Brazil is well served by national and foreign airlines. Major operators include:
from the US: Varig, American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental, Japan Airlines (JAL);
from the UK: British Airways (BA), Varig;
from western continental Europe: SAS, Lufthansa, Air France, Alitalia, Sabena and Swissair;
from Australia: Qantas, Aerolineas Argentinas; and
from Japan: JAL.
Visitors who intend to travel to several cities should consider buying an airpass, which can be used
for cut-price travel within Brazil. The airpass can be obtained from Varig, VASP, TAM and
Transbrasil and should be bought before leaving for Brazil. The rules for use are complicated and
should be studied carefully. Contact:
Transbrasil: 55 11 3326 9000
Varig: 55 11 0800 99 7000 or 55 11 5091 2122
TAM: 55 11 0800 123100
VASP: 55 11 0800 99 8277
Visitors arriving from Africa, Latin America and Australasia are required to show a valid yellow fever
certificate on entry to Brazil, with the vaccination carried out at least ten days prior to arrival.
Travellers without certificates may be turned back or required to be vaccinated on the spot. Visitors
from Europe and North America are excluded from this requirement. For travel within Brazil, there
are no formal requirements, though a yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travellers to the
north, north-east and centre-west.
Major international airports
The federal capital Brasília has an international airport with at least one scheduled flight arriving
directly from abroad. This is Varig flight 939 from Buenos Aires (Argentina), which stops in Brasília
en route from Porto Alegre and Curitiba. However, most connections are made via shuttles from Rio
de Janeiro, São Paulo or Caracas (Venezuela). Brasília's 24-hour immigration facilities cater mainly
to the wide variety of private international flights that arrive there. São Paulo's Guarulhos
international airport is Brazil's main aviation hub. Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Salvador and Belo
Horizonte also have international airports.
Passengers should remain alert to the risk of theft and muggings at all times when in Brazilian
airport terminals, and should keep a close eye on laptop computers, briefcases, wallets and purses.
Passengers should also ignore approaches by people offering to change money or provide other
services. There have been incidents of drugs being planted on innocent passengers by traffickers
hoping to avoid detection.
Major perpetrators of airport crimes in Brazil include many non-Brazilians. In general, immigrant
Spanish-speaking criminals from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Paraguay find international
airports in Brazil good places to operate. Business visitors who speak Portuguese or Spanish will be
able to distinguish them because of their easily identifiable accents, though this can be problematic
in an international airport where a range of accents is to be expected.
Travel to and from the airport
Business visitors should arrange to be met by a reliable contact on arrival. If this proves impossible,
travellers should use a properly authorised airport taxi by paying in advance at a taxi booth inside
the airport terminal. The receipt or chit is then presented to the taxi driver. There are a range of
authorised taxi firms at all the major airports. The prices to downtown will range in accordance with
the location of the destination and with the type of taxi (ie luxury radio taxi or ordinary taxi).
MAIN BUSINESS DESTINATIONS
RIO DE JANEIRO
Set between a mountain chain and the Atlantic Ocean, Rio is famous for its spectacular sea-scape
and beaches. It is also an important business centre.
The downtown area, known as centro, is considered the dividing line between the north and south
zones of Rio. The two main avenues that mark the boundary between the two zones of the city are
Avenida Presidente Vargas and Avenida Rio Branco. The North Zone starts where Av Presidente
Vargas meets Praça da Bandeira, while the South Zone is considered to begin at the extreme end
of Av Rio Branco at the highly visible Second World War memorial. Most upmarket residential
districts (such as Barra da Tijuca, Botafogo and Leblon) and the main tourist areas (Copacabana
and Ipanema) are in the south.
Rio's hills are characterised by shanty towns called favelas. These are scattered throughout the
upmarket and commercial areas. Few neighbourhoods are without a favela. These slum areas
provide ideal access to wealthy neighbourhoods and excellent escape routes and hiding places for
muggers and thieves. In recent years, they have become havens for gangs of drug-dealers who are
often willing to defend their positions with high-powered military weapons such as AK-47 and M-16
assault rifles and grenades.
Galeão international airport
Rio's airport, known as Galeão International or Tom Jobim airport, is 12 miles (20km) from the city
centre. The journey can take as little as 20 minutes when there is no traffic, but you should allow
an hour at most times; more during the rush hour.
