After arriving at the Rio de Janeiro International Airport tonight, we had a fast & easy customs clearance and a quick baggage claim. No hiccups. Money exchange at the airports can get you a pretty bad rate. I would advice to exchange minimal for the first day, say 100USD, and exchange the larger amounts at the Banco de Brasilia (Bank). The Yellow cabs are good at attracting naïve Non-Brazilians; we were striped off by double the amount for the distance. But in general during our 3 days at Rio we had a very good experience with Yellow cabs, the thumb’s rule is to always go by the meter, in our 7/8 trips in the taxi the drivers were always honest and didn’t take us for a ride .
A very important advice for all travelers to Brazil – learn Portuguese. A bunch of common words can do you immense good. You would obviously not blend in, but at least would be able to hitch-hike past the locals. Majority of the crowd does not speak or understand English, or even Spanish. We had friends in Rio, which was a big help getting around with Taxi and Restaurants; well at least for the first day in Rio .
Brazilians are very friendly people; very warm at heart and fun loving to the core. Two words that can describe majority of Brazilians – Beach & Beer!! The favourite beer here is the choop or draft beer. Their beer is not strong; its very smooth and breezy… relaxed like their moods. My friend had dropped us a mail, asking to cancel our Hotel booking and stay at their friend’s apartment for the 3 days we were in Rio . I was amazed by their hospitality. Loved the home cooked Brazilian yuka-shrimp curry that we had that night… with beer (of course). We slept “early” on the Saturday night – at 1:30 am… the city is buzzing until the wee hours, on weekdays too.
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