I have some questions about traveling to and living for two weeks in Brazil that I could use some help with. Since the answers will undoubtedly also benefit others on the Forum, I am asking them here. Other Forum members might also have their own questions.
No. 1 - How much of our cash, if any, should we change into Reals upon arrival? If we do exchange, do we do it at the airport, or can the hotel change our money into reals?
No. 2 - What kind of electrical outlets are used in Brazil? For instance, the outlets in France are different and require a converter before any US electrical device can be plugged in.
No. 3 - What kind of internet service is available in the Windsor Barra Hotel?
Looking forward to meet you in Rio for the biennial.
About your questions:
1- I'm not sure but I believe you could exchange some cash at the airport upon arrival, but not much. They'll probably charge you some extra fixed taxes there and maybe offer you an exchange rate a little underestimated comparing to other banks downtown but it's safe to deal with them, in general, like in most airports worldwide. The same should apply to big hotel's front desk, they all exchange currency for the guests, maybe at a better exchange rate, in case they don't charge fixed fees and taxes. The dollar is still slowly comming down at the moment here, the devaluation was ~5% this year and more than 15% since a year ago. I guess we were very lucky to be able to book and pay for the hotel when the dollar was much stronger...I doubt they'd charge the same today...Anyway, expect the exchange rate to be around 1USD= R$1.75 when you're buying something in Brazil at the moment. Major international credit cards are accepted everywhere, with automatic conversion (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) so you won't need a lot in local currency except for small souvenirs, snacks, taxis, tips, etc...
2-In Brazil we have two electrical systems: 110V 60Hz for the South and Southeast (Rio included) and 220V 60Hz for the Northeastern States (I'm not sure about Manaus, maybe Don could help but I guess it's 220V), so the power outlet in Rio should be OK for most US electrical devices. Most computers and battery charges are actually bi-volt now and I don't think there'll be much trouble in Rio with power outlets. If there's any problem with coupling devices, I guess the hotel will be able to help...
3-I'll be surprised if they don't have free wireless wi-fi internet available at the hotel now, being a five-star class but I've been to a few big hotels in São Paulo where they charge an extra small fee and give you a password for unlimited use.
I Hope it helps,
Aloha & Boa Viagem (Have a nice trip)