Getting around Brazil
Internal flights in Brazil are possible with the shuttle service between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, a regular service from São Paulo to Brasília and a shuttle service from Brasília to Belo Horizonte. Brazil has one of the largest internal air networks in the world, and there are air services between all Brazilian cities. At weekends it is advisable to book seats as the services are much used. Panrotas (www.panrotas.com.br) gives all timetables and fares for internal air travel. Gol (www.voegol.com.br) and TAM Airlines (www.tam.com.br) operate the largest number of domestic routes. Airport transfers are available between all major centres.
TAM Brazil Airpass: available for internal flights with TAM. It can be purchased only outside of Brazil from any IATA international carrier. Four- or eight-flight passes can be purchased. Validity is for 21 days from first day of travel. See www.tam.com.br for details.
Road conditions vary.
Brazil has roads ranging from very good paved highways to pot-holed, dusty tracks.
Federal highways crisscross the country between major cities and are denoted by the letters BR plus a number.
Smaller roads take the initials of the state (eg RJ for Rio de Janeiro) plus a number.
International companies operate from major airports and main city centres. Drivers are generally required to be at least 21 years old.
Taxis are metered and passengers should insist that the meter is turned on. Fares are slightly higher at night and on Sundays. Tipping taxi drivers is not normal practice.
The minimum driving age is 18. The speed limit is 110kph (70mph) on most national highways and 80kph (50mph) in cities. Passing on the right is forbidden. Seat belts must be worn by drivers and passengers.
There are extensive bus services in all the main centres, often with air-conditioned express executive coaches running at premium fares. São Paulo has a highly efficient 5-line metro, and Rio has a 3-line metro.Trolleybuses are increasingly being introduced as an energy-saving measure. Fares are generally regulated with interchange possible between some bus and metro/rail lines, for instance, on the feeder bus linking the Rio metro with Copacabana.
Passenger rail connections in Brazil are few and far between and should not be relied on for getting around. There are plans to build a high-speed link between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. A few scenic tourist lines still run, notably scenic Serra Verde Express (www.serraverdeexpress.com.br) operating from Curitiba to Morretes in Paraná.
Ferries serve most coastal ports. One company, Barcas S/A (tel: (21) 4004 3113; www.barcas-sa.com.br), operates ferries between Rio de Janeiro and Niterói, and between Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande. River transport is the most efficient method of travel in the Amazon Delta. The ferry between Belém and Manaus is a popular route, served by a number of different companies.