Brazil’s national language is Portuguese, which is slightly different from European Portuguese.

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Brazil’s official currency is the Real. You can exchange money at banks, travel agencies and some hotels. Most companies dealing with tourists accept major international credit cards.

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Brazil’s international country code is 55. To call another country from Brazil, dial 00, followed by the operator code and the appropriate country code.

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Most bars and restaurants automatically include a 10 percent service charge on their bill. If the service was exceptional, leave a bit more. The general rule is 10 to 15 percent tips.

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Brazil is a politically stable country, but petty crime is seen as a way of life. Rio has a high crime rate, but most of the violent crime is limited to the slum areas. Travelers are still advised to be careful, avoid slum areas and leave valuables like jewelry and cameras at home or in hotel safes. Be mindful of your surroundings on public transportation and don’t get in unlicensed cabs or those with blacked-out windows.

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Visitors are recommended to get yellow fever vaccinations, especially if they’re visiting rural areas and parts of Sao Paulo and Parana, at least 10 days before your arrival. It’s also smart to get vaccinated against Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Dengue fever and malaria are also prevalent, so use insect protection. Chagas disease is caused by a parasite widely found in rural areas. Seek medical advice if any symptoms occur, such as fever, nausea, muscle aches and pains or swelling at insect bites. The local tap water is heavily treated and can taste like chemicals, but there is plenty of bottled water available. It’s smart to carry medication for diarrhea. Carry medical insurance to cover any costs.

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Brazil has many different electrical voltages, even within one city.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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