Logistics

  • Currency: Reais US$1 ≈ R$3
  • Seasons: Summer Dec-Feb (40°C), Autumn March-April (30-35°C) , Winter June-Aug (25°C, rain), Spring Sept-Nov
  • Main Airlines: Copa, Azul, Gol, Avianca & LATAM
  • Phone Carriers: Tim & Vivo (best coverage). You can get a sim card at any street kiosk. At a phone carrier store, you need to bring your passport. You can recharge your card at nearly any pharmacy or kiosk.
  • Housing Websites: Easy Quarto, Home Exchange, Guestoguest, Facebook groups
  • Useful sites: OLX (Brazilian Craigslist)
  • CPF: Brazilian identification card. If you’re in Brazil for a few weeks or months, definitely get a CPF, it will make your life so much easier to do just about anything like getting a sim card with a plan, a gym membership, signing up for a local supermarket card etc.
    Go to a Receita Federal with your passport and say you want a CPF. It only takes a few minutes (if there’s no queue). There 2 locations: one is in Ipanema close to Posto 9, Rua Barao de Torre 296. Closest metro station: Nossa Senhora da Paz. The other location is in the Centro.
  • Tourist Stay: up to 90 days (3 months) for tourists. To stay longer, you need to go the Federal police at the airport and get an extension. Otherwise, you will pay R$100 per day or $33 per day for each additional day you overstay after 90 days.
  • Grocery shops: Zona Sul, Pão de Açúcar, Mundial (Mundial is the cheapest so go off-peak hours otherwise it’s mayhem)
  • Gyms: Smart Fit (modern equipment for R$89.99 – $30 / monthly with an initiation cost that varies best on their promotions. I joined their gym without an initiation cost so be on the lookout for their discounts), BodyTech (very expensive, the Brazilian Equinox), Balance fitness

Apps

  • 99 – order a real taxi from your phone
  • Cabify – another Uber but better because the they partner with big parties & events and offer 40%+ discounts on those nights with the party promo code)
  • BeerorCoffee – find coworking spaces
  • Gympass – get gym access
  • Mude – find gyms nearby and  working out classes
  • MetrôFácil – plan your journey on the metro (Rio de Janeiro)
  • Fogo cruzado – see where there have been shootings (This is really important to check before you plan on going on a hike in the forest or through a favela)
  • Transcarioca – find hiking trails in the Floresta de Tijuca

movies

Watch these amazing films to get a better understanding of the cultural & historical context.

  • Cidade de Deus
  • Tropida elite 1
  • Tropida elite 2
  • O mecanismo (Netflix series)

Music

  • Forro “foho” (for all)
  • Sertanejo (sad love stories with a mix or RnB and country music)
  • Funk “funki “ favela freaky dance
  • Samba
  • Pagode – tipo de música, when you’re sad bc you cheated on ur gf for instance. It’s a way to cultivate the pain
  • Bossa nova
  • MPB – Musica popular brasileira

Main Hobbies

Just about every Brazilian is a pro at one of these activities, if not all of them!
  • Capoeira
  • Jiu jitsu
  • Samba
  • Foot volley
  • Altinha – soccer at the beach in circle
  • Frescobol (racquetball with wooden rackets)
  • Surf
  • Malhar – working out
  • Novelas – soap operas
  • Beijar – making out

Carnaval

Carnaval There are 3 different styles of carnaval parties all happening at the same time, which usually takes place at the end of February during 1 week – officially. Unofficially, pre-carnaval blocos (street parties) starts weeks before and continue weeks after the official carnaval dates.

  • Desfile: samba schools parade competition, which takes place in a designated stadium. (You need to pay to go in)
  • Blocos na rua: block parties in the street (free)
  • Bate bola: favela ‘gangs’ celebration (free, but you absolutely need to go with a local)

I will put out more info about Carnaval, as they’re so much to share!

Food

Here’s a compiled list of my all-time favorites, that I ate on a daily or weekly basis.

Sweet Snacks

  • Churros
  • Açaí com banana & sem xarope = without Guarana syrup. Most Brazilians love the syrup, but I think the Xarope de Guarana tastes really unnatural and chemical, so I always get it without.

Salty Snacks

  • Pão de queijo – cheesed bread
  • Pastel de camarão – shrimp with fried dough

Dishes

  • Filet de frango o de peixe (grelhado o asado no forno o empanado) com arroz & feijão – basic meal: fish or chkien with rice, beans and salads
  • Feijoada – beans stew with pork and sausage etc.
  • Bobo de camarão – shrimp in sauce
  • Moqueca – fish stew
  • Salmão com molho de maracujá – salmon with passion fruit sauce
  • Brocoz (brocoli com arroz) – rice with brocoli
  • Xuxu (“chuchu”) – local green vegetable

Desert

  • Creme o musse de maracujá – passion fruit mousse

Drinks

  • Sucos naturais (de laranja, de maracujá) – natural freshly pressed juices (orange juice passion fruit juice are delicious)
  • Caipirinha – cachaça (Brazilian sugar cane alcohol), crushed ice, sugar, with lots of lime
  • Capivodka – a caipirinha but with vodka instead of cachaça
  • Capifruta de limão, abacaxi, maracujá – cachaça or vodka, crushed ice, sugar, lemon, pineapple, passion fruit (or whatever fruit you want, they can mix it various things for you, just ask)

Here’s a complete list of all the typical Brazilian dishes you should try while you’re there!

other resources

Destinations

Events

Expats Facebook Groups

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