the left
signal is the same signal to indicate you're going to pass the car ahead, meaning you're going to speed up.
• Flashing, twinkling headlights from the cars coming on the opposite side of the road means caution on the road
ahead. Most of the time, it indicates that there are animals, cops or speed radar ahead.
• Keep the doors locked when driving, especially in the larger cities, as robberies at stop signs and red lights are
quite common in some areas. You'll make it much easier for the robber if he can simply open up the door and sit
down. Be equally careful with keeping your windows wide open, as someone might put their hands inside your
car and steal a wallet, for instance. Leave your handbags and valuables out of sight.
By bicycle
In smaller cities and towns the bicycle is a common means of transport. This does not mean that cyclists are usually
respected by cars, trucks, or bus drivers. But you may find good roads with little traffic outside the cities. It is also
easy to get a lift by a pickup or to have the bike transported by a long-distance bus. Cycling path are virtually
non-existent in cities, except along certain beachfronts, such as Rio de Janeiro and Recife.
There are a bicyclers groups around the country, e.g. Sampa Bikers [21] in São Paulo which meets weekly.
By train
Brazil's railway system was mostly wrecked during the military regimes. Today there are few passenger lines left:
• The Serra Verde Express [22] from Curitiba to Paranaguá. This scenic 150 km long railroad links the capital of
Paraná to the coastal cities of Morretes and Paranaguá, through the beautiful Serra do Mar mountains covered
with mata atlântica forest. The trip takes about 3 hours and has bilingual guides. Trains leave daily at 08:15 and
prices start from about R$ 50 (round-trip) - see Curitiba#Get_out for more information.
• From São João del Rei to Tiradentes - This 35-minute trip on a steam train is almost like time travel. The train
operates Fri-Sun, with departures from São João at 10:00 and 15:00 and 13:00 and 17:00 from Tiradentes. The
round trip costs R$ 16.
• From Belo Horizonte to Vitória - Daily trains operated by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce [23] leave Belo
Horizonte at 07:30 and Vitória at 07:00. Travel time is about twelve and a half hours. Tickets are sold at the train
stations and a single 2nd class fare costs about R$ 25. Seats are limited and it is not possible to reserve, so it is
advisable to buy in advance.
• From São Luis to Parauapebas - interesting because part of it passes through the Amazon rainforest.
• From Macapá to Serra do Navio
• From Campinas to Jaguariuna. Part of the old Ferrovia Mogiana, which was built to facilitate coffee exports in the
late 19th and early 20th century. Entertaining guides. Only at weekends and holidays. Some steam trains.
Inexpensive. About 1 hr each way.
By inter-city bus
Long-distance buses are a convenient, economical, and sometimes (usually if you buy the most expensive ticket),
rather comfortable way to travel between regions. The bus terminal (rodoviária) in cities play a role akin to train
stations in many countries. You should check travel distance and time while traveling within Brazil, going from Rio
de Janeiro to the south region could take more than 24 hours, so it may worth going by plane if you can afford it.
Brazil has a very good long distance bus network. Basically, any city of more than 100,000 people will have direct
lines to the nearest few state capitals, and also to other large cities within the same range. Pretty much any little
settlement has public transport of some kind (a lorry, perhaps) to the nearest real bus station.
Mostly you have to go to the bus station to buy a ticket, although most major bus companies make reservations and
sell tickets by internet with the requirement that you pick up your ticket sometime in advance. In a few cities you can
also buy a ticket on the phone and have it delivered to your hotel for an extra charge of some 3-5 reais. Some
companies have also adopted the airlines' genius policy of pricing: In a few cases buying early can save you more
than 50%. The facility of flagging a bus and hopping on (if there are no available seats you will have to stand, still
paying full price) is widespread in the country. This is less likely to work along a few routes where armed robberies
have happened frequently, such as those leading to the border with Paraguay and to Foz do Iguaçu.
There is no one bus company that serves the whole country, so you need to identify the company that connect two
cities in particular by calling the bus station of one city. ANTT, the national authority for land transportation, has a
search engine [24] (in Portuguese) for all available domestic bus lines. Be aware that some big cities like São Paulo
and Rio have more than one bus station, each one covering certain cities around. It is good to check in advance to
which bus station you are going.
Bus services are often sold in three classes: Regular, Executive and First-Class (Leito, in Portuguese). Regular may
or may not have air conditioning. For long distances or overnight travels, Executive offers more space and a folding
board to support your legs. First-Class has even more space and only three seats per row, making enough space to
sleep comfortably.
All trips of more than 4 hours are covered by buses with bathrooms and the buses stop for food/bathrooms at least
once every 4 hours of travel.
Brazilian bus stations, known as rodoviária or terminal rodoviário, tend to be located away from city centers. They
are often in pretty sketchy areas, so if you travel at night be prepared to take a taxi to/from the station. There will
also be local bus lines.
Even if you have a valid ticket bought from elsewhere, some Brazilian bus stations may also require a boarding card.
This can be obtained from the bus company, often for a supplement fee. If you buy a ticket in the departure bus
station you will also be given this boarding card.
Rodoviárias include many services, including fast-food restaurants, cafés, Internet cafés, toilets and left luggage. As
a general rule, the larger the city, the more expensive the services (e.g. leaving a suitcase as left luggage in a smaller
city may cost 1 R$, but in Recife in might cost you 5 R$).
When buying tickets, as well as when boarding the bus, you may be asked for proof of ID. Brazilian federal law
requires this for interstate transportation. Not all conductors know how to read foreign passports, so be prepared to
show them that the name of the passport truly is the same as the name on the ticket.
By city bus
Most cities have extensive bus services. Multiple companies may serve a single city. There is almost never a map of
the bus lines, and often bus stops are unmarked. Be prepared for confusion and wasted time.
Buses have a board behind the windshield that advertises the main destinations they serve. You may have to ask the
locals for information, but they may not know bus lines except the ones they usually take.
In most cities you have to wave to stop the bus when you want to take it. This in itself would no pose a problem,
however, in big cities there may be dozens of bus lines stopping at a given bus stop and bus stops are not designed to
accommodate so many vehicles. Frequently one cannot observe the oncoming buses due to other buses blocking the
view. Bus drivers are reluctant to slow down for a bus stop if they are not sure someone will take their bus, so it is
common to miss your bus because you could not see it coming to wave on time or the driver did not see you waving
in between buses already at the stop. Some people go into the middle of a busy street to wait for their bus to make
sure they see it and the driver sees them. In some places, like Manaus, drivers even tend to ignore stop requests (both
to get on and to get off) if it is not too easy to navigate to the bus stop.
Most city buses have both a driver and a conductor. The conductor sits behind a till next to a turnstile. You have to
pay the conductor, the price of the bus is usually advertised on the windshield. The turnstiles are narrow, and very
inconvenient if one carries any kind of load (try balancing a heavy backpack over the turnstile while the bus is
running). Larger buses often have a front section, before the turnstile, meant in priority for the elderly, handicapped
and pregnant women - you can use it but you still have to pay! Typical prices are around R$ 3,00.
You can try asking the conductor to warn you when the bus is close to your destination. Depending on whether he or
she understands you and feels like helping you, you may get help.
In addition to large city buses, there are often minibuses or minivans (alternativo). You pay the driver when you go
By boat
In the Amazon region as well as on the coast west of Sao Luis, boat travel is often the only way to get around.
See also: Brazilian Portuguese phrasebook
Non-verbal communication
Brazilians use a lot of gestures in informal communication, and the meaning of certain words or expressions may be influenced by them.
The thumbs up gesture is used to mean everything's OK, yes or even thanks. Avoid using the OK hand gesture for these meanings, as it can be
considered obscene.
Wagging your extended index finger back and forth and/or clicking your tongue behind your teeth two or three times means no
Using your index finger to pull down one of your lower eyelids means watch out.
Stroking your two biggest fingers with your thumb is a way of saying that something is expensive.
Snapping a few times means fast or a long time (ago).
Stroking your lips and then snapping means delicious; pinching your earlobe means the same in some regions.
Making a fist with your thumb between the index and middle finger, known as the figa, is a sign of good or bad luck depending on the region.
Touching the palm with the thumb and making a circular movement with the hand means I am being robbed/ripped off/ in some regions.
The hush gesture is considered extremely impolite, about the same as shouting "shut up!" to someone.
An informal way to get someone's attention, similar to a whistle, is a hissing sound: "pssiu!" It is not perceived as unpolite, but gets really
annoying if repeated too often.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, spoken by the entire population (except for a few, very remotely
located tribes). Indeed, Brazil has had immigrants from all parts of the world for centuries, whose descendants now
speak Portuguese as their mother tongue.
Brazilian Portuguese has a number of pronunciation differences with that spoken in Portugal (and within, between
the regions there are some quite extreme accent and slang differences), but speakers of either can understand each
other. However, European Portuguese (Luso) is more difficult for Brazilians to understand than the reverse, as many
Brazilian television programs are shown in Portugal. Note that a few words can have a totally different meaning in
Brazil and Portugal, usually slang words. An example of this is "Rapariga" which in Portugal means young girl, and
in Brazil means a prostitute.
English is not widely spoken except in some touristy areas. Don't expect bus or taxi drivers to understand English, so
it may be a good idea to write down the address you are heading to before getting the cab. In most big and luxurious
hotels, it is very likely that the taxi fleet will speak some English. If you are really in need of talking in English, you
should look for the younger people (-30 years), because they, generally, have a higher knowledge of the language
and will be eager to help you and exercise their English.
Spanish speakers are usually able to get by in Brazil, especially towards the south. While written Portuguese can be
quite similar to Spanish, spoken Portuguese is much harder to understand. Compare the number 20 which is veinte
(BAYN-teh) in Spanish to vinte (VEEN-chee) in Brazilian Portuguese. Even more different is gente (people),
pronounced "HEN-teh" in Spanish and "ZHEN-chee" in Brazilian Portuguese. Letters CH, D, G, J, R, RR, and T are
particularly difficult for Spanish speakers to understand, and that's without even considering the vowels.
Natural wonders
• Amazon Rainforest - The Amazon River Basin holds more than half of the world's remaining rainforest, and
over 60% of that lies within the North of Brazil — approximately one billion acres with incredible biodiversity.
The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, over 40,000 plants species, 2200 fish species, and more
than 2,000 types of birds and mammals. One in five of all the bird species in the world live in the rainforests of
the Amazon, and one in five of the fish species live in Amazonian rivers and streams.
• Atlantic Forest (Mata Atlântica) - A region of tropical and subtropical forest which extends along the Atlantic
coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the Northeast to Rio Grande do Sul state in the South. The
Atlantic Forest has a wide variety of vegetation, including the many tree species such as the iconic araucaria tree
in the south or the mangroves of the northeast, dozens of types of bromeliads and orchids, and unique critters such
as capivara. The forest has also been designated a World Biosphere Reserve, with a large number of highly
endangered species including the well-known marmosets, lion tamarins and woolly spider monkeys.
Unfortunately, it has been extensively cleared since colonial times, mainly for the farming of sugar cane and for
urban settlements — The remnants are estimated to be less than 10% of the original, and that is often broken into
hilltop islands. However, large swaths of it are protected by hundreds of parks, including 131 federal parks, 443
state parks, and 14 municipal parks, most of which are open to visitation.
• Pantanal - A vast tropical wetland expanse, one of the world's largest. 80% of it lies within the state of Mato
Grosso do Sul but it also extends into Mato Grosso (as well as into portions of Bolivia and Paraguay), sprawling
over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometers (54,000-75,000 sq mi). 80% of the
Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing an astonishing biologically diverse
collection of aquatic plants and helping support a dense array of animal species.
• Waterfalls (Cachoeiras) - Brazil has an amazing range of impressive waterfalls of all sizes and shapes. Iguaçu
Falls, in eastern Parana, is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, truly a sight to see. The 353-meter
Cachoeira da Fumaça in Bahia's Chapada Diamantina National Park is the country's second highest waterfall,
after the Amazon's almost inaccessible Cachoeira do Araca. Other famous waterfalls include Caracol Falls, in a
Rio Grande do Sul state park of the same name near Canela, Itaquira Falls, an easily accessible 168-meter fall
near Formosa, Goiás, and the gorge at Parque da Cascata near Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais. Aside from the
nationally famous falls, in many parts of the country, particularly the South, Southeast, and Central West regions,
you are rarely far from at least one locally-famous, named waterfall worth a short hike.
• Colonial architecture - Many cities have reminders of Brazil's colonial past, with churches, monasteries, forts,
barracks, and other structures still intact. Some of the most concentrated and best-preserved colonial buildings can
be found in old gold-mining towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, but many other cities such as Rio de
Janeiro, Petrópolis, Salvador, Paraty, and Goiânia have quite significant colonial centers as well.
• Oscar Niemeyer works - Niemeyer, Brazil's most famous architect, is a modern architectural pioneer who
explores the aesthetic impact of reinforced concrete, using curves to create buildings with a unique sense of space.
He is most famous for designing many of the buildings when the new capital of Brasilia was built in the 1950s,
but his works literally dot the country, with major works in Natal, João Pessoa, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro,
Niterói, São Paulo, Londrina and other locations.
Gay Travel
Due to its high degree of acceptance and tolerance, gay travel is increasingly popular. Brazil hosted the first gay ball
in America in 1754! Nowadays the main lesbian and gay destinations are Rio, which was elected the world's sexiest
destination twice, São Paulo, which has the world's largest Pride Parade, Florianópolis, which is the hippest gay
hangout and Recife which is attracting more and more lesbian and gay tourists looking for fun and sun.
The biggest party in the world takes places across the country every year, lasting almost a week in February or early
March. It is celebrated in a wide variety of ways, from the giants boneco masks of Olinda and the trios elétricos of
Salvador to the massive samba parades of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For a relatively more subdued atmosphere,
check out the university-style street party of Ouro Preto or the sporty beach party at Ilha do Mel. Don't forget to
make your reservations well in advance!
Almost the entire coast is lined with fabulous beaches, and the beach lifestyle is a big part of Brazilian culture.
Nowhere is that more true than in Rio de Janeiro, with its laidback, flip-flop-footed lifestyle and famous beaches like
Ipanema and Copacabana. Beaches in other areas of the country may not have the instant name recognition but are
no less amazing. The Northeast has jewels like Jericoacoara, Praia do Futuro, Boa Vista, Porto de Galinhas, and
Morro de São Paulo which bring in throngs of travellers, particularly Europeans. Landlocked mineiros go mingle
with the rich and famous at Guarapari or dance forró in the sand at Itaunas, while paulistas head for Caraguá or
Ubatuba. In the South, weekend revelers flock to Ilha do Mel or Balneário Camboriú, while the 42 beaches of Santa
Catarina Island draw in thousands of Argentianian tourists every year. Hundreds more beaches lie ready to be
explored as well.
• Soccer - Soccer is the talk of the town wherever your are in Brazil, and the country is brimming with great teams
and great players. While Rio de Janeiro's world-famous Maracanã stadium is currently in renovations, you can
still catch a game at lots of other great venues like the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte or Morumbi Stadium in São
• Volleyball - While soccer is the main sport in Brazil, it is very common to find spaces on the beaches where you
can play beach volleyball, but this version of the sport possess a different code of rules than indoor volleyball (for
example instead of six players, only two players are allowed to play on each team).
Brazil's unit of currency is the Real (pronounced 'hay-AHL'), plural Reais ('hay-ICE'), abbreviated BRL, or just R$.
One real is divided into 100 centavos. As an example of how prices are written, R$1,50 means one real and fifty
Foreign currency such as US Dollars or Euros can be exchanged major airports and luxury hotels (bad rates),
exchange bureaus and major branches of Banco do Brasil (no other banks), where you need your passport and your
immigration form.
Look for an ATM with your credit/debit card logo on it. Large branches of Banco do Brasil (charging R$ 6,50 per
withdrawal) usually have one, and most all Bradesco, Citibank, BankBoston and HSBC machines will work. Banco
24 Horas is a network of ATMs which accept foreign cards (charging R$ 10 per withdrawal). Withdrawal limits are
usually R$ 600 (Bradesco) or R$ 1000 (BB, HSBC, B24H), per transaction, and in any case R$ 1000 per day. The
latter can be circumvented by several consecutive withdrawals, choosing different "accounts", i.e. "credit card",
"checking", "savings". Note that most ATMs do not work or will only give you R$ 100 after 10 PM.
In smaller towns, it is possible that there is no ATM that accepts foreign cards. You should therefore always carry
sufficient cash.
Wiring money to Brazil can be done through Western Union [25] transfers to be picked up at a Banco do Brasil
branch in most cities, and also quite a few exchange offices.
Travellers' checks can be hard to cash anywhere that does not offer currency exchange.
A majority of Brazilian shops now accepts major credit cards. However, quite a few online stores only accept cards
issued in Brazil, even though they sport the international logo of such cards.
Coins are R$0.05, R$0.10, R$0.25, R$0.50 and R$1. Some denominations have several different designs. Images
from the central bank of Brazil [26]. And more [27]. Bills come in the following denominations: R$1 (being phased
out), R$2, R$5, R$10 (still a few plastic red and blue around), R$20 R$ 50 and $100. Images from the central bank
of Brazil [28].
Starting in the first half of 2010 with the bills of 50 and 100 reais, all Brazilian bills will start circulating with a new
design by 2012. You are likely to find both versions circulating together for the next few years.
Exchange rates
The Real is a free-floating currency and has become stronger in the past few years. Especially for US citizens, prices
(based on exchange rates) have increased quite a bit. As of January 14, 2013, R$1 was worth about:
• US$0.492
• €0.368
• £0.306
There are many federal regulations for dealings with foreign currency, trading in any currency other than Real in
Brazil is considered illegal, although some places in big cities and bordering towns accept foreign money and many
exchange offices operate in a shady area. In addition, exchange offices are almost impossible to find outside of big
cities. Currency other than USD and EUR is hard to exchange and the rates are ridiculous. If you would like to
exchange cash at a bank, be prepared to pay a hefty commission. E.g., Banco do Brasil collects US$15 for each
transaction (regardless of amount).
Similar to the rest of Latin America, hand-crafted jewelry can be found anywhere. In regions that are largely
populated by Afro-Brazilians you'll find more African-influenced souvenirs, including black dolls. Havaianas
jandals are also affordable in Brazil and supermarkets are often the best place to buy them — small shops usually
carry fake ones. If you have space in your bags, a Brazilian woven cotton hammock is a nice, functional purchase as
well. Another interesting and fun item is a peteca, a sort of hand shuttlecock used in a traditional game of the same
name, similar to volleyball.
It's not a bad idea to pack light and acquire a Brazilian wardrobe within a couple of days of arrival. It will make you
less obvious as a tourist, and give you months of satisfied gloating back home about the great bargains you got
whenever you are complimented on your clothing. Brazilians have their own sense of style and that makes tourists especially those in Hawaiian shirts or sandals with socks - stand out in the crowd. Have some fun shopping, and
blend in. Another good reason for buying clothes and shoes in Brazil is that the quality is usually good and the prices
often cheap. However, this does not apply to any foreign brand as imports are burdened by high import taxes -
therefore, do not expect to find any good prices on brands like Diesel, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. To figure your
Brazilian trousers size, measure your waist in centimeters, divide by 2, and round up to the next even number.
Store windows will often display a price followed by "X 5" or "X 10", etc. This is an installment-sale price. The
price displayed is the per-installment price, so that, "R$50 X 10", for example, means 10 payments (typically
monthly) of R$50 each. The actual price is almost always lower if you pay in cash.
Make sure any appliances you buy are either dual voltage or the same as in your home country. Brazil is 60Hz, so
don't buy electric clocks or non-battery operated motorized items if you live in Europe or Australia. The voltage,
however, varies by state or even regions inside the same state. (see Electricity below).
Brazilian-made appliances and electronics are usually expensive or of poor quality. All electronics are expensive
compared to European or US prices.
Brazil uses a hybrid video system called "PAL-M." It is NOT at all compatible with the PAL system of Europe and
Australia. Television began in black and white using the NTSC system of the USA and Canada, then years later,
using PAL for its analogue colour -- making a totally unique system. Nowadays, most new TV sets are NTSC
compatible. However, the newly-introduced digital TV standard is not compatible with that of most other countries.
Digital video appliances such as DVD players are also compatible with NTSC (all digital colour is the same
worldwide), but make sure the DVD region code(s), if any, match your home country (Brazil is part of Region 4).
Prices for imported electronic goods can be quite expensive due to high import tax, and the range of domestic
electronic gadgets is not very wide. Also, be aware that the term "DVD" in Brazil is both an abbreviation for the disc
itself and for its player, so be specific to avoid confusion.
Although the strength of the Real means that shopping in Brazil is no longer cheap, there are still plenty of bargains
to be had, especially leather goods, including shoes (remember sizes are different though). Clothes in general are a
good buy, especially for women, for whom there are many classy items. Street markets, which are common, are also
a very good option, but avoid brand names like "Nike" - you will pay more and it's probably fake. Don't be afraid to
"feel" an item. If it doesn't feel right, most likely it isn't! Beware of the dreaded "Made in China" label. If there's
none, it's probably Brazilian, but be aware: some Brazilian-made products are less robust than their American or
European counterparts.
Brazil's cuisine is as varied as its geography and culture. On the other hand, some may find it an unrefined melange,
and everyday fare can be bland and monotonous. While there are some quite unique dishes of regional origin, many
dishes were brought by overseas immigrants and have been adapted to local tastes through the generations. Italian
and Chinese food in Brazil can often be as baffling as Amazonian fare.
Brazil's national dish is feijoada, a hearty stew made of black beans, pork (ears, knuckles, chops, sausage) and beef
(usually dried). It's served with rice, garnished with collard greens and sliced oranges. It's not served in every
restaurant; the ones that serve it typically offer it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. A typical mistake made by tourists
is to eat too much feijoada upon first encounter. This is a heavy dish — even Brazilians usually eat it
The standard Brazilian set lunch is called prato feito, with its siblings comercial and executivo. Rice and brown
beans in sauce, with a small steak. Sometimes farofa, spaghetti, vegetables and French fries will come along. Beef
may be substituted for chicken, fish or others.