Travel to the city centre
Business visitors are advised to use the so-called 'co-operative' taxis (Cootramo and Transcopass)
for the journey into town. A pre-paid ticket may be purchased inside the arrivals terminal. The
tickets are priced according to the part of the city that you are visiting. You then take the ticket out
to one of the Cootramo or Transcopass representatives outside the terminal. For further
information contact Cootramo on (21) 560 5442 or (21) 560 0500, or Transcopass on (21) 560
Unregulated taxis also operate, but are best avoided unless you are a seasoned visitor fluent in
Portuguese and familiar with the city. Air-conditioned buses operate regularly between the airport
and the city centre. However, they are used mainly by tourists. Most business visitors use the co-
It is best to arrive during daylight if possible. Criminal gangs occasionally assault traffic using the
Red Route (Linha Vermelha) between the airport and Rio's tourist and business centres. The risk is
highest at night. Do not offer resistance if your taxi is stopped.
Rio has a deserved reputation as a dangerous city. After a major anti-crime campaign in 1992 the
situation improved. However, violent crime is once again on the rise and visitors should be
extremely cautious. Most of the main business and tourist areas are relatively safe during the day
provided sensible precautions are observed. However, despite improvements, overall crime levels
remain high. Rio's topography means that upmarket residential and commercial districts frequently
suffer a spillover from the activities of drug gangs operating out of the favelas.
Overall, no area of the city is exempt from the risk of crime, including armed muggings. Visitors to
all beaches are at risk from petty criminals, who use violence if victims resist. Youth gangs attack
and rob bathers at weekends. Carjacking is an increasing problem in all areas of the city. Carjackers
threaten drivers at gunpoint, force them to drive some distance to make sure that anti-theft devices
are not operating, then eject them from their cars. However, carjackers do not automatically
release all victims. Carjackers increasingly demand that the victim enter the trunk of the vehicle
while they joyride or commit other crimes. When they have finished with the vehicle, they either
abandon it or set fire to it, sometimes with the owner still in the trunk.
Basic security precautions should be observed at all times. In particular, avoid carrying expensive
equipment and wearing jewellery. Caution is particularly needed in the main beach areas and the
central downtown business district around the Praça Caríoca (but see Dangerous areas for after-
dark issues). At night, visitors must use taxis to travel even short distances. Rio's Tourist Police
patrol the streets during the day, providing some deterrent to criminals, but their patrols cease
after around 22.00. The streets become more dangerous after dark.
Control Risks recommends that visitors do not carry their original passports on their person. The
best method is to use a photocopy of the passport. Ideally, but not necessarily, the photocopy can
be authenticated by a local notary assuring the authorities that the document being presented is
based on a verified original. Under no circumstances should an original identification document be
surrendered to the authorities. After inspection, identification documents should be returned to the
owner, as holding them is illegal.
The city's most dangerous areas for muggings and pickpocketing traditionally are Dois Irmaõs,
Santa Teresa, parts of Copacabana (around the Othon Palace Hotel, Praça do Lido and along
virtually all the side streets), Pão de Açúcar, Corcovado, Quinta da Boa Vista, the Jardim
Botânico/Joquei Clube racecourse area and around the Hotel Intercontinental at São Conrado. Most
of these areas are now reasonably well patrolled by tourist police during the day, but even locals
avoid carrying expensive cameras and wearing flashy jewellery.
The theatre district near the downtown commercial area is a popular destination and a magnet for
muggers and thieves after dark. Those interested in going to the theatre should go in groups or
with a registered tour guide.
Muggings and pickpocketing are particularly common during public festivals, especially the Rio
Carnival. The carnival disrupts travel in the city and business visits should be avoided during this
Few drivers speak English and overcharging is common. Control Risks recommends that business
visitors who are not familiar with the city or who do not speak good Portuguese contract a bilingual
driver and a vehicle during their stay. Visitors can use a driver registered with the hotel or the
visitor's local subsidiary and a commercial vehicle, or they can hire a car and driver through a
reputable travel agency or with one of the taxi co-operatives. The ideal vehicle is one with
commercial (red) licence plates. Potential muggers and thieves rarely steal commercial vehicles or
taxis. If a non-commercial vehicle is used, visitors should rent an armoured vehicle. Allow plenty of
time to get between appointments because of Rio's chronic traffic congestion.
Unless business visitors know Rio well or speak good Portuguese, they should not use the
ubiquitous yellow taxis cruising the streets. Radio taxis or taxis registered to the visitor's hotel are a
better option. As a precaution against opportunistic thieves, always lock your door when in a taxi
and keep luggage out of sight.
Hotels in the business centre are not recommended because the lack of nightlife makes the area
comparatively less secure at night. No area is totally safe, so take advice from hotel staff before
walking around outside your hotel.
