Brazil

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.

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; English-speaking operators are non-existent.

Beware that air conditioning in airports, intercity buses etc. is often quite strong. Carry a long-sleeved garment for air-conditioned places.

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.

by mail

The Brazilian Correio (http://www.correios.com.br) 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.Despite loss of parcels are very rare, brazilian post and customs are very slow mainly with international packages a international parcel sent from brazil delay more than 20 days to be dispatched from the country, as a international parcel to brazil delay in customs for about 60 days,

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

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 father-son relationships. 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 and Brasilia, 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.

talk

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 very 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. Spanish is a mandatory subject in Brazilian high schools, but most Brazilians who aren't employed in the business or tourism sector won't be very fluent in it, mostly due to a lack of practice.

crime

Brazil is one of the most criminalised countries of the world, which means that the crime rate is high. Brazil's murder rate is four times higher than many developed nations and rates for other crimes are similarly high. Crimes such as pickpocketing, carjackings, burglaries and armed robberies are a common sight in the country. It's important to stay vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.

Do not act like a tourist, and do not display items of wealth such as laptops, jewellery, etc. Avoid carrying large amounts of money with you, and if you do, it is wise to keep it in multiple pockets.

For safety reasons, do not even enter favelas - They can be extremely dangerous, given the fact that gangs use them for their criminal operations.

The efficiency of the police force varies depending on the region of the country, as their wages vary from state to state. Most problems of inefficiency occur in the northern part of the country. Do not attempt to bribe them.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided beween three services: 190 - Policia Police, 192- Ambulancia Ambulance, and 193- Bombeiros Fire Department.

Respect

respect
 

Brazilians tend to be very open and talk freely about their problems, especially about political corruption and other problems. But don't imitate them, as they are likely to feel offended if you criticize their country or customs. In some small towns, local politics can be a sensitive issue and you should be careful when talking about it. Be polite, as always.

Be aware that racism is a very serious offense in Brazil. Anyone may be arrested by exposing racist ideas. 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 color.

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 sentences.

It is also noteworthy that some Brazilians are fanatical about football soccer and so there are some times violent disputes between teams from different cities and rivalry between teams of the same city, 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. Generally, display moderate affection and avoid kissing in public, specially on bus and subway. It is best to gather information from locals as to what areas are more conservative and what areas are more progressive.

respect
 

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 father-son relationships. 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 and Brasilia, 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.

By phone

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. Be mindful that operators will typically speak in Portuguese, and may not provide an English-speaking operator available, even in major cities.

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.

by 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 (http://www.nobelcom.com/p...)

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. OpenSignal provide independent Brazil cell coverage maps allowing comparison of the quality of the networks.

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.