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Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

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Atlanta, GA
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Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

I1. wanted to know the best way to travel from the airport to the hotel (Sheraton Rio Towers)? The hotel gave me a rate of $60 (US) for a hotel car, wanted to know if the taxi would be cheaper?

2. I am concerned about the crime I am hearing about got me a little scared. Have anyone visited within the last few months and how was your experience?

3. What type of shopping is going on in Rio, what should I look for jewerly, handbags etc what are the bargains?

4. What type of tours should I do and should I take a taxi or a hotel car for ($35us per hour)?

5. Is it safe to go to the beach, I am hearing the hotel where I am staying is near a private beach, what are the other beaches that are safe to attend?

6. Where is the best place to exchange money , should I bring a lot of cash with me or just go to the ATM when I need cash?

Thanks

Rio
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1. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

1. A reg taxi will cost less than 1/2 and be perfectly safe.Just hail a yellow cab outside the gate. Write the name of the hotel on a card.If the driver estimates more than $R60 , take a different cab.

2. Visit the "crime in Rio" thread still on front page of this forum created by "thedomdom" for a discussion of crime.

3. Jewelry is the best bargain followed by bathing suits and shoes.

4. Take a private tour but not for $35 /hour. You can negotiate with an english speaking taxi for a tour in the cab for $100 for an entire day. This is good if you are a couple. Or take a public tour run by anyone of several companies if solo.You can do sugarloaf and corcovado by yourself - you dont need a tour for these.

5. Yes, the beach is safe, but do not take valuables or leave your towel unattended if you have any items of value on it. Check with concierge for additional advice.

6. ATMS are by far the best place to get cash.

Try reading a travel book on Brasil/Rio to get some general info - it will be worth the price to learn more before you arrive.

NYC
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2. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

Brazil has really awesome clothing shopping. 90% of it is all it's own brands. It's not like other places where you go and are still bombarded with GAP's and other american empires.

At Rio Sul, the only two american stores were Tommy Hilfiger, and Banana Republic, the rest are things you won't find elsewhere. I absolutely loved the jeans there. The last time I went (April) I left New York with empty suitcases and just bought new clothes everyday (so much fun!) The pricing structure is similiar to the US, but in Reals, so to Americans it's like everything is 50% off.

Absolutely do not miss the Ipanema Hippie Fair on Sunday afternoon. You will find gorgeous leather handbags for super cheap, as well as other small leather/suede goods of amazing quality. There's also great artisan jewelry, even furniture if you can figure out how to get it home.

The crime situation is true unfortunately, you must be very careful. Nothing happened to me personally, but I encountered many people who weren't so fortunate. It's predominately poor younger kids after money, so nix the valuables when you are walking around. (no jewelry, no ipods, and keep your digital camera hidden.)

Miami, Florida
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3. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

Agree with the clothing comment...it is a good bargain, very stylish, the clothes fit (vs. oversized Nordstroms, especially if you are in good shape) and you get excellent service....my favorite shops are in Rio Sul and include--for men-- VR Menswear, Sandpiper, and Aviator....great jeans, stylish casual dress shirts, surf/beach shorts, shoes, etc.....I figure the money I save on clothing covers a good portion of my air fare.

Houston-Lisbon-Rio...
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4. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

Hello Nadine,

1) From the airport you have a few options but the best are either hiring one of the Radio Taxis (you will find the booths for these radio taxi companies just inside the airport right after you clear customs) or taking a regular yellow taxi as mentioned in another post. The hotel rate of $60 (about 126 Brazilian Reals) for one way transfer is high but typical for hotels.

Personally, I recommend the radio taxis. One way transfer from the airport to Sheraton Rio Towers should be about $28 at current exchange rates. You can purchase a round-trip with the radio taxis and will be given a voucher that you will hand to the driver on the day you return to the airport. Radio taxis are very safe and there isn't any worry of the fare being "adjusted" by the driver as you will have already paid your flat-rate at the booth. That said, a yellow taxi from the airport to Sheraton Rio Towers should run about 25 - 35 Reals ($12 to $17 US) one way. Yellow taxis are safe and economical, but as I stated previously, I prefer the radio taxis.

2) As Darmanad stated in his reply to your post, the thread on Crime in Rio is well worth your time. Give it a read. The bottom line on crime in Rio is to exercise common-sense and not carry a lot of cash or wear any fancy watches or jewelry while walking about Rio.

3) Rio Sul is a good option for shopping but you should also consider taking a taxi over to the Barra Shopping Mall. This is a huge mall with many super Brazilian based and international stores that sell almost anything your heart may desire.

4) As far as tours are concerned, you can go either with a personal guide or with a group tour company like Grayline. A personal guide will, of course, cost more than a group tour but you will undoubtably receive more attention which will enhance the tour experience. A guide who gets great reviews on Trip Advisor is Luciano Sampaio of Rio VIP Tours. He posts here regularly and you can use Google to find his web site. Group tours are usually very economical and if you enjoy the opportunity of meeting new people from many lands, then a group tour may be best for you. Grayline offers many fine tours in Rio de Janeiro. You can find the Grayline Rio tours on their web site. The only downside to group tours is the amount of time that you usually spend in the bus as it goes from hotel to hotel retrieving clients, but this usually allows you time to people watch as you travel the streets of Rio so it may not be too much of a negative.

5) Sheraton Rio Towers has what it likes to call a "private beach", this is not exactly true. There is a very small beach adjacent to the Sheraton's pool area but this beach is open to the public and is generally frequented by the residents of the near-by favela. I would suggest that you take the Sheraton's free shuttle down to Leblon and Ipanema beaches for your beach experience, otherwise while at the hotel I would only use their very nice pool facilities and take a pass on the "private beach."

6) I suggest that you exchange money at the currency exchange booth in the airport (just after you clear customs and across from the radio taxi booths I mentioned above). At the airport exchange you will get a fair rate. Try not to exchange money at the hotel as they will not give you the best rate. Using ATMs to withdraw cash is also another good option and the ATM exchange rates are decent. Its not advisable to bring "lots of cash" but do bring enough to pay for smaller items at the local stores, to cover taxi fares and for tipping.

In the end, I am sure that you will enjoy your time in Rio de Janeiro, it is a wonderful city with great sights, fine food and friendly people.

Safe travels to you!

George B.

Rio
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5. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

Yesterday I took a reg cab from International airport to my home in Leblon. ...about R$ 2 less than it would cost to get to the Sheraton.The cost on bandeira 1 ( daytime rate) was $R35. At today's exchange rates US$ 60 = R$136. Your hotel car service is a tourist manipulation unless they are providing a stretch limo with free drinks while in route.

ATMs give a better rate than exchange desks...for legal amounts.

6. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

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7. Re: Need info regarding traveling to Brazil in August 2006

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