Local Information


Portuguese is the official language in Brazil. Except for the languages spoken by Indian tribes living in remote reservations, Portuguese is the only language of daily life. There are no regional dialects.


The currency in Brazil is called Real, the plural is Reais. In Brazilian currency there are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 bills. Coins are available in values of 1 cent , 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents and 1 Real. In August 2015, the currency exchange rate was about R$ 3.50 for US$ 1.00, R$ 5.40 for £1.00 and R$ 3.90 for € 1.00.

Changing Money

All banks and "cambios exchange" recognize travellers checks and foreign currency. It is recommended, already upon arrival, to go to the exchange office and/or to the cash dispensers at the International Airport. There is an extensive network of ATMs around the country. Most large bank offices and hotels in bigger Brazilian cities have a foreign section where you can change money at the slightly lower tourism rate, but sometimes this may involve a bit of time-wasting bureaucracy. You will need your passport to change money. US dollar is the most common currency to be exchanged in Brazil. Notice that most cash dispensers have adhesive "Visa" and "MasterCard" decals, but there are just some of them that allow transactions with foreign credit cards. The Brazilian currency 'Real' can not be changed outside of Brazil. When leaving Brazil, change the local currency for dollar before you pass the passport and airport security controls. The other side is an international restricted area and there you cannot change 'Real', and all purchases are in US dollar. Most major international credit and debit cards are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.


Natal has a hot and humid tropical climate, with little temperature variation through the year. Cool trade winds blowing in off the coast help to keep temperatures bearable, but high humidity can make the air feel sticky. The average temperatures are 23°C (low) and 30°C (high). Bring with you sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays.


he electrical current in Brazil varies from city to city. In Natal, the voltage is 220v @ 60Hz. The plugs and sockets used follow the "Type N" standard (http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/).

Business Hours

Government and private companies' offices usually work Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (or later), with an hour's break for lunch. Most shops in Brazil are open from 9 am to 6:30 or 7:00 pm on weekdays, and from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Some shops may close earlier, and many shopping centres open as late as 10 pm. Banks open from 10 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday, in most part of the country, with regional variations. In some regions, shops may also close for lunch.


Most restaurants and bars, although not mandatory, already include a 10% service charge in the bill. Tips are not expected by taxi drivers, although most people tell the driver to keep the change. Airport and hotel porters should receive the equivalent of US$ 1.00 per bag.

Social Costumes

Since Brazilian culture is European based, most familiar European social customs are observed in Brazil. In both business and social situations, shaking hands when meeting or leaving is customary. But Brazilians are also very warm and caring people, the women may kiss one (or both) cheeks of other women upon meeting them and, often, kiss men in a similar manner. Smoking is acceptable unless notified otherwise, however throughout Brazil smoking has been banned or severely limited in many public areas including airports, post offices, government offices, rest rooms, banks, hospitals, supermarkets, shopping centers and malls. Numerous restaurants do the same but some will have a separate section “para fumantes” (for smokers).


A yellow fever vaccination is mandatory if applicant has traveled within the last 90 days to any of the following Countries: Angola, Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (ex-Zaire) or Venezuela. A yellow fever vaccination is advisable if applicant’s destination in Brazil includes any of the following States: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins and the Federal District.