Excellent seafood can be found in coastal towns, especially in the Northeast.
Brazilian snacks, lanches (sandwiches) and salgadinhos (most anything else), include a wide variety of pastries.
Look for coxinha (deep-fried, batter-coated chicken), empada (a tiny pie, not to be confused with the empanada -
empadas and empanadas are entirely different items), and pastel (fried turnovers). Another common snack is a misto
quente, a pressed,toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich. Pão-de-queijo, a roll made of manioc flour and cheese, is very
popular, especially in Minas Gerais state - pão-de-queijo and a cup of fresh Brazilian coffee is a classic combination.
Regional cuisines
• Southern - Churrasco is Brazilian barbecue, and is usually served "rodizio" or "espeto corrido" (all-you-can-eat).
Waiters carry huge cuts of meat on steel spits from table to table, and carve off slices onto your plate (use the
tongs to grab the meat slice and don't touch the knife edge with your silverware to avoid dulling the edge).
Traditionally, you are given a small wooden block colored green on one side and red on the other. When you're
ready to eat, put the green side up. When you're too stuffed to even tell the waiter you've had enough, put the red
side up... Rodizio places have a buffet for non-meaty items; beware that in some places, the desserts are not
considered part of the main buffet and are charged as a supplement. Most churrasco restaurants (churrascarias)
also serve other types of food, so it is safe to go there with a friend that is not really fond of meat. While
churrascarias are usually fairly expensive places (for Brazilian standards) in the North, Central and the
countryside areas of the country they tend to be much cheaper then in the South and big cities, where they are
frequented even by the less affluent.
• Mineiro is the "miner's" cuisine of Minas Gerais, based on pork and beans, with some vegetables. Dishes from
Goiás are similar, but use some local ingredients such as pequi and guariroba. Minas Gerais cuisine if not seen as
particularly tasty, has a "homely" feel that is much cherished.
• The food of Bahia, on the northeast coast has its roots across the Atlantic in East Africa and Indian cuisine.
Coconut, dende palm oil, hot peppers, and seafood are the prime ingredients. Tip: hot ("quente") means lots of
pepper, cold ("frio") means less or no pepper at all. If you dare to eat it hot you should try acarajé (prawn-filled
roasties) and vatapá (drinkable black beans soup).
• Espírito Santo and Bahia have two different versions of moqueca, a delightful tomato-based seafood stew
prepared in a special type of clay pot.
• Amazonian cuisine draws from the food of the indigenous inhabitants, including various exotic fish and
vegetables. There is also a stupendous variety of tropical fruits.
• Ceará's food has a great sort of seafood, and is known to have the country's best crab. It's so popular that literally
every weekend thousands of people go to Praia do Futuro in Fortaleza to eat fried fish and crabs (usually
followed by cold beer).
Brazilian cuisine also has a lot of imports:
• Pizza is very popular in Brazil. In Sāo Paulo, travellers will find the highest rate of pizza parlours per inhabitant
in the country. The variety of flavours is extremely vast, with some restaurants offering more than 100 types of
pizza. It is worth noting the difference between the European "mozzarella" and the Brazilian "mussarela". They
differ in flavor, appearance and origin but buffalo mozzarella ("mussarela de búfala") is also often available. The
Brazilian "mussarela", which tops most pizzas, is yellow in color and has a stronger taste. In some restaurants,
particularly in the South, pizza has no tomato sauce. Other dishes of Italian origin, such as macarrão (macaroni),
lasanha and others are also very popular.
• Middle-eastern and Arab (actually Lebanese) food is widely available. Most options offer high quality and a big
variety. Some types of middle-eastern food, such as quibe and esfiha have been adapted and are available at snack
stands and fast food joints nation-wide. You can also find shawarma (kebabs) stands, wich Brazilians calls
"churrasco grego" (Greek Barbecue)
• São Paulo's Japanese restaurants serve up lots of tempura, yakisoba, sushi and sashimi. The variety is good and
mostly the prices are very attractive when compared to Europe, USA and Japan. Most Japanese restaurants also
offer the rodizio or buffet option, with the same quality as if you ordered from the menu. Sometimes, however, it
can be quite a departure from the real thing. The same can be said of Chinese food, again with some variations
from the traditional. Cheese-filled spring rolls, anyone.Japanese restaurants (or those that offer Japanese food) are
much commoner than Chinese and can be found in many Brazilian cities, especially in the state of São Paulo.
• ALL restaurants will add a 10% service charge on the bill, and this is all the tip a Brazilian will ever pay. It is also
what most waiters survive on, but it is not mandatory and you may choose to ignore it, although is considered
extremely rude to do it. In some tourist areas you might be tried for extra tip. Just remember that you will look
like a complete sucker if you exaggerate, and stingy and disrespectful if you don't tip. 5-10 Reais are considered
good tips.
• There are two types of self-service restaurants,sometimes with both options available in one place: all-you-can-eat
buffets with barbecue served at the tables, called rodízio, or a price per weight (por quilo), very common during
lunchtime throughout Brazil. Load up at the buffet and get your plate on the scales before eating any. In the South
there's also the traditional Italian "galeto", where you're served different types of pasta, salads, soups and meat
(mostly chicken) at your table.
• Customers are allowed by law to visit the kitchen and see how the food is being handled, although this is
extremely uncommon and doing so will probably be considered odd and impolite.
• Some Brazilian restaurants serve only meals for two. The size of the portions might not say in the menu, -ask the
waiter. Most restaurants of this category allow for a "half-serving" of such plates (meia-porção), at 60-70% of the
price. Also, couples at restaurants often sit side-by-side rather than across from each other; observe your waiter's
cues or express your preference when being seated.
• Fast food is also very popular, and the local takes on hamburgers and hot-dogs ("cachorro-quente", translated
literally) are well worth trying. Brazilian sandwiches come in many varieties, with ingredients like mayonnaise,
bacon, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, corn, peas, raisins, French fries, ketchup, eggs, pickles, etc. Brave eaters may
want to try the traditional complete hot dog (just ask for a completo), which, aside from the bun and the sausage,
will include everything on display. The ubiquitous X-Burger (and its varieties X-Salad, X-Tudo, etc.) is not as
mysterious as it sounds: the pronunciation of the letter "X" in Portuguese sounds like "cheese", hence the name.
• Large chains: The fast-food burger chain Bob's is found nationwide and has been around in the country for almost
as long as McDonald's. There is also a national fast-food chain called Habib's which despite the name serves
pizza in addition to Arabian food (and the founder is Portuguese, by the way). Recent additions, though not as
widespread, are Burger King and Subway.
Brazil's national booze is cachaça (cah-shah-sah, also known as aguardente ("burning water") and pinga), a 40%
sugar-cane liquor known to knock the unwary out quite quickly. It can be tried in virtually every bar in the country.
Famous producing regions include Minas Gerais, where there are tours of distilleries, and the city of Paraty.
Pirassununga is home to Caninha 51, Brazil's best-selling brand. Outside Fortaleza there is a cachaça museum
(Museu da Cachaça) where you can learn about the history of the Ypioca brand.
Drinking cachaça straight, or stirring in only a dollop of honey or a bit of lime juice, is a common habit on the
Northeast region of the country, but the strength of cachaça can be hidden in cocktails like the famous caipirinha,
where it is mixed with sugar, lime juice and ice. Using vodka instead of cachaça is nicknamed caipiroska or
caipivodka; with white rum, it's a caipiríssima; and with sake it's a caipisaque (not in every region). Another
interesting concoction is called capeta ("devil"), made with cachaça, condensed milk, cinnamon, guarana powder (a
mild stimulant), and other ingredients, varying by region. If you enjoy fine brandy or grappa, try an aged cachaça.
Deep and complex, this golden-coloured spirit is nothing like the ubiquitous clear liquor more commonly seen. A fun
trip is to an "alambique" - a local distillery, of which there are thousands throughout the country - not only will you
be able to see how the spirit is made from the raw cane sugar, you will probably also get a better price.
Well worth a try is Brazilian whisky! It's actually 50% imported scotch - the malt component -and approximately
50% Brazilian grain spirit. Don't be misled by American sounding names like "Wall Street". It is not bourbon. Good
value for money and indistinguishable from common British blends.
While imported alcohol is very expensive, many international brands are produced under license in Brazil, making
them widely available, and fairly cheap. You can buy booze in the tax-free after landing at Brazilian airports, but it
generally is more expensive than buying it outside the airports.
Beer in Brazil has a respectable history because of the German immigrants. Most Brazilian beer brands tend to be
way less thick and bitter than German, Danish or English beer. More than 90% of all beer consumed in Brazil is
Pilsner, and it is usually drunk very cold (at a temperature below 0ºC). The most popular domestic brands are
Brahma, Antarctica, and Skol. Traditional brands include Bohemia, Caracu - a stout -, Original and Serra Malte
- another stout -, they are easily found in bars and are worth trying but are usually more expensive than the popular
beers. There are also some national premium beers that are found only in some specific bars and supermarkets; if
you want to taste a good Brazilian beer, search for Baden Baden, Colorado, Eisenbahn, Petra, Theresopolis and
others. There are also some international beers produced by national breweries like Heineken and Stella Artois and
have a slightly different taste if compared with the original beers.
There are two ways of drinking beer in bars: draft or bottled beer. Draft lager beer is called chope or chopp
('SHOH-pee'), and is commonly served with one inch of foam, but you can make a complaint to the bartender if the
foam is consistently thicker than that. In bars, the waiter will usually collect the empty glasses and bottles on a table
and replace them with full ones, until you ask him to stop, in a "tap" charging system. In the case of bottled beer,
bottles (600ml or 1l) are shared among everyone at the table and poured in small glasses, rather than drunk straight
from the bottle. Brazilians like their beer nearly ice-cold - hence, to keep the temperature down, bottles of beer are
often kept in an insulated polystyrene container on the table.
Rio Grande do Sul is the leading wine production region. There are a number of wine-producing farms that are open
to visitors and wine tasting, and wine cellars selling wine and fermented grape juice. One of these farms open to
visitors is Salton Winery [29], located in the city of Bento Gonçalves. The São Francisco Valley, along the border
of the states of Pernambuco and Bahia, is the country's newest wine-producing region. Brazilian wines are usually
fresher, fruitier and less alcoholic than, for instance, French wines. Popular brands like Sangue de Boi, Canção and
Santa Felicidade and others with prices below R$ 6.00 are usually seen as trash.
In Minas Gerais, look for licor de jabuticaba (jabuticaba liquor) or vinho de jabuticaba (jabuticaba wine), an
exquisite purple-black beverage with a sweet taste. Jabuticaba is the name of a small grape-like black fruit native to
Coffee and tea
Brazil is known world-wide for its high-quality strong coffee. Café is so popular that it can name meals (just like rice
does in China, Japan and Korea): breakfast in Brazil is called café da manhã (morning coffee), while café com pão
(coffee with bread) or café da tarde (afternoon coffee) means a light afternoon meal. Cafezinho (small coffee) is a
small cup of strong, sweetened coffee usually served after meals in restaurants (sometimes for free, just ask politely).
Bottled filtered coffee is being replaced by stronger espresso cups in more upscale restaurants.
Chá, or tea in Portuguese, is most commonly found in its Assam version (orange, light coloured). Some more
specialised tea shops and cafés will have Earl Gray and green tea available as well.
Mate is an infusion similar to tea that is very high in caffeine content. A toasted version, often served chilled, is
consumed all around the country, while Chimarrão (incidentally called mate in neighbouring Spanish-speaking
countries) is the hot, bitter equivalent that can be found in the south and is highly appreciated by the gaúchos (Rio
Grande do Sul dwellers). Tererê is a cold version of Chimarrão, common in Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso
Soft drinks
Nothing beats coconut water (água de coco) on a hot day.(Stress the first o, otherwise it will come out as "poo"!
(cocô) ). It is mostly sold as coco gelado in the coconut itself, drunk with a straw. Ask the machete-wielding vendors
to cut the coconut in half so that you can eat the flesh after drinking the water.
If you want a Coke in Brazil, ask for coca or coca-cola, as "cola" means "glue", in Portuguese.
Guaraná; is a carbonated soft drink made from the guaraná berry, native to the Amazon area. The major brands are
Antarctica and Kuat, the latter owned by Coke. Pureza is a lesser known guaraná soft drink specially popular in
Santa Catarina. There is also a "Guaraná Jesus" that is popular in Maranhão. Almost all regions in Brazil feature
their own local variants on guaraná, some which can be quite different from the standard "Antartica" in both good
and bad ways. If traveling to Amazonas, be sure to try a cold "Baré," which due to its huge popularity in Manaus was
purchased by Antartica and is becoming more available throughout northern Brazil.
Tubaína is a carbonated soft drink once very popular among Brazilians (particularly the ones born in the 70s, 80s
and early 90s) and becoming extremely hard to find. It was once mass produced by "Brahma" before it became
focused on beers only. If you happen to find a place that sells it, try it.
Mineirinho is also a popular soft drink made of guaraná and a typical Brazilian leaf called Chapéu de Couro.
Although most Brazilians says that it tastes like grass, older people (+70 years) claim that the drink has medicinal
Fruit juices
Fruit juices are very popular in Brazil. Some cities, notably Rio de Janeiro has fruit juice bars at nearly every corner.
• Açai (a fruit from the Amazon) is delicious and nutritious (rich in antioxidants) and can be found widespread
across the nations. In the amazon region it's used as a complement to the everyday diet, often eaten together with
rice and fish in the main meal of the day. Curiously outside of the amazon region, it's typically used in blended in
combination with guarana (a stimulant)powder,and a banana to re-energize from late-night partying It is served
cold and has a consistency of soft ice. There is also Açai Ice Creams available.
Maracuja (passion fruit)(careful during an active day- this has a relaxant effect)
Caju (cashew fruit) and
Manga (mango) are also great juice experiences.
Brazilians have great taste when it comes to mixing juices.
High season in Brazil follows the school holidays calendar, December and January (summer) being the busiest
months. New Year, Carnival (movable between February and March, see Understand above) and Holy week are the
peak periods, and prices can skyrocket, especially in coastal cities like Rio and Salvador. Also, during those
holidays, many hotels restrict bookings to a 3 or 4-day minimum and charge in advance.
Hotels are plentiful in just about all areas of Brazil and can range from luxury beach resorts to very modest and
inexpensive choices. The Brazilian tourism regulation board imposes specific minimum attributes for each type of
facility, but as the 1-5 star rating is no longer enforced, check in advance if your hotel provides the kind of services
you expect.
Pousada means guesthouse (the local equivalent of a French auberge or a British boarding house), and are usually
simpler than hotels, and will offer fewer services (room service, laundry etc.). Pousadas are even more widespread
than hotels.
In wilderness areas like the Pantanal, travelers usually stay in fazendas, which are ranches with guest facilities. In
small towns of Minas Gerais people are fond of hotéis-fazenda (farm hotels) where you can swim, ride, walk, play
football, and camp as well as sleep in picturesque barracks.
Also there is great fun in going on a boat hotel which will take you to inaccessible places on the rivers and lakes for
great fishing trips or for simply relaxing and watching and photographing the wildlife which is very abundant in the
Pantanal. The boats are large, safe, and comfortable with air-conditioned rooms (very necessary). Several small
aluminum boats with outboard motor, carried by the boat hotel, driven by experienced fisher/guide will take 2 or 3
tourists to the best "points".
Motel is the local term for a "sex hotel". There's no social stigma per se in staying in one, but the room service and
rates are geared to adults staying for a few hours with utmost discretion and privacy.
Youth hostels (albergues da juventude) are becoming increasingly common.
Portuguese courses for foreigners are not widespread outside the big cities. A good alternative is to befriend
language students and exchange lessons.
If you come to Brazil with some initial notions of Portuguese, you will see that people will treat you much better and
you will get by much easier.
Language schools in Salvador, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, and Porto Alegre have Portuguese courses
from 2 weeks up.
If you can get a job, working in Brazil is easy, mostly because there is much informality. In theory, you must have a
work permit (Autorização de Trabalho) from the Ministry of Labor before you can get a job. However, in order to
obtain it, you must be sponsored by an employer before entering the country. The company must want a foreigner
bad enough to pay the government upwards of R$2000 to sponsor you, knowing also that they are required by law to
simultaneously hire and train a replacement for you. Because of this, finding a legal job can be a pretty daunting
bureaucratic task, even in Brazil's growing job market of today.
If you are a native English speaker, you may be able to find an English-teaching part-time job, but don't expect that
to save your holidays. Although working in the informal market can seem hassle-free at first, there are risks as well.
The pay will be under-the-table without contract, so it will be difficult for you to claim your labor rights later. In the
bigger cities, there is also the danger of being turned in to the authorities by a rival school, which may see you to a
plane home earlier than you had planned.
There is also a growing demand for Spanish language classes, so native Spanish speakers should have no trouble
finding work, especially in the major cities. In both cases, it's always much more lucrative to find work privately
rather than through schools. This can be done easily, for example by putting an ad in the classifieds section of the
Veja weekly news magazine (you have to pay for it) or by putting up signs on the notice boards at universities like
USP (free of charge).
Refer to the Ministry of Labour website [30] for more detailed information.
Stay safe
By law, everyone must carry a photo ID at all times. For a foreigner, this means your passport. However, the police
will mostly be pragmatic and accept a plastified color photocopy.
Even the most patriotic Brazilian would say that the greatest problem the country faces is crime. Brazil is one of the
most criminalised countries of the world, therefore the crime rate is high, even for a developing nation. Armed
bandits have, more recently, been attacking hotels, people inside vehicles or simply shooting at the driver for a quick
robbery. Most of the violence against drivers occur while stopping on the semaphore, during daylight or night time,
though the latter is more dangerous and many locals prefer to ignore and speed away. Bank robberies and ATM's,
recently, are being done with stolen TNT. While in recent years, the overall crime levels are steadily decreasing,
Brazil continues to have moderately high crime rates in various aspects, even with a moderate homicide rate (about
28 per 100,000 people). Of significant concern is that policemen may not always provide the best quality of
assistance and even be more dangerous than the criminals themselves. Lack of man power, low wages and
inappropriate training, all contribute to a lack of professionalism. The police, recently, have become targets for
hitmens, either on-duty or off-duty, reward for such an attack often range from $300 to $1000(American Dollars)
and in some cases even more.
Brazil is a country plagued with inequality, in the same city it is possible to find extremely safe and, at the same
time, often a few feet away, extremely unsafe areas. Towards the southern part of the country, with higher HDI, the
crime is slightly lower.
Poor areas
Walking in slums and other poor areas while wearing expensive clothes or jewellery is extremely dangerous. If you
want to visit such an area, get a reliable contact with recognized NGOs. It is relatively safe, even for foreigners, get
in poor areas if accompanied by a community leader. Do not do it alone, nor Brazilians do it!
Stay healthy
Food from street and beach vendors has a bad hygienic reputation in Brazil. The later in the day, the worse it gets.
Bottled and canned drinks are safe, although some people will insist on using a straw to avoid contact with the
exterior of the container.
Bear in mind the heat and humidity when storing perishable foods.
Tap water varies from place to place, (from contaminated, saline or soaked with chlorine to plain drinkable) and
Brazilians themselves usually prefer to have it filtered..
In airports, bus stations, as well as many of the cheaper hotels, malls..., it is common to find drinking fountains
(bebedouro), although not always safe. In hostel kitchens, look for the tap with the cylindrical filter attached. In
more expensive hotels, there is often no publicly accessible fountain, and bedrooms contain minibars — selling you
mineral water at extremely inflated prices, buy bottled water on the market is always the best alternative.
Vaccination against yellow fever and taking anti-malaria medication may be necessary if you are travelling to
central-western (Mato Grosso) or northern (Amazon) regions. If you're arriving from Peru, Colombia or Bolivia,
proof of yellow fever vaccination is required before you enter Brazil. Some countries, such as Australia and South
Africa, will require evidence of yellow fever vaccination before allowing you enter the country if you have been in
any part of Brazil within the previous week. Check the requirements of any country you will travel to from Brazil.
Public hospitals tend to be crowded and terrible, but they attend any kind of person, including foreigners. Most cities
of at least 60,000 inhabitants have good private health care.
Dentists abound and are way cheaper than North America and Western Europe. In general, the quality of their work
is consistent, but ask a local for advice and a recommendation.
The emergency number is 190, but you must speak Portuguese.
Beware that air conditioning in airports, intercity buses etc. is often quite strong. Carry a long-sleeved garment for
air-conditioned places.
Although Brazil is widely known as a country where sex is freely available, it is sometimes misunderstood regarding
HIV. Brazil has one of the best HIV prevention programs and consequently, a very low infection rate compared with
most countries. Condoms are highly encouraged by governmental campaigns during carnival, and distributed for free
by local public medical departments.
Brazilians tend to be very open and talk freely about their problems, especially political corruption and other issues.
Also, they use a lot of self-deprecating humour. This allows you to make jokes about the problems in Brazil, when
they are talking about such issues, in a playful manner. It is common when you pointing out something bad, for them
to give answers like, "That's nothing. Look at this here. It's so much worse". But don't imitate them, as they are likely
to feel offended if you criticize certain areas, such as nature or soccer. In some small towns, local politics can be a
sensitive issue, and you should be careful when talking about it. Always be polite.
Be aware that racism is a very serious offence in Brazil. Most Brazilians frown upon racism, and even if you are only
joking or you think you know your company, it is still wise to refrain from anything that can be perceived as racism.
According to the Brazilian constitution of 1988, racism is a crime for which bail is not available, and must be met
with 6 months to 8 years imprisonment. This is taken very seriously. However, the law only seems to apply to overt,
unquestionably racist statements and actions. Therefore, be aware and be respectful when discussing racial relations
in Brazil; do not assume you understand Brazil's history of racial inequality and slavery better than a Brazilian
person of colour.
