Palmas Tocantins

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Tourist information 
List of hotels and restaurants
Local transport
Links, papers
Schools, universities
Official organizations, state administration
Travel information Brazil

Palmas has no tourist information office. General information is available at your hotel. If you want information about the region around Palmas, you could talk to CATUR (Centro de Atendimento ao Turista). They have an office at the Cesamar Park and can arrange a guide for you. Or ask for the Amatur (Agencia do Meio Ambiente e Turismo).
If you want more than that, then visit the government departments called 'Secretarias' in Palmas center, e.g. Turismo, Communicação, Seplan or Cultura.  At these places you will receive various leaflets, dvd´s and CDroms. Try also to find IBGE, where you can buy maps. Some travel agencies in Palmas can help you with organised trips. See below.
On your first visit to Palmas, you’ll be amazed at how small the city really is. The center is where most hotels, restaurants, banks and shops are located. All within easy walking distance of each other. The busstation is 10 minutes away and the airport is 20 minutes away from the center.
Most information for visitors is available at the hotels.
Whenever you get lost, you can count on the Brazilian hospitality. Many people will stop what they are doing, to give you directions, or offer you the hospitality of their homes.

Area code in Tocantins is 63.
Local internet providers are rare. You can contact UOL, Terra or Oi. Fixed lines are in the hands of Oi, and they are performing badly. GVT, provider of internet via radio and cable, is not covering Palmas completely.
Your mobile phone will not work everywhere in Tocantins, as some areas are very remote.
You can buy Oi, Vivo, Tim or Claro sim cards at the shopping center. You will immediately receive your new number. Also when you choose for prepaid.
Using public phone: read more.

Voltage in Palmas is 220V, frequency cycle is 60Hz,  with typical Brazilian two-pin sockets. Power may vary, but could be better when the Lajeado power plant is at full steam. Most hotels use ´stabilizadores´ to keep computers running smoothly.
Recommended website about electricity, plug adapters, voltage converters, etc:

The Brazilian word for post is correios. Visit their website about how to send post.
Opening hours 
Shops between 08:00 and 18:00, from Monday to Friday. Saturday until 13:00. Shopping centers are opened every day until 22:00.
The cash machines in Palmas are modern, and it will be no problem to use your cards in the various banks. All banks are located at the avenida JK, and some also on Av. Teotonio. Cash machines can also be found on the second floor of Palmas Shopping.
Banks are open from 11am to 4pm (and 10am to 3pm during summer time) Monday to Friday. Closed on Saturday.
Most accepted credit card is VISA and MasterCard.
The time in those parts of Brazil that are most visited by tourists, is three hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3).
UTC-5  Acre, Amazonas (west) 
UTC-4 Amazonas (east), Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Para (west), Rondonia, Roraima
UTC-3 Alagoas, Amapa, Bahia, Ceará, Distrito Federal, Espírito Santo, Goias, Maranhão,
Minas Gerais, Pará (east), Paraiba, Paraná, Pernambuco (west), Piauí, Rio de Janeiro,
Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins
UTC-2 Pernambuco (east)
Brazil sets its daylight saving period by decree every year.
During the period of Daylight Saving Time (October - February), Brazil's clocks go forward one hour in most of the Brazilian southeast. Currently applies to: Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Distrito Federal.

So Tocantins time is always GMT-3.




Although there is no period to avoid Tocantins for climate reasons, keep in mind that Tocantins is greener, and therefore more beautiful, in the period from October to May.
The temperatures in Palmas are extremely regular all year round. Temperatures vary from 30ºC to 38ºC. At 08:00 in the morning the sun is already hot. The nights are warm as well and will not get much under 25ºC. You will need a ventilator and/or airconditioning.
The months with the highest Feels Like Temperature are Sept-Oct and Feb-March. These are the months that the sun is coming right over. Cement walls and floors and tiled roofs start to radiate when exposed to the sun beams.
There is little wind to help you cool off during the dry season, although you will notice a breeze on the lake. At 17:00 a little breeze from the east is a daily welcome guest. During July and August hot and dry winds and whirlwinds bring dust every day.
Humidity can be above 80% in the rainy season, and below 30% in the dry season.
The grass fires in the dry season can pollute the air.
From November to March is the wet season: that means it is still hot, but it rains almost every day in the late afternoon. There is no reason to avoid Tocantins in this period, on the contrary, but if you like to go offroad, you should take care. The soil does not absorb heavy rain very well and unpaved roads can become less accessible for small cars. Some areas like Ilha de Bananal will not be accessible by car.
The dry season is from May to September. That means no rain. The river Araguaia will be low and many sand beaches are being turned into weekend party villages with family huts for rent. The Tocantins river is getting more and more regulated by hydro power plants and the river keeps the same level all year round. Nonetheless you will find party beaches everywhere, especially during July holidays. 
Mid December to mid January and July are the Brazilian holiday months.

