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This You Need to Know Before Travelling to Rio De Janeiro
Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport and visa to enter Brazil.
The standard visa allows visitors to stay 90 days, extendable for another 90 within the country.
Street crime is a persistent problem in tourist areas, especially after dark.
Leave your valuables in the hotel safe. All you need for the beach is a towel and some change for a cold drink.
Don’t be paranoid, but as a tourist you’re conspicuous enough. Stay alert. Avoid city buses, outdoor ATMs, and venturing alone into favelas (shanty towns).
Standard immunisations for Brazil are yellow fever (required for entry) and tetanus/diphtheria, typhoid, and hepatitis.
If traveling to more rural areas of Brazil like Amazonas, Pantanal, and parts of Minas Gerais, visitors should also get polio, MMR, hepatitis B, and rabies immunisations, and take anti-malaria drugs.
Rio de Janeiro is three hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time from November to mid-February, two hours ahead from mid-February until the start of U.S. daylight saving time, and one hour ahead during U.S. daylight saving time.
The currency of Brazil is the real. For current conversion rates, go to a Currency Converter.
For international calls from Brazil, dial 00 country code area code number.
For long distance calls within Brazil, dial 021 two-digit area code number. For operator-assisted calls in English to anywhere in the world, dial toll-free 0800 703 2111.
When to Go
Rio has a tropical climate: hot 77-95°F (25–35°C) and humid summers, cooler 59-77°F (15–25°C ) and drier winters. Crowded during the Brazilian summer (December to March), especially at New Year and Carnival.
Galeão-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport is nine miles (20 kilometers) north of downtown. The Santos-Dumont domestic airport is downtown.
When taking a cab, don’t negotiate. The meter should read “1” from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. When the meter reads “2,” rates are 20 percent higher. The subway is modern and safe; navigating buses takes savvy.
Credit Cards and Cash: “Forget traveler’s checks. Nobody likes them here and your U.S. ATM cards are good at ATM machines at most major banks.
Bring $100 in cash for emergencies.”—Michael Royster, 2007 president of the American Society of Rio
If possible, study Portuguese before you travel. While many people in Rio speak some English, most cabbies and waiters don’t.
Spanish will help you understand signs but not necessarily the people. Buy a pocket-sized Brazilian Portuguese/English phrasebook for your trip.
Clothing and Accessories
Leave expensive jewelry at home and limit flashy attire to a social outfit or two for dining and special occasions.
“Women shouldn’t bring narrow heels; the cobblestone sidewalks are a shoemaker’s and orthopedist’s delight.
In Rio, havaianas flip-flops are a fraction of the cost in the U.S. Don’t wear a watch; the sidewalks are full of clocks, and besides, you’re on vacation.”—Michael Royster
Your favorite brand of sunscreen may be hard to find in Rio. “Bring [SPF] 50-level protection.
The sun is very hot.