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Currency

Brazilian Real. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs at airports and in larger towns and cities. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Banco do Brasil, HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards allowing daily withdrawals of 1,000reals (£175 as of Jan 2016 rates). Bradesco allows a lower limit. Other banks eg Banco 24horas do not accept foreign cards. Most towns have a Banco do Brasil. ATMs close at 10pm. Currency also obtainable in banks and money exchanges.

When to go

Brazil is an all-year destination, but it’s a vast country: when you go will depend on your chosen itinerary and interests. Late Dec-Mar are the hottest months – very hot (over 40°C) from Rio northwards – and the local holiday season, so attractions can be very busy. During the Amazon’s wet season (Jan - Jun) it’s easier to get round by boat, the dry season is sunnier and better for wildlife-spotting but very hot. The Pantanal may be best avoided during the wettest months (Nov - Mar) when there are many mosquitoes. However this is the best time to visit the beaches of the south where it’s cool outside this period.

Language

Brazilian Portuguese, a more languid and musical version of Portugal’s mother tongue; indigenous languages in Amazonia.

Time difference

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from Oct- end Feb (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

Getting there

Average flight time to Rio is 11 hours. Two airlines offer direct flights. There are flights with European connections to many other major cities.

Combines with

Argentina: The crossing at Iguazú Falls is convenient for many visitors.  

Peru: There is a direct flight from Lima to Rio de Janeiro (5 hours) and to São Paulo (4-5 hours with many connections to other cities).

Key Events

Carnival: 5 days in Feb/Mar, variable.  Live bands, costume balls, over -indulgence and general frivolity in towns and cities all over the country: the best parades are in Rio, Salvador and Olinda.

Olympic Games: 5 - 21 Aug 2016. Rio de Janeiro.

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