Remember that Portuguese is not Spanish and Brazilians (as well as other Portuguese speakers) feel offended if you
do not take this in mind. Both languages can be mutually intelligible to a certain extent, but they differ considerably
in phonetics, vocabulary and grammar. It is not a good idea to mix Portuguese with Spanish, don't expect people to
understand what you're saying if you (intentionally or unintentionally) insert Spanish words into Portuguese
It is also noteworthy that the Brazilians are fanatical about football (soccer) and so there are (some times violent)
disputes between teams from different cities, and walking with the shirt of a team in certain areas may be seen as
controversial or even dangerous. Speaking ill of the Brazilian national football team is not considered an insult, but
you should never praise the Argentine team or compare them both.
Brazil is open to LGBT tourists. São Paulo boasts the biggest LGBT Pride parade in the world, and most major cities
will have gay scenes. However, be aware that homophobia is widespread in Brazilian society, and Brazil is not the
sexual haven that many foreigners perceive it to be. Couples that in any way don't conform to traditional
heterosexual expectations should expect to be open to some verbal harassment and stares if displaying affection in
the streets, though several neighborhoods of many of the major cities are very welcoming of the LGBT population,
and LGBT-oriented bars and clubs are common. It is best to gather information from locals as to what areas are more
conservative and what areas are more progressive.
Social etiquette
• Cheek-kissing is very common in Brazil, among women and between women and men. When two women, or
opposite sexes first meet, it is not uncommon to kiss. Two men WILL shake hands. A man kissing another man's
cheek is extremely bizarre for Brazilian standards (unless in family relationships, special Italian descendants, and
very close friends). Kissing is suitable for informal occasions, used to introduce yourself or being acquainted,
especially to young people. Hand shaking is more appropriate for formal occasions or between women and men
when no form of intimacy is intended. Trying to shake hands when offered a kiss will be considered odd, but
never rude. However, to clearly refuse a kiss is a sign of disdain.
When people first meet, they will kiss once (São Paulo), twice (Rio de Janeiro) or three times (Florianópolis
and Belo Horizonte, for instance), depending on where you are, alternating right and left cheeks. Observe that
while doing this, you should not kiss on the cheeks (like in Russia) but actually only touch cheeks and make a
kissing sound while kissing the air, placing your lips on a strangers cheek is a clear sign of sexual interest.
• In Brazil showers are long and frequent. In fact Brazil is the only country that rivals Japan in the amount of time
people spend cleaning themselves
• Many Brazilians can dance and Brazilians are usually at ease with their own bodies. While talking, they may
stand closer to each other than North Americans or Northern Europeans do, and also tend to touch each other
more, e.g. on the shoulder or arm, hugs etc.
• Brazilians like to drink, especially (very) cold beer (in pubs and in hot weather) and wine (in restaurants or in the
winter). However getting drunk, even in a pub, is considered very unsuitable unless you are with very good
friends and everybody is as drunk as you. People go to pubs to talk, flirt and tell jokes, not essentially to drink. It
allowed the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the streets, but not in football stadiums, remember that. And
in certain regions of the country, it is common for homeowners, especially older people, offer to you cachaça, it is
not rude to deny, but probably they will make a lot jokes about you, since drink cachaça in some places is
considered a sign of strength.
By phone
Brazil has international telephone code 55 and two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Some
areas used seven digits until 2006, meaning you might still find some old phone numbers which won't work unless
you add another digit. (Mostly, try adding 2 or 3 at the beginning).
Eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to
9 are mobile phones.
All cities use the following emergency numbers:
• 190 - Police
• 192 - Ambulance
• 193 - Firefighters
However, if you dial 911 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
To dial to another area code or to another country, you must chose a carrier using a two-digit carrier code. Which
carriers are available depends on the area you are dialing from and on the area you are dialing to. Carriers 21
(Embratel) and 23 (Intelig) are available in all areas.
The international phone number format for calls from other countries to Brazil is +55-(area code)-(phone number)
In Brazil:
To dial to another area code: 0-(carrier code)-(area code)-(phone number)
To dial to another country: 00-(carrier code)-(country code)-(area code)-(phone number)
Local collect call: 90-90-(phone number)
Collect call to another area code: 90-(carrier code)-(area code)-(phone number)
International Collect Call: 000111 or through Embratel at 0800-703-2111
Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying
cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all
booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news
agents sell them. The Farmácia Pague Menos sells them at official (phone company) price, somewhat cheaper. Calls
to cell phones (even local) will use up your credits very quickly (nearly as expensive as international calls). Calling
the USA costs about one real per minute. It's possible to find all international and Brazilian phone codes on DDI and
DDD phone codes [31].
By mobile phone
When traveling to Brazil, even though it may seem best to carry your cell phone along, you should not dismiss the
benefits of the calling cards to call the ones back home. Get yourself a Brazil calling card when packing for your trip.
Brazil phone cards [32]
Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo, Claro, OI and TIM, all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+
networks (Vivo still runs a legacy CDMA 1xRTT network, which is being phased out). There are also smaller
operators, like Nextel (iDEN Push-To-Talk and HSPA+), CTBC-ALGAR (GSM and HSDPA in Triangulo Mineiro
Region (Minas Gerais)), and Sercomtel (GSM and HSDPA in Paraná).
Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores,
supermarkets, retail shops, etc. Vivo uses 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequencies, while other operators uses 900 MHz
and 1800 MHz frequencies. 3G/HSDPA coverage is available mostly on big cities on the southeast states and
capitals. Some states use 850 MHz but others use 2100 MHz for 3G/HSDPA. If you need to unlock a phone from a
specific operator, this can be done for a charge in any phone shop.
All major carriers (Vivo, Claro, TIM and Oi) can send and receive text messages (SMS) as well as phone calls
to/from abroad.
By net
Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or
less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop
For general tips on internet while travelling, see our travel topic: Internet access
By mail
The Brazilian Correio [33] is fairly reliable and post offices are everywhere. However, be aware that if you ask how
much it costs to send a letter, postcard or package they will automatically give you the "priority" price (prioritário)
instead of the normal one (Econômico). You might think that the priority one will make it go faster, but it isn't
always true; sometimes it takes as long as the normal fare, so be sure to ask for the "econômico" price of anything
you wish to dispatch.
[1] http:/ / www. visitbrasil. com/
[2] http:/ / www. unesco. org/ culture/ intangible-heritage/ masterpiece. php?id=54& lg=en
[3] http:/ / www. portalconsular. mre. gov. br/ antes/ quadro-geral-de-regime-de-vistos-1
[4] https:/ / www2. dpf. gov. br/ gru/ gru?nac=1
[5] http:/ / www. tamairlines. com
[6] http:/ / www. voegol. com. br/ INT/
[7] http:/ / www. flytap. com
[8] https:/ / appweb. antt. gov. br/ transp/ linha_internacional. asp
[9] http:/ / www. greentoadbus. com
[10] http:/ / www. infraero. gov. br
[11] http:/ / www. tam. com. br
[12] http:/ / www. voegol. com. br
[13] http:/ / www. webjet. com. br
[14] http:/ / www. avianca. com. br
[15] http:/ / www. voeazul. com. br
[16] http:/ / www. voetrip. com. br/
[17] http:/ / www. voepantanal. com. br/
[18] http:/ / www. pumaair. com. br/
[19] http:/ / www. voenht. com. br/ #
[20] http:/ / www. latino-cars. com/
http:/ / www. sampabikers. com. br/
http:/ / www. serraverdeexpress. com. br/
http:/ / www. cvrd. com. br/ cvrd/ cgi/ cgilua. exe/ sys/ start. htm?sid=65
https:/ / appweb. antt. gov. br/ transp/ secao_duas_localidades. asp
http:/ / www. westernunion. com. br
http:/ / www. bcb. gov. br/ ?MOEDAFAM1
http:/ / www. bcb. gov. br/ ?MOEDAFAM2
http:/ / www. bcb. gov. br/ ?CEDCOMUM
http:/ / www. salton. com. br
http:/ / www. mte. gov. br/ trab_estrang_ing/ default. asp
http:/ / www. ddi-ddd. com. br
http:/ / www. nobelcom. com/ phone-cards/ calling-Brazil-from-United-States-1-43. html
http:/ / www. correios. com. br
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and
accommodation listings—consider printing them all.
Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil, on the
South Atlantic coast. Rio is famous for its breathtaking
landscape, its laidback beach culture and its annual carnival.
The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is comprised of a unique
entry from the ocean that makes it appear as the mouth of a
river. Additionally, the harbor is surrounded by spectacular
geographic features including Sugarloaf mountain at 395 m
(1,296 feet), Corcovado Peak at 704 m (2,310 feet), and the
hills of Tijuca at 1,021 m (3,350 feet). These features work
together to collectively make the harbor one of the Seven
Natural Wonders of the World [1]).
Rio de Janeiro will host many of the 2014 FIFA World
Cup games, including the final, and the 2016 Summer
Olympics and Paralympics, becoming the first South
American city to hold either the Summer or Winter
• Centro including Lapa and Santa Teresa. The city's
financial and business centre also has many historic
buildings from its early days, such as the Municipal
Theatre, National Library, National Museum of Fine
Arts, Tiradentes Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral and
Pedro Ernesto Palace.
Rio de Janeiro, The Marvelous City
• Zona Sul (South Zone) including Copacabana, Leblon and Ipanema, as well as the districts along Flamengo
Beach. Contains some of the more upscale neighborhoods and many of the major tourist sites, such as the Rodrigo
de Freitas Lagoon, and Sugarloaf and Corcovado Mountains.
• Zona Norte (North Zone). The Maracanã stadium, Quinta da Boa Vista Park with the National Museum the city's
Zoo, the National Observatory and more.
• Zona Oeste (West Zone), a rapidly growing suburban area including primarily the districts of Jacarepaguá and
Barra da Tijuca, popular for its beaches. Most of the Olympics in 2016 will be hosted there.
It is a common mistake to think of Rio as Brazil's capital, a distinction it lost on April 21st 1960 when Brasilia
became the capital. Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, the Christ The Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
statue, the stadium of Maracanã and Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) are all well-known sights of what the
inhabitants call the "marvelous city" (cidade maravilhosa), and are also among the first images to pop up in
travelers´ minds, along with the Carnaval celebration.
The South Zone holds most of Rio's landmarks and world-famous beaches, in an area of only 43.87 square km (17
square miles). Many of them are within walking distance of each other (for instance, the Sugarloaf lies about 5 miles
Rio de Janeiro
from Copacabana beach). Most hotels and hostels are located in this part of the city, which is compressed between
the Tijuca Range (Maciço da Tijuca) and the sea. There are important places in other regions as well, such as
Maracanã stadium in the North Zone and the many fascinating buildings in the Centre.
Sadly, most people also know Rio for its violence and crime, special with drugs. And social problems, as slums or
favelas, areas of poor-quality housing and living; slums usually located on the city's many mountain slopes,
juxtaposed with middle-class neighbourhoods.
If you plan on staying in Rio for more than a couple of days it would be good to invest in a copy of How to be a
Carioca (Priscilla Ann Goslin, Livros TwoCan Ltda, R$32). This is an amusing look at the people of Rio and will
help you enjoy the city as well as appear less of a "gringo" when you hit the streets.
Rio was founded in 1565 by the Portuguese
as a fortification against French privateers
who trafficked wood and goods from Brazil.
Piracy played a major role in the city's
history, and there are still colonial fortresses
to be visited (check below). The Portuguese
fought the French for nearly 10 years, both
sides having rival native tribes as allies. For
the next two centuries it was an unimportant
outpost of the Portuguese Empire, until
gold, diamonds, and ore were found in
Minas Gerais in 1720. Then, as the nearest
port, Rio became the port for these minerals
and replaced Salvador as the main city in the
Though modest and small, the Paço was the office of the King of Portugal and
colony in 1763. When Napoleon invaded
Brazil's two Emperors.
Portugal, the Royal Family moved to Brazil
and made Rio capital of the Kingdom (so it
was the only city outside Europe to be capital of a European country). When Brazil became independent in 1822, it
adopted Monarchy as its form of government (with Emperors Pedro I and Pedro II). Many historians and Brazilians
from other places say cariocas are nostalgic of the Royal and Imperial times, which is reflected in many place names
and shop names. In 2009, the city won their bid to host the games of the XXXI Olympics in the summer of 2016.
This was the fifth bid by the city, whose 1936, 1940, 2004, and 2012 bids lost.
Get in
Rio is one of the country's major transportation hubs, second only to São Paulo.
By plane
• International and most domestic flights land at Galeão - Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport (better
known as Galeão International Airport) (IATA: GIG) (ICAO: SBGL), Tel: +55 21 3398-5050 (fax 3393-2288).
This airport is 20 km away from the city centre and main hotels. While you can sometimes zoom through
Immigration and Customs, be prepared for a long wait. Brazilians travel with lots of baggage and long queues can
form at Customs, which are usually hopelessly understaffed.
• Santos Dumont Airport (IATA: SDU) (ICAO: SBRJ), Tel. +55-21-3814-7070 (fax. 2533-2218). Gets flights
only from São Paulo and some of Brazil's largest cities such as Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Salvador, as
Rio de Janeiro
well as the capital Brasilia. Located right next to the city centre, by the Guanabara bay. Airlines that service
Santos Dumont include: GOL [12], TAM [11], Webjet [13], Azul [2] and Avianca [14]. Don't rush off without
taking a look inside the original terminal building - a fine example of Brazilian modernist architecture.
Four bus lines operated by Real [3] depart from right outside the arrival section of Galeão and Santos Dumont.
Buses are air-conditioned and comfy, with ample luggage space. They run rougly every 30 minutes from 5:30 AM to
10 PM.
• 2018 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Alvorada (Via Orla da Zona Sul) runs between both airports, the main
bus terminal and further along the beachfront of Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, and has its
terminus at the Alvorada terminal near Barra Shopping in Barra da Tijuca. The full run takes at least 60 minutes,
often double that. Tickets are R$ 12 (Jan 2012).
• 2918 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Alvorada (Via Linha Amarela) runs to the Alvorada bus terminal, via
Jacarapaguá (the best spot for taxis) from Galeão airport along the Linha Amarela in as little as 35 minutes,
traffic allowing. R$ 12(Jan 2012).
• 2145 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Aeroporto Santos Dumont (Via Seletiva da Av. Brasil/Av. Pres.
Vargas) runs between the two airports and the main bus station, at R$ 5.
• 2145 Aeroporto Internacional do RJ/Aeroporto Santos Dumont (Via Linha Vermelha e Perimetral), same
as above, along a slightly different route.
There are two types of taxis. As you leave Customs you will see booths of different companies offering their
services. These are considerably more expensive (ex: Galeão - Copacabana R$70; Galeão - Ipanema R$99) than the
standard yellow taxis that are to be found outside the terminal building but the quality of the cars is generally better.
These taxis can often charge double the price of those ordinary taxis from the rank located around one hundred
metres from the arrivals exit and should cost you about R$40 (July 2009) on the meter to reach Ipanema or
Copacabana or R$50 to Jardin Botanico. The price can go up by R$10 or more if you get stuck in a traffic jam. It is
possible to pre-book airport transfers. Rio Airport Transfer [4], allow you to book and pay before you leave home.
Money change facilities are limited and high commissions are charged. Slightly better rates can be obtained,
illegally, at the taxi booths but they may want you to use their cabs before changing money for you. In any event,
don´t change more than you have to as much better rates are available downtown.
From Europe, TAM Airlines offers direct flights from Paris (daily), London and Frankfurt (both three times a week).
Alitalia flies five times a week from Rome, Air France flies twice a day from Paris, British Airways three times a
week from London, TAP twice a day from Lisbon and on fridays and sundays to Porto, Lufthansa four days a week
from Frankfurt, KLM four days a week from Amsterdam and Iberia daily from Madrid. From Africa, Taag conects
Rio to Luanda four times a week, and from Asia, Emirates has a daily non-stop flight to Dubai, where is possible to
continue to many Asian destinations (also, from Rio this flight continues to Buenos Aires).
From North America, there are non-stop flights to Rio de Janeiro only from New York and Miami with either
American Airlines or TAM Airlines, Washington, D.C. and Houston with United Airlines, Charlotte with US
Airways, Dallas with American Airlines and Atlanta with Delta Airlines. Travellers from elsewhere in the region
have to make a stop in the aforementioned U.S. cities or in São Paulo to get to Rio.
A number of carriers (including TAM, Gol, LAN, TAM Mercosul, Emirates, Pluna and Aerolineas Argentinas)
connect Rio de Janeiro to Argentina (Buenos Aires and Cordoba), Venezuela (Caracas), Paraguay (Asuncion),
Uruguay (Montevideo) and Chile (Santiago). Avianca, TACA and Copa Airlines connect Rio with Bogotá, Lima and
Panama City, respectively, offering onward connections to Central America or other South American cities. LAN
and Aerolineas Argentinas offer connections from their respective hubs to Australia and New Zealand.
Rio de Janeiro
By train
Rio's glorious Central Station, or Central do Brasil, made famous by a movie of the same name, serves mostly local
commuter lines (SuperVia [5]), so it's unlikely that you'll arrive through here. It's worth a visit just to see it, though,
you can get there either by bus or subway (subway is better; get off on Central station, line 1).
By bus
The long-distance bus depot, Rodoviária Novo Rio[6], is in the North Zone's Santo Cristo neighborhood. Taxis and
coach buses can get you to the South Zone in about fifteen minutes; local buses take a bit longer. Frescão
air-conditioned coaches can be caught just outside the bus station. The coaches connect the station to the city centre
and main hotel areas of Copacabana and Ipanema. Bus companies include Itapemirim [7], Penha [8], Cometa [9],
1001 [10], and Expresso Brasileiro [11].
Several companies offer bus passes from Rio to the rest of the country. The Green Toad Bus [12] also offer bus
tickets online for buses from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande, Paraty, São Paulo, Florianopolis, Campo Grande, Foz do
Iguacu and some other destinations in Brazil. They have bus passes to take you to other countries as well.
By car
Rio is connected by many roads to neighboring cities and states, but access can be confusing as there are insufficient
traffic signs or indications of how to get downtown.
The main interstate highways passing through Rio are:
• BR-116, which connects the city to the southern region of Brazil. Also known as Rodovia Presidente Dutra
• BR-101, which leads to the north and northwest, and
• BR-040, which will take you in the central and western areas.
Rio de Janeiro
By boat
Ferries (barcas) connect neighbouring Niteroi to Rio de Janeiro and arrive at Praça XV, in the city centre.
Get around
By taxi
A cab is one of the best ways to move around Rio. All
legal cabs are yellow with a blue stripe painted on the
sides. Taxis not designed like this are special service
cars (to the airport or bus stations) or illegal. Rio taxis
are not too expensive on a kilometre basis but distances
can be quite considerable. A journey from Zona Sul to
the Centro will cost around R$20, and from the airport
to Copacabana is around R$50 for example. The car can
usually hold four people. You can ask a cab for a city
tour, and arrange a fixed price (may be around US$20).
Major taxi companies include Central de Taxi, Ouro
Taxi and Yellow Taxi.
After getting into the taxi, check to see if the taximeter
has been started, it charges R$4.40 (March 2011) for the
minimum ride, called bandeirada), and R$1.60 per
kilometer. If not, ask the taxi driver to do so. You may
be ripped off by some taxi drivers.
If you want to avoid being ripped off then it may be
worthing taking a 'radio-taxi', particularly when arriving
at the airport. Radio Taxis, such as Rio Airport Transfer
and others are usually the blue, green, or white taxis
To get to the Cristo one had to climb hundreds of steps, but it is
and they do cost a little more than the typical yellow
possible nowadays to use an elevator and escalator.
taxi. The advantage of a radio taxi is that you pay a
fixed rate regardless of the time of day or if there's heavy traffic etc, this means that you do not risk the price
increasing at the drivers discretion.
While many of these companies do have websites, they are generally in Portuguese and do not provide you with
prices. The exception to this is Rio Airport Transfer [4],, which allows you to choose
your arrival and drop off points and will quote you a price, you can then pay for your transfer online from the
comfort of your armchair. Other companies such as Holiday Taxis also offer transfers in Rio, however they tend to
be very expensive.
For those travelling to Rio for Carnival it's worth using a company that allows you to book and pay in advance, and
to try and pay as much in advance as possible as prices tend to increase a few weeks before Carnival.
Be aware that traffic jams in Rio can be terrible at times. A taxi ride from Ipanema to the bus terminal for instance
can take an hour and a half if you get seriously stuck, so make sure you have margins in case you really can´t afford
to be late.
Rio de Janeiro
By car
Traffic within some parts of Rio can be daunting, but a car may be the best way to reach distant beaches like
Grumari, and that can be an extra adventure. Avoid rush-hour traffic jams in neighborhoods such as Copacabana,
Botafogo, Laranjeiras, and Tijuca, where moms line up their cars to pick up their children after school. Buy a map,
and have fun.
Note that Rio has an interesting programme of traffic management. Between 7AM and 10AM on weekday mornings
the traffic flow of one carriageway on the beachfront roads of Ipanema and Copacabana is reversed, i.e. all traffic on
those roads flows in the same direction, towards the city. Note also that on Sundays the carriageway closest to the
beach is closed to allow pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, skaters and others to exercise.
