The official language in Brazil is Portuguese.


The official country’s name is Federative Republic of Brazil (República Federativa do Brasil).

Brazil is the fifth largest country by area in the world. It is bordered by Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana on the north, Colombia on northwest, Bolivia and Peru on the west, Argentina and Paraguay on the southwest and Uruguay on the south. There are also many archipelagos as part of the Brazilian territory.

Time Zone

Brazil has four time zones. The main time zone corresponds to the capital of Brasilia and is GMT-3. This area observers DST but it’s not followed by all territories. The main time zone is used in Southeast Region, South Region, Northeast Region — except some islands- and some archipelagos. Brasilia time plus 1 (or GMT -2) is used by several islands on the east coast of Brazil. Brasilia time minus 1 (or GMT-4) is used in most of the Amazonas —except the southwestern part) and several archipelagos. Brasilia time minus 2 (or GMT-5) is used in the southwestern part of the Amazonas and in Acre.

Counting and Numbers

Dates in Brazil, are written with the day first, then the month, then the year. Hence, 23/06/08 is the 23rd of June in the year 2008.

With written numbers, commas and decimal points in Brazil are swapped from what you might be used to in the US. So, twenty Reals and thirty centavos is written R$ 20,30 and three thousand five hundred Reals is written R$ 3.500.




Brazil uses the Metric system for measurements and Celsius for temperatures. All products labels should have a Portuguese translation and use metric units (or show metric equivalent).

You can find a conversion tool here.

Electricity and plugs

The power supply in Brazil uses both 110V / 60 Hz and 220 V/ 60 Hz so you should be able to user your equipment no matter where you come from. In general, two types of outlets are used in Brazil: plat blade plug and two round pins. If you devices have different plugs you’ll need a plug adapter when traveling to Brazil.


The official currency in Brazil is Real (R$ or BRL). It’s divided into 100 Centavos. The symbol used is R$. Denominations include the frequent used coins:5, 10,25 and 50 centavos and 1 Real; the less frequent used coins: 1 centavos. There are also the frequently used 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Reals banknotes and the rarely used R$100 banknote.

Check this conversion rate tool before planning your vacation.

Banks and ATMs

Credit cards are now accepted all over Brazil with Visa being the most accepted. You can find ATMs pretty much anywhere in the big cities. There are ATMs in smaller towns as well but they won’t always work for the non-Brazilian cards.

You can exchange money at “cambios” but be careful that those are closed over the weekend so it’s worth it to exchange enough money to last over the weekend. Ask for small bills when exchanging money since it’s pretty hard to get change from the big banknotes. Banks are slower than cambios but the rates are better. The easiest currency to exchange is the US Dollar.

Using the telephone

The country code for Brazil is 55. To call Brazil from the U.S., you will first need to dial out of the U.S. and then into Brazil – so that is 011 + 55 and then the phone number itself (using the local area code). To call a Brazilian number from within Brazil, simply dial the local number as you have it. To call the U.S. from within Brazil, dial 00 + 1 and then the area code and telephone number.

Useful telephone numbers

Military Police 190
Federal Police 194
Firefighters 193

Visa information

If you are a US citizen and want a tourist visa for Brazil expect to pay at least US$131 not counting the rest of the fees.

Citizens from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay may enter and say in Brazil for up to 90 days by using only a valid ID card. Citizens from Venezuela may enter and stay in Brazil for up to 60 days by using only their valid ID card.

>>more information on Visa Requirements

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