USEFUL TIPS

TIME ZONES
Because of its continental dimensions, Brazil has 3 time zones. São Paulo follows the Brasilia time (UTC/GMT -3 hours). The city is subject to DST between October and February, when the clocks are set ahead one hour.

BUSINESS HOURS
Most offices open from 09:00 to 18: 00h Monday to Friday and from 09:00 to 13: 00h on Saturdays. Most major shopping malls are open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 22: 00h and on Sundays from 15:00 to 21: 00h. São Paulo has several convenience stores open 24 hours / day. Banks are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 16:00h.

LANGUAGE
The language spoken in Brazil is Brazilian Portuguese. English and Spanish are usually spoken in touristic areas. A traveler’s dictionary with expressions in the local language might be very useful.

WEATHER IN SÃO PAULO
Most of the time the weather is pleasant with no humidity and the temperature just right. Temperatures ranging from 17° C (60 ° F) to 28 ° C (82 ° F).

ELECTRICITY / VOLTAGE
Voltage in Brazil is not fixed. The electric current in São Paulo is 110 or 120 volts. Travel adapters are required for certain electric devices. Many hotels and large apartment blocks, however, do have 220 volts outlets.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS
São Paulo has an excellent telecommunications system. Direct dial and collect calls can be made from any telephone. Pay phones are available across the city and are phone card operated. Portable cell phones are available to visitors for a small rental charge. The International Direct Dial (IDD) code for Brazil is 55 and the city code for São Paulo 11. 

CURRENCY
The Brazilian monetary unit is the Real (BRL). Exchange rates are available in every daily newspaper, followed by the U.S. dollar exchange rate used in international business transactions. Cash, especially in U.S. dollars, can be exchanged in almost every bank, currency exchange houses and hotels.

CREDIT CARDS
The main credit cards are accepted in Brazil, particularly in São Paulo. Visa, MasterCard, Diners and American Express are accepted in almost all commercial facilities.

SECURITY
As in any big city, it is important to consider your personal security. Therefore, do not neglect your belongings and avoid going out with laptops, cameras and electronic devices in the streets.

TAXIS
São Paulo has a large fleet of taxis, almost all equipped with air conditioning. Ordinary taxis roam the streets metered. Special taxis operated by licensed companies serving the airports and hotels or can be called by telephone. At airports and major shopping centers, most of the special taxis work on a fixed fare by area which is paid in advance on the company’s counter above which must be affixed to the price list.

GRATUITIES
Hotels: hotels generally include the service charges on accounts.
Restaurants: tips are optional but are often found at the end of the bill as a “suggestion”. São Paulo normally pay up 10%.
Taxis: Taxi drivers do not require a tip, although most passengers round for more tariff to be paid when you are satisfied with the service.
Hotel Chargers and airport: R$ 3.00 per bag.
Carts to load bags at the airport: Free

VACCINATION
Resident travelers and those who were in the countries listed below in the last 3 months before coming to Brazil need vaccination against yellow fever. The international certificate of yellow fever vaccination must be presented upon arrival in Brazil: Republic of Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Republic of Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Republic of Liberia, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Peru, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Sierra Leone, Sudan, Venezuela and Zaire.