- Money : The Brazilian monetary unit is the real (plural, reais). There are 100 centavos to the real (R$). There is a good ATM network throughout Brazil. Banco Bradesco has branches in most cities, and they accept Visa and other cards in the Plus network. Banco do Brazil, Citibank, Banco Itau and Banco 24 horas also accept different card networks. Make sure you know your card’s PIN number before you travel. You can get up to R$ 1000,00 (around US $ 300) each day in almost every ATM machines available throughout Brazil.
Most major international credit cards are accepted in Brazil. Credit card receipts from stores and restaurants will be priced in reais although you will be billed in the currency of your own country, the official exchange rate having been taken into consideration. It’s a good idea to always have some cash (Brazilian Reais) to buy your everyday things.
- Infra-structure: Santa Catarina’s coast has great infra-structure of commerce which include several supermarkets, fish markets, bakeries, retailer for fruits and vegetables, many beach-wear shops with incredible prices, pharmacies, handicraft shops, restaurants, bars and nigth clubs.
- Food/Meals: You should expect to pay about US$ 3 for a regular meal prepared with chicken/meat/fish with black beans, rice and a good salad. A can of coke in a restaurant or bar is about US $ 0.75, but we recommend you to try the many tastes of brazilian juices. For a 600 ml bottle of beer you’ll pay about US $ 1.5, and a large bottle of mineral water is about US $ 0.50.
- Drink: The legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages in Brazil is 18. Brazil produces or imports most of the major international brands. Brazilian beer is a very good lager which is served in draught form (chopp) or bottled. The national drink is cachaça, made from crushed sugar cane, which is the basis of the popular caipirinha. Cachaça is also the basis for batidas, a mix of cachaça and fresh fruit juices. Soft drinks are no less spectacular and the most popular is Guaraná. Brazil is, of course, the world’s largest coffee producer.
- Health: Brazil has an excellent network of private hospitals in the major metropolitan centres. Private medical care is expensive, so it is advisable that all visitors take out medical insurance prior to their arrival. Even without insurance, Brazil has a public health service that will look after foreign visitors in an emergency.
- Internet: The internet is well developed in Brazil, so most hotels will have access to the web and there are cyber-cafes all around Brazil, even in small villages is possible to find Internet access.
- Tipping: Nearly all hotels add a service charge to the bill, usually 10%. Most restaurants also add 10% or more to the total of the bill, but must make it clear that they have done so. Brazilians don’t normally tip taxi drivers, although they may round the total up.
- Vaccination: It is necessary to have an international Certificate against Yellow Fever to tourists, who were traveling through a period of three months, or coming from the following countries: Republic of Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Republic of Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Gabon, Republic of The Gambia, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, French Guiana, Republic of Liberia, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Peru, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire.
It is recommended to have also the Vaccination Against Yellow Fever to those national, international, tourists who intend to visit the following Brazilian states: Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. Do not forget: it is necessary to have the shot at least 10 days before the departure.
- Clothes: You should not carry much weight. If you are comming in the winter time (from June to August) you should bring warm clothes such as pullovers, a rain coat, sweaters and pants to use during the mornings, when the temperatures sometimes can get as low as 10ºC (50ºF). But remember that you are on the beach, and even in the winter most of the days are warm, so bring your beach wear, off course!!
In the summer (from October to Abril) you should bring only light clothes, but a rain coat can be usefull for the tropical rains that usually occurs at the evenings.
- Safety : One of the urban myths that surrounds Brazil and can put people off a visit is the question of safety and security. In fact, Brazil is no more dangerous than anywhere in Europe or North America and violent crimes against tourists or foreign visitors are extremely rare, hence the headlines if they do happen. Brazil is also politically stable with no natural enemies and no terrorist activities.
The crime tourists are most likely to fall victim to in Brazilian cities is robbery and the target of most petty pilfering is the bag. If a bag is left unattended, the chances are that somebody else will try to pick it up. The simple solution is that visitors can’t get robbed if they’ve got nothing with them to be stolen. Always leave travelers checks, passports, air tickets and the like in the hotel safe deposit box. Visitors should however carry some form of ID, such as a photocopy of their passports, with them at all times.
FLORIANOPOLIS USEFUL NUMBERS
|Florianopolis Airport||021 48 3314000|
|Tourist Information center||021 48 2241516|
|Locksmith||021 48 3242787|
|Taxi Cab||021 48 2406009|
|Bus Terminal||021 48 2242777|
|Airport Transfer||021 48 3314102|
… leave your bag unattended.
… put your wallet in your back pocket or the outside pocket of a bag.
… walk in unlit areas at night.
… wear flashy jewellery in the street, even if it is fake.
… take more than you need to the beach.
… put your money, passport and ticket in the safe deposit box of your hotel.
… take cabs rather than buses.
… ask policemen for help if you need it.
… ask your hotel for information. They know most of the answers.
… call on your Consulate for help if you have a serious problem.