The following hotels are recommended as normally and reasonably secure:
•Caesar Park, Avenida Vieira Soto 460, Ipanema; Tel: (55) 21 525 2525, Fax: (55) 21 521 6000.
This hotel is one of the safest in Rio. There is good security both inside the hotel and outside, with
guards watching the entire beach area in front of the hotel.
•Le Méridien, Avenida Atlântica 1020, Copacabana; Tel: (55) 21 275 9922, Fax: (55) 21 541 6447.
•Sheraton, Avenida Niemeyer 121, Leblon; Tel: (55) 21 274 1122, Fax: (55) 21 239 5643. This
hotel is between Leblon and São Conrado and therefore further away from the centre; there may
be considerable traffic delays during rush hours. However, for business in Barra da Tijuca, it is well
situated. To get to the Sheraton, a visitor must drive past the dangerous Vidigal favela.
The Tourist Police (DEAT) are reasonably ubiquitous in main business and tourist districts during
the day, when their foot patrols on the streets act as a deterrent to criminals. Tourist Police are
supposed to speak English, but in practice rarely do. After dark, the Militarised Police (PM) are the
only police available - they patrol in cars.
Contact whichever is nearer if you need immediate assistance, though do not expect the response
to be particularly prompt or helpful. The emergency telephone number is 190. The DEAT deals with
common crime against foreigners - particularly tourists - in Rio's tourist areas. Its head office is in
the Leblon district (Tel: 511 5112, 511 5881 or 511 5035). There is a DEAT office at Galeão
international airport (Tel: 398 4435 or 398 3590). DEAT has installed 25 kiosks in Rio where foreign
visitors can obtain information and assistance in an emergency. Sites include the Municipal Theatre,
the Museum of Modern Art, Santos Dumont airport, Alto da Boa Vista, Corcovado, the Pão de
Açucar (Sugar Loaf) cable car station, Santa Teresa and main beaches.
Tap water is not safe. Tap water is treated but is not pumped directly into hotels. It is first pumped
into cisterns and may become contaminated if the cistern is not cleaned regularly. Bottled water is
always the safest option.
Guarulhos international airport
São Paulo's Guarulhos airport is 20 miles (32km) from the city centre. It is rarely necessary to
change airports from Guarulhos to Congonhas as travellers can take domestic flights from
Guarulhos. Travellers needing to change between Guarulhos and Congonhas domestic airport
(seven miles (12km) from the city centre) should note that Rio Sul local airline provides a 15-
minute shuttle flight, which is cheaper and quicker than travel by taxi. Shuttle buses run by top
hotels to and from the airport are a good, inexpensive and secure option.
Crime levels are now higher in São Paulo than in Rio, and rising. Data from the Civil and Militarised
Police Department reveals that during the first quarter of 1999 there were 1,558 murders in the
city, an increase of nearly 6% over the same quarter of 1998. In the second quarter of 1999, the
number of murders held steady at 1,552. In addition, 13,609 cars were stolen between April and
June 1999, a 50% increase on the second quarter of 1998. For January and February 2000,
murders in São Paulo numbered 513 and 530 respectively. Visitors are advised to observe security
precautions at all times. Theft (including car theft), homicide and armed robbery account for most
serious crime. Minors - whom the police do not bother to prosecute - carry out much of the
systematic street crime.
Much street crime, burglary and car theft is carried out by individuals and gangs from the shanty
towns and slum communities. However, no area of the city is immune from crime. High risk areas
for street crime include Luz, Praça da República and, particularly at night, Bixiga and Praça
Roosevelt. Other dangerous areas include the neighbourhoods of São Mateus, Santo Amaro and
Itaquera. Shanty towns in outlying districts of the city are particularly dangerous.
Traffic in São Paulo is extremely heavy, especially during rush hours. Drivers are often impatient
and accidents are frequent. Muggings are common at major traffic intersections. Visitors are
strongly discouraged from driving in the city. Street signs are not always frequent and the risk of
becoming lost or disoriented is considerable. It is recommended that visitors hire a driver and
vehicle to get around.
Cooperativos (radio taxis) are recommended for travel in the city; drivers are less likely to
overcharge foreigners than in Rio. It is not advisable to hail taxis in the street unless the visitor has
a good command of Portuguese and knows the city relatively well. Some taxi drivers are foreign
and do not know their way around. The metro (subway) is efficient, clean and cheap, though it has
just three lines and does not cover the entire city. There have been some cases of burglary and
mugging on the metro, but it is comparatively safer than travel on buses.