By bus
Buses are still the cheapest and most convenient way to get around the South Zone (Zona Sul) of the city due to the
high number and frequency of lines running through the area. For the adventurous or budget traveler, it is worth
asking your hotel or hostel employees how to navigate the system or which routes to take to arrive at specific
locations. However, you should be mindful of questionable characters and your belongings. By night buses are more
scarce, and most lines will usually not be running by the time the bars and clubs are full. Buses start at R$2.75(Jan
2012); buses with air conditioning charge higher fares. The fare is paid in cash to a controller or the driver inside the
bus, by passing through a roulette. There are no tickets, and try to have change/small bills. Some residents and
students have a digital pass card. Keep an eye out for pickpockets when the bus is crowded, and don't be surprised if
your driver goes a little faster and brakes a little more suddenly than you'd like. Except for minibuses, buses now
have two doors: passengers get in through the front door and get off through the back (it was otherwise until
Some bus stops in the South Zone are equipped with a shelter and a bench, but sometimes, far from tourist areas,
they are less obvious and have no signs at all - you might have to ask. As a general rule in most parts of Brazil, buses
stop only when you hail them, by extending the arm. If you don't hail and there are no passengers waiting to get off,
the bus simply won't stop. The same can be said if you are on the bus wanting to get off at a particular stop. You
should know the surroundings or the name of the intersection of the area you are going, or inquire to the employee
operating the roulette, so you can signal to the driver that you want to get off, or he may not stop! There are no
schedules nor timetables, but there is an invaluable book called Ruas de Rio de Janeiro (The streets of Rio de
Janeiro) that has maps of Rio and lists bus routes by bus line. Although it does not list the exact schedule of arrivals
and departures, it lists the bus stops, and one an easily orient oneself and navigate the city using it. Usually buses run
no less infrequently than every 15 minutes. However, they can run just once an hour or more infrequently late at
night or in remote areas of town.
There are a baffling 1000+ bus lines in Rio (including variants), covering nearly all of the city, operated by perhaps a
dozen independent operations. (At least 6 operations ply the streets of Copacabana and Ipanema.) The [13] website
contains a catalog of the lines, but is of little help unless you know the line number or can enter exact street names.
Many lines differ only a few streets from each other in their itineraries, and some even have variants within the same
line. Bus lines with a * or a letter means that this bus has a variant. It means that there may be a bus with the same
name, same number, same origin, even same destination but with a complete different route. Lines are numbered
according to the general route they serve:
• beginning with 1 - South Zone/Downtown
• beginning with 2 - North Zone/Downtown
• beginning with 3 - West Zone/Downtown
• beginning with 4 - North Zone/South Zone
• beginning with 5 - within South Zone
• beginning with 6 - North Zone/West Zone
Rio de Janeiro
• beginning with 7 and 9 - within North Zone
• beginning with 8 - within West Zone
Most popular lines for tourists are 583 and 584 (from Copacabana and Ipanema to Corcovado railway station), as
well as 464 and 435 (from Copacabana to Maracanã). Buses 511 (Ataulfo de Paiva) and 512 (Bartholomeu Mitre)
are also popular as they take you to Urca for the station to take the cable car up the Sugarloaf mountain. Typically
bus drivers and controllers won't understand any foreign language. If you can't speak Portuguese at all, use a map.
Trying to speak Spanish is usually not particularly useful.
By subway
The Metrô Rio [14] subway system is very useful for travel from
Ipanema through Copacabana to Downtown and beyond, although
it closes after midnight (24 hours during Carnival). The
air-conditioned subway is safe, clean, comfortable, and quick, and
has much better signage, etc., than most transport in Rio, making
the lives of foreign tourists easier. There are two main lines: Line
1 (Orange) has service to Ipanema (General Osorio), the Saara
district, and much of Downtown, as well as Tijuca. Line 2 (Green)
stops at the zoo, Maracanã stadium, and Rio State University. The
two lines are integrated between Central and Botafogo, so check
the train's destination if you board within the integrated section for
a destination in the Zona Norte. A one-way subway-only
"unitario" ticket is R$3.20 (May 2012). The ticket window will
give you a card that you insert in the turnstile; do not pull it out
unless you've purchased a multi-trip or transfer pass. Rechargeable
IC cards (minimum charge R$5, no deposit required) are also
available and definitely worth getting if you'll be in town for a few
A detailed map of Rio's subway lines with stations and
integração (connection) bus lines.
Since 2003, the Metrô company operates bus lines from some
stations to nearby neighborhoods which are not served by the subway system. This is particularly helpful for places
uphill such as Gávea, Laranjeiras, Grajaú and Usina. Since the city grew around the Tijuca Range mountains, these
neighborhoods will never be served by the subway, but you now can take the integração (connection) minibuses.
The company calls it Metrônibus and Metrô na Superfície (literally, Subway on Ground), but actually they are
ordinary buses in special routes for subway commuters. You can buy tickets for these - just ask for expresso
(pronounced "eysh-PREH-sso", not "express-o") when buying a ticket, then keep it after crossing the roulette (prices
range from R$ 2.80 to 4.40, depending on the transfer you want, as of Sep 2010). When you leave the subway, give
the ticket to the bus driver (who shall be waiting in the bus stop just outside of the station). If you buy an ordinary
ticket, you won't be able to get this bus for free - then it will cost a regular fee.
Recently the last car of each train has been marked women-only with a pink window sticker, in order to avoid
potential harassment in crowded trains. Some men, however, are not yet used to this separation (since it is very
recent) and many women, who are accustomed to hassle-free everyday travel in Rio's subway, also think the measure
is unnecessary. Anyway, if you're a man, avoid getting into trouble with local security staff and stay off the
pink-marked cars. Note that the women-only policy for the wagon is valid only in the rush hour.
Rio de Janeiro
Ramos (in-bay) - inappropriate for bathing
Flamengo (in-bay) - usually inappropriate for bathing
Botafogo (in-bay) - inappropriate for bathing
Urca (in-bay) - usually inappropriate for bathing
Vermelha (in-bay) - sometimes inappropriate for bathing
Leme (oceanic)
Copacabana (oceanic)
Arpoador (oceanic)
Ipanema (oceanic)
Leblon (oceanic)
São Conrado (oceanic) - sometimes inappropriate for bathing
Barra da Tijuca (oceanic)
Recreio dos Bandeirantes (oceanic)
Grumari (oceanic)
Abricó (oceanic, nudist beach)
Abricó is the only official nudist beach in the city of Rio de
Janeiro,it lies next to Grumari beach. Only accessible by car/taxi.
An option is taking the bus numbered 360 (Recreio) that passes
along Copacabana/Ipanema/Leblon, and from the end of the line
(ponto final) take a cab.
Copacabana sidewalk
It is also worth visiting the beaches in Paquetá, particularly:
• Praia da Moreninha (on the Guanabara Bay, but often not clean enough for swimming)
Cariocas have a unique beach culture, with a code of customs which outlanders (even Brazilians from other cities)
can misconstrue easily. Despite what many foreigners may believe, there are no topless beaches. Girls can wear tiny
string bikinis (fio dental), but it doesn't mean they're exhibitionists. For most of them, it's highly offensive to stare.
Until the 1990s, men and boys wore speedos, but since then wearing bermuda shorts or boardshorts has become
more common, although speedos ("sungas" in Portuguese) seem to now be making a comeback. Jammers are less
common but still accepted.
Waves in Rio vary from tiny and calm in the Guanabara bay beaches (Paquetá, Ramos, Flamengo, Botafogo, Urca)
to high, surf-ideal waves in Recreio. In Leme, Copacabana, Arpoador, Ipanema, and Leblon, there's a popular way of
"riding" the waves called pegar jacaré (pe-GAHR zha-kah-REH; literally, "to grab an alligator"). You wait for the
wave to come behind you then swim on top of it until it crumbles next to the sand.
Commerce is common in Rio's beaches, with thousands of walking vendors selling everything from sun glasses to
fried shrimp to cooling beverages (try mate com limão, a local ice tea mixed with lemonade, or suco de laranja com
cenoura, orange and carrot juice). For food, there is also empada (baked flour pastry filled with meat or cheese) and
sanduíche natural (cool sandwich with vegetables and mayo). Vendors typically shout out loud what they're selling,
but they won't usually bother you unless you call them. All along the beaches there are also permanent vendors who
will sell you a beer and also rent you a beach chair and an umbrella for a few Reais.
The beaches in Barra and Recreio (Quebra-Mar, Pepê, Pontal, Prainha) were favored by surfers and hang-gliders
until the 1980s, but now they are outnumbered by the middle-class and nouveau riche from the suburbs and also
West Zone favela residents, such as now world-famous Cidade de Deus (City of God, made famous in the
eponymous film).
Rio de Janeiro
• Corcovado [15] - The funicular train up
costs R$44 (students from Brazil pay
50% - R$18 but are usually requested to
prove showing some ID or document) for
a round trip up to Cristo Redentor, and it
is definitely worth the view. The queue
for the train, in Cosme Velho, can get
rather long; you purchase a ticket for a
particular departure time (that day only).
The trains run every 30 minutes. Try
going when the morning coach parties
have already passed through, i.e. when
most tourists are having their lunch. Take
The Maracanã stadium, once the largest on Earth.
a taxi to Cosme Velho, or take the
Metro-Onibus Expresso combination (see
above) from the Largo do Machado station. If you opt for a taxi to the up instead of the funicular, it's R$20
round-trip to enter the park, then another R$18 or so for the shuttle up to the monument. There's also a hiking trail
that begins at Parque Lage and gets there (see Hiking and Trekking on the 'Do' section below).
• Pão de Açúcar - The Sugarloaf mountains (one taller, the other shorter), Brazil's top landmark, with a two-stage
aerial tramway to the top; a definite must see. A ticket is R$53 (the way back is free after 7pm). There is also an
unsigned trail leading to the second station where you can pay only R$22 to reach the top. Ask locals for
directions. The buses number 511, 512, 591 and 592 and the subway buses from Botafogo bring you to the base
station. Do not make the mistake of thinking you have seen enough once you have seen the view from Cristo
Redentor. Try Sugarloaf at sunset for a truly mind-blowing experience.
• Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas - A large lagoon in the middle of South Zone, with great views to Corcovado and
Ipanema and Leblon beaches; you can jog or cycle all the way round; there are skating areas and you can hire
little peddle-operated boats.
• Streetcar of Santa Teresa - Until recently, you could ride for a few cents to this scenic neighbourhood. The tram
is currently closed, after accidents, but it is planned to reopen.
• Maracanã - The largest football stadium in South America and once the largest on Earth. Currently closed for
renovations for the 2014 World Cup, scheduled for reopening in June 2013. However, the Soccer Museum inside
it is still open and it's possible to see the renovation work being done.
• Parque Lage - A small park, once a private mansion, where now a school of fine arts works. Contains some
interesting plants and wildlife as well as strange concrete structures that will entertain the kids. The park is the
beginning of a hiking trail Corcovado, through sub-tropical rain forest (see Hiking and Trekking under the 'Do'
• Jardim Botanico - The Botanical Garden, planted in the 1800s. It is both a park and a scientific laboratory. It
contains a huge collection of plants from all over the world, not only tropical ones. If you take the bus note that
Jardim Botanico is also the name of a neighborhood so make sure you take the right one to the entrance. The
admission is R$6. The gardens are well kept and very lush. Not far from the cafe, first you hear swooshing
sounds. Look up and you can see small monkeys swinging from tree to tree.[16]
Rio de Janeiro
• Paço Imperial (1743) - Old Imperial Palace (though impressively
modest), colonial architecture (in downtown, next to Praça XV,
Fifteen Square).
• Casa França Brasil (1820) - French cultural centre, with gallery
and video hall (in downtown, next to CCBB).
• CCBB - Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (1906) - A cultural
centre with gallery, movie theater, video room, library and stages;
usually hosts the main exhibitions in town (in downtown). An
interesting building with old-fashioned elevators/lifts.
• Candelária Church - Neoclassic cathedral (next to CCBB).
Although located across Guanabara Bay, one of
Rio's best views (one that includes both the Christ
and the Sugarloaf in your camera frame) can be
seen from this Museum in Niteroi, a neighboring
city only 15 minutes away from downtown Rio
by ferry boat.
• Mosteiro de São Bento (1663) - Saint Benedict's Monastery,
colonial architecture (in downtown).
• Ilha Fiscal Palace (1889) - Located in the Guanabara Bay, next to
the Navy Museum
• Gloria Church (1739). Small but interesting church reached by a
funicular. Nice views. (metro: Gloria)
• Palácio Gustavo Capanema - Former ministry of culture, designed
by French architect Le Corbusier; though small, it is regarded as an
important pioneering in modern architecture (downtown).
• Arcos da Lapa (1750) - Lapa Aqueduct, colonial structure that
brought water from springs to downtown.
Inside Candelária cathedral, in downtown.
Catedral Metropolitana - a modern, cone-shaped cathedral, designed by Edgar de Oliveira da Fonseca (in Lapa).
São Francisco da Penitência church (1773) - Colonial church.
Teatro Municipal (1909) - City Theater, inspired by the Paris Opéra House (in Cinelândia square).
Biblioteca Nacional (1910) - National Library (in Cinelândia square).
Câmara Municipal - The City Hall, hosts the city council (in Cinelândia square).
Palácio do Catete - The former presidential palace (1893-1960), now hosts a museum of recent history and nice
gardens (in Catete).
• Itamaraty - Former presidential palace (1889-1893) and foreign office; now hosts a museum of South American
diplomacy, a library and the UN information offices in Brazil (in Downtown, next to the Central station).
• Palácio Guanabara - Former palace of the Imperial Princess, now governor's office; eclectic architecture; not
open to public (in Laranjeiras).
• Art Deco. Rio is a major centre for the Art Deco style of architecture. Indeed, the statue of Christ the Redeemer
on Corcovado is considered a classic example of Art Deco work. There are numerous buildings in Copacabana
and elsewhere that employ this style.
Rio de Janeiro
There is no shortage of things to do on a rainy day. In addition to a wide range of museums, Rio has many cultural
centres, which are run by banks and other organizations and usually host free exhibitions. Details of what is on can
be found in the Segundo Caderno section of the daily O Globo newspaper, which provides more detail in a weekly
Friday supplement. Also very useful is the Mapa das Artes Rio de Janeiro, which provides detailed bi-monthly
listings as well as detailed maps of the city. This is free and can be picked up at most museums.
• Museu Histórico Nacional (National Museum of History) - A
museum of Brazilian history stretching from colonial to imperial
times; big collection of paintings, but poor in artifacts (downtown).
• Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) - Includes
large paintings from Academicist and Neoclassical Brazilian artists,
as well as many copies of European sculptures (downtown,
Cinelândia square).
• MAM - Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art) - The
second most important contemporary art museum in Brazil, after
MASP (downtown, next to Santos Dumont airport). Modernist
architecture spreading over almost the sea.
Aerial view of downtown Rio and surroundings
where most historic buildings and museums can
be found.
• Museu da Imagem e do Som (Image and Sound Museum) - For researchers about Brazilian film, radio, and
broadcasting industry (downtown).
• Museu Naval (Navy Museum) - Located downtown not far from the ferry terminal. (
• Museu do Carnaval (Museum of Carnival) - History of Brazilian carnival and parades (in downtown, next to the
• Museu Chácara do Céu - An important collection of South American modern art (in Santa Tereza).
South Zone
• Museu da República (Museum of the Republic) - Hosted on the former presidential palace, this museum hosts
permanent exhibitions about recent Brazilian history (from 1889 on); one of main features is the room where
president Getúlio Vargas shot himself in 1954 (in Catete).
• Oi Futuro (Formerly Centro Cultural Telemar) - Formerly Museum of Telephone, it now hosts a fine gallery
with temporary exhibitions of digital art or art with interactive medias; it is sponsored by the local phone
company (in Catete).
• Museu Internacional de Arte Naïf (International Naïf Art Museum) - In Cosme Velho, next to Corcovado rail
• Museu Carmem Miranda (Carmem Miranda Museum) - About this Brazilian actress and singer (the lady with
pineapples-and-bananas hat), the national icon in the 1940s and 50s (in Flamengo).
• Museu do Índio (Museum of the Indian) - A small museum with a collection of Brazilian Indian (povos
indígenas) photographs, paintings, artifacts and other craft (in Botafogo). Very popular with local schoolchildren,
but has much for adults as well.
• Museu Villa-Lobos, Rua Sorocaba, 200 - Botafogo, Phone:+55 21 2266-1024 [17], M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Free
entrance, A modest collection about Brazil's most important composer.
Rio de Janeiro
North Zone
• Museu Nacional (National Museum) - Actually, it's the Natural History museum, with dinosaur fossils and lots of
mounted tanned animals; go there if you want to see a jaguar without getting into the jungle; it was formerly the
Emperor's Palace (in São Cristóvão, just next to the Zoo).
• Museu do Primeiro Reinado (First Reign Museum) - A museum about the reign of Emperor Pedro I
(1822-1831), but with a modest collection (in São Cristóvão).
• Museu Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (Astronomy Museum) - Also has an observatory (in São
• Museu do Trem (Train Museum) - A modest collection of 19th century engines, train cars and streetcars (in
Engenho de Dentro).
• Museu Aeroespacial (Aerospace Museum) - Located in Campo dos Afonsos (in the suburbs).
West Zone
• Museu Casa do Pontal - The most important collection of popular arts and crafts (in Recreio dos Bandeirantes).
In addition to Jardim Botânico and Parque Lage, mentioned
above, other parks worth a visit are:
• Parque do Flamengo, also known as Aterro do Flamengo.
Parque Guinle
Campo de Santana
Quinta da Boa Vista
Parque Nacional da Serra dos Órgãos
Quinta da Boa Vista, a park where Rio's Zoo and The
National Museum are located.
Rio de Janeiro
Still the greatest reason for visiting Rio seems to be the
Carnaval. This highly-advertised party lasts for almost
two weeks and it is well known for the escolas de samba
(samba schools) that parade in Centro, on a gigantic
structure called Sambódromo (Sambadrome). During
Carnaval, Rio has much more to offer though, with the
blocos de rua, that parade on the streets. There are now
hundreds of these street "samba blocks", that parade
almost in every neighborhood, especially in Centro and
the South Zone, gathering thousands of people. Some
are very famous, and there are few cariocas that have
not heard of "Carmelitas", "Suvaco de Cristo",
"Escravos da Mauá" or "Simpatia É Quase Amor".
The rest of the year, samba shows are popular with
tourists, and are held at several venues like Plataforma
and Scala. These are expensive and not really
representative of Brazilian culture, they present a lot of
almost naked women and bad musicians, a tourist trap
(much like the real thing.) Much more interesting and
genuine, though, are the night practice sessions held by
the various samba schools in the months leading up to
Carnaval. You will find only a small number of tourists
Sambodrome at night. Here thousands spend the night dancing,
here, and you will be served the best caipirinhas of your
and celebrating their favorite samba school (comparable to
trip! These go on into the wee hours of the morning,
soccer teams) till dawn.
with the fun really only starting at 1-2 A.M. A good cab
driver should be able to hook you up, and cabs will be
available to take you back when you are samba-ed out. Salgueiro and Mangueira are good choices, as they are two of
the larger samba schools, and are located relatively close to the tourist areas in a fairly safe area.
Note that a change is afoot that may make this genuine experience a thing of the past (or more convenient, depending
on your viewpoint) for all but the most savvy tourists. The local government built a complex of buildings (Cidade do
Samba) where many of the samba schools are moving their practice halls and float-construction facilities from the
gritty warehouses typically located in or near their home favelas. One can expect many more tourists, and shows
made-up for the tourists as the tourist bureau milks this facility for all it's worth year-round.
Here is a list of some of the samba schools:
• Mangueira, Rua Visconde de Niterói, 1072, Mangueira, Phone:+55(21) 3872-6786, Fax:+55(21) 2567-4637
[18], Rehearsals every Saturday, 10PM
• Salgueiro, Rua Silva Teles, 104, Andaraí, Phone:+55(21) 2238-9258 [19], Rehearsals every Wednesday, 8PM
• Acadêmicos da Rocinha [20].
The newest addition for tourists is the Samba City [21].
Rio de Janeiro
Rio was the cradle of three of Brazil's most important musical genres: samba, choro, and bossa nova. In recent years,
there has been a boom of traditional samba and choro venues. A lot of them are in the downtown district of Lapa.
There are good and cheap nightlife options, where you will see some of the best musicians of the country. Any of the
city newspapers provide pointers to the best shows.
If you're not such an anthropological type of tourist, you can check out the same papers for tips on other kinds of
music. Being a big city, Rio has big and small clubs that play almost every kind of music. The major mainstream
clubs mostly play whatever's on the Radio - which is usually whatever's on the USA radios and MTV - but the
underground scene has a lot to offer on Rock, E-Music, Rap and such. The best way to find out about those are the
flyers handed or left at hostels, cinema and theater lobbies, nightclub lines, etc.
New Year's Eve celebrations
Rio hosts the country's largest and most popular New Year’s Eve celebrations. The huge fireworks display and music
shows attract 2 million people to the sands of Copacabana beach every year. People dress in white for luck and toast
the arrival of the new year. It's usual also to have some national and international concerts on the beach for free.
Gay Travel
Rio de Janeiro is the main destination for lesbian and gay travellers from all over Brazil and the rest of the world.
The city has been chosen as the best lesbian and gay international destination in 2009, and the sexiest gay place in
the world in 2010 and 2011.
Hang gliding and paragliding
The Hangliding and Paragliding flights have found in Rio de Janeiro, the ideal land for its high hills and favorable
wind. Different from other places in the world, in Rio, the sport could be done in urban areas and landing on the
beach! These conditions naturally attract many tourists who get the courage to enjoy a flight. And even the most
inexperienced person can flight since there´s no training or special gear needed. Operator:
• Sky Center [22] (21) 2437-4592 / 7817-3526
Hiking and Trekking
Not surprisingly, a huge city that has an actual forest within its limits has lots to offer for hikers. It's always advisable
to have a local with you when trekking in Rio (Couchsurfing's Rio de Janeiro group [23] usually organizes hikes
around the city), as some treks are not very well-marked. Since the early 2000s there hasn't been any reports of
violence/burglary on the city's trails (a problem in the 90s), but the rules on the Stay safe section apply as anywhere
else in the city. Some of Rio's hiking trails include:
• Parque Lage - Corcovado
The trek is fairly demanding and steep, and takes about 1h30/2h to complete, but yet very popular among locals - it's
normal to see whole families doing it, as well as groups of friends and foreigners. Ask the park's staff or look for
signs that say "Trilha" to get to the start of the trail, just behind the ruins of an old house. From there you have two
paths: going straight ahead leads to a waterfall that is usually full of families on the weekends (it's a good spot to
stop on your way back if you go back the same way), and left leads straight to the main path of the trek. Along the
way there are 3 waterfalls (just one you can actually bath in, though) and a small path where you have to hang on to
a chain to pass through some rocks. Until this point you will be going up, but always surrounded by forest. The first
views of the city will start after the chain (about 1h/1h30 in). Then you get to the train tracks, which you can follow
up to the Christ (another 15/30 minutes). Views from here on are breathtaking. June 2011: Hiking up to the Christ is
possible, but at the top you must get in a van and take it a about a half mile down the mountain. From there tickets
Rio de Janeiro
can be bought for 25R (this includes the van rides).
