Brazil is divided into four time zones, Of the major cities :
- Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are all three hours behind GMT.
- The eastern time zone covers the island of Fernando de Noronha, located 250 miles off the eastern tip of Brazil, which is two hours behind GMT.
- In the west, for example in Manaus, the time zone sits four hours behind GMT,
- The far west is five hours behind.
The Brazilian currency is the real. Banks are generally open from 10:00 to 16:30, Monday to Friday. They are closed on weekends. The opening hours may vary slightly by region. In large cities, credit cards are increasingly accepted (this is not necessarily the case elsewhere). There are also many ATMs. Most are available from 06:00 to 22:00. Some are 24-hour but it’s not advisable to get cash out at night.
Electricity and Plugs
In Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the current is typically 110 volts but many hotels also use 220 volts. The plugs used also vary so it’s advisable to take a universal adapter and possibly a transformer.
Shops are generally open from 09:00 to 18:30/19:00 Monday to Friday, and from 09:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays. Some shopping centres are open until 22:00 and a few shops open on Sunday.
Given Brazil’s vast size, and its relatively new free press, there are literally hundreds of newspapers in the country (circa. 450), although few can claim national distribution. Among them are the main A Folha, O Estado, O Globo, O Jornal do Brasil. For economic and international news, A Gazeta Mercantil and Valor are best.
Television is unquestionably dominated by TV Globo. With 50% of the market share, this channel regularly draws 180 million Brazilian viewers! This is mainly down to the iconic (and deeply melodramatic) soap operas and the Mass broadcast at 06:30 every morning.
In general, post offices are open from 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday and from 08:00 to 12:00 on Saturdays. International post is pretty decent, most letters will reach the intended recipient in the UK in around ten days, provided you go direct to a post office… if you post it directly in a post box, it’s anyone’s guess!
To phone Brazil from the UK, add 00 55 to the front of the number you’re dialling (removing the first zero from the number you’re dialling). To call the UK from Brazil, use 00 44 before dialling the number (again, without the first zero).
Internet and Mobile Coverage
WiFi is okay in major cities but less so elsewhere. 3G and 4G haven’t are improving but are still patchy. Mobile coverage is generally pretty good but do check with your operator for the specifics of using your mobile in Brazil.