The following hotels are recommended as normally and reasonably secure:
Caesar Park, Rua Augusta 158
Maksoud Plaza, Alameda Campinas 150
Mofarrej/Sheraton, Alameda Santos 1437
Hotel Renaissance, Alameda Santos 2233
Hotel Intercontinental, Alameda Santos 1123
L'Hotel, Alameda Campinas 266
Sofitel, Rua Sena Madureira 1355. Located in the south-centre of the city, close to the main park,
Ibirapuera, but not close to any of the main business areas.
Hotel Sol Melia, Avenida das Nacoes Unidas 12, 559. This hotel is located in the southern part of
the city in the suburb of Brooklin, close to the business area around Avenida Luis Carlos Berrini.
However, it is quite a long drive from the main business area around Avenida Paulista.
Yellow fever alert
Health authorities in São Paulo state have launched a renewed yellow fever vaccination campaign
after two confirmed cases of the disease were reported. There are an additional 25 suspected, but
unconfirmed, cases of the disease in the state, which is not considered to be in the yellow fever
zone (see HEALTH).
The São Paulo police are better equipped than their Rio counterparts, but this does not necessarily
translate into greater efficiency. The police force still suffers under-resourcing, poor pay and low
morale. The São Paulo police force, because of its much larger size and the vastness of the city, is
organised into more highly specialised separate units (for example, anti-narcotics and prison
police). This can lead to difficulties in co-ordination between units. There is as yet no unit
comparable to Rio's Tourist Police, though several initiatives are under examination to improve
security for foreign visitors. As in Rio, the emergency number is 190.
Brasília has an international airport: some carriers, such as American Airlines, Varig and Vasp (both
local) have direct flights to the US. Connections to Europe must route via Miami (US), São Paulo,
Rio or Caracas (Venezuela).
Brasília, the purpose-built federal capital, dates from the 1950s. It is relatively small (the entire
population of the Federal District, which includes Brasília, is less than 2m). The speed of the city's
construction and the rigid lines along which it has been laid out mean that it lacks the warmth of
Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo: it cannot compare with the world's great cities, such as Rio, Paris
(France) or London (UK), for nightlife or entertainment.
The security environment is generally relaxed. Crime rates are lower than in São Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro. There are few unsafe areas, and business visitors would have little reason to visit them.
Nevertheless, security precautions are advisable at all times for those who do not know the city.
Brasília has acquired a reputation as a drug centre; the police estimate that a ton of cocaine passes
through the city a year, half of which is consumed there. However, crime associated with the drug
trade is unlikely to impinge on foreigners.
Brasília's taxis are safer than those in Rio and São Paulo: they generally need to be ordered by
telephone or picked up at taxi ranks; it is difficult to flag them down.
The city plan is in the shape of an aircraft seen from above with distinct sections dedicated to
official buildings, residences, commerce and embassies. The road traffic system, the Eixo
Rodoviario - the main north-south road - dominates Brasília. According to a government brochure,
'the city centre is served by a road system in which traffic jams are inconceivable'. However, rush
hour traffic jams are frequent, though Brasília's traffic problems do not, as yet, compare to Rio or
São Paulo. The road system can be confusing, and some areas of the city can be reached only via
tortuous routes: study the city plan carefully and take advice on short cuts.
Recommended hotels include:
Naoum Plaza, Setor Hoteleiro Sul, quadra 5, bloco H/I; Tel: (61) 322 4545 Fax: (61) 322 4949
Reservations: 0800 61 4844 www.brasilia.com/naoumplaza
Kubitschek Plaza, Setor Hoteleiro Norte, quadra 2, bloco E; Tel: (61) 329 3333 Fax: (61) 328 9366
Reservations: 0800 61 3995
Carlton, Setor Hoteleiro Sul, quadra 5, bloco G; Tel: (61) 224 8819 Fax: (61)226 8109
Manhattan, Setor Hoteleiro Norte, quadra 2, bloco A; Tel: (61) 319 3060 Fax: (61)328 5683
Reservations: 0800 61 4002
Metropolitan, Setor Hoteleiro Norte, quadra 2, bloco H; Tel: (61) 327 3939 Fax: (61) 327 3738
As the federal capital, Brasília is often the site of major demonstrations and protests. Visitors should
avoid getting close to these public protests. Although they are usually non-violent, demonstrations
can sometimes get out of hand and the police are quick to use tear gas and even firearms if it
appears that they are losing control of a situation.