More about 'When to go to Brazil' :

More about Brasilian weather systems:



Some travel agencies can book you for organised trips to Jalapão or Cantão.
These trips are only organised now and then, so check the agencies well in advance. The trips can be canceled, when the agency does not find enough participants.
The agencies are in Palmas center.
Autêntica Turismo (63) 3225 6000
Bananal Ecotour (63) 3028 4200
Banser (63) 3215 5334
Batista Pereira (63) 3215 1228
Korubo Overland (11) 3582 6968
Mais Turismo Paraíso (63) 3361 3167
Max Tur (63) 3215 2457
Norte Tur (63) 3215 4957
40° no Cerrado (63) 3215 8313
Ricanato Viagem e Turismo (63) 3215 2040
Summer Time Turismo (63) 3602 3732
Click here.

Click here for the Hotel Review and a complete list of hotels.






Palmas does not yet have a big variety of restaurants, but the amount of restaurants is increasing rapidly.
And to Brazilian standards some are quite good. But in Tocantins, as in the other parts of Brazil, we should keep in mind that people go to a restaurant at night to meet friends or to have a break with the family. Tocantins, like any other state in Brazil, is not the place to find exquisite and sophisticated food. This said, when you travel in the state of Tocantins, you will get simple food, but it is fresh, healthy, abundant and good.

Click here to visit our Restaurant Review

Brazilians take a simple breakfast, extensive lunch, and have a snack for dinner. But on occasions they go out for a dinner. So most restaurants offer a lunch, only a few offer dinner.
In Palmas many people go home for lunch, between 12:00 and 14:00. Those who go to a restaurant for lunch, choose for one of the many airconditioned canteens.
Almost all lunch restaurants are of the self service type: buffet and grill. And you pay per kilo. Well known lunch canteens are: Portal do Sul, Nelson's Churrascaria, Dom Virgilio, Muralha Chinesa, and Fogão a lenha. Lunch restaurants that have a more pleasant ambiance are Brasileirinho and Gabriella.
The best lunches are served by two hotels in the center: Victoria Hotel (buffet) and Hotel Pousada dos Girassois (à la carte).
These indoor restaurants are air-conditioned.

For dinner you have a limited choice of restaurants with a terrace:
For fish lovers we recommend Tabu.
Recently opened is the classy Mambuca, a very nice bar and restaurant, although they have the habit to arrange bands that play terribly.
The three famous pizzerias are all located at JK West: Paço de pão, Oasis and Don Vergilio (buffet for lunch and pizza for dinner). A good alternative is Fratelli, at 104 SUL. Brazilians eat pizza for dinner. These pizzas are not Italian style, but American and have lots of cheese. At Oasis you can order a pizza the way you like.
Typical for Palmas are the Espetos (skewers). Each bar, petrol station and each street corner seems to have an ambulant espeto bar. And these espetos go well with the -just as typical- Skol beer. Often mentioned to be the best skewer restaurant of town is Odessa, near hotel Italia. They offer delicious side dishes. On Saturdays they serve Feijoada for lunch. Owner of this restaurant has been chef for 12 years in Europe and regularly cooks exquisite dishes for groups on request.
For a pasta you could try Boa Massa, if you are not too demanding. Expect to pay dearly.

Many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays. On Sunday evening it is crowded at the few restaurants that are opened.
. Indoor smoking is not allowed in Brazil.
. There seems to be no regularity whether the bar or restaurant offers live music and/or has a radio or tv turned on. But wherever you go, there will be music. If you ask, they will turn the volume down a little.

Click here to visit our Restaurant Review

Areas with restaurants

In the air-conditioned Palmas Shopping you find a variety of snack bars, and it is the ideal location for a quick lunch. 

