Time Difference / Business Hours
Brazilian time is 3 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3). Business hours for banks are generally from 10:00 to 16:00 on weekdays only. Banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, however, their dedicated ATMs are widely available especially at shopping malls.
Brazil’s currency is the real (R$,BRL). There are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 real bills. Fractions of the real are called centavos and circulate in the form of coins. Coins come in 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos as well as a 1 real coin. Since the 1 centavo coin was removed from circulation, if a bill with a fractioned value (e.g., R$ 24.52) is paid using cash, the change may be rounded up/down to the nearest value. If, on the other hand, you pay the same bill using the credit card, you will pay the exact amount.
Currency exchange can be performed at designated establishments at airports or at shopping malls. Banks may also perform these transactions but only at specific agencies.
Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities, especially in restaurants, shops and supermarkets. However, smaller towns, taxis or other small businesses may only take cash. Moreover, MasterCard and Visa flags are more widely accepted than American Express or Diners/Discover. In addition, certain currency exchange companies sell pre-paid local currency cards that can be used in Brazil. Either way, it is advisable to ask first if the establishment will accept your specific card.
Electricity & Voltage
The electricity supply commonly used in Brazil is the 110-volt 60Hz system. However, most airports and some cities use 220-volt wiring. As such, one is advised to check your electronic equipment and outlet beforehand. Moreover, Brazil uses power plugs and outles of Type N (http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/n/), which consists of two round live pins with a round grounding pin in the middle.
Tipping is not a traditional custom in Brazil. A 10% service charge may be added to your bill at restaurants and hotels. It is also not necessary to tip a taxi driver unless he assists you with luggage or provides an extra service.
Although the official language of the congress is English, Brazil´s official language is Portuguese (more specifically, the Brazilian Portuguese). While the staff at airports and hotels as well as academic and industry members mostly speak English, the average citizen (this includes shop clerks and taxi drivers) may not. Therefore, it is advisable to have a few “magic words” at hand.