Belo Horizonte is served by two airports. The new international Aeroporto Confins (also known as
Aeroporto Tancredo Neves) is 25 miles (40km) north of the city. The Aeroporto de Pampulha,
which is five miles (8km) from the city centre, serves regional airlines and is used by corporate
aircraft. Security procedures are not particularly strict, but are of an acceptable standard in relation
to the current low level of threat.
Travel to and from the airport
There is a single standard type of taxi for hire in Belo Horizonte and service is reasonably reliable.
It is a good idea to use the taxis parked outside the airport, major hotels and in tourist areas.
Belo Horizonte is the third largest city in Brazil and has more than 2m inhabitants. The city has a
warm climate, but there is increasing atmospheric pollution. Public buildings and public facilities are
of a high standard and most services work well. Belo Horizonte was laid out by the same architect
who designed Washington DC (US) and Boston (US). The city is laid out in 'hubs' with the main
thoroughfares acting as 'spokes' that radiate outwards. The city is confusing to navigate. Visitors
are advised to get around by taxi.
Shanty towns, as in Rio de Janeiro, are a source of crime, but crime levels are generally lower than
in Rio and São Paulo. There is a risk of petty crime on the streets, especially at night, and standard
city security precautions should be observed. Street crime is more common in or near poor districts,
but caution is necessary in the downtown area.
Air travel is the usual and most convenient method of travel between Brazilian cities. Although
security at airports serving internal flights may appear casual, flights on VASP, Tam, Varig and
Transbrasil airlines are generally safe. Security measures are more questionable at the small
airports in the Amazon region. For example, security measures are poor at Puerto Velho airport in
Internal flights are expensive, though air passes are available for foreign tourists. There is no
airport tax for passengers travelling within Brazil on internal flights. There is a departure tax for
passengers departing Brazil on international flights.
Only official taxis or reputable chauffeur-driven cars should be used when travelling in cities.
Foreign business visitors using unofficial or 'rogue' taxis risk being robbed and even killed. Buses
can be crowded and uncomfortable.
Foreign visitors should be wary of driving themselves as it is difficult to adjust to Brazilian driving
habits. Drivers can get up-to-date information in Portuguese on road conditions from the telephone
numbers in the Guia Rodoviario, which is available at most bookstalls. The Quatro Rodas Guia Brasil
is an annually updated guide to hotels and services similar to the publications of the US AAA and
the British AA.
There are no secure and comfortable inter-city trains in Brazil. The one line that connected Rio and
São Paulo (the Silver Train) has been discontinued.
TRAVEL IN AMAZON BORDER REGIONS AND THE PANTANAL WETLANDS
Foreign business visitors will have practically no reason to visit such areas. Tourists can find
numerous reliable agencies to arrange travel to these areas. It is not recommended that visitors
travel on their own to such regions. They are largely uninhabited, dangerous and should only be
visited with trained guides.
Violent crime is a feature of Brazilian life (three people are murdered every hour). Armed robberies
and muggings are frequent, though most murders take place in poorer urban and rural districts.
Drug gangs are involved in kidnaps and bank robberies.
Foreign business visitors are at high risk from crime, particularly in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and
some north-eastern cities. Foreign visitors who appear wealthy are favoured targets for muggers,
pickpockets and bag-snatchers. There have been armed robberies at hotels, and central safety
deposit boxes have been robbed. Some city centre areas should be avoided even in daylight,
particularly on Sundays when they are largely unpoliced.
Highway robberies occur around Rio and São Paulo. Business visitors should not attempt to resist
highway robbers or other armed criminals; they will almost invariably open fire on anyone who
refuses to co-operate.
All beaches attract criminals. On crowded beaches gangs start fake fights to distract attention from
pilfering; such incidents are often accompanied by violence. Never take valuables to a beach. The
safest beach area in Rio de Janeiro is in front of the Caesar Park hotel, where security personnel
constantly monitor conditions.
Standard security precautions
Foreign business visitors should observe the following standard security precautions to limit the risk
avoid displaying money, wearing any jewellery or expensive watches or carrying valuables, such as
use individual safety deposit boxes inside hotel rooms;
carry spending money only, together with a photocopy of your passport for identification purposes
or an identity card from home that has a photograph, such as a library or bus pass;
do not venture on to the streets alone at night; and
use only recognised taxi firms; consult the hotel before booking.
There is a risk of kidnapping, but most victims are wealthy local business people or their family
members. Foreign business people on short visits are unlikely to be targeted.