At the Avenida JK East you find many fast food lunch restaurants, and you better avoid them.
JK West is the place to have a pizza.
A good place for a quiet dinner, good food and Brasilian wine: hotel Pousada dos Girassois, located westside of the Palace square. No terrace.

On the Avenida Teutonio you find several popular restaurants: Tabu (dinner with terrace), Nelson Churrascaria (lunch), Fogão a lenha, and Muralha Chinesa (lunch)

A typical messy street is Avenida Palmas Brasil (between Quadra 604 and 704).  It is 1km of sertões type of bars and restaurants. Extremely popular is the grilled-chicken-bar called Frango Assado.
If you like kibe, then we recommend to go to Salim Shop.

Quadra 204 has two bar-restaurants that are aimed at the upper class of the area. Mercato and Nagay. The upper class will also visit Bistro Adelaide, well hided at Quadra 110.

Typical dish

The indians in the region planted maize, mandioca, peanuts, abobora and sweet potatoes. And they used to hunt and fish. A tipical dish of the Xerente, Apinaye and Kraho indians is called Paparuto, a mix of mandioca with meat, folded in banana leaves, bonded with Buriti ropes and put in the earth with hot stones for a whole night to cook. A banquet for weddings, nominations and season parties. You will not find this meal anymore: a lack of game to catch, and the original types of maize do no longer exist. 

But we can enjoy a whole lot of typical dishes of Tocantins:

  • Picadinho or Pinicado (carne do sol cut to pieces, with cassava or pumpkin)

  • Mocotó (caldo de chambari)

  • Chambari (osso buco)

  • Arroz com pequi 

  • Galinha caipira

  • Pirão de bacaba

  • Peixe com leite de babaçu

  • Galinhada

  • Buchada (stomach)

  • Sarapatéu (stomach cut to very small pieces)

  • Pamonha

  • Panelada (cow entrails)

  • Paçoca (carne do sol -pound in mortar-, farinha, onions)

  • Farinha de carne seca

  • Vegetables: Chuchu, Abóbora, Chicória, Maxixe

  • Beans: Feijao Trepa-Pau (small brown beans, delicious !), Fava

  • Fish from rivers: Pirarucu, Tambaqui, Surubim, Tucunaré, Pacu, Curimatá. Served grilled, 'na palha' (in banana leaves) or ´na telha´ (on a tile).

  • Sweets: Doce de Caju / Mangaba / Buriti

Tip for further reading: (Eat smart in Brazil)
Please feel free to mail us your personal favourite restaurants of Tocantins if you have been there recently.



Palmas has about  50 quadras (blocks) and in every block you can have your cold beer at one or two terrace bars.

The best bars of Palmas:
Vila de Palma. This is a large bar at the avenida Teutonio. You may have to pay an entrance fee, but in return you can enjoy live music in a nice ambiance which is mainly in open air.
Mambuca. A bar with a nice panorama, near the cultural center. Choose to sit on the terrace or in the large airconditioned room.
A very popular bar is at the Graciosa beach. Visit also the other beaches: Praia do Prata and Praia dos Arnos.
For a coffee and pie we recommend Galeria Cafe, opposite home center Alvorada.

Icecream parlours there are plenty. Most of them closed at night. We cannot recommend any, as no place has exceptional great icecream and/or has a nice ambiance to enjoy your refreshment.



Citizens of Palmas, called 'Palmenses', take the motobike, car or the bus to cross the city. As temperatures are high and busrides can be really hot, we suggest to take a taxi at the moment you arrive.

CAR RENTAL (Autolocadora):
The following companies have an office at the Palmas airport, in the main hall:

Hertz;Av. Teotônio Segurado, ACSU SE 10 Conj. 01 Lote 06 - Centro; Tel 215-1900 / 978-1900
Localiza; ACSO 02, CJ. 02, LT 41 - Setor Comercial; Tel 215-1707 / 978-2361, fax: 215-1707
Unidas; ACSO 01, Cj. 02, Lt 31; Tel 215-1710 / 978-3710

