ADDITIONAL USEFUL INFORMATION
When traveling, as in any major city, take certain precautions. Do not carry valuables such as jewellery, airline tickets, money and important documents with you – it is advisable to leave them in a hotel safe deposit box. In the event your room key is lost or stolen , notify the hotel management as soon as possible. Travel in a group and plan your itinerary before leaving the hotel to ensure a smooth arrival at your destination.
As in any world city the size of São Paulo, the key to an uneventful stay is to protect yourself from pickpockets and carry as little cash and as few valuables as possible. The São Paulo military police and the São Paulo municipal guard corps have stations and reporting centres. In case of need, please contact the hotel front desk for guidance and assistance.
The Brazilian currency is the Real (R$); there are 100 centavos in one Real. Brazilian coins come in denominations of 1 centavo (bronze); 5, 10, 25 and 50 centavos (silver) and a R$ 1,00 coin (nickel and bronze).
Bills come in denominations of R$ 2, R$ 5, R$ 10, R$ 20, R$ 50 and R$ 100. The value of the real against the US dollar varies according to the daily exchange rate. Banks and exchange bureau charge a commission on exchange transactions, so visitors should enquire beforehand.
As elsewhere, the rates of exchange for cash and travellers’ cheques are marginally different, and coins are not exchangeable. Money changers are obliged by law to display net rates of exchange. Receipts for exchange must be issued by law; it is advisable to keep these until after departure.
Banks are open weekdays from 10am to 4pm; they are closed on weekends and public holidays. Before leaving home, visitors are encouraged to check the acceptability of their credit and/or cash cards with their local bank. Automated teller machines (ATMs) can be found almost everywhere; some machines provide 24-hour cash withdrawal (R$) facilities for major credit cards. **Drawing cash with Credit or Bank cards**
Visa card holders may withdraw cash at branches of most of brazilian banks. Card holders with a PIN number may obtain cash from the 24-hour machines.
Shopping—Credit Cards and Cheques**
American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are accepted at the majority of shops, although it is always a good idea to confirm this before buying. Occasionally a small discount is offered on cash sales. Personal cheques drawn on overseas banks are not accepted. Generally speaking, travellers’ cheques are welcome. Visitors are encouraged to check the daily dollar rate at their hotels before going shopping.
Warranties and Receipts
When buying expensive photographic, electronic or electrical goods always ensure that the warranty card is filled in, stamped and returned to you. Check the manual accompanying the item in question to ascertain that the warranty will be honoured outside Brazil. In all transactions involving larger sums of money, ask for the official, detailed bill of sale; in all transactions, keep your customer copy of the credit card slip. Tax-free shopping in Brazil is restricted to the airports.
Exchanges and Refunds
Check with the salesperson as to the store’s policy on exchanges and refunds. In most shops, it may be possible to exchange goods, but refunds are rarely, if ever, made
The voltage is 110 volts in São Paulo. Most hotels bathrooms also have a 220-volt socket.
Adjust your watch when you arrive—São Paulo is 3 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Brazil is connected to all appropriate international telephone and satellite communications systems, providing trouble-free connections to virtually anywhere in the world. Most hotels provide guest room International Direct Dial (IDD) services; some hotels have in-room internet hook-up and fax machines. Other offers this service through their Concierge or Business Centre. Outside hotels, long-distance calls can be made from IDD payphones or card phones in various locations.
The push-button call-home system, providing immediate connection to the operator of the country required, is also available. For information about dialling access and IDD phone locations, contact the hotel operator. Not all local calls from private phones are free. However, shops, restaurants and bars without payphones will usually permit free use of their phones.
Most hotels have immediate access to on-call 24-hour medical assistance. There are also many public and private hospitals with 24-hour emergency and out-patient departments. Many of the doctors and dentists in the city of São Paulo trained or did postgraduate studies overseas. All hotels have a list of recommended medical services.
When dining out, most establishments include a 10% service charge on the bill. However, it is customary to leave a little extra for good service.
The water supply in São Paulo city conforms to international standards. Nevertheless, it is advisable to drink only mineral water.
It is strongly recommended that participants take out adequate cover for health, travel and private liability insurance. The organizers cannot accept responsibility for personal injury, loss or damage to private property belonging to the symposium participants and accompanying persons.