Rio Guide: Useful Facts about Rio de Janeiro
- Public Phones
is the only official language of Brazil, and is spoken by nearly the entire population, being virtually the only language used in
schools, newspapers, radio and TV, and used for all business and administrative purposes. Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation
in the Americas, giving it a national culture distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbors.
Many Amerindian minority languages are spoken daily throughout the vast national territory of Brazil. Half of these languages are spoken by indigenous peoples, mostly in Northern Brazil. The main indigenous languages are: Apalí, Arara, Bororo, Canela, Carajá, Caribe, Guarani (also in Paraguay), Kaingang, Nadëb, Nheengatu, Terena, Tucano, Tupiniquim, and many others.
Learn Key phrases in Portuguese
Rio has a tropical climate.The temperature occasionally reaches
over 40ëC (104ëF) in inland areas of the city, and extreme maximum temperatures above 30ëC (86ëF) can happen every
month. In the main tourist areas (south side, where the beaches are located), the temperature is moderated by the cool sea-breezes
from the ocean.
The average annual minimum temperature is 20ëC (68ëF), the average annual maximum temperature is 26ëC (79ëF) and the average annual temperature is 23ëC (73.5ëF). The average yearly precipitation is 1,086 mm. The minimum temperature recorded was 4.8ëC (40ëF) in July 1928, but temperatures below 10ëC (50ëF) are rare in most of the city today, the absolute maximum reached 43.2ëC (110ëF) in January 1984.
Read about climate statistics in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro's time corresponds to GMT -3. During the winter, the sun
sets around the 17:00 hour (5:00 pm), while during summer it doesn't occur until 20:00 (8:00 pm). Throughout the year, the city
activities extend until very late at night.
Current local time in Rio de Janeiro.
The metric system is used (Kilograms, Kilometers and Liters) and Electricity is
110 volts, 60 Hz. Power outlets are with 2 flat holes and ground connection. If you need to plug in your laptop that works with both
110 and 220 volts, you can buy an adapter in any electricity store for U$S5 or $10 Reais.
The Brazilian Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion. With the
proclamation of the Republic in 1889, Brazil ceased to have an official religion, although in 1994 nearly 70 percent of the population
declared themselves to be Roman Catholic.
There are increasing numbers of Evangelistic protestants of different denominations, and small Muslim representations in large cities. There are large populations of Candomblé, Macumba, Santería practicants. These are religions from West African origin, still practiced today with only slight deviations from their practice in Brazil.
No vaccination is required to visit the city. Public water is not drinkable.
It is strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, before you depart.
The standard of private medical facilities in Rio de Janeiro is comparable to First World Countries. Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is very expensive. The treatment in the public hospitals is free also for tourists but in any seriouse case head to a private hospital.
English speaking hospitals list in Rio de Janeiro
Public phones are all around the city and operate with phone cards. You will be able to buy those cards in any news paper stand. You will find communication centers all over the city (Lan house) with internet access and phones to national and international calls at a better rate. There is a wide range of international phone cards as well.
Brazil country code is + 55, Rio de Janeiro area code is 21; if you are dialing a long distance call inside brasil you should dial also the operator number for the call (21 or 31). So, if you are trying to call to a landline / mobile in Rio de Janeiro from other place inside Brazil you should dial the Operator code + Rio de Janeiro code before the number (31 + 21 + phone number).
Businesses in Rio de Janeiro normally attend clients Monday to Friday, from 9:00/10:00 to 6:00/7:00pm. Usually retail stores are open all day long until 20:00 (8.00pm) and many of them stay open on Saturdays.
Tourist attractions and activities are available seven days a week, though holidays are usually pretty quiet days with some open
Businesses Open Hours:
- Banks: 10:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday (many with 24-hour access)
- Post Offices: 09:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday
- Department Stores and Shops: 09:00 to 19:00, weekdays, 09:00 to 14:00. Closed Sunday
- Museums: 09:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday
- Business Offices: 09:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday.
For further information public holidays Rio de Janeiro
Buy Brazilian Real (BR$) in the country. All exchange rates outside Brazil are
worse. Up to 10,000 US$ worth in cash can be brought to Brazil without declaration.
We do not recommend to use travelers checks, the exchange rate is more favorable but you can hardly find any counters to cash them in
and if you do than have to wait for a long time.
The best way to retrieve money with your credit card at a Citybank, HSBC and some Banco do Brazil ATM's. A maximum of 1,000 Real is distributed per day in HSBC banks, in some City Bank cashiers you can withdraw up to 2000 or 3000 R$/day. During special dates like New Year or Carnival ATM's are often empty. This better retrieve in advance. All ATM's close for security reasons at 10:00 pm.
Don't show your PIN number to others, be careful when typing your PIN in ATM's. Never hand your credit card to a waiter and leave him alone - always go with him to the credit card machine or ask him to bring the machine.
The local currency is Brazilian Real (BRL).
Bank notes denominations are $100, $50, $20 $10, $5 or $2 and coins come in $1.0, $0.50, $0.25, $0.10 and $0.05.
The official exchange rate is around BRL$ 2.0 for USD$1 or BRL$2.8 for 1€.
Exchange rate Brazil
The Vat in Rio de Janeiro is 19%. When making purchases in stores with the designation "Tax Free" you should ask for a tax devolution receipt, with this receipt you can request a tax refund in the airport by filling out a form and presenting the receipts or invoices. International flights have a departure tax of USD$36 payable in Brazilian Real or American dollars at the tax section just after check in.