Name: Aeroporto Brigadeiro Lysias Rodrigues ( Brigadeiro Lysias Rodrigues airport )
Official website:
IATA code: PMW
Terminals: 1
Airlines: Gol, TAM
Destinations: Brasilia, São Paulo Congonhas, Goiania, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão
Services: ATM, post, public telephones, Wi-Fi access, bars, tourist info desk, artesanato shop, bookshop.
Tel: +55 (0) (63) 3219-3700
Address: Jardim Aureny III ,CEP: 77000-000
Distance: 20km from Palmas center
Airport rent a car: see above
Airport taxi: Aeropalmas Táxi Aéreo 2161026 ; Cota Táxi Aéreo 2163208
TAM  ACSO 2 - Conj 2 - Lote 43 -  CEP 77163010  Tel 2157722


Rádio Táxi Araguaia 2143044 
Rádio Táxi Palmas 2161261
Rádio Táxi Lotaxi 2151023

BUS STATION (Rodoviária)
The bus station is at the highway to Taquaralto, 10km south of the centre.  
Rodoviária de Palmas
Tel: 2175688



Dial 190 for police, 193 to report a fire, 194 for assistance with car accidents, and 192 to summon an ambulance.

Hospital Regional – Pça. ARSE, Qd. 51 (Setor Serrano) – Tel: 2141424.


Hospital Comunitario de Palmas     2142817  
Hospital de Olhos de Palmas         2141004  
Hospital Dona Juliana                    2153433  
Hospital e Maternidade Cristo Rei   2161500
Hospital Estadual de Taquaralto     2151355  
Hospital Loudes Bezerra                 2157900
Hospital Oswaldo Cruz                    2163000
Hospital Padre Luso                        5711166

Hospital Regional de Palmas   



Clinica Albert Sabin                        2142000/2259  
Clinica C. Hospital                           2154418
Clinica Cirurgia Komka Ltda          2151877  
Clinica de Fisioterapia de Palmas      2153039
Clinica de Olhos de Tocantins           2153820  
Clinica de Olhos Guardiola               2155779
Clinica de Otorrinolaringologia           2162233
Clinica de Otorrinolaringologista         2161192  
Clinica Dente Bello                          2141980
Clinica Dr. Carlos                              2157262
Clinica Odontologica Oral Face           2153310
Clinica Odontologica Markos E. L.     2258800  
Clinica Ortopedica de Palmas             2141110/2622
Clinica Palmas                                  2143199
Clinica Perfil                                     2153558  
Clinica Vet. Filhotes e Fricotes           2132143
Clinica Veterinaria Animais & Cia         2132113
Clinica Veterinaria Medicao                  2151112
Clinica Veterinaria Mr. Can                  2142572
Mater Clinica Ltda                             2141140


POSTO DE SAUDE (small health centres ruled by the government)

Ambulatório Evangélico - ARSE 13      2132734
Centro e Saúde ARNO 31    2154767  
Centro de Saúde ARSE 112         2171033  
Centro de Saúde Aureny I         5711576
Centro de Saúde Aureny IV      5712218
Centro de Saúde no AMA II       2185237  
Centro de Saúde Taquarussu         5541122

Laboratório da SEMUS      


Policlínica de Taquaralto       

Posto da ARNO 33        2154682  
Posto de Saúde Aureny III       5711904  
Posto de Saúde Bela Vista      5711123  

Posto de Saúde da ARNO 71      

Posto de Saúde do Canela      2609005  
Pronto Atendimento de Taquaralto     5711828  
Posto de Saúde Aureny II       5711107  
Posto de Saúde Aureny IV         5715079
Posto de Saúde Porto da Balsa        2153455  


Escola Municipal Paulo Freire  215-3953/213-1195

Escola Municipal. Pr. Paulo Leivas Macalão  215-4679

Escola Municipal ARNO 41    215-3999

Escola Municipal ARNE 51    215-4673

Escola Municipal Luiz Gonzaga    550-7163

Escola Municipal. ARNO 71  215-4714

Escola Municipal João Beltrão    550-7161

Escola Municipal Luiz Nunes de Oliveira     527-1102

Escola Municipal Marcos Freire   571-2607

Escola Municipal. Daniel Batista    260-9005  


Universidade do Estado do Tocantins.
Universidade Federal do Tocantins
Centro Universitário Luterano de Palmas

State administration

Governo do Estado do Tocantins
Assembléia Legislativa
Tribunal de Justiça
Tribunal de Contas
Sec. da Comunicação
Sec. da Administração
Sec. da Fazenda
Sec. da Indústria e do Comércio
Sec. do Planejamento e Meio Ambiente
Sec. da Agricultura.
Sec. do Trabalho
Sec. do Turismo
Sec. da Segurança Pública
Instituto Natureza
Polícia Militar