• Sugarloaf
This is a short and fairly easy hike, taking about 20/30' to complete, also very popular among locals, specially
because you can go up for free then hitch a ride back on the cable car (after 6pm, it's free to return on it). The hike
begins at Pista Cláudio Coutinho in Urca, and is very popular among the locals. If you ask the guards they'll point
you to the start. It's uphill, but just the first five minutes are really steep and will need you to use your hands. From
there on just keep to your left. There are amazing views of Urca and the Guanabara Bay during the final 20 minutes,
some of which are angles you don't get from the vantage points above. The trek actually ends on top of Morro da
Urca, the smallest of the two. You have to buy a ticket for the cable car if you want to go up the other hill.
Panoramic flights
If you have the money the following operators give you panoramic flights in helicopters:
• Cruzeiro Taxi Aéreo [24]
• Helisight [25]
Favela (Shantytown) tours
A number of operators offer tours of Rocinha, the largest and safest Favela in Rio. Many tours are done by outside
companies in safari-like buses, which can lead to awkward interactions with the locals. Try to go with someone who
lives in Rocina on a walking tour. It is also possible to arrange tours to other favelas, although Rocinha has a longer
history of tourism and is one of the more developed favelas.
You may hear stories about people being invited by locals to visit their home in a favela. If you receive such an
invitation do think carefully about it and perhaps ask around about the person that has invited you. Many of the
favelas are rife with drugs and guns so think carefully about how much you trust the person that is inviting you. A
search on the Internet may reveal some accounts of tours others have taken. A visit like this will obviously be more
authentic than a book tour and could be the highlight of your visit to Rio; on the other hand you are taking a risk.
For tourists there are many interesting things to learn. Why not take a rainy day in town to have samba (the national
rhythm) classes (http:/ / www. riosambadancer. com) or capoeira, a mix of dance and fighting created by the then
enslaved African community. Is not as hard as outsiders may think, and it's original and fun. At Casa Rosa Cultural
[26], an antique house in Laranjeiras neighborhood, they offer special classes for the beginner tourists.
If you are staying in Brazil for an extended time, major universities offer Portuguese courses for foreigners, usually
for a very low price and with high educational standards.
• Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro[27]
• Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) [28] - Offers courses at various levels in Portuguese for
Foreigners [29]. R$428 for one semester, or R$214 if you're a regular student at UFRJ.
• Universidade Federal Fluminense [30] (located in Niterói)
• Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) [31] - Its courses Portuguese for Foreigners
[32] are popular, but a bit pricey at R$1632 per semester for the beginner's levels.
• Goethe-Institut [33]
• Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos [34]
• Cultura Inglesa [35]
• Instituto Cervantes [36]
• Aliança Francesa [37]
Rio de Janeiro
• Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA) [38] - the National Institute for Pure and Applied
Mathematics. A centre with an international renown for scientific excellence and superb working conditions in
Mathematics. You can take any course for free. The summer courses (Jan-Feb) are very popular and there is even
the possibility of getting some modest funding for the summer.
• Casa do Caminho Language Centre [39] - Learn Portuguese here with the profits going back into the Casa do
Caminho [40]
• Carioca Languages [41] - Learn Brazilian Portuguese at Carioca Languages. The school is situated in
Copacabana, offering intensive group courses of all levels, private lessons, conversation classes and CELPE-Bras
exam preparation
When shopping in street commerce, always bargain; this can lower
prices considerably. Bargaining in stores and malls, though, is usually
impolite. But naturally merchants won't bargain unless you ask,
especially if you are clearly a tourist. To tourists, items can easily be
overpriced by a factor of 20% especially in highly informal markets
such as Saara or on the beach.
• A typical Brazilian hammock shouldn't be more than R$20-30 but
they can sell for up to US$150.
• A beer on the beach should cost around R$3.00
Colonial buildings next to modern skyscraper in
• A caipirinha can be had for the same price (around R$3.00-R$4.00)
downtown Rio.
and you get a great show as the ingredients are produced from a
cooler and lime slices muddled before your eyes
• You can get coconut water for R$2.00-3.00
• For trinkets, your best bet is the "hippie fair" in Praça General Osório in Ipanema every Sunday.
Great bargains can be had on Brazilian-made clothing, as well as some European imports. Most imported items,
however, such as electronics, tend to be insanely expensive due to protective import duties. For example, you will
find digital cameras sell for about twice what they sell for in Europe or the U.S.
Store managers in Rio often speak some English, as this gains employees an almost-automatic promotion. But
"some" can be very little, so it is useful to learn at least some very basic Portuguese. Just knowing basic greetings,
numbers, and how to ask directions and prices will get you at least a "B" for effort, and despite finding that store
clerks may know more English than you Portuguese, it can still come in handy to know a bit of the language. Don't
be afraid to resort to writing numbers, pictures, or resorting to pantomime. Shop assistants will often tap out prices
for you on a calculator. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Brazil, with American Express to a significantly
lower degree. But beware that many stores will accept either Visa or Mastercard, but not both! If you carry only one,
look for the sign in the store window before attempting to buy.
A great choice of gift, since they do not take much space in the suitcase back home, are bikinis, a trademark from
Rio for its quality and fashion style.
Shopping malls can be found all over town, with the cheaper ones in the Zona Norte like Shopping Tijuca and
Shopping Iguatemi and popular upscale shopping malls concentrated in the Zona Sul like Shopping Rio Sul and
Shopping Leblon and Sao Conrado Fashion Mall and BarraShopping in Zona Oeste.
Organic Food
Organic food arrived in the brazilian supermarkets but if you want to support local small scale farmers you might
consider the following fairs of Circuito Feiras Organicas Carioca [42]:
• Tuesday:
Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema, Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz, de 7h às 13h
• Thursday:
Tijuca, Praça Afonso Pena, de 7h às 13h | LEBLON, Praça Antero de Quental,de 7h às 13h
• Saturday:
Bairro Peixoto, Praça Edmundo Bittencourt, de 8h às 13h | GLÓRIA, Rua do Russel, de 7h às 13h | JARDIM
BOTÂNICO, Praça da Igreja São José da Lagoa, de 7h às 13h
In Rio de Janeiro you can probably find something to fit any craving. A good approach to local food is "comida a
kilo" - buffet style restaurants where you pay by the weight of the food on your plate. An excellent place to go with
your friend or even with your partner is the Fellini restaurant. Located in Leblon, the place has a "pay for what you
eat" buffet, with really good and beautiful food. Great for all tastes, it has even Asian food on the menuapproximately R$5 per 100g. More information available online [43]. Another one is Ming Ye, Rue do Lavradio
106, near Lapa. Ming Ye offers a wide range of Chinese stir-fry and delicious sushi, as well as brazilian dishes for
cheaper prices (around R$3 per 100g).
Don't miss the Brazilian most famous dish, the feijoada (fay-zho-AH-da), a black bean stew filled with big chunks
of meat, like sausages, pork and beef. Along with the "feijoada", you also get some colorful side dishes that come
with it, such as rice, cassava (roasted manioc), collard greens, fried pork rinds, and some orange slices, to sweeten
things up a bit. This is bonafide, authentic carioca culinary excellence, almost worth the trip alone! Best while
sipping down a "caipirinha".
For the hungry, nothing beats a good rodízio (all-you-can-eat service). These are available in numerous types,
although the most well-known are the churrascaria, all-you-can-eat grilled meats. Marius, in Leme has arguably the
best churrascaria in town. Porcão [44] has 5 restaurants around Rio, whereas Carretão [45] has a good and
cheap(er) rodizio. At various restaurants around town, you can also find rodízio style dining featuring seafood, pizza,
or various appetizer-style snacks. The defining element of rodízio is that unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet, the servers
continuously bring skewers of various meats.
If you like meat but want an alternative to the rodizios, a good place to eat at is Filé de Ouro (Rua Jardim Botânico,
731, Jardim Botânico; phone: 55 (21) 2259-2396; see Google Maps for directions). The place is simple and cozy.
During the weekends there are usually big lines, but the steak is delicious. Try "Filé à Oswaldo Aranha", with toasted
Brazil has the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan, and sushi has become widely popular in Rio too. If
you are a sashimi and sushi lover, you will find a great deal of options in Rio de Janeiro. If you are in Ipanema or
nearby, a great tip is Benkei [46], that has an "all you can eat" buffet, with high quality products, great environment
and staff for nice prices.
As a former ex Portugal colony, Brasil has maintained many influences of this country on its culinary. Therefore you
will find great authentic Portuguese restaurants in Rio. A good option, from the localization to the ambiance, and
naturally the food, is the CBF Restaurant, in the Tiradentes Square, a lovely area full of antique architecture.
In Leblon, the best choice is the hip and contemporaneous Zuka, [47] where chef Ludmila creates many original
recipes. In Ipanema, Zazá Bistrô [48] is a trendy, sexy and exotic place with great South Asian dishes. Good to go
as a couple.
Because its huge coast, many Brazilian specialties are in the seafood area. They are very rich in shrimps, lobster,
calamaris, shellfish, clams, mollusks and many other tasty fishes. So, once in this land, don't miss the opportunity to
order those lovely dishes. An option of restaurant very well known is Azul Marinho which is located below the
building of Arpoador Inn [49], in Arpoador, very close to Ipanema. However, expect to pay at least R$100 per
person, and set menus go about R$120 per person, excluding drinks.
Rio de Janeiro
The highest recommendation for a decently priced superb meal is at Sobrenatural, that has the some of the freshest
fish in Rio. Go on Monday, Wendesday or Friday, when they have live samba and chorinho music by renowed
artists. Try their moqueca dishes. It is located at Rua Almirante Alexandrino, 432 Santa Teresa.
For sophisticated people who enjoy simple life, Via Sete [50] is in the heart of Ipanema, on Garcia D'Ávila. This
grill restaurant offers a great bang for the buck: from their veranda you get to people-watch pretty Brazilians. There
you can enjoy tasty wraps and sandwiches.
Felice [51] is one of those tasteful places you can just hang out all day and all night: it has a great breakfast, a
healthy lunch, varied gourmet ice-cream flavours at the palour, and a hip sunset after hour vibe. St.Tropez inspired
dinner menu with a fair cost benefit and a lounge crowd after 11PM.
Travellers with fatter pockets may also splash out a bit at the Dias Ferreira street in Leblon, Rio's up-and-coming
restaurant row.
There are many places to get pizza and lots of restaurants also offer pasta.
Rio is also famous for its pastries and street food, heritage from Portuguese and old European culture. In most
cafeterias (lanchonete; lun-sho-NETCH) you can have a pastel (pahs-TELL) or salgado (saw-GAH-do; local pastry)
for less than R$2. Typical pastries are coxinha (ko-SHEEN-ya; chicken nugget shaped like a chicken leg), and
unique Rio's joelho (zho-EH-lyo; rolled dough filled with ham and cheese). Also try pão de queijo
(pawn-deh-KAY-zho; cheese baked dough), typical from Minas Gerais but very common in Rio as well, and tapioca
(typical from Bahia), a kind of crepe made out of manioca flour.
For drinking, ask for guaraná (gwa-ra-NAH; soda made from the seed of an Amazon fruit, also available as a strong
drink), mate (MAHTCH; sweet ice tea; not like Rio Grande do Sul or Argentina's hot and sour mate), água de coco
(ah-gwa-djee-KOH-ku; natural coconut water) or caldo de cana (caw-do-djee-KAH-na; sugarcane juice). There is
also a common fruit called açaí (ah-sah-EEH), with a dark-purple pulp out of which are made juices, and ice-creams.
Typical cariocas eat it like cream in cups or glasses, mixed with granola, oats or other flakes. The best place for such
drinks are one of a number of Rio's open juice bars. Very often, these are located on street corners and have long,
curved bars offering you juices from pretty much every fruit you can imagine. The best option is a small chain of
juice bars called "Big Bi's". The juices are astounding value alongside their good selection of salgados and
sandwiches. Their açaí is one of the best in terms of value and taste and the staff are excellent. On top of all this, if
you leave a tip, you get a big "Obrigado" from all the staff. For the best Big Bi's experience, try the Tangerina ao
Limão juice along with the famous Bauru sandwich for a total of a mere R$13. Finish it all off with an açaí to go.
Perfect. Big Bi's has a few branches dotted around Copacabana and Ipanema, one of which is on the corner of Rua
Santa Clara and Rua Barata Ribeiro in Copacabana. If you then cross the road of Rua Barata Ribeiro, you will land at
an exquisite ice cream parlour.
There are many specialized "health food" shops that offer an incredible variety of rich meat and vegetable
sandwiches, plus an awesome variety of fruit juices, many of them delicious and usually unknown by foreigners.
Among them are graviola, fruta do conde, jaca, açaí, guaraná, pitomba, mango, coconut, orange, lemon, papaya,
melon, etc. (they make it as you ask and all food is 100% organic and fresh. The meal is often prepared as you wait,
so you can ask them to mix whatever fruit you want and create a customized mix if you like). You must try açaí and
guaraná, Amazon fruits which are famous to be the strongest energizers and anti-oxidants of the world. They also
offer Brazilian snacks (including many Italian and Oriental delicacies), and other simple but delicious things to eat. I
never got enough of them! These shops usually are cheap and hang many fruits at the entrance or somewhere visible
to display their quality.
Warning: look for clean places, as hygiene can be poor in many street shops.
If your palate is homesick for more familiar tastes, Rio has most of the fast-food chains found around the world
(McDonald's, KFC, Domino's, Outback, Subway, Pizza Hut and Burger King). Bob's and Habib's are the biggest
national fast food chains.
Rio de Janeiro
Many foods that in other countries are simply picked up in the hands and eaten, are either eaten with knife and fork
(such as pizza) or are picked up by wrapping a napkin around the food so that it is not touched with the hands (such
as sandwiches). You will undoubtedly notice napkin dispensers on the tables in most restaurants for this purpose.
After Hours
Leaving a club or a bar, late in the night? The best option is Cervantes in Prado Júnior Street, in Copacabana. It
closes only with the sun raising. The menu is composed by big sandwiches, with whatever you want: ham, salami,
cheese, tenderloin and so on, with one home special ingredient: a big pineapple slice. It's a tropical taste to the end of
your night. Look out for the legendary "Penguin Waiter", who've been working there forever. You won't have a
problem to find out who he is.
• Botequim (pronounced 'boo-chi-KEEN') also well known as boteco - These quite unpretentious bars with simple
appetizers and lots of ice-cold chope (draft beer) are everywhere and are almost inseparable from the carioca
lifestyle. Try Bracarense (85, José Linhares street, Leblon), one of the most traditional.
• Juice bars - Of particular note for an often hot and muggy city are the refreshing juice bars, found on nearly
every corner in the city. Choose from dozens of freshly squeezed fruit juices - mix two or three fruits together or
simply try the freshly squeezed orange juice. For a delicious Brazilian special try the açaí, a smoothie made from
a deep purple fruit from the Amazon.
• Caipirinha, a drink made of cachaça (a Brazilian liquor made of sugarcane juice), lime, sugar and ice cubes.
• Kiosks along the boardwalk at Copacabana and Ipanema beach stay open all night.
• Devassa, Nine locations in Rio (and one in São Paulo), including Leblon (Rua General San Martin 1241,
021-2540-6087) and Jardim Botânico (Av. Lineu de Paula Machado 696, 021-2294-2915). Well-crafted
microbrews, a tropical take of English ale styles.
• Lapa - A good bet for Thursdays, several bars and clubs, but the party is in the street. There you will find people
dancing and playing Samba, Choro (soft rhythm with flutes and mandolin), Reggae and Hip Hop, as well as
ballroom dancing (gafieira), but no Rock (except for some underground, which doesn't happen often or in the
same place, but usually in some less known places of Lapa) or Pop music. While drinks are sold in the bars and
clubs, vendors also roam the streets wearing coolers full of beer for even cheaper prices. It can also be a very
exciting and packed place on Friday and Saturday nights. Be sure not to bring valuables, as there are a lot of
pick-pockets operating in the area. Don't take it for the neighborhood with the same name in São Paulo, which is
totally different.
Samba clubs
Being in Rio and not going to one of the countless samba live music bars, certainly you've missed a lot on your trip.
In Lapa, the nightlife district of Rio, there are many nice bars with great atmosphere where locals go for dancing and
meeting people. There are a couple of them in the Zona Sul as well. Most of these bars work with a kind of
consumption card, which is handed to you when you enter. Everything you consume is marked on this card, and
losing it means you'll have to pay a really high fee of sometimes more than R$200,00! So take good care of it.
Rio de Janeiro
For those who like to go clubbing, Rio has some good options. You'll be seeing lots of flyers and talk about "raves"
Usually Rio's raves are devoted to trance, which is pretty popular, especially with the upper-class youngsters, though
some electronic parties do have good djs and live acts from around the world. The night in Rio is pretty much
divided between mainstream and underground.
Mainstream would be such "raves" and big electronic festivals, as well a nightclubs like Bombar (Leblon and Barra
da Tijuca), Baronetti (Ipanema) and Melt (Leblon) that are devoted to pop, dance and variations of house and trance.
Those are not, however, places you go for the music. They are usually packed with "patricinhas" (tanned, long
soft-haired girls with gym-built bodies) and specially "pitboys" (upper/middle-class boys, known for having various
degrees of martial arts training and a certain tendency for violence). Yes, fights are one of the major problems with
the mainstream clubbing scene in Rio. It's also fairly expensive. You'd be expecting to pay between R$30 and R$50
to get in a club (girls pay less, but all those clubs will have an f/m proportion around 1/3) and between R$50 and
R$100 for a "rave" or electronic music party being held at spots like the Marina.
Though with far less options, the underground clubbing scene is more available and interesting than the mainstream.
Most of the underground clubs are on Zona Sul and offer different parties for each day of the week. The underground
club scene has a more diverse public, from goths to punks also with strong hedonistic tints. It's very gay-friendly and
most of the parties and clubs have almost the same m/f proportion. It is also far cheaper than the mainstream clubs,
with tickets starting as low as R$5 and not going further up than R$25. Some good alternative clubs are Fosfobox
(Copacabana), Dama de Ferro (Ipanema) and Casa da Matriz (Botafogo).
For a real "carioca" experience, try Mariuzinn Copacabana. Brazilian Funk and eletronic music, with a eccentric
crowd. It just finishes when the last dancer gives up. Which means early in the morning. It will be an unforgettable
In the Zona Sul, you will find Rio's fanciest and most popular hotels
along the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, but there are lots of
small, cheap, clean hotels around Flamengo and Catete. The street in
front of the strip of tourist hotels in Copacabana can be seedy, due to
both garishly-dressed tourists, and a few opportunistic locals ready to
take advantage of them. The apart-hotels in Ipanema are a much more
pleasant alternative, being both better appointed and in a nicer
neighborhood with fewer tourists.
Sunset at Arpoador, best in Rio
Accommodation in the lower Centro can be convenient for business
travellers. The surrounding areas, however, are far from pleasant at
night, being nearly deserted and lacking decent restaurants and leisure options. The central Santa Teresa
neighbourhood, however, is quite departed from the city centre life and has plenty of pleasant bed and breakfasts and
a significant nightlife.
Given Rio's rise as a fashionable destination with creative and fashion people, some hotels that cater to the
design-conscious crowd have also been popping up at the most upscale neighborhoods. The city also has a large
selection of apart-hotels, which provide apartment-style accommodations with kitchen facilities. Private
condominium apartments can also be rented short-term at reasonable rates, and can be found on the internet. This is
probably a preferable means of finding one of these than the notes that will be passed to you by anonymous persons
on the street. These apartments generally have a one-week minumum, or two weeks during Carnaval or New Years
Rio de Janeiro
Accommodation in Rio is probably Brazil's most expensive. There is a relative shortage of hotel rooms on the
cheaper range and booking in advance is recommended. Moreover, prices for most accommodation can more than
triple during New Year's and Carnival. Those are very busy periods and booking well in advance is recommended.
Note that most hotels in tourist areas will only sell 4-day packages and charge in advance - even if you want to stay
only for a couple of days during those events. Other than those, the busiest month is January - summer holidays in
Motels, that you will see mainly on the outskirts of the city, are not motels in the North American sense. Rather, they
are places you go with your lover for a few hours. One famous motel, overlooking the Sheraton in Leblon, was taken
over by the US Secret Service when George Bush Sr stayed at the Sheraton. It is not recorded whether heart-shaped
beds, mirrors on the ceiling and on-tap porno movies affected their work!
If hostel life is more your style, they are easy to find in Rio. The more expensive ones boast locations that are short
walking distance to either Ipanema or Copacabana beach. However if you prefer to stay in Lapa, Glória, Catete, and
Botafogo, there are many other choices available. Hostelling has become increasingly popular in Brazil, and many of
them are located at walking distance from hot spots. Beware, however, not to be taken to any fraudulent scheme you might end up being robbed. Look for accredited places with Youth Hostelling International and similar
Stay healthy
Rio is vulnerable to epidemics of dengue fever, particularly during the late summer months of February and March.
If an epidemic occures, be sure to take the appropriate precautions by using insect repellant and, if you happen to be
staying at a place with a balcony, make sure there is no standing water around.