Rio de Janeiro's international airport is called
Antonio Carlos Jobim (GIG)
and is located on Ilha do Governador, in Guanabara Bay, about 20km (13 miles) north of the city centre. There is a bus (Real Bus) that
offers transfers to the city, but it is more common to use taxis at standardized rates (the remise service cost is about BRL $50 to the
airport. The bus to the airport drives around every 30 minutes along Avenida Atlantica. Unfortunately this bus is hard to recognize and
there is no declared bus stop. The bus stops upon hand signal. Watch out that you don't miss it. The fare to the International
Airport is 6 Real per person and the ride goes along the regional airport and Rio downtown among others.
There is also the Santos dumont Airport , only 10 minutes from Rio de Janeiro's downtown, which operates domestic flights.
Although Rio de Janeiro is a large and sprawling city, the neighborhoods most frequented by visitors are easy to get around in. The public transportation system is cheap and efficient, and most places can be reached by metro or bus. The quickest and easiest way to get around Rio is by the efficient metro system, but there are limits due to its coverage of the city with only two lines. The most inexpensive form of transportation are the local buses, which travel all over the city as fast as the traffic allow them, although they are often badly driven. Public transport ends around midnight, with some buses operating 24 hours, but it is safer to hire a taxi when travelling at night. Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. Radio cabs can be ordered by telephone and they are safer and more reliable, taxies with air-conditioning are 30 percent more expensive than than regular taxis. Driving in Rio is not recommended and hiring a car is expensive.
Regular City Bus
Regular city bus in Rio de Janeiro is an inexpensive form of travel with a single trip costing around R$2.75 to ride. They come in both non air conditioned (R$2.20) and air conditioned versions (R$2.25 - R$2.50). In past years, city buses suffered from criminals targeting the passengers but they are safer these days. During the day, it is a decent transportation option if you know the routes and are in safer areas of the city. However, public buses are not be the best option late at night.
Rio de Janeiro Taxis/Cabs
Rio de Janeiro has a very extensive taxi fleet which includes yellow metered cabs which can be hailed in the streets, as well as a series of special taxis operated by licensed companies which can be found at the airports. The yellow taxis operate with a meter and can be hailed on the street. The flag, or "bandeira" in Portuguese, indicates the tariff and usually marks 1. However, after 23:00, on Sunday and on holidays the tariff will be 2, which indicates a price hike of about 20%. Taxis are fairly priced, although some late-night drivers might quote excessive fixed prices. Travellers should check that the meter is reset and indicates the correct tariff. The minimum fare is currently R$4.70. Tourists are strongly advised to only use taxis that have an official identification sticker in the window. Cabs in Rio de Janeiro are a very popular choice, even amongst locals. Definitely use them to go home from faraway places, like samba rehearsals, and parties.
Subway Metro Rio
The "Rio de Janeiro Metro" (Metrô Rio) is a mass-transit underground railway network that serves the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It includes 32 stations and two separate lines and serves on average nearly half a million passengers per day. The system currently consists of two lines: Line 1 which serves the city's downtown business center, tourist areas in the city's South Zone, and several neighborhoods in the North Zone; and Line 2, which serves working-class residential neighborhoods extending toward the north. The price of a ticket is no more than R$2.80.
The crime rate in Rio is not as bad as it was in the early 1990s. Recently, however, drug-related crime has increased. Although not directed at tourists, shootouts between police and drug dealers have made stray bullets an all-too-frequent occurrence. The key for staying safe is to be aware of what's happening around you: Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas; don't wear expensive (or expensive-looking) jewelry, clothing, shoes or watches; always keep your purse closed and close to your body; keep your wallet in a front pocket or, better yet, in a concealed money belt; and don't carry large amounts of cash. If you wear a knapsack, be especially vigilant, since hands can easily slip inside it behind your back. Never take valuables to the beach,just a towel and some money for a cold drink. Be alert on city buses they've been known to attract thieves. Speaking English loudly in public places may also attract unwanted attention.
For a classic local favorite, go to a churrascaria, a Brazilian barbecue
restaurant. Most of them operate under the rodizio system
(all-you-can-eat, served at your table). We also recommend you try a restaurant that specializes in comida baiana, a spicy
African-influenced cuisine from Bahia (in northeastern Brazil).
The national dish, traditionally eaten on Saturday, is feijoada, a delicious black-bean stew made with large pieces of pork, sausage and smoked meat, it is served with rice, farofa (toasted manioc meal), kale and to refresh the palate pieces of orange.
For a fast, cheap meal, go to one of many restaurants that sell meals by kilo (comida a kilo), food is arranged in a buffet style, and you serve yourself as much as you want, the sum you pay depends on the weight of your plate. Vegetarians will usually find one hot dish and a good variety of salads in any of the more upscale comida a kilo restaurant in the Zona Sul or Centro.
Juice bars are ubiquitous in Rio de Janeiro, especially in the Zona Sul. Be sure to sample Rio's overwhelming variety of tropical fruits and fresh juices (suco), served at juice bars on just about every corner. The caipirinha is also found everywhere: It's made with cachaca, a rum like liquor made with sugarcane, mixed with crushed ice and lime juice.
Rio de Janeiro is and always has been a highly cultured city. The high population density and rich ethnic mix has given shape to all forms of artistic expression, which is evident in the music, dance and lifestyle of the Cariocas (Rio's residents) - especially during Carnival. There are many cultural centres, art galleries and performance venues in Rio, hosting an ever-changing series of events.
RIO DE JANEIRO INFO
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