Prefeitura Municipal de Palmas
Câmara Municipal de Palmas
Prefeitura Municipal 218-5000
Hospital e Maternidade de Palmas   214-1424/2622 
Polícia Militar   190/218-2700
Bombeiro   193
Polícia Federal   215-3754
Delegacia de Polícia - 1º DP    215-3754
Guincho 24 Horas 215-3250/978-3614  
Correios e Telégrafos - ETC   215-1150/214-1446 
Telegoiás   215-3276  
Celtins   223-1400
Saneatins   195  


Brazilian sites come and go much faster than we update this website.
Nevertheless, feel free to mail us links.
Some sites with general information, in Portuguese language:


Ecos do Tocantins
Sul Tocantins


Web Journals
Porto Nacional


The following site offers a lot of good information:



Brazil has a "reciprocal visa policy," which means that it requires visas of citizens from countries that require visas of Brazilians. Americans, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealand citizens all need visas (UK citizens do not) which can be obtained by applying at Brazilian embassies and consulates. Visas are valid up to 90 days before your arrival, then another 90 once you have arrived.  If your visa expires while you are there, you can renew it for another 90 days.

These requirements are subject to change. Check with the embassy or consulate in your home country before you depart.

Australian and New Zealand citizens:
A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry and an onward ticket are required. If traveling on business, a business visa is required.

Canadian citizens:
A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry and an onward ticket are required. If traveling on business, a business visa is required.

EU citizens:
A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry and an onward ticket are required. Citizens of France are also required to obtain a tourist visa. Visitors traveling on business must obtain a business visa. Japanese citizens: A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry, a return ticket, and a visa (usually good for stays of up to 90 days) are required.

U.S. citizens:
A passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry and an onward ticket are required. If traveling on business, a business visa is required. U.S. citizens may be granted tourist and business visas good for stays as long as five years. 
Others: Nationals of countries not listed should check with the nearest Brazilian consulate in their home country. Visa and passport requirements vary.

Note: Those visitors who do not possess an onward ticket must have sufficient proof of means to purchase a return ticket to their country of origin and a reason why they do not have a return ticket. Also note that minors traveling alone or with only one parent or guardian must have special authorization from a Brazilian consulate.


Brazil's international telephone access code is 55. The city code for Palmas is 0633, for Rio de Janeiro is 021, for São Paulo 011, for Brasília 061, for Belém 091, for Recife 081, and for Salvador 071. Omit the 0 when calling from outside the country.

To place an international direct-dial call from Brazil, dial 00 plus the appropriate country code.
For information on placing an international call from Brazil, dial 000333, or, to get the international operator, dial 107 and ask for the telefonista internacional. To reach the operator within the country, dial 100; to get local information, dial 102.

Basic hours for most stores and businesses are from 9am to 6pm, with an extended lunch hour from around noon to 2pm. On Saturday 9am–1 pm, and closed on Sunday.
In cities and larger towns, many shops—especially shopping malls—stay open past 6 PM in the evenings and are also open on Sunday.
Banks don't open until 10am, stay open all day, but usually stop changing money at either 2pm or 3pm; except for those at major airports, they're closed at weekends and on public holidays. Museums and monuments more or less follow office hours but many are closed on Monday.

Although plane and bus timetables are kept to whenever possible, in the less developed parts of the country - most notably Amazonia but also the interior of the Northeast - delays often happen. Brazilians are very Latin in their attitude to time, and if ever there was a country where patience will stand you in good stead it's Brazil. Turn up at the arranged time, but don't be surprised at all if you're kept waiting. Waiting times are especially long if you have to deal with any part of the state
bureaucracy, like extending a visa. There is no way out of this; just take a good book.

There are plenty of local and state holidays, but on the following national holidays just about everything in the country
will be closed:
New Year's Day (1 January),
Epiphany (6 January),
Carnaval (February or March; dates vary),
Easter and Good Friday (March or April; dates vary),
Tiradentes Day (21 April),
Labour Day (1 May),
Ascension Day (May; date varies),
Corpus Christi (June; date varies),
Independence Day (7 September),
Nossa Senhora Aparecida Day (12 October),
Dia dos Finados (the Day of the Dead) (2 November),
Proclamation of the Republic Day (15 November), and
Christmas Day (25 December).