Here is a list of medical clinics and hospitals in Rio de Janeiro that accept international traveler´s health insurance:
• The Tourist Doctor [52], Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 605/406, Copacabana, tel: 3596-1222. Rio de
Janeiro's most trusted and experienced team of English speaking doctors, offering 24 hour care to you in the
comfort of your own hotel or apartment rental. We accept most major traveler's insurance and health plans, and
offer completed medical forms and receipts for those travelers with reimbursement policies. We are your family
doctor away from home.
• Galdino Campos Clinic [53], Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana 492, Copacabana, tel: 2548-9966. 24 hours, 7
days a week. All specialties. Accepts most traveler's insurance or health plans. Home-care visit at hotels and
hostels also available.
Stay safe
It is important to note that while the following information may panic
you and also make you question whether to go or not to Rio, most
visitors to the city have a great time with no incidents.
Still, Rio can be dangerous. As a traveler, even if you don't leave the
"Zona Sul" (which include Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea,
Jardim Botânico, Flamengo, Laranjeiras, Botafogo, Urca) or Western
Suburbs (Barra, Recreio), you may experience a palpable tension over
Armed robbery in Rio de Janeiro.
Generally, tourists (also called "gringos," which is not derogatory but
means "outsiders") and teenagers are considered "easy" targets for criminals. Day-to-day living has also been
affected by this. For example, regular banks all have fortress style security doors and armed security men. Rio can be
a dangerous city and it is wise to follow these rules even if they seem exaggerated.
Rio de Janeiro
In order to fully enjoy your trip the traveler should pay attention to simple things. Avoid the downtown area,
especially Saara, after dark. Although downtown is a relatively safe place during the day, after-dark all the people
who work there have already gone home. If you are going to a theater or a show, it's all right; but do not wander in
those dark streets by night. Go to Ipanema beach, all lighted and policed during the night, though even there is not
entirely safe for tourists who look obviously like tourists.
On Sunday, most shops are closed and their security guards are absent, so the neighbourhood Centro is not safe in
the daytime. Also, even the bigger streets in Copacabana are less safe after dark so the beach walk is probably the
best option.
Should you find yourself being mugged, the normal advice applies:
Don't resist or do anything to aggravate the muggers. Try not to stare in their faces as they might think you are
memorizing their appearance. Eyes to the ground is probably your best bet. Let them take anything they want (keep
your arms limp). Afterwards, leave the scene quickly but calmly (don't run in panic screaming for the police).
In the morning, especially before the police arrive, if you are walking or jogging on, Copacabana should be
considered unsafe. Even with people around, joggers are popular targets for mugging. If you plan on jogging make
sure not to wear anything that may tempt a mugger (watch, ipod etc) and if you can, wait until after 10:00 AM.
When in downtown during the rush hour, be aware of pickpockets as in any other big city centre. The difference in
Rio is that the pickpocket can often be a bit violent: one of them pushing you forward in the bus or to the ground in
the street while another one takes your wallet and runs away. It's not that usual or as bad as it sounds, but try to avoid
being in real danger by reacting strongly as these guys often operate in armed groups (2-5 people), some unnoticed
by you.
In the area around Copacabana beach (and maybe in the city centre),
the tourist should be aware of a shoe shining scam. The tourist will be
approached by a shoeshiner and to his astonishment discover a large,
dirty blot on his shoes (which is actually shoe polish or mustard but
looks like quite something else). The tourist is typically shown to a
chair and has his shoes or sandals cleaned in the best manner. Only
after this service is rendered, the outrageous price of somewhere
around R$1000 or more is revealed. At this point, muscular friends of
the shoeshiner typically appear to "oversee" the completion of the
On weekends, beaches in Rio are watched by
The subway is fairly safe, so it is recommended to use it if you want to go from one place to another. Although you
may be used to taking the handy and good trains in Europe or even in North America to go across many places, you
won't need to take a train in Rio. If you do, it can be a fairly nice trip to the suburbs or a chaotic journey to a bad
neighborhood in a train where people sell all kinds of weird stuff, where everyone will look at you in a way you will
feel you are a alien, about to be mugged. Buses on the South Zone are fairly safe as well, but, in the city centre, they
can be quite crowded. Inside a bus, being mugged is always a threat: less so but stil possible in the South and tourist
zones. Always remember that Bus 174 movie. It happens so often that they don't even go to the news (only
homicides or big cases where the police got involved such as this Bus 174 go to the news). In the subway, it is quite
unlikely though, which is one extra point to the subway!
Don't walk around with lots of money in your pocket. ATM's are everywhere (prefer the ones inside shopping
centres) and credit/debit cards are widely accepted. But don't walk around without any money: you may need
something to give to the bad guys in case you are mugged. Not having money to give a mugger can be dangerous as
they may get angry and resort to violence. An excellent idea is to buy a "capanga" (literally meaning bodyguard),
that is, a small frontal unisex pouch, normally used to carry your wallet, checks, money and car keys.
Rio de Janeiro
Avoid wearing jewelry or other signs of wealth (iPods, fancy cell phones/mobiles, digital cameras, etc.) if possible,
at any time of the day, as these attract attention. Thieves have been known to run past targets and tear off necklaces,
rings, and earrings without stopping. Earrings are particularly dangerous as tearing them off often harms the owner.
There are around 700 favelas in the city and most of them can potentially be unsafe in Rio: and there is always one
near you (by a couple of miles or just a few yards). These are easily recognized by their expansive brick walls, and
are often on a hillside. The slums grew from being impoverished neighborhoods but are now large areas ruled by
drug lords. If you want to keep your nice vision of Rio, you don't need to go there. However, some favelas are
amazingly huge, and a new experience for some -- there are some travel agencies who take people on tours there. If
you want to go, pay one of those agencies. NEVER go to a favela by yourself, or with an unknown guide. The tour
operators have "safe-conduct pacts" with the local drug dealers. If you don't have one, you'll be in BIG trouble.
You'll most likely be approached by the drug baron's guards and asked what you are doing there (and these guys
typically don't speak English). If you don't have a good reason (and you probably don't), the consequences could be
dire. Don't count on the police to help you, as they don't like to enter the favela either, except in special
circumstances, though most likely they will check if you are carrying any drugs upon leaving the favela.
In Brazil, every state has two police forces: the Civil (Polícia Civil) and Military (Polícia Militar). Only the latter
wear uniform (in Rio, it is navy blue). The city of Rio also has an unarmed Civil Guard, dressed in khaki. Policemen
can usually be trusted, but corruption in Brazil is still rampant and a few officers may try to extort you or demanding
a little bribe. When this happens, it is usually very subtle, and the officer may typically say something about "some
for the beer" (cervejinha). If you are not willing, refuse and ask for another officer. Don't ever try to bribe a
policeman on your own--most of them are honest and you might end up in jail.
The local emergency dial number is 190.
At night, especially after traffic has died down, you may hear what sounds like fireworks and explosions. This is not
as menacing as it sounds, though it is still indicative of somebody up to no good. These are often firecrackers set-off
as signals in the favelas. It might mean that a drug shipment has arrived and is in-transit or that the police are making
a raid into the favela. It is a signal to gang operatives who act as lookouts and surrogate police to be extra-vigilant.
However, real shoot-outs may occur, especially on weekends. If you are on the street and you hear a shooting, find
shelter in the nearest shop or restaurant.
For your safety, cross at the crosswalks, not closer to the corner, and watch for cars regardless of traffic lights.
Carjacking can be a threat too, especially if you are outside the tourist areas and after dark. It is perfectly acceptable
(even if exactly legal) not to stop in the traffic lights if there is nobody else on the street and you feel it's okay to go
(if there are no other cars). You will see even police doing this. Some major motorways such as Linha Amarela
(Yellow Line: connects the west zone(Barra da Tijuca) to the north zone - may be your way to Norte Shopping for
example) and Linha Vermelha (Red Line - the main connection from the International Airport) are strongly avoided
late at night. Both motorways are surrounded by favelas so carjacking is usual and shoot-outs may occur between
rival drug lords or between drug lords and the police. If you rent a car, be aware of all these issues. As a tourist, it
may be better not to rent one anyway, as if you get lost and go to a bad neighbourhood (and again, there will always
be one near you), you will most likely be in trouble.
If you want to go to a traditional escola de samba (samba school), Mangueira is a good place. This is close to a
favela, so you should go with a guide accordingly. If you do have a trustful Brazilian friend that can take you, that's
excellent. Ask the friend to take you to Maracanã as well to watch a football (soccer) match! Yet exercise great
caution if you go by yourself especially if two of the local Rio teams are playing (Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo,
and Vasco). These matches can be very exciting but also very dangerous especially if between Flamengo and
Botafogo or Vasco. If it looks like the team for which the fans around you are cheering is losing, it is wise to leave
the stadium before the match ends. You don't want to be in the middle of a very angry bunch of football fans when
they all cram out of the stadium.
Rio de Janeiro
The Rio Times is the only English language news publication dedicated to the English speaking foreign community
living and traveling in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They have been publishing weekly online since March 2009, covering
Rio Politics, Business, Real Estate, Sports, Entertainment, Travel, as well as offer Classifieds and a daily Rio
Nightlife Guide.
• Lavamaq's, Praia do Flamengo, 118 - Flamengo (two blocks south of Metro Catete), 21 2557-5965. Self-service
laundry, $R25 wash and dry.
Egypt, Rua Muniz Barreto 741, Botafogo, Phone:+55 21 2554-6318, Fax:+55 21 2552-8997
Japan, Praia do Flamengo, 200-10 andar, Phone:+55 21 3461-9595, Fax:+55 21 3235-2241 [54]
United States, Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Centro, Phone:+55 21 3823-2000 [55]
Go next
• Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande. Angra is surrounded by 365 islands, the largest being Ilha Grande, a pretty
island and former penal colony with beautiful beaches and good hiking. Angra is 2-3 hours from Rio by car and it
is a one-hour boat ride from there to Ilha Grande.
• Arraial do Cabo is a small town near Búzios. Its beaches have the most beautiful turquoise waters of Rio de
Janeiro state. Beaches like Forno and Prainhas do Atalaia are surrounded by virgin lush green coastal vegetation
and have clear blue waters similar to the Caribbean ones.
• Búzios is a small peninsula about three hours east of Rio. It has several beaches, lots of places to stay and an
abundance of night clubs.
• Niteroi - The ferry between Rio and Niteroi, a city across the bay, is a pleasant and cheap trip (as of October
2010, R$ 2.80). There are a couple of kinds of boats, ranging from very cheap and slow (called barca) to fairly
cheap and fast (called catamarã, catamaran). Niteroi does not have many tourist attractions, but it does have a
wonderful unique view of Rio and an intriguing contemporary art museum [56], which looks like a flying saucer
jutting out over the sea (designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer). Also, it has one of the state's most
beautiful beaches, Itacoatiara, which can be reached by the bus numbered 38.
• Paraty - One hour south of Angra, this is a fully-conserved 18th-century colonial town by the ocean, hidden by
tall jungle-covered mountains which used to be a hideout for pirates after the Portuguese ships; a must-see for
people interested in History and Culture; also good for Rainforest hiking and kayaking.
• Paquetá -- Though not exactly outside of Rio, because it is an island and can only be reached by a 70 minutes
ferry ride, this district of Rio makes an excellent (and inexpensive) day trip. The island is an car-free zone, so
travel is limited to bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. There's not a lot to do on this island, but the ferry ride is
worth it.
• Petrópolis - In the mountains outside Rio. A good place to cool down when Rio becomes too hot.
• Praia do Abricó [57] The best public naturist beach around Rio, located in Grumari, right after Prainha. Facilities
and telephone service are quite limited, so plan ahead.
• Teresópolis - Another mountain town, near Petrópolis.
• Serra dos Órgãos -Nationalpark in the mountains west of Rio.
Rio de Janeiro
Routes through Rio de Janeiro
Vitória ← Niterói ←
→ Mangaratiba → Santos
Fortaleza ← Teresópolis ←
→ Nova Iguaçu → São Paulo
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could
use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!
[1] http:/ / sevennaturalwonders. org/
[2] http:/ / viajemais. voeazul. com. br/
[3] http:/ / www. realautoonibus. com. br/ Site/ NossasLinhas-Premium-00,undefined,REAL84866120120119115236-71. html
[4] http:/ / www. rioairporttransfer. com
[5] http:/ / www. supervia. com. br/
[6] http:/ / www. novorio. com. br/
[7] http:/ / www. itapemirim. com. br
[8] http:/ / www. nspenha. com. br
[9] http:/ / www. viacaocometa. com. br
[10] http:/ / www. autoviacao1001. com. br
[11] http:/ / www. passagem-em-domicilio. com. br/ expresso%20brasileiro. asp
[12] http:/ / www. greentoadbus. com/ en/
[13] http:/ / www. rioonibus. com
[14] http:/ / www. metrorio. com. br
[15] http:/ / www. corcovado. com. br/ index_ing. html
[16] http:/ / www. jbrj. gov. br/
[17] http:/ / www. museuvillalobos. org. br/
[18] http:/ / www. mangueira. com. br
[19] http:/ / www. salgueiro. com. br
[20] http:/ / www. academicosdarocinha. com. br/
[21] http:/ / www. sambacity. info/
[22] http:/ / www. skycenter. com. br
[23] http:/ / www. couchsurfing. org/ group. html?gid=1234
[24] http:/ / www. cruzeirotaxiaereo. com. br/
[25] http:/ / www. helisight. com. br/
[26] http:/ / www. casarosa. com. br
[27] http:/ / www. uerj. br
http:/ / www. ufrj. br
http:/ / www. scri. ufrj. br/ oprt30. htm
http:/ / www. uff. br
http:/ / www. puc-rio. br
http:/ / www. cce. puc-rio. br/ letras/ portuguesingles. htm
http:/ / www. goethe. de/ br/ rio
http:/ / www. ibeu. org. br/
http:/ / www. culturainglesa. com. br
http:/ / riodejaneiro. cervantes. es/ br
http:/ / www. rioaliancafrancesa. com. br
http:/ / www. impa. br
http:/ / casadocaminho-languagecentre. org/
http:/ / www. casadocaminhobrasil. org/
[41] http:/ / www. carioca-languages. com/
[42] http:/ / www. facebook. com/ abio. circuito
[43] http:/ / www. fellini. com. br
Rio de Janeiro
http:/ / www. porcao. com. br/
http:/ / www. carretaochurrascaria. com. br/
http:/ / www. benkei. com. br/
http:/ / www. zuka. com. br
http:/ / www. zazabistro. com. br
http:/ / www. cozinhatipica. com. br/ ver_restaurante. php?id=1
http:/ / www. viasete. com. br
http:/ / www. felice. com. br
http:/ / www. thetouristdoctor. com
http:/ / www. galdinocampos. com. br
http:/ / www. rio. br. emb-japan. go. jp/
http:/ / riodejaneiro. usconsulate. gov/
http:/ / www. macniteroi. com. br/
http:/ / www. anabrico. com/ i_abertura. htm
Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Ceará state.
Fortaleza is one of the largest cities in Brazil and certainly one of the most vibrant. Temperatures range from 23-31
C with rare exceptions. July - November has virtually no rain. February - May can have its share, but mostly at night.
Fairly safe for a Brazilian city this size (about 2,5 million[1]), but stay alert when wandering away from Beira Mar,
especially after dark. Despite being quite a party town, the carnival in Fortaleza is rather feeble, although growing
bigger by the year, with the largest parades being Maracatu-style.
The official history of Fortaleza as a permanent settlement dates back to the 17th century, when the Dutch had a brief
dispute with the Portuguese over the territory. However some local historians fiercely defend the thesis that the very
first European to land in South America -allegedly the Spaniard Vicente Yáñez Pinzón- did so where the city's port is
situated today, in January 1500, i.e. a few months before Portuguese Pedro Alvares Cabral's much celebrated arrival
in Porto Seguro.
Probably the most proudly remembered occasion of local history was the abolition of slavery in 1884, four years
ahead of Brazil as a whole. The mulatto Dragão do Mar, native of Aracati, reached a near-mythical status for his
role in the boycott of slave ships starting in 1881, and is still widely recognized.
The author José de Alencar [2] is so important for the identity of the city of Fortaleza (and also the state), that its
inhabitants are nicknamed Alencarinos. He eagerly discussed the origins of the people, languages and geographical
names of the region. Most important in this context is the novel Iracema, with its renowned main character lending
her name to several neighborhoods and inspiring statues around town.
In Brazil, Fortaleza is also known for its crop of comedians and the forró music and dance, all gaining popularity
countrywide. The city is perhaps the most popular domestic package tour destination, and Europeans are following
suit. Sadly, the latter comes with its share of holiday prostitution.
Several municipal tourist information[3] offices around, the most convenient being at the airport, the Central
Market and Beira Mar(Half way between McDonald's and the fish market).
Get in
By air
The modern terminal building of the international airport Pinto Martins[4] (Telephone +55 85 3392 1200) was
opened in 1998. An extension of the same size should be ready by 2014. Services here include federal police, post
office, health authorities, internet cafe, tourist information and travel agencies. Airlines fly to almost every major
city in Brazil and also other capitals of South America, mostly via São Paulo. Today's flights can be checked
Direct flights to Europe:
• Daily to Lisboa by TAP[7]
• Weekly to Amsterdam, via Natal with ArkeFly[6], often cheaper if bought at FlyBrazil[7].
• Weekly to Rome and Milan with Air Italy[8].
Other international flights:
• To Lisbon via Cape Verde every Sunday by TACV.
• The Miami route keeps opening, closing and reopening again. Delta[9] is currently having their go. Otherwise the
direct route from [Manaus] is an alternative to Sao Paulo.
Allow at least an hour for immigration control if you fly in from abroad. Double it if there is another international
flight shortly before yours.
There is an urban bus 404 Aeroporto/Benfica which runs frequently between the airport and the center, where you
can find buses to virtually anywhere in Fortaleza (Not recommended at night). This bus also stops at the main bus
station. Going to the urban beaches can either be done this way, or by crossing the parking lot(keep slightly to the
right) and the highway (somewhat on your left) and catch the 027 Siqueira Papicu/Aeroporto, which will take you
pretty straight to Praça Portugal/Shopping Aldeota in 25 minutes, traffic allowing. (Not recommended at night)
From here you can either walk some 7 blocks along Avenida Desembargador Moreira to the beach of Meireles, or
you can wait for Circular 1 which passes within a block of most hotels in Meireles and Praia Iracema. Reverse this
process (Start with Circular 2) to get to the airport, which is slightly easier as the bus then stops right in front of the
terminal, and not on the highway.
There are two types of taxis, follow the signs: Airport taxis are more expensive, and have fixed prices. Most tourist
areas fall within the most expensive zone, charging R$ 32,40 (R$ 48,60 on rate 2). Regular taxis offer just about the
same comfort, and run on the meter, stopping at about R$ 25 (R$ 40 rate 2) to Praia de Iracema or Meireles.
Bargaining is tough out here, but fairly easy in the opposite direction.
By bus
The main bus station (Telephone +55 85 3230 1111) has buses to most all of the country, often via connections.
Expresso Guanabara[10] has the most extensive network from here, and also sells tickets near Beira Mar: Loc Autos,
Av. Abolição 1840 and Bem Estar Tur, Rua Tabajaras 580. Note that most lines within the state[11] of Ceará have
their last coach leaving around 6-7 PM. Buses to neighbouring towns, within some 100 km, often leave from the
train station in the centre.
• To Natal 8 times daily (3 of these stopping in Mossoró) by Nordeste[12] and Guanabara [13] R$ 35-150, 6-8
• To Salvador daily at 7 PM by Itapemirim[14]. R$ 190. 22 hours.
Taxi to Beira Mar is about R$ 15 and 10-15 minutes. The bus 099 Siqueira - Mucuripe / Barão de Studart (on
Sundays this line is substituted by 078 Siqueira - Mucuripe, bus stop around the corner) will take you the same place
in around 25 minutes, -right from the doorstep of the bus station! If you are heading for Praia de Iracema (or
anywhere else west of Av. Barão de Studart), take two lefts from the bus station's main entrance, then cross the
street, and take the bus 073 Siqueira - Praia de Iracema. The bus 404 Aeroporto - Benfica takes you to the airport
in less than 15 minutes.
A second, smaller bus station is in the western suburb of Antonio Bezerra(1,2 km down the road from the urban bus
terminal with the same name). Most all lines here are en route between the main bus station and western Ceará (such
as Jeri or Sobral. Access from Av. Desembargador Moreira by bus 076 Conjunto Ceará / Aldeota in about 40
A third bus station opened early 2010 in the southern suburb of Messejana (next to the urban bus terminal with the
same name), and has lines by the companies São Benedito (for Canoa), Fretcar and Expresso Guanabara mostly en
route between the main bus terminal and the southern and eastern parts of Ceará.
Get around
Most tourists will not go more than 5 blocks from the sea, except for the airport and bus station, and perhaps a
shopping mall. The following main streets will take you from the city centre to the fish market, by way of Dragão do
Mar and the beaches Iracema and Meireles, totalling some 6 km: Avenida Almirante Barroso, Av. Beira Mar (until
Rua Ildefonso Albano, where it's cut off by an artificial beach -the aterro.), Av. Historiador Raimundo Girão, Av.
Beira Mar (from Av. Rui Barbosa). This last three km section of Beira Mar (literally Sea Side) is by far the most
attractive part of the city, with police stands and patrols making it fairly safe around the clock, although rather
deserted from midnight to dawn. From the fish market, where the Avenida Beira Mar with its broad pavement stops,
to the beach of Praia do Futuro is the port area, backed by a refinery and slums. Walking here at daytime can be
risky, -at night it's asking for trouble.
By subway
Many years in the planning, and quite some time under construction, always halted but budget quarrels, Metrofor
promises to take you there and back in no time. Whenever it will be operational.
