Sometimes during the course of planning a trip questions arise which are not found in the books, travel brochures or web pages. Here are the answers to not all but at least a few of them.
What time is it in Brazil?
Brazil is west of the Greenwich Meridian and has four time zones ranging from minus-2-hours GMT to minus-5-hours. Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia are each at minus-3-hours. Officially Brazils time is ahead by plus-2-hours as compared to the U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST) not taking into account daylight savings time which Brazil has for October to February, moving the clocks ahead one hour in the Southeastern, Southern, Northern and Center-West regions.
What about holidays?
Brazil celebrates many holidays throughout the year in which government offices are closed along with many companies and stores. The main holidays are January 1 st (New Years), April 21 st (Our Lady of Aparecida’s Day), December 25 th (Christmas) Easter (usually in April, sometimes in March) and Monday and Tuesday of Carnival (February). Travel is effected around the holidays as the Brazilians themselves scurry off to see friends and relatives but nothing like it is at Carnival. Airline flights and hotel reservations must be booked will in advance especially to cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
What are normal business hours?
Usually 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for governmental offices Monday to Friday except holidays. Store hours vary between cities but generally 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or as late as 8:00 p.m. Monday to Friday with varying hours on Saturday. Most stores close on Sundays except in the malls where they’re open until approximately 6 to 8 p.m. Larger cities do have (mainly supermarkets, convenience stores) which stay open 24 hours. Banks are typically 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Can I use my electrical appliance in Brazil?
For the most part yes but it’s always a good idea to check with the front desk personnel before plugging anything in. Cities are equipped with either 110V or 220V electrical grids. Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Porto Alegre and Florianopolis are 110 or 120V, 60 cycles AC. Brasilia and Recife are 220V, 60 cycles AC. Some hotels have both 110 and 220V outlets. Electrical plugs usually have two flat pins (similar to the U.S.) or two round pins with most outlets accepting either. Some outlets may require a ground.
How do I make a phone call from Brazil?
In an effort to reduce connection fees Brazil privatized the telecoms down to two international carriers. Embratel (carrier code 21) and Intelig (carrier code 23).
This is how you would make an international phone call from Brazil direct.
00 [int’l access code] + [carrier code] + [country code] + [area code] + [number]
This is how a call to Phoenix would look:
00 + 21 or 23 + 1 [ U.S.] + 602 [ Phoenix] + 555-1212 [number]
To make a long distance call within Brazil there are more carriers available depending on where you are, Embratel and Intelig cover the entire country as a whole.
This is how you would make a long distance call in Brazil.
0 [DDD access code] + [carrier code] + [area code] + [number]
An example would be: Rio to Brasilia.
0 + [carrier code] + 61 [ Brasilia] + 555-1212 [number]
Your hotel lobby can usually provide you with all the carriers in that area.
Don’t bother trying to use coins at public pay phones. They don’t take them. Some of them will still accept tokens which can be purchased at news stands, but the majority have been converted to phone cards only.
Do I need to know the Metric system?
Knowing it is not required but having some knowledge will be helpful when making purchases by say the kilogram vs. the pound or gasoline by the liter. Also in determining distance when asking directions it’s nice to know just how far a kilometer is.
1 Kilogram (Kg) = 2.205 (lbs.)
1 lb = 0.454 kg
1 millimeter (mm) = 0.039 inch
1 centimeter (cm) = 0.394 inch
1 meter (m) = 3.281 feet
1 Kilometer = (km) = 0.621 miles
1 inch = 2.542 cm
1 foot = 0.305 m
1 mile = 1.609 Km
1 square Kilometer (Km squared) = 0.386 square mile
1 square mile = 2.590 Km squared
Considering bringing your dog, cat or parrot with you to Brazil?
According to Brazilian legislation that regulates the entrance of animals in Brazil, the International Health Certificate (IHC) must be legalized by the Brazilian Consulate 7 (seven ) days from its issuance and the Pets must enter Brazil within 30 (thirty) days from the date the IHC has been issued. This certificate of health examination must also receive a stamp from the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The veterinarian certificate must state:
1. The good health of the animal
2. The record of vaccines.
3. That on the 40 days prior to the day of the trip, there was no diseases occurring in the area.
For Parrots or Parakeets a Certificate by the local office of the USDA, stating that the bird is free of psittacosis.
1. All documents indicated above must be issued in the jurisdiction of the nearest Brazilian Consulate and must be legalized by the Consulate within 7 (seven) days from the date of issuance.
2. There is a consular fee of U.S.$20.00 per document. No personal checks will be accepted. Money orders or cash only.
3. Please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the documents.
4. Address of the United States Department of Agriculture (it’s a good idea to call and make an appointment)
USDA-APHIS-VS Port Veterinarian
389 Oyster Point Blvd., Suite 2
South San Francisco , CA. 94080
Tel: (650) 876-9358
Fax: (925) 876-0915
9580 Micron Avenue , Suite E
Sacramento , CA . 95827
Tel: (916) 857-6179
Fax: (916) 857-6196
Toll -free: (877) 741-3690