Widespread dissatisfaction with poverty and the government's economic policies can prompt
violence. Protest strikes are often prolonged: travel schedules and business arrangements may be
disrupted. Demonstrations and strike action can occur when privatisation issues are debated in
state legislatures and when privatisations take place. Industrial sites where striking workers picket
or occupy factories should be avoided, as the security forces often use violence to disperse strikers.
Public festivals and carnivals can be violent and dangerous, particularly the Rio Carnival. Control
Risks suggests that foreign visitors should frequent the Carnival in tour groups to assure safety.
The Federal Police, similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the US, are responsible
for immigration-related matters, and for the enforcement of federal laws on drug-trafficking,
smuggling and counterfeiting. The Federal Police are organised by regions with at least one, and
often several, regional offices in each state. Each state has its own military and civilian police
forces. The civil police are the investigative arm of law enforcement. They do not patrol on a
regular basis but work from precincts, similar to those in the US, located throughout a city. Visitors
wishing to report a crime will do so to the civil police.
Some municipalities have special forces such as the Municipal Police in Rio (responsible for traffic
violations) or the São Paulo traffic police (who wear brown and yellow uniforms).
A macho attitude still noticeable in most Latin American cultures takes less aggressive forms among
the more educated in Brazilian society. In main business centres, women travelling alone on
business can expect conditions more or less similar to those in the US and Western Europe. Gender
discrimination in business meetings, on business-related social occasions and in high-class hotels is
minimal. Unaccompanied businesswomen attract attention in smaller cities and might consider
having a local male business contact accompany them in public places such as restaurants and
theatres. It is increasingly common to encounter women executives in the service sector, as well as
in politics, the bureaucracy and the legal system. However, they are still relatively uncommon in
In most situations, women travellers face the same level of risk from crime as men, but if walking
alone they are more likely to be targeted by snatch-and-grab thieves, who are often young
children, looking out for a necklace, wristwatch or handbag. Women should avoid taking a taxi
alone at night.
Brazilian Portuguese is different from European Portuguese in pronunciation. Spanish speakers can
get by; it is tactful to apologise for using Spanish. English is the next most common language used,
notably in business and federal government circles, but visitors cannot rely on a contact's ability to
speak English and should check in advance whether interpretation will be necessary.
The national currency is the real (plural reais/Rs). Notes are issued in denominations of one, five,
ten, 50 and 100Rs; coins are minted in one, five, ten, twenty-five and fifty centavo and one real
denominations. Coins are struck in steel and are magnetic; forged non-magnetic real coins have
Traveller's cheques in US dollars are not necessary, but are a useful precaution in case of
pickpocketing. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels and restaurants. ATMs are widespread and
generally accept cards with the Mastercard, Visa, Amex or Cirrus symbols. Visitors should only use
ATMs located inside public buildings or hotels. ATMs located on the street are often the site of
muggings and armed robberies and should be avoided wherever possible. Use of ATMs at night is
It is usual to tip hotel and restaurant staff, but not taxi drivers unless you use the same driver for
Officials are generally accessible. Appointments should be sought in advance and reconfirmed on
the day; letters of introduction or recommendation are helpful. It is usual to exchange business
cards. When visiting government offices, leave time for security checks. Formal business wear is
standard in São Paulo, Brasília and in air-conditioned office buildings in other cities. Informal
clothes, such as sports shirts, are often worn at outdoor lunches and some evening receptions. It
can be advisable to check on dress requirements with your host in advance. If in doubt ask for local
Gifts and tips
Official and business contacts will not expect gifts, but offers of hospitality in a hotel or restaurant
may be appropriate.
Telephone cards are used in public telephones; they can be purchased from the ubiquitous
newspaper stalls. Telephone charges are among the highest in the world; international phone
charge cards bought at home can be useful. To make a non-local phone call, add 21 to the
beginning of the number before dialling the city code. For international calls from Brazil, dial 00 21,
then the international code of the country, then the rest of the number.
The postal system is reasonably reliable for internal and international deliveries, though delays can
occur. It is advisable to fax urgent messages and to use courier services for important business
Useful emergency telephone numbers
INSS (public health information) 191
Municipal First Aid Ambulance 192
Fire Department 193
DSV (for reporting traffic accidents) 194
Poison Control Centre 5012 5311 or 578 5111
Instituto Butantã (for snake or insect bites) 813 7222 Ext 188
Instituto Pasteur (for animal bites) 288 0088
A nationwide anti-smoking law formally bans smoking in government offices, bars, restaurants,
hospitals, schools, libraries, theatres, buses, on any plane journey and offices where more than one
person works. Smoking is permitted only in specially-designated areas.