By bus
As any major Brazilian city, Fortaleza can be done almost entirely by bus [15]. Ticket price is R$ 2 (rare exceptions,
like Sundays at R$ 1,40), and if you get off at a terminal you can change lines without paying again. Most lines run 7
days a week 0500-2300, give or take. The lines listed here, deemed most useful for tourists, will run roughly every
10 minutes daytime weekdays, frequencies perhaps halved nightime and weekends, and down to once an hour after
midnight. Only the most useful parts of the routes are described. Some lines have the number 1 or 2 after their
names, only to indicate direction, others don't. I.e. the very same bus with the same number and name could be
running either from A to B, or from B to A. Ask!
• Centro/Beira Mar Caça e Pesca is comfy and air conditioned. It runs Beira Mar and all along Praia do Futuro.
Returning it swaps Beira Mar for Abolição. This bus can get very packed from Praia do Futuro before sunset.
Risk of muggings at Praia do Futuro bus stops after dark.
• Circular 1/2 - 24 hours!!! City center - Mercado Central - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão Abolicão - Desembargador Moreira/Shopping Aldeota.
• Grande Circular 1/2 - 24 hours!!! City Centre - Dragão do Mar - Historiador Raimundo Girão - Abolição - Praia
do Futuro - Terminal Papicu - Shopping Iguatemi.
• Centro Iguatemi - R$ 3,00. Last bus leaves Iguatemi at 2200, does not run on Sundays. Comfy and air
conditioned. City centre - Monsenhor Tabosa - Abolição - Desembargador Moreira (Shopping Aldeota), leaves
you inside the Iguatemi shopping mall.
A slowly increasing number of buses, although this far none belonging to the above mentioned lines, are monitored
in real-time and you can check how far your bus is from your stop. [16]
By taxi
All 4000-odd taxis in town run on the same meter system [17], except the special cabs at the airport. Start price is
R$3,62, then R$1,81 per km on rate 1 and R$ 2,72/km on rate 2. The latter is charged every day from 20:00 to 06:00,
Saturdays also from 13:00 to 20:00 and all Sunday, public holidays, and the whole month of December. Waiting is
charged R$ 18,10 per hour.
It is mandatory for taxis to display the fare system on one of the rear side windows. Do not take a cab without such a
Cab drivers in Fortaleza are fairly honest, although a few will put the meter on rate 2 too often. The meter should
always run unless you have fixed a price before getting into the car. Most trips that would exceed R$ 10 on the meter
are negotiable, and when you pass R$ 30 on the meter a discount of up to 50% could be obtained if you bargain well.
Taxi stands are abundant [18], but it can often prove easier to negotiate if you hail one off the street.
Average bargained prices to out-of-town-destinations:
• Cumbuco R$ 80 return same day.
• Canoa Quebrada R$ 150.
By moto taxi
Depending on the traffic flow, this can be a rather scary experience. In general about half the price of a cab, starting
at R$ 4 for runs up to ten blocks or so.
Rental car
Brazilian city traffic makes this option a bit frustrating for anyone who honks less than once a minute while driving
back home. The city is best covered by bus and cab, but a car can make many daytrips to outlying beaches. Rental
shops are virtually everywhere. Despite huge signs claiming low prices, you will hardly end up paying less than R$
60 for the most basic car, -plus fuel. Beach buggies start at R$ 100.
Quite an effort has been put into restoring colonial architecture over the last years. Still there is no area that is
completely "clean", but the stretch from the beachfront of Praia de Iracema, via Dragão do Mar and to Praça do
Ferreira is steadily improving and worth a walk.
• History Train[19] and Step-by-Step History[20] are two free tours offered on alternating Saturdays in the city
centre. Show up at Banco do Nordeste, Rua Floriano Peixoto 941, at 1:15 PM. Both last about 3 hours. Basic
Portuguese is a must.
• Praça do Ferreira is the main city square, with stores, restaurants, a movie theater and plenty of benches.
• Praça José de Alencar has plenty of greenery and is the place to catch the city's best street performers.
• Theatro José de Alencar[21] on the south side of the above square. The architectural landmark of the city,
finished in 1912, has performances almost every evening. Visits every hour on the hour, except noon. R$ 4, 30
• The Dragão do Mar[22] culture center, opened in 1999, has an art museum, a library, a cinema and surrounding
• Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, Rua Senador Pompeu 350, centre. Located in an old prison, now the Centro
de Turismo, along with a handicraft market and a tourist information. Displays many fine examples of folk art as
well as boats and other cultural relics.
• The sunset, either from Ponte Metalica, Praia Iracema, or the beach by the fish market, Mucuripe.
• Parque Ecologico do Cocó, the city's largest green area, near the Iguatemi-mall. No lawns, but a nice walk in the
• Cathedral, city centre. The closer you get, the worse it looks, with a parking lot and all. But it still has nice
mosaics. French architect George Mounier allegedly was inspired by the Cologne cathedral. Note the 40 year span
between the initial works and the inaugural mass, above the main entrance.
• Museu do Ceará, Rua Sao Paulo 51, one block north of Pr. do Ferreira, centre. In a late 19th-century seat of state
government. Explains the history of the state of Ceará and its capital. Free entry.
• Museu do Automóvel(Veteran Car Club do Brasil), Rua Desembargador Manuel Sales Andrade 70 (Walk some
7 blocks up Av. Cel. Miguel Dias from Shopping Iguatemi's main entrance, then turn right.), Phone:+55 85 3273
3129 [23], 9-12, 14-17, closed Mondays and Sunday afternoons., R$ 7, Some 60 cars on display, mostly of US
make, ranging from 1917 to 1995(!). Notably two funeral cars from the 30's.
• Estoril, Rua dos Tabajaras 397, Praia de Iracema (Near Pirata Bar), This mansion, built in 1925 as Vila Morena,
and later used as a casino, a restaurant(when its current name was applied) and a rather political bar, is of peculiar
architecture. It was virtually rebuilt in the 90's, and is undergoing another refurbishment to be used for public
cultural arrangements.
• Mercado dos Pinhões, Praça Visconde de Pelotas, Praia de Iracema (Two blocks inland from the shops at Rua
Monsenhor Tabosa), This former meat market was imported piece by piece from Europe and set up in 1897.
Refurbished and now used as a handicrafts fair.
• Mini Siará(Museu de Miniaturas), Rua José Avelino 250 (Right off Dragão do Mar), Tue - Sat 2 PM - 5 PM, R$
5, More cute than really interesting, this tiny museum has about 25 scale models of Fortaleza's colonial buildings,
and also a couple of scale landscapes.
The monthly listing Olheiro can befound in he receptions of most large hotels, or downloaded as .pdf[24].
Urban beaches
Beach Worries
Don't buy anything from beach (or street) vendors. Their food is a potential hazard to your health, and most anything they sell can be had from the
beach shacks at a similar price. Souvenirs and clothing is cheaper and more varied at the Feirinha or Mercado Central. Many of them will distract
you and steal your belongings. And, please, don't feel sorry for the kids: The more money they can make on the street/beach, the more colleagues
they will attract: Their income goes either straight to their parents, or to drug dealers. The city of Fortaleza provides food and shelter for homeless
kids, -note the people with the high visibility vests strolling Beira Mar. If you are sitting at a table, and really need something from a vendor, -say
cigarettes, -ask the waiter to do the shopping on the pavement. This will be appreciated by everyone around you.
There are a couple of locals (although they will sometimes tell you otherwise) that speak some English who approach tourists on the beaches being
very helpful. In the end they are not. They want your money, -watch out!
There are two nice city beaches, Praia de Iracema and Meireles. Some people discourage bathing here, although
they are mostly rated green by authorities[25]. The whole stretch from the Ponte Metálica (aka Ponte Inglesa) pier to
the fish market is paralleled by the Avenida Beira Mar, very nice for an evening stroll. A string of shacks line the
beachfront, mostly good for drinking and people watching. Some of these, particularly when serving in the sand,
have up to three different menus with varying prices. Sunbeds can be charged up to R$ 30 a day, although the real
price is R$ 3-5. Unless otherwise stated, cross the street for food. The busiest strip (with the most expensive beer),
including the bulk of beggars, prostitutes and vendors, is right in front of McDonald's, to avoid these go east of the
market. A selection listed from west (Praia de Iracema) to east (Fish market):
• Babagula, more sandwiches, playground for children. Subway is cohabiting.
• Satéhut, Dutch run with some Indonesian on the menu. Clean toilet!
Veraneio, the hedges protect you!
Joca, Gay.
Beira Mar Grill, decent food.
Volta da Jurema, near Othon Palace. Nice sunset.
G2, a notch cheaper than the rest.
The most attractive urban beach is Praia do Futuro, about 5 km (unsafe to walk) from Meireles. Windy, with rather
strong currents and undertows, swimming can be a challenge, but for a dip it's fine. Some 150(!) beach shacks, here a
selection from north (closest to Beira Mar) to south, with their special features:
• Marulhos. Reggae music and good food. Try the escondidinho.
• Croco Beach. Plenty gringos. "After Beach" with live music on Sundays, sunset to eightish, no forro! Taxi
drivers get a R$ 2 commission for each head they land here, -get a discount on the fare!
• Sorriso do Sol. Reggae and cannabis.
• Vira Verão. Young Brazilian crowd. If you're lucky, you'll get a table.
• Vila Galé. Belongs to the hotel. Perhaps the neatest appearance, definitely the most expensive!
• Chico do Carangueijo. Clean, popular, good food, specializing in crab, sometimes live music.
• Côco Beach and Boa Vida. Mainly foreigners and their crew, live forro.
At the very end of Praia do Futuro its name changes to Caça e Pesca. Freshwater swimming in a strong current
where the river Cocò meets the ocean.
There is good surfing on the beaches, and frequent competitions at Praia do Futuro.
• Chandler Surf, 411 Rua 24 de Maio, Phone:+55 85 8803-4487 [26], is a surf school working at Meireles
Wednesday - Sunday afternoons, R$ 17-35 an hour, including board rent.
• Aldeia Surf School, Phone:+55 85 9444-7496 / 8610-4092, Offers surf lessons and surf trips every day of the
week. Based at Hotel Vila Galé.
Kite and Wind Surfing
Good conditions most of the year, with winds up to 40 knots.
• Windzen, Praia do Futuro (Next to Vira Verao) [27], Equipment (Naish dealer) and classes. Helpful with info
about out-of-town spots.
Schooner cruises
A couple of motorized schooners and a catamaran do similar 2 hour cruises along the city beaches at R$ 30 per
person, setting out daily at 10:00 and 16:00 from near the Iracema-statue, where they also have their ticket booths.
The latter time is better, as you get the sunset. Bring swim-gear. Minimum of ten people required- often cancelled in
the low season.
Another schooner takes you all the way to Cumbuco at 09:00, lands you for lunch and has buses you back to
Fortaleza before 5 PM. R$ 130.
The nearest golf club is in neighbouring Iguape, some 30 minutes by car from Beira Mar.
Oba [28] has the full programme for the city's cinemas.
• Shopping Aldeota [29] and Shopping Del Paseo[30] are walking distance from Beira Mar, along Av.
Desembargador Moreira.
• The largest complex is at the Iguatemi-mall, with some 12 showrooms mostly displaying the latest fare [31] from
• At Dragão do Mar[32] there's a more alternative selection.
• Ceará Music[33] Brazilian rock, pop and techno during three days in October by the hotel Marina Park. About
R$ 40 per night.
• Fortal [34] Fortaleza´s Salvador-style out-of-season carnival (allegedly the largest in Brazil) kicks off in a
purpose-built area near Praia do Futuro. Direct buses from the Papicu terminal. Thursday - Saturday from dusk
till dawn. End of July.
• Vida e Arte [35] A range of Brazilian music and other performances. January.
• Although carnival here is rather dull, the city's pré-carnaval is a major happening, all the way from New Year
until the real thing starts in February or March. Several venues, the most accessible at Dragão do mar Saturdays
from 3 PM.
• The local Gay Parade, officially named Parada pela Diversidade Sexual de Fortaleza, happens along Beira Mar
on the last Sunday of June[36].
There are a few private lesson on offer for foreigners who want to learn Portuguese. These typically cost around R$
20 per hour.
• Easy to Learn language school. Rua Frei Mansueto, 1018, Meireles, Phone 3267 1622 - Portuguese private classes
for foreigners are around R$ 40
Job opportunities for travellers are scarce.
The state of Ceará has a large textile industry, and arguably the cheapest clothing in Brazil. Also the capital of
hammocks, varieties of which can be found ranging from less than R$ 10 to more than R$ 100. Best place to buy is
the range of small shops opposite the cathedral, city centre.
There are handicraft shops all around the city, but the best places to go are the Feirinha da Beira Mar (Beach front
fair, daily about 4 PM - 10 PM) and the Mercado Central[37] (Near the cathedral). These places have a large
number of stalls and shops, and competition drives prices down.
• There is a very convenient Pão de Açucar round-the-clock supermarket by the intersection of Av. Abolição and
Av. Desembargador Moreira. Although more expensive than most other shops, it has a good selection of
groceries, including many imports, and also some fresh foods. Fresh sandwiches and pizzas until 8 PM.
• For a true abundance of fruits and vegetables, in addition to meat, fish and whatever else you could think of for
your kitchen, visit Mercado São Sebastião, at the east end of Av. Bezerra de Menezes, 4 blocks south and 5 west
of Praça José de Alencar in the centre. The earlier you arrive, the greater the variety.
• Sebo O Geraldo, Rua 24 de Maio 950, Centro (Three blocks south from Praça José de Alencar), Phone:+55 85
3226 2557, About R$ 5 for a paperback, Behind a modest façade there is a vast selection of used books, including
hundreds of titles in English (although much outdated) and a little something in many other languages.
• Shopping Iguatemi[38] The largest mall in Fortaleza and one of the best. Everything from C&A, to Zoompe and
Lacoste. A huge 24-hour supermarket, large food court and the biggest cinema in town.
• Shopping Aldeota[39] On Praça Portugal, seven blocks from Beira Mar, with a cinema.
• Shopping Del Passeo[40] Near Shopping Aldeota, with a cinema.
The best concentration of restaurants in town is found in the Varjota neighbourhood, especially along Rua Fredrico
Borges and its side streets, starting some five blocks inland from Beira Mar.
Thursday is crab day in Fortaleza, especially in the many shacks at Praia do Futuro.
• For a cheap and good lunch, try Maciel Lanches at Av. Monsenhor Tabosa 1010, near the corner of Rua
Ildefonso Albano, from 1045 AM to 145 PM. The normal mix of rice, beans, farofa and vegetables comes with
some four different options, like chicken, fried or boiled beef, all fresh. At R$ 4 it includes a softdrink. Also has a
few a la carte options and fresh juices.
• Naturalmente Jeri (In Windzen Naish kitesurf and windsurf store - Praia do Futuro near Barraca Vira Verão),
Phone:+55 85 3262 0632 [41], Lunch and Dinner, Crepes from R$9, Specialties are crepes and Açaí, also
sandwiches, fruit juices, and salads. Hang out for local windsurfers and kitesurfers, especially after beach.
• La France, Rua Silva Jatahy 982, Meireles (Just off Av Desembargador Moreira, two blocks from Beira Mar),
Phone:+55 85 3242 5095, Dishes for 2 at R$ 40-60, Perhaps not authentic French, but a varied menu, including
escargots, and a selection of wines.
• Parque Recreio[42], Av. Rui Barbosa 2727. Open air restaurant with grilled meats, sea food and more.
Three options for a rodizio (grilled meats en masse, watch out for expensive drinks and desserts):
• Churrascaria Gheller, Av. Monsenhor Tabosa 825, corner of Antonio Augusto, Praia Iracema, Phone:+55 85
3219 3599, 13:00-late, All you can eat R$ 20, This is arguably the best value rodizio in the tourist area. If you are
not too hungry, you can also pay R$ 22 per kilo. Tuesdays and Saturdays there's a stand-up comedian at 21:00,
adding R$ 10 per person to your bill.
• Sal e Brasa, Av Abolição [43], All you can eat R$ 49
• Boi Preto, Av Beira Mar [44], All you can eat R$ 59, Is it worth it?
The state of Ceará is renowned for its seafood. Near the fish market are a couple of restaurants:
• Alfredo do Peixe, Many dishes for two at around R$ 40, also meat.
• Hong Kong Arguably the best Sushi in Fortaleza. Also fried fish with stir fried vegetables, etc. Try the Barca - a
'boat' of fish with up to 50 pieces of your choice served on a bed of salad.
If you are a bit more courageous, buy your shrimp, lobster, squid, whatever straight from the stalls, and hit one of the
nearby shacks to fry it for you. One kilo of mid-sized shrimps about R$ 15, R$ 3 for frying, -then plenty of beers!
There is bad, watery, plastic flavoured ice cream galore in Fortaleza, as elsewhere in Brazil. Try these for the real
• Sorveteria 50 Sabores, Several branches: At the fish market; At Nautico, R$5 for one scoop
• Barbaresco, Several tiny branches around town
If your accommodation has bad or no breakfast, most large hotels let you take part in theirs for about R$ 10-12.
Grab a chilled coconut from a stall at Beira Mar, starting at R$ 2,00!
Fortaleza is a forró-stronghold. Virtually any day of the week you can find a party with live music and this
traditional dance, sometimes in quite modern variations (often referred to as forró universitário). On weekends you
can choose from literally dozens of places. For a more genuine, tourist-free happening, you must move towards the
outskirts of the city, paying up to R$ 30 by cab.
Traditionally, Fortaleza nightspots have their dedicated day of the week, like Pirata (below) on Mondays. So, when
asking around for a place to go, always be specific on when.
For daytime drinking, which can be quite a party, specially on weekends, see the Beaches-section.
The downtown (Centro) area is surprisingly scarce on waterholes, which would be more than welcome after a hot
afternoon's walking. An even more surprising exception is found in the recently (2010) refurbished park Passeio
Público (officially Praça dos Mártires): A small kiosk with outdoor seating serving lunch and cold drinks. Daily
until 5 PM.
• Internacional, Avenida Beira Mar 4456 (200 m from the fish market), Daily until midnight, With Belgian and
Dutch owners Filip and Marco, has grown into a kind of ex-pats hangout, good food. Free WiFi. Occasional live
• Mucuripe, Travessa Maranguape, 108. tel +55 85 3254 3020 [45]. Fanciest club in town, best on Fridays. Ticket
normally R$ 25-30 (everyone pays "half-price", don´t be fooled by vendors on the street that claim that its R$ 50
inside.) Be aware that foreigners with Brazilian girlfriends often are turned back at the entrance. Enter separately.
• Forró do Pirata on Mondays (in high season also on Fridays) in Praia de Iracema. A crowd of happy tourists
(many domestic) dances to forró and axé music. Overpriced at R$ 35. Most large hotels have discounted tickets
for their guest (and occasionally others), -ask in the reception.
The largest concentration of watering holes, very practical if you want to hit and miss and don't have a car, is at
Dragão do Mar, Praia de Iracema. This area features refurbished colonial buildings, loads of open air seating, live
music (sometimes charged), and happy hour beer. Fridays and Saturdays the party is everywhere:
• Café Santa Clara, Excellent coffee, some extremely sweet varieties, good bites, and extreme air-conditioning in
a pleasant, old-worldly setting. Slow service, though. Tue-Sun 3-10 PM.
• Armazem, 23-04, Entry R$ 20, The biggest party in town on Wednesdays, when it attracts mostly foreign men
and a fair share of working girls. Also opens on Saturdays with a more mixed crowd. Live forro on a big stage
and a separate eurotechno-lounge.
• Órbita, 20-04, Entry R$ 18-23 small beer R$ 4, Brazilian and international rock and pop cover bands. Later
electronica DJs. Thursdays and Sundays(packs from 9 PM) good. Mostly well off students.
• Dona Santa, Gay, transvestite and more.
• Music Box, Gay
• Chope do Bexiga, Famous for its Chope de Vinho (Is it wine or beer after all?)
• Bueno Amici's, Entry R$ 10, small beer R$ 4, Informal, variety of styles, most famous for its Samba!!
• Acervo Imaginário, Avenida Pessoa Anta, Entry R$ 10, small beer R$ 4, Live music on weekends, dancing
student crowd.
A smaller version of this can be found along Rua Norvinda Pires, and the neighbouring part of Rua Desembargador
Leite Albuquerque, centering on the rock-bar Maria Bonita, pagode-neighbour Bebedouro and the more mixed style
Fafi, plus a few more. Cobblestones calls for flat shoes! Thursday to Sunday.
Another area of interest is Varjota, inland from Mucuripe. Plenty of bars and restaurants. Take Rua Frei Mansueto
from Beira Mar, 5-10 blocks.
• Arre Égua, Rua Delmiro Gouveia 420, Varjota [46], Tuesdays and Fridays from about 8 PM till late, Entry R$
30, Thoroughly decorated as a Ceará countryside joint, although the prices are nothing of the kind. Live classic
forro. Good spot on Tuesdays. Mainly age 30+. Next door restaurant.
Many of the shacks at Praia do Futuro host parties nightime Thursday - Sunday.
• Biruta, Mostly electronica on Fridays.
Like it or not, Fortaleza has grown into the Brazilian gringo prostitution capital. (At least by repuatation. Rio
arguably wins in absolute figures.) Many foreigners, especially Europeans, fly in on charters with this as the main
attraction. Unfortunately, this affects other travelers, particularly single men. Many Brazilians, including otherwise
sympathetic girls, will assume you are there for "business". The main concentration is at "Happy Street" (Rua dos
Tremembés), Praia de Iracema, where the clubs Forró Mambo (R$ 20), Café del Mar (R$ 15) and their immediate
neighbors serve overpriced drinks. A small group of young females sitting alone at a table along Beira Mar are more
than likely to be pros. Any drinking spot that attracts foreigners, is bound to attract working girls, therefore some of
them try to filter the entries, meaning that a foreign man can have trouble getting in with his Brazilian girl.
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Under R$50
R$ 50-150
Over R$150
Reservations are essential in January, when Brazilian holidaymakers pack in. September-November and March-May
have room for bargaining at most posted prices. Many hotels will immediately give you 30% off.