Temperatures are moderate in Brazil year-round, though some areas experience more seasonal variation than others. Along the coast near Rio de Janeiro, summers (December to February) are extremely hot, humid, and wet, while winters (June to August) are comfortably cooler, averaging temperatures in the 20s C (upper 60s and 70s F). In the northeast, temperatures are similar to those of Rio, but a tropical breeze keeps the humidity down. Further south, winter temperatures can
dip into the lower teens C (50s F), and some areas even see a bit of snow. In the valley of the Amazon, temperatures remain steady all year (between 27° and 32° C/81° and 90° F), though humidity is high and rainfall heavy. 


The Brazilian currency, the Real, fluctuates widely. 
The real (R$) is the basic monetary unit, having replaced the former cruzeiro real in July of 1994.
The real is divided into 100 centavos; centavo coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10,
25, and 50; real notes are available in denominations of R$ 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100. For current international exchange rates, see the Currency Converter.

Traveler's checks usually can be exchanged at hotels, banks, and tourist agencies in most major cities and towns, but it's a good idea to keep a ready supply of cash on hand just in case. Credit cards are accepted by larger hotels, restaurants, and shops, but not all merchants accept them; if you plan to use a credit card, ask first.

Small change is in short supply in Brazil; be sure to ask for lots of small bills when you change money. If you are about to make a purchase with a large bill, ask first if the seller has change.


It is customary to tip 10 percent for most services. Bills usually come with ten percent taxa de serviço included, in which case you don't have to tip - ten percent is about right if it is not included. Waiters and some hotel employees depend on tips, so don't be too mean. Taxi drivers don't expect tips, but many people round up the fare as a tip.You are expected to tip barbers, hairdressers, shoeshine kids, self-appointed guides and porters. Parking assistants (who expect 25 to 50 centavos), gas station attendants, and restaurant servers all regularly receive tips. It's useful to keep change handy for them and for beggars.


All consumer taxes (nonrefundable) are included in the prices of goods and services.


The metric system is standard throughout the country.

Road conditions vary considerably, from excellent to primitive. Although potholes and rough roads are common throughout some parts of the country, Brazilian drivers are the greater hazard. They regularly ignore traffic laws and break the speed limits—all of which are unenforced by the police. Be prepared.

A driver's license from your home country as well as an international driver's license are necessary for driving in Brazil. Traffic proceeds on the right. Parking in cities is very difficult. See Transportation for more details.

In Brazil, facilities vary greatly. Popular destinations like Rio, Salvador and towns throughout the South have efficient and helpful tourist offices, but anywhere off the beaten track has nothing at all.

All state capitals have tourist information offices, which are open during office hours, announced by signs saying "Informações Turísticas". Most provide free city maps and booklets, but they are usually all in Portuguese, although you occasionally see atrociously mangled English. As a rule, only the airport tourist offices have hotel booking services, and none of them are very good on advising about budget accommodation. There are EMBRATUR offices in a few of the major centres, but the local tourist offices are usually more helpful; these are run by the different state and municipal governments, so you have to learn a new acronym every time you cross a state line. In Rio, for example, you'll find national (EMBRATUR), state (Turisrio) and city (Riotur) offices.


Trying to find an address can be confusing: streets often have two names, numbers don't always follow a logical sequence, and parts of the address are often abbreviated (Brasília is a special case). The street name and number will often have a floor, apartment or room number tacked on: thus R. Afonso Pena 111-3° s.234 means third floor, room 234. "R" is short for Rua, "s" for sala, and you may also come across andar (floor), Ed. (edifício, or building) or s/n (sem número, no number), very common in rural areas and small towns. All addresses in Brazil also have an eight-digit postcode, or CEP, often followed by two capital letters for the state; leaving it out causes delay in postage. So a full address might read: Rua do Sol 132-3 andar, s.12 65000-100 São Luís - MA.


For men, a visit to a barber is one of the cheaper luxuries Brazil affords. Wherever it says "Cabeleireiro" you can treat yourself to an old-fashioned, non-automated haircut and shave, invariably with hot towel and cut-throat razor, with Brylcreem and facial massage as optional extras, for no more than a dollar or two.