Penalties for infringements have so far been introduced only in the Federal District (Brasília), where
the state government has decreed fines from $97-683. São Paulo pioneered the legislation.
Mon-Fri Sat Sun
Banks 10.00-16.30 closed closed
Government offices 11.00-18.00 closed closed
Offices 09.00-18.00 closed closed
Shops 09.00-18.00 09.00-12.30/13.00 closed
Shopping centres 10.00-22.00 10.00-22.00 10.00-17.00
Public holidays in 2000
1 Jan New Year's Day
20 Jan Foundation Day (Rio de Janeiro)
25 Jan Foundation Day (São Paulo)
26 Jan Foundation Day (Santos)
2 Feb Religious Holiday (Porto Alegre)
3-7 Mar Carnival
19 Mar St Joseph (Fortazela)
21-23 Apr Easter
21 Apr Independence Hero Tiradentes Day
1 May Labour Day
22 Jun Corpus Christi
2 Jul State Independence Day (Salvador)
9 Jul Civil holiday (São Paulo state only)
16 Jul Religious Holiday (Recife)
15 Aug Religious Holiday (Belo Horizonte)
7 Sep Independence Day
8 Sep Religious Holiday (Curitiba, Santos, Vitoria)
12 Oct Religious Holiday
1 Nov All Saints Day (not an official holiday)
2 Nov All Souls Day
15 Nov Proclamation of the Republic
8 Dec Immaculate Conception (Belém, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Campinas, Fortaleza, Manaus,
24 Dec Christmas Eve (half day)
25 Dec Christmas Day
31 Dec New Year's Eve (half day)
Religious or traditional holidays are fixed locally.
Most of Brazil lies within the tropical zone. The north-east coastal region is generally hot and humid
with little temperature fluctuation throughout the year. The south-east marks the division between
the tropical and temperate regions. Rio de Janeiro is usually warm. A light jacket or blazer may be
required during the winter months when rain is also common. São Paulo is subject to wide
temperature fluctuations and can become uncomfortably cold in the winter months (particularly
July and August). South of São Paulo, winter temperatures can be quite low and snow will
sometimes fall in the higher elevations or during periods of extreme cold. Travellers visiting the
states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul should expect mild temperatures and cool
evenings during the summer months and cold and wet weather during the winter. The Amazon
region is hot and humid. Throughout Brazil, visitors are advised to use sun screen lotions, especially
if they have skin that is sensitive to sunlight.
Embassy and consulate details
Note: some telephone numbers in Latin America are changing. Visitors planning trips should check
numbers with their local Brazilian embassy or consulate before leaving.
Most major countries have consulates in São Paulo and/or Rio de Janeiro as well as an embassy in
the capital (Federal District) Brasília. Check in advance which section is in which city: the
commercial section may be bigger, or exclusively located, in São Paulo.
Consulates in RIO DE JANEIRO
City telephone code: 21
Austria Praia do Botafogo 228, sala 614; Tel: 227 0040/0048/0049
Belgium Rua Lauro Muller 116, sala 3904, Torre do Rio Sul; Tel: 252 2967
Canada Rua Lauro Muller 160, Room 2707, Torre Rio Sul-Botafogo; Tel: 542 9297
Denmark Praia do Flamengo 66, bloco B, sala 1318; Tel: 558 6050
Finland Praia do Flamengo 344, 9 Andar Flamengo; Tel: 553 5505
France Avenida Présidente Antonio Carlos 58; Tel: 210 1272
Germany Rua Présidente Carlos de Campos 417; Tel: 553 6777
Ireland Avenida Princesa Isabel 323; Tel: 275 0196
Italy Avenida Présidente Antonio Carlos 40; Tel: 282 1315
Japan Praia do Flamengo 200, 10 andar; Tel: 265 5252
Netherlands Praia de Botafogo 242, 10 andar; Tel: 552 9028
Norway Praia do Flamengo 344, 9 andar; Tel: 553 5505
Switzerland Rua Cândido Mendes 157, 11 andar; Tel: 221 1867
UK Praia do Flamengo 284, 2 andar; Tel: 553 3223
US Avenida Présidente Wilson 147 Castelo; Tel: 292 7117
Consulates in SÃO PAULO
City telephone code: 11
Australia Rua Tenente Negrao 140, 12 andar, Suite 121; Tel: 8296281
Belgium Avenida Paulista 2073, 13 andar (Conjunto Nacional), Edificio Horsa I; Tel: 3171 1599
Canada Avenida Paulista 1106, 1 andar; Tel: 253 4922
Denmark Rua Oscar Freire 379, 3 andar; Tel: 3061 3625
Finland Rua Jesuino Arruda 769-Cj 101; Tel: 881 8736