Most hotels are on the strip Praia Iracema - Meireles - Mucuripe, parallel to Avenida Beira Mar, and up to about 4
blocks inland. Categories are spread about, but Praia Iracema has most budget options. Many cheap deals can be
struck at Praia do Futuro, but be aware transport costs and lack of security at night.
Charging up to R$ 40 for a dorm bed, hostels are sometimes outpriced by cheap single rooms in the same area.
• Rolling Stone, Rua dos Pacajus 66, Praia de Iracema (Next to Praca da Mincharia), Phone:+5585 3067 5929
[47], Dorm bed 25-31 reais, single 50, double 65., A stone's throw from the waterfront. With the city refurbishing
the area, this looks very promising indeed.
• Hostel Terra da Luz, Rua Rodrigues Júnior 278 (Three blocks inland from Dragao do Mar), Phone:+55 85 3082
2260 [48], Dorm bed R$ 25, single R$ 30, double R$ 50, Also triples.
• Backpackers Ceará, Avendia Dom Manuel 89, Praia Iracema (Up the road from Dragão do Mar), Phone:+55 85
3091 8997 [49], R$ 25 per person
A number of cheap options in the city centre, but the area goes seedy and unsafe at night. Unless you have a car, and
can stay at Praia do Futuro, your best cost/benefit is probably along Avenida Dom Manuel, between Av. Monsenhor
Tabosa and Av. Santos Dumont -just inland from Dragão do Mar. Stick to the main street after dark!
• Hotel Passeio, Rua Dr. João Moreira 221, centre. A bit run-down. Singles around R$25.
• Hotel Caxambu, Rua General Bezerril 22. Modern and well-equipped. Rooms with TV and A/C, singles R$ 25.
Mid Range
• Shammah Hotel, Avenida Almirante Barroso, Praia de Iracema [50], Singles R$ 70, doubles R$ 85, Refurbished
• La Maison[51], Av. Des. Moreira 201. Small, conveniently located hotel with nice rooms and friendly staff.
Singles R$100.
• Ibis[52] Just up from Holiday Inn at Historiador Raimundo Girao. Convenient for online booking and cancelling.
R$ 85 single, 109 double. Breakfast R$ 10. Wi-Fi R$ 12/day.
• Hotel Porto Futuro[53] R$ 90 double. Av. Zeze Diogo, 7260 - Praia do futuro. tel +55 85 3265 3365 / 3263
1441, Large rooms.
• Pousada Villa Marina, Rua Monsenhor Bruno 104, Praia de Iracema (Next to Ideal Clube) [54], Doubles R$ 95
• Vila Galé, Av. Dioguinho 4189, Praia do Futuro, Phone:(+55) 85 34 86 44 00, Fax:(+55) 85 34 86 44 30” url=,
Located on the beach 15 minutes cab ride from Avenida Beira Mar. Online booking
• Hotel Marina Park, Av. Presidente Castelo Branco 400, Praia de Iracema, Phone:(+55) 40 06 95 95, Fax:(+55)
85 32 53 18 03” url=, Online booking
A typical modern two bedroom 65 m2 flat, fully furnished and equipped 2 blocks from Beira Mar will cost around
R$ 70 a day in low season, double in high. Monthly rates are about R$ 1200 low season, R$ 2000 or more peak.
Mostly you have to pay electricity on top of this. Be aware that an air conditioner can set you back R$ 20 a day if
you leave it running. Dozens of agencies.
Many hotels put "flat" or "residence" in their name. This mostly means that you can buy an apartment there,
-typically 40-50 m2 with one bedroom and a tiny kitchen. Many of the owners will rent these out for a price
substantially less than the one posted in the reception, particularly for longer terms. Monthly deals can come close to
the R$ 1000 mark in low season, including linen change and cleaning. Ask the receptionsts for owners' phone
• Praia Mansa, Avenida Abolicao 2480, Meireles (One block from McDonald's) [55]
• Flat Atlantico, Avenida Abolicao 2111, Meireles
If you go for a furnished room with a bathroom (often no fridge or a/c), referred to as a kitchenette (often spelled
"Kitnet", or anything in between), you will typically be charged R$ 3-400 a month in high season. Praia Iracema has
most of these.
• Fortaleza and all neighbouring municipalities share a telephone area code: 85
• Internet is everywhere, with greatly varying comfort, hardware and bandwidth. R$ 3-4 an hour is an OK price in
tourist areas-- any more is too much. If you go inland you can get down to R$1/h.
• There is a free Wi-Fi zone in the café of the 24-hour Pao de Acucar supermarket at Avenida Abolicao.
• Several post offices along or near Beira Mar: Right in front of the Praia Iracema church; on Av. Monsenhor
Tabosa just down from Ideal Clube; a small booth almost in the sand in front of Clube Nautico; in the mall of
Scala Residence.
Stay safe
• Helpful tourist police "Delegacia do Turista" at Avenida Historiador Raimundo Girao 805, phone 31012488, just
by Hotel Travel Iracema (formerly Othon), Praia Iracema. Some English spoken.
• There are countless stories of single foreign men being robbed by prostitutes, apparent or not, they take back to
their rooms. Reportedly they sometimes employ a drug to knock victims out, otherwise they just rely on your
voluntarily exagerrated alcohol/drug consumption. Be aware that most all hotels and apartment buildings will
register visitors, particularly late night ones. As soon as you are aware of missing valuables, get the reception to
pass you the data of the suspect and go straight to see the police, above. The sooner you act, the greater the
chance of getting your stuff back. Money mostly evaporates instantly, though.
• Although most commercial districts of the city are fairly safe, including the center and the tourist area around
Beira Mar, pickpocketing, bag-snatching and other non-violent robberies are always a possibility. Never flash
valuables and be aware beggars that keep touching you.
• Praia do Futuro is bordered by one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in town, the Serviluz slum. Under no
circumstances walk through deserted areas of this beach, even if moving between two crowded places. Bus stops
are notoriously robbery-ridden after sunset -even if it's only 5:45 PM.
• There has been a number of cases where foreigner have been detained at the airport with large amounts of drugs,
particularly cocaine, on their way out of the country. The federal police is working hard: Don't even think about
Stay healthy
If you travel west from Fortaleza, into the states of Maranhão, Pará or further, Brazilian authorities recommend that
you get a yellow fever vaccination. An International Certificate of Vaccination [56] can be issued if you have the
shot taken at the airport or in the city center. If you already have your booklet, and only need a new shot and the
corresponding entry, this is best done at the medical center at Avenida Antonio Justa, one block from Pão de Açucar,
weekdays 7 AM to 4:30 PM, free of charge.
There are plenty of laundries around. Those which charge per kg (mostly R$ 6-10) are somewhat cheaper than those
which charge per garment. Your clothes are normally ready next day. There is one single self-service laundry:
• Lav e Lev at Avenida Abolição just by the corner of Avendida Desembaragador Moreira. R$ 9,50 to wash a big
load, then typically R$ 19 to dry it. Turns out cheaper, plus you have it all ready in less than 2 hours. Add R$ 1,50
per garment for ironing. Monday - Friday until 7 PM, Saturday until 2.
• Laundromat at the corner of Av. Abolição and Rua Paulo Barros washes and dries a small load for R$ 17, ready
within 24 hours, often much sooner.
• Changing cash EUR or USD into BRL is done close to interbank rates, meaning that it's better value than cash
advances on credit or debit cards. Many travel agencies exchange money, -you mostly get slightly better rates
moving away from Beira Mar.
• For visa extensions and any other issue between a foreigner and the Polícia Federal, head to their office at Rua
Paula Rodrigues 304, Bairro de Fátima, near the main bus station. Open Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 6 PM. Bus
099 Siqueira - Mucuripe / Barão de Studart to/from Avenida Abolição.
• The joint Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish consulate, Rua Rocha Lima 371, Joaquim Tavora (Three blocks off
Av. Dom Manoel), Phone:+55 85 3242 0888, At the premises of Emitrade. Bus 077 Parangaba Mucuripe to/from
Avenida Abolição.
Go next
• Museu da Cachaça [57], In neighboring is the Cachaça Museum, hosted by Ypióca [58], one of the country's
most widespread brands.
• Museu Senzala Negro Liberato, Phone:+55 85 3332 1116, Daily 8 AM - 5 PM, R$ 2, A monument of slavery
and liberation, with a nearby cachaça-destillery. On the main highway just outside , some 60 km from Fortaleza
• The Jazz and Blues Festival[59] is a continuation of the carnival in Guaramiranga, the weekend after.
Out-of-town Beaches
Any tour agency, and a number of pushers along Beira Mar, can offer you daytrips, and longer packages, to outlying
beaches. The one thing they have in common is the price, -it's fixed in between them, and it's far too expensive.
Oceanview[60] is old in the game and has a site with prices. If you are a group of 3-4 persons, a taxi can mostly be
negotiated for less.
• Cumbuco is a small fishing village, grown into a kite-surfers' paradise. Fresh water lakes with swimming nearby.
Dune buggy tours. Horseback riding along the beach. A traditional fishing raft, Jangada, gives you a postcard
view of the coastline. Buses from Avenida Abolição R$ 4,50.
• Jericoacoara is among Brazil's finest, and hence makes its way into any global listing. Buses (changing to trucks
in Jijoca)twice daily [61]from outside Praiano Palace Hotel at Beira Mar.
• Canoa Quebrada used to be quite rustic, attracting mostly hippies. Now it's slowly growing into a resort town.
Can be done as a day trip (R$ 40, many agencies), but is worth a longer stay, particularly for its weekend
• Some 16 km outside Fortaleza, at the beach of Porto das Dunas, is a huge water park with slides and other wet
interactive fun, Beach Park [62]. Stiffly priced at R$ 120 for a day. The beach right outside the park is very nice,
and although you pay nothing to walk in the sand, food and drinks are 2-3 times city prices.
Routes through Fortaleza
→ Governador Valadares → Rio de Janeiro
This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge
forward and help us make it a star!
[1] http:/ / www. ibge. gov. br/ home/ estatistica/ populacao/ contagem2007/ populacao_2007_DOU_05_10_2007. xls
[2] http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Jos%C3%A9_de_Alencar
[3] http:/ / www. setfor. fortaleza. ce. gov. br/ index. php?option=com_content& task=view& id=18& Itemid=25
[4] http:/ / www. infraero. gov. br/ usa/ aero_prev_home. php?ai=156
[5] http:/ / www. infraero. gov. br/ voos/ index_2. aspx
[6] http:/ / www. arkefly. nl/
[7] http:/ / www. flybrazil. co. uk/
[8] http:/ / www. airitaly. eu
[9] http:/ / www. delta. com/
[10] http:/ / www. expressoguanabara. com. br
[11] http:/ / www. detran. ce. gov. br/ site/ LinhasRegulares/ TRN_horarios_regulares. asp
[12] http:/ / www. viacaonordeste. com. br/
[13] http:/ / www. expressoguanabara. com. br/
[14] http:/ / itapemirim. com. br/
[15] http:/ / www. etufor. ce. gov. br/ index. asp?pagina=itinerarios. asp
[16] http:/ / www. fortalezabemnahora. com. br/
[17] http:/ / www. etufor. ce. gov. br/ index. asp?pagina=taxi. asp
[18] http:/ / www. etufor. ce. gov. br/ PDFs/ Pontos%20de%20Táxi. pdf
[19] http:/ / www. bnb. gov. br/ content/ aplicacao/ Centro_Cultural/ Trem_da_Historia/ gerados/ trem_da_hist_apres. asp
[20] http:/ / www. bnb. gov. br/ content/ aplicacao/ Centro_Cultural/ Historia_Passo_a_Passo/ gerados/ hist_passo_a_passo_apres. asp
http:/ / theatrojosedealencar. blogspot. com/
http:/ / www. dragaodomar. org. br/
http:/ / www. museudoautomovelce. com. br/
http:/ / www. olheiro. com/
http:/ / www. semace. ce. gov. br/ servicos/ praias/
http:/ / chandlersurf. com. br
http:/ / www. windzen. com
http:/ / www. oba. com. br/ 2005/
http:/ / www. shoppingaldeota. com. br/ cinema. asp
http:/ / www. arcoiriscinemas. com. br/
http:/ / www. ucicinemas. com. br/ portal_2007/ programacao/ programacao_interna. asp?cinema=10
http:/ / www. unibancocinemas. com. br/ em_cartaz/ fortaleza/
http:/ / www. cearamusic. com. br
http:/ / www. fortal. com. br
http:/ / www. veraovidaearte. com. br/
http:/ / en. wikipedia. org/ wiki/ Stonewall_riots
http:/ / www. mercadocentraldefortaleza. com. br/
http:/ / www. iguatemifortaleza. com. br/
http:/ / www. shoppingaldeota. com. br
http:/ / www. shoppingdelpaseo. com. br/
http:/ / www. windzen. com/
http:/ / www. parquerecreio. com. br/
http:/ / www. churrascariasalebrasa. com. br/ site/ #/ fortaleza/
http:/ / www. grupoboipreto. com. br
http:/ / www. mucuripe. com. br
http:/ / www. arreegua. com. br/
http:/ / www. rollingstonehostel. com. br/ en/ #!/ thehostel
http:/ / www. hostelterradaluz. com/ indexUS. html
http:/ / www. backpackersce. com. br/
http:/ / www. ondehospedar. com. br/ sob_medida/ 8956. php
http:/ / www. hotellamaison. com. br/
http:/ / www. ibishotel. com/ gb/ hotel-1142-ibis-fortaleza/ index. shtml
http:/ / www. hotelportofuturo. com. br/
http:/ / www. pousadavillamarina. com. br/ indexeng. html
[55] http:/ / www. praiamansahotel. com. br/
[56] http:/ / www. who. int/ csr/ ihr/ IVC200_06_26. pdf
[57] http:/ / www. museucachaca. com. br/
http:/ / www. ypioca. com. br
http:/ / www. jazzeblues. com. br/
http:/ / www. oceanviewturismo. com. br/ us/ default. asp
http:/ / www. redencaoonline. com. br/ english/ rotas. html
http:/ / www. beachpark. com. br/ english/ home/ home. asp
Cumbuco is a beach village of about 25.000 inhabitants[1] in Ceará, some 30 kilometers west of Fortaleza. It has
recently been discovered by European developers, and small resorts are popping up. Larger projects are in the
pipeline, such as a golf course and a beach volleyball arena with a training camp for players. To the west you can see
the modern and steadily growing port of Pecém. With a steel mill and petroleum refinery to come, it promises a
certain impact on the region.
Get in
• From Fortaleza there are convenient buses[2] from Clube Ideal, leaving at 9 AM, 11 AM, 3:50 PM and 6:20 PM.
These first go all the way to the fish market along Beira Mar, then come back along Avenida Abolição and
Avenida Historiador Raimundo Girão. About 1 hour, R$ 4,50. From Cumbuco, buses leave the main square at
6:30 AM, 10 AM, 2:35 PM and 5 PM. More frequent buses to/from Av. do Imperador in the center of Fortaleza.
All buses pass by the suburban beach of Icaraí.
• To get anywhere else by bus, you need to go to the center of nearby Caucaia.
• Taxis to Fortaleza can be negotiated at R$ 50-80, often included waiting time and return to Cumbuco same day.
Get around
You can walk mostly anywhere. The local taxi stand is one block west of the main square. Negotiate prices up front.
Buggies can also be hired for short runs, but are mostly more expensive than cabs.
• This is one of the best spots in the world for kite surfing. Several places rent equipment and give classes.Since 5
years [Extreme Control Kiteboarding] offers Personal Training in Cumbuco
• Horseback riding along the beach.
• A jangada (traditional fishing raft with sail) will take you a kilometer or so into the sea to give you a different
view of the beach. Nice photos from out there. R$ 10 or less per person.
• A buggy with a driver can be rented for a day for about R$ 150, -fits 3-4 passengers. It will take you to 2-3
different fresh water lakes for swimming, and also for a ride up and down some dunes.
• You can also rent a buggy and drive it yourself, but you will not have access to the dunes. It is nominally
prohibited to drive on the beach, but this is not enforced.
• Rent an ATV to make sure that you disturb other people's beach experience.
Prices vary greatly. Lunch can be had from R$ 5 at a number of tiny local restaurants.
• Muda, SW corner of the square, breakfast until late, Light dishes 10-15 R$, Good for breakfast and light lunch.
Drinking in the evenings. Chill music
• Sabor da Praia (Just uphill from Bistro), Mains around R$ 25
• Gaucho (Just uphill from Bistro), Fill up for R$ 15, Loads of grilled meats
• Living, R. Almirante Pedro de Frontim, 11 (Entrance to the village, on the right hand side.), Food and Lounge.
Open evenings only, from Monday to Saturday. Happy Hour daily from 17.00 to 20.30.
What little action there is into the wee hours, all happens along the side streets of the main square:
• Laranja Mecanica, Small beer R$4
• 0031 restaurant, Rua Almirante Tamarandi s/n (at the beach), Phone:86 179 119 [], 18.00 , RS 25,
International restaurant which is already a wellknown place for over 3 years. Nice ambiance and tasty food.
• Secret Spot, Next door to Gaucho, R$ 20, Open evenings only. International menu with strong Italian influence.
Highly recommended.
Loads and loads of apartments for rent, mostly in the mid and upper range. Good deals can be found outside the peak
and kiting seasons.
• Cumbuco Guesthouse, [3]
• Cumbuco Hostel, [4]
Casa Cohiba Hotel(Casa Cohiba Hotel), Avenida Central do Cumbuco 2596, Phone:+55 85 8555 1678 [5],
• Kariri Beach (200 m west of the main square.) [6], Singles from R$ 150, Good restaurant, large pool area right at
the beach. Larger rooms have kitchens.
• Vila Gale (At the western outskirts of the village) [7], Allegedly the largest hotel in the state, this is a full-scale
resort. Golf course coming up next.
There is an ATM located in the small bakery at the east end of the village, just around the corner from the main
square. It is open until around 6pm. The only other ATM in the area is at a gas station (open every day 7 AM - 10
PM, probably the only one ever seen selling kite surfing gear) some 25 minutes walk in the direction of Fortaleza.
Any bus leaving from Cumbuco's main square passes by.
Slow internet in a couple of shops at R$ 2/hour.
Go next
[1] http:/ / opovo. uol. com. br/ app/ cidades/ 2010/ 09/ 15/ noticiacidades,2042280/
setur-inicia-obra-de-saneamento-e-abastecimento-de-agua-no-cumbuco. shtml
[2] http:/ / www. evitoria. com. br/ servicos-linhas-metropolitanas. php#id9
[3] http:/ / www. cumbuco-guesthouse. com
[4] http:/ / www. cumbuco-hostel. com
[5] http:/ / www. casa-cohiba. com
[6] http:/ / kariribeach. com/
[7] http:/ / www. vilagale. pt/ pages/ hoteis/ ?hotel=26
Article Sources and Contributors
Article Sources and Contributors
Brazil Source: Contributors: (WT-en) 1ur1, (WT-en) Abi, (WT-en) Albaeduardo, (WT-en) Andre23, (WT-en) Antonioavelar, (WT-en)
Aolmedo, (WT-en) Bluetrumpet, (WT-en) Bmhcmc, (WT-en) Boonashley, (WT-en) Burmesedays, (WT-en) CIAWorldFactbook2002, (WT-en) Cardboardbird, (WT-en) Chinzh, (WT-en)
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INtraveler1990, (WT-en) Iki, (WT-en) Ilkirk, (WT-en) Inas, (WT-en) Jake73, (WT-en) Janki, (WT-en) JimDeLaHunt, (WT-en) Jjtk, (WT-en) JoeDeRose, (WT-en) John Doe B1, (WT-en)
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Willc, (WT-en) WingWack, (WT-en) Zelani, AHeneen, Atsirlin, Bill-on-the-Hill, Cjensen, Drmagnumwolf, Eco84, EvanProdromou, Fabzgy, Globe-trotter, Gorilla Jones, Guaka, Ikan Kekek,
Inas, JamesA, Jc8136, Jpatokal, LilHelpa, MarkJaroski, Nicolas1981, Peterfitzgerald, Querent, Ravikiran r, RegentsPark, Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton, Romaine, Sapphire, Savh, Shaundd, Starwiin,
Sumone10154, Template namespace initialisation script, Wrh2, Xltel, Yann, 992 anonymous edits
Rio de Janeiro Source: Contributors: (WT-en) $eu crey$$on, (WT-en) Amberstone9, (WT-en) Andrejfcf, (WT-en) Bishop^, (WT-en)
Bletch, (WT-en) Brad340, (WT-en) Burmesedays, (WT-en) Capitalist24, (WT-en) Cardboardbird, (WT-en) Carmepla, (WT-en) Carsonroen, (WT-en) Chinzh, (WT-en) Chris j wood, (WT-en)
ChuckAmuck, (WT-en) Ciscoguy, (WT-en) ClausHansen, (WT-en) Curupira, (WT-en) Dbreport, (WT-en) Ddwiki, (WT-en) Dguillaime, (WT-en) Doroloidl, (WT-en) Eduardo.santanna, (WT-en)
Elgaard, (WT-en) Elliottfox, (WT-en) Emiliosc22, (WT-en) Episteme, (WT-en) Fastestdogever, (WT-en) Fdifranco, (WT-en) Greggors, (WT-en) Gringo-Rio, (WT-en) Hrozob, (WT-en) Huttite,
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(WT-en) Laramitchell, (WT-en) Laurian, (WT-en) MMKK, (WT-en) Maj, (WT-en) Marcusflorida, (WT-en) Mariusm98, (WT-en) Mark Cobb, (WT-en) Mayimbe, (WT-en) MichaelS, (WT-en)
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(WT-en) Pedro Aguiar, (WT-en) PerryPlanet, (WT-en) Phh, (WT-en) PierreAbbat, (WT-en) Pizzi, (WT-en) Pompom, (WT-en) Puffpff, (WT-en) Redcamarocruiser, (WT-en) RioForPartiers,
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Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
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