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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z

Eating out

Beans, rice, manioc flour, meat (excellent) and fish are available all over Brazil.

Two typical Brazilian dishes are feijoada (black bean stew) and cozido (meat and vegetable stew).

Churrascarias are typical restaurants where the waiters walk round offering grilled meat a rodizio (as much as you can eat).

In economical ao kilo restaurants, you help yourself at the buffet and then pay per kilo.

Lanchonetes are small bars where you can eat cheaply at the counter.


It is not compulsory to tip in hotels or restaurants (or in taxis), but nothing prevents you from doing so.


Most hotels work on both 110-120 V and 220V. You will need an adaptor for plugs.

Embassies and consulates


British Embassy – Setor de Embaixadas Sul - Quadra 801 - Lote 08 - CEP 70408-900 - Brasilia - t 061 3329 2300 - http://ukinbrazil.fco.gov.uk/en/

Embassy of Ireland – SHIS QL 12 – Conjunto: 5 – Casa: 09 - Lago Sul - CEP 71.630-255 - Brasilia - t 061 3248 8800 - http://www.embassyofireland.org.br

Rio de Janeiro

British Consulate-General – Praia do Flamengo 284/2 andar - 22210-030 Rio de Janeiro - t 021 2555 9600 - http://ukinbrazil.fco.gov.uk/en

Sao Paulo

Honorary Irish Consulate – Al. Joaquim Eugênio de Lima, 447 - 01403-001 - São Paulo - t 011 3147 7788 - http://www.embassyofireland.org.br

Getting around

By car

The Brazilian road network is extensive although not always well maintained. There are few motorways or express roads except in the Sudeste.

In towns, particularly in Rio and São Paulo, the Brazilians drive fast. To avoid attacks, they don’t always stop at traffic lights at night, so be careful.

By train

The rail network is not very widespread and travelling by train is not really an option in Brazil.

By bus

This is the most popular means of getting around Brazil. The buses are generally comfortable and overnight coaches have sleeping berths.

Instead of a nationwide firm, there are a large number of private companies so travellers have to buy a ticket every time they change coach.

Domestic flights

Give the distances in Brazil, air travel is sometimes the most practical means of getting from one large town to another.


Also see Know before you go.

Drinking water

Tap water, even treated, is not drinkable and it is better to filter it or drink bottled water.


Ambulances (ambulãncias): 192

Fire brigade (bombeiros): 193

Police (polícia): 190


The currency of Brazil is the Real (R$), subdivided into 100 centavos.

Foreign currency can be changed in banks, some hotels and travel agencies and in shopping mall and airport exchange offices (câmbio).

Traveller’s cheques are more expensive to change into cash but are safer in case of theft.

Visa and Master Cards are frequently accepted by hotels and shopping malls and by some retailers.


The Nordestine coast and its towns (Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, São Luís) are expensive, as are São Paulo (the most expensive), Brasília, Belém and Rio. The central (Tocantins, Goiás) and inland regions (Minas Gerais, etc) are the cheapest.

Accommodation is 25 to 30% higher in the peak tourist season (December-March).

Opening hours

Government offices are open Monday-Friday (9am-6pm); some close at lunchtime.

Banks are open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm and exchange offices from 9am-5pm.

Shops are generally open Monday-Saturday from 9am-6pm.

Shopping malls in large towns: Monday-Saturday from 10am-10pm and Sunday 3-9pm.

Museums and monuments are generally closed on Mondays and public holidays.


Post offices are open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm.


Theft and attacks do take place and safety is a genuine problem in Brazil. There is however no reason to overreact.

Don’t go out with objects of value (jewellery, cameras, etc.) or large sums of money. If someone attacks you and asks for money or your watch, hand them over straight away.


Note: mobile phone numbers begin with a 9 and have 8 digits.

To call Brazil from abroad

From Europe, dial 00 + 55 (Brazil country code) + town code + the number of the person.

To call home from Brazil

Dial 00 + country code (UK 44 and Ireland 353) + the number of the person (without the first 0).

Making calls inside Brazil

Dial 0 + the carrier code (varies depending on where you are calling from), then the code of the town you are calling + the person’s number.

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