France Avenida Paulista 1842; Tel: 287 9522
Germany Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima 2092, 12 andar; Tel: 814 6644
Ireland Avenida Paulista 2006, 5 andar; Tel: 287 6362
Italy Avenida Higienopolis 436; Tel: 826 9022
Japan Avenida Paulista 854, 3 andar; Tel: 287 0100
Netherlands Avenida Brigadeiro Faria 1779, 3 andar; Tel: 813 0522
New Zealand Al. Campinas 579, 15 andar; Tel: 288 0307
Norway Rua Oscar Freire 379, 3 andar
Switzerland Avenida Paulista 1754, 4 andar, Edificio Grande Avenida; Tel: 253 4951
UK Rua Ferreira de Araújo 741, Pinheiros; Tel: 3816 2303
US Rua Padre João Manoel 933, Jardim America; Tel: 881 6511
Embassies in BRASILIA
The abbreviation SES has been used throughout to signify the diplomatic quarter (Seção de
City telephone code: 61
Australia SHIS Q1 09, Conjunto 16, Casa 1; Tel: 248 5569
Austria SES, Avenida das Nações 40; Tel: 443 3111
Belgium SES, Avenida das Nações 32; Tel: 443 1133
Canada SES, Avenida das Nações 16; Tel: 321 2171
Denmark SES, Avenida das Nações 26; Tel: 443 8188
Finland SES, Avenida das Nações 27; Tel: 443 7151
France SES, Avenida das Nações 4; Tel: 312 9100
Germany SES, Avenida das Nações 25; Tel: 443 7330
Italy SES, Avenida das Nações, quadra 807, lote 30; Tel: 443 0044
Japan SES, Avenida das Nações 39; Tel: 242 6866
Korea SES, Avenida das Nações 14; Tel: 321 2500
New Zealand No embassy. Consulate General in São Paulo
Norway SES, Avenida das Nações quadra 807, lote 28; Tel: 443 8722
Spain SES, Avenida das Nações, quadra 811, lote 44; Tel: 244 2121
Sweden SES, Avenida das Nações 29; Tel: 443 1444
Netherlands SES, Q 801, 5; Tel: 321 4769
Sweden SES, Avenida das Nações 29, Caixa Postal 07-0419; Tel: 443 1444
Switzerland SES, Avenida das Nações, quadra 881, lote 41; Tel: 443 5500
UK SES, quadra 801, Conjunto K (Avenida das Nações); Tel: 225 2710
US SES, Avenida das Nações, Unidas-Sul, quadra 801, lote 3 Tel: 321 7272
Air and water pollution levels are high. It is best to drink bottled water and to avoid foods that may
have been washed in water, such as salad. Pharmacies are reasonably widespread and most
branded British and US drugs are available, though the brand names may vary. It is useful to take
along the packaging of medication so that the contents and dosage can be compared with the
Brazilian equivalent (pharmaceuticals generally have similar names in most European languages). If
visitors fall ill, Control Risks' office in São Paulo can provide a list of English-speaking doctors.
Contact (11) 5505 2163 or 5505 1779. Alternatively, most five-star hotels have access to English-
speaking doctors. Personal, private medical care in Brazil is reasonably good, and there are several
good international-level private hospitals with multilingual physicians available. Examples would
include the Hospital Albert Einstein in São Paulo and the Clinica São Vicente in Rio. We would
advise against using public hospitals.
Yellow fever alert in São Paulo state
Health authorities in São Paulo state have launched a renewed yellow fever vaccination campaign
after two confirmed cases of the disease were reported. There are an additonal 25 suspected, but
unconfirmed, cases of the disease in the state, which is not considered to be in the yellow fever
zone. Rio de Janeiro state, also not in the yellow fever zone, recently reported a small number of
cases among travellers who had visited remote areas where the disease thrives.
Confirmed cases of yellow fever fell significantly nationwide in 1999 and the alert is a precautionary
measure. Travellers are advised to be immunised against the disease, especially if planning to visit
the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas
Gerais, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocatins, all of which are in the yellow fever zone.
Travellers arriving in Brazil from other parts of Latin America, Africa and Australasia are required to
show a yellow fever vaccination certificate, with the vaccination carried out at least ten days before
arrival. Travellers without certificates may be turned back or required to be vaccinated on the spot.
Visitors arriving from North America or Europe are excluded from this requirement.