Jeanette Valentine, Recife Travel tips

Jeanette Valentine in a historic courtyard of Recife|; (c) Soul Of America

Recife Travel Tips

Passports and visas are necessary for U.S. citizens.

Recife is good to visit year-round since there is no hurricane season.

The tropical climate has an average temperature above 80 degrees. Humidity and thunderstorms are common during the summer.

Currency is the “Real” with major credit cards accepted by most establishments.

Portuguese is the official language and some English is spoken by locals. Bring a Portuguese phrasebook with you.

Hotels have the most expensive rates on phone calls, so purchase a phone card for international calls.

Banks are open from 10 am-4 pm (Monday-Friday).

ATMs are plentiful and the most convenient way to get Reals. Some ATMs may only accept PIN numbers with 4 digits.

Most malls are open 10am-10pm (Monday-Saturday). Most non-mall stores are open 9am-6:30pm (Monday-Friday) and 9am-1pm (Saturday).

Electricity is different than in the U.S., so bring or purchase an adapter for electricity or a USB cable.

The major holidays are New Year’s Eve, Carnaval, Good Friday, Easter, Tiradentes, Labor Day, Corpus Christi, Independence Day, Holy Mary’s Day, All Soul’s Day, Proclamation of the Republic Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Recife is a minor tourist destination in Brazil, so hotel rates are lower than Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

RECIFE TRAVEL TIPS

• Bring a Brazilian Portuguese Phrasebook with you.
• You will use the Brazilian Portuguese equivalent for the following English words/phrases often so memorize their Portuguese pronunciation before your trip: Sir, Madame, Hello, Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, Goodbye, I don’t understand, Where is?, How much?, Do you speak English?
• Charm, good manners, and a thumbs up are appreciated by Brazilians. You are expected to greet small shop owners and elderly people. The more you use (Sir, Madame, Hello, Please, Thank You, Excuse Me), the more help you’ll receive.

Most Americans fly to Rio, then transfer to Recife flights.

• Before leaving, find out if your health insurance covers an unexpected visit to the doctor in Brazil and the locations of the hospitals they cover.
• Confirm your flight at least 48 hours in advance.
• Check the luggage policy for your airline.
• Send a copy of your passport/flight itinerary/hotel reservations and leave it with someone at home.
• Request an exit row seat for more legroom.
• Pack medicines in your carry-on luggage.
• If you have problems with air pressure, purchase air pressure earplugs at most airports or large pharmacies.
• Bring an eye patch for sleeping.
• Before leaving your hotel, check the weather report. If it rains, dash to a cafe and relax.
• Bring anti-bacterial wipes.
• Practice a general understanding of the metric system.
• If you are a shopper, $600 is the per person limit before you pay duty on the purchase.

Hotel Rooms, Money & Valuables

• Most hotel rooms are small compared to the U.S., so pack accordingly.
• Air conditioning is not available in many older hotels away from the beaches.
• English language television stations are limited.
• Confirm that the breakfast buffet is included in your room price before going to the breakfast room.
• If you need to cancel a hotel room, confirm the hotel’s cancellation policy and get the cancellation in writing in order to avoid cancellation fees later.
• By American standards, downgrade hotel listings of 5, 4, and 3 stars by one star.
• Bring at least one ATM card and a credit card from the U.S. Use the ATM card to get Reals for a better rate than many currency exchange offices.
• Your ATM card should have a code of only 4 digits.
• Cash is more commonly accepted than credit cards at many establishments.
• Exchange dollars into small bills (5 Reals, 10 Reals, and coins), since you need small change when out & about.
• If you wear a money belt, you will stand out as a tourist.
• Place your money in hidden pockets or deep inside your bag, so that it’s hard for pickpockets.
• When walking around, carry little cash, a credit card, a driver’s license, and a copy of your passport for identification.
• Store your passport, extra money, plane ticket, list of credit card/ATM card phone numbers, and valuables in a locked hotel safe.
• When dining with a mixed party, the men are usually addressed and served first.
• Tipping in restaurants is typically 10-15%. Ask your waiter if gratuity is included beforehand if paying by credit card.

Safety for Women

Women should use common sense when walking around. Sisters traveling alone should assume they are traveling in a similar size U.S. city and take the necessary precautions.

Pickpockets don’t fit a profile. So use care when in tourist attraction areas and using public transportation.

Only seek help from airport & train station agents, tourist office, tour bus drivers, airline employees, and hotel desk clerks.

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