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5. Currency

The Brazilian currency is the real (plural reais). Exchange rates fluctuate daily; check with your local financial institution, travel agent, or internet site for current rates.

Getting or changing money is a major nuisance. Bring more than enough cash - preferably change into reais as soon as you arrive in Brazil, and lock it in your luggage in your room. Keep some U.S. currency in small denominations. Cash gives you the best rate of exchange; travelers’ checks are not recommended, as few places will accept them, not even some regional banks.

ATMs may or may not work; the ins-and-outs of bank locations / hours / facilities would take pages to outline for you! Machines / banks giving cash advances for VISA and to a lesser extent, Mastercard are common in large towns and cities. You must have your PIN number to use Visa card for cash-advance. Some ATM cards can be used, but only in large cities, which requires lengthy travel from Abadiânia. The village bank does not exchange foreign money, nor does it have an ATM.

Most travel agencies in Anápolis (including the Varig agency and various individuals) will exchange US dollars (and often French / Swiss francs and pounds sterling) for rates better than the bank rate. Only banks can legally change foreign currency, but this is common and not particularly hazardous.

When changing into reais, try to get plenty of smaller bills (R$1’s and R$5’s), as few places in the village can give change for larger ones. (Note: The Portuguese phrase for "I would like to change some dollars/pounds into Reais" is, Queria trocar dólares/libras em reais; pronounced ker-reeer troo`kar doller-rish/leebrush aym reh-ighsh.) In some instances, U.S. dollars in small denominations can be used for purchases or tips. Some shops will accept U.S. dollars for purchases, but at a less favorable exchange rate. Anyone other than banks accepting foreign currency is illegal, although common, and rates may be unfavorable - or better! Ask long-term guests at the pousadas where they get the best rates in Anápolis; we cannot offer you information on illicit transactions.

It is better to have too much Brazilian money than too little; you can usually find someone grateful to take extra reais off your hands in exchange for your currency or U.S. dollars. Save some reais or dollars for airport taxes (see 4).

Bank hours: (info at Mar 2003)
Banco de Brasil - Brasilia airport
Monday - Friday: 11am - 4pm

Banco de Brasil - São Paolo airport
Monday - Friday: 8am - 9pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9.30am - ?

Post Office hours:
Brasilia airport (info at Mar 2003)
Monday - Saturday: 8am - 9pm
Sundays & Public holidays: 9am - 5pm

Sao Paulo airport (info at Nov 2002)
7.30am - 10.30pm everyday

Smart VIP Office, Brasilia airport (info at Mar 2003)
7am - 11pm everyday

Intercom@x, Sao Paulo Airport provides communications, computing, email and fax facilities.
Monday to Friday: 7am-10pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7am-5pm
[ / (11) 6445 2388]

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