Most films shown in Brazilian cinemas are American with subtitles. These all reach Brazil very soon after they're released in the US (and often before the UK) and entrance is very cheap. Both Rio and São Paulo have a good art-house cinema network; in Rio the Estação chain, with branches in Botafogo, Catete, Flamengo and Copacabana, is especially good. If you understand Portuguese, look out for movies by two great Brazilian directors, the modernist Glauber Rocha, and the more conservative Nelson Pereira dos Santos. 


Gay life in Brazil still thrives in the large cities, despite a long shadow cast by the AIDS problem. The scene benefits from a relaxed tolerance in attitudes towards sexuality. Gay life is highly visible: female impersonation and transvestism scale heights unseen in Britain or the United States. Attitudes do vary from region to region: rural areas and small towns, especially in Minas Gerais and the South, are deeply conservative; the medium-sized and larger cities are not. The two most popular gay destinations are Rio and Salvador. Pointers to gay life for specific places are given herein. A refreshing point to bear in mind is that in Brazil the divide between gay and straight nightlife is very blurred: in the overlap you will find many places popular with both gays and straights.
There is as yet no national gay organization in Brazil.


There are hardly any laundries in Brazil, but even the humblest hotel has a lavadeira who will wash and iron your clothes. Agree a price beforehand, but don't be too hard - livelihoods are at stake. Larger hotels have set prices for laundry services - usually surprisingly expensive.


Most bus stations will have a guarda volume where you can leave bags. In cities it's usually a locker system, open 24 hours - there's a booth where you buy a key, and a token for every day that you want to leave things; you leave the tokens inside the locker. In smaller places it will usually be a lock-up room operated by a bus company, so check the opening hours before you leave anything. They're safe enough to leave your bags for short periods while you look for a hotel, but don't check money or anything really valuable, especially if you are leaving them for longer periods.


Many museums in Brazil do not charge for admission; when they do, entrance is almost always modest, $1-2 being typical, and as such, is unlikely to deter tourists. Brazil's few museums that have the international connections, financial means and security occasionally host special touring exhibitions from abroad and in these cases, entrance charges are somewhat higher than normal.


Only regular 35mm 100 ASA Kodacolor film is easily available in Brazil and even this is likely to be poorly kept, expensive and past its "use by" date. If you use anything else, bring it with you. In the Amazon and other forests, 400 ASA film and possibly a flash and tripod will be necessary as it can be surprisingly dark. Small batteries are also hard to get hold of and will be very expensive if you find them. A polarizing filter is essential if you have an SLR camera. If possible try to keep the film at a constant temperature before and after use, and process it as soon as possible.


An international student card, or a FIYTO youth card is well worth carrying. It will get you occasional reductions at museums and the like, but more importantly it serves as an extremely useful ID for bus drivers and hotels, saving you from having to keep your passport available at all times. Any official-looking card with a picture and number on it will serve almost as well.


Public toilets are not very common and often disgusting. The words to look for are Banheiro or Sanitário: where they're marked (less often than you might hope) Cavalheiros means men, Senhoras or Damas women. It's always a good idea to carry some toilet paper with you.


Detailed maps are surprisingly hard to get hold of outside Brazil, and are rarely very good: there are plenty of maps of South America, but the only widely available one that is specifically of Brazil is the Bartholomew Brazil & Bolivia (1:5,000,000) which is not very easy to read. Much better are the six regional maps in the Mapa Rodoviário Touring series (1:2,500,000), which clearly mark all the major routes, although these, even in Brazil, are difficult to find.

In Brazil, a useful compendium of city maps and main road networks is published by Guias Quatro Rodas, a Brazilian motoring organization, which also has guides to Rio, São Paulo and other cities, states and regions. These are easy to find in bookstores, newsagents and magazine stalls. Very clear maps of individual states are published by Polimapas, and are usually available on the spot. At 1:1,000,000 these are the largest scale of all, though they actually have less detail than some of the above mentioned. Topographical and hiking maps are difficult to find, though very occasionally they are available from municipal tourist offices or national parks in Brazil.


Brazil requires all visitors to be vaccinated for yellow fever.
A very informative site regarding precautions:

It is recommended that visitors drink bottled water. Ice cubes and fruit juices are not made with bottled water.