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, 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.

Vaccination against yellow fever and taking anti-malaria medication may be necessary if you are traveling 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. 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 192, 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.

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. Kissing is suitable for informal ocasions, used to introduce yourself or being acquainted, specially to young people. Hand shaking it is more appropriate for formal ocasions or between women and men when is not intended any form of intimacy. Trying to shake hands when offered a kiss will be considered odd, but never rude. However, to refuse clearly a kiss is a disdain instance.

When people first meet, they will kiss one eg: São Paulo, two eg: Rio de Janeiro or three times eg: Florianópolis, depending 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 kiss sound while kissing the air, placing your lips on a strangers cheek will be perceived as odd.

In Brazil people take a shower at least once a day.

Almost everyone can dance and Brazilians are usually at ease with their own bodies. While talking, they may stand closer to each other than the regular North American or Northern European, and also tend to touch each other more, e.g. on the shoulder or arm.

Brazilian like to drink, especially very cold beer in pubs and in hot weather and wine in restaurants or in the winter. However to get 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 and tell jokes, not essentially to drink.

body language

Brazilians use a lot of body gestures in informal communication, and the meaning of certain words or expressions may be influenced by them.

The thumbs up gesture is used everywhere and all the time in Brazil.

The OK gesture thumb and finger in a circle, on the other hand, may have obscene connotations in Brazil. Avoid it if you can, people may laugh at you, or be offended usually if they are drunk. Use thumbs up instead.

A circular movement of the forefinger about the ear means you are crazy!, the same as in English.

Stroking your two biggest fingers with your thumb possibly ironically stating that something takes a long time is a way of saying that something is expensive same as French.

Clicking your middle finger with your thumb multiple times means a long time.

Joining your thumb and middle finger and snapping your index finger upon them means fast not in whole country.

Stroking your lips with your index finger and snapping it means delicious, grabbing your earlobe with your index and thumb means the same not in all country.

Making a fist with your thumb between the index and middle finger is the sign of good luck not in whole country.

Touching the palm with the thumb and making a circular movement with the hand means I am being robbed! sometimes meaning that some price is too high not in whole country.

The Hush gesture is considered extremely impolite, just about the same as shouting "shut up!" to someone.

An informal way to get someone's attention similar to a whistle in other cultures is a hissing sound: "pssiu!" It is not perceived as unpolite, but gets really, really, REALLY annoying if repeated too often. They also call cats with a similar sound, rather than the kiss noise others the French again produce.

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 computer.

For general tips on internet while travelling, see our travel topic: Internet access

by mail

The Brazilian Correio ( 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 true; it takes as long as the normal fare, so be sure to ask for the "econômico" price of anything you wish to dispatch.

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.