Area Code -- The area code for Rio de Janeiro is 021.
Banks & Currency Exchange -- Banco do Brasil has branches at Rua Joana Angelica, Ipanema (tel. 021/3544-9700), Av. N.S. de Copacabana 594, Copacabana (tel. 021/3816-5800), and international airport, Terminal 1, third floor (tel. 021/3398-3652); all have 24-hour ATMs. For currency exchange, try Casa Aliança Cambio, Rua Miguel Couto 35, Centro (tel. 021/2224-4617); Citibank, Rua da Assambleia 100, Centro (tel. 021/4009-8229); and Casa Universal Cambio, Av. N.S. Copacabana 371, loja E, Copacabana (tel. 021/2548-6696).
Car Rentals -- Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport has Hertz (tel. 021/3398-2379), Localiza (tel. 021/3398-5445), and Unidas (tel. 021/3398-2286). Santos Dumont Airport has Hertz (tel. 021/2262-0612), Localiza (tel. 021/2220-5455), and Unidas (tel. 021/2240-6715). Copacabana has Hertz, Av. Princesa Isabel 500 (tel. 021/2275-7440), Localiza, Av. Princesa Isabel 150 (tel. 021/2275-3340), and Unidas, Av. Princesa Isabel 166 (tel. 021/3873-2521). Rates start at R$100 per day for a compact car with air-conditioning. Insurance adds R$30 per day.
Consulates Australia, Av. Presidente Wilson 231, Ste. 23, Centro (tel. 021/3824-4624). Canada, Av. Atlântica 1130, fifth floor, Copacabana (tel. 21/2543-3004). Great Britain, Praia do Flamengo 284, second floor, Flamengo (tel. 021/2555-9600). U.S., Av. Presidente Wilson 147, Centro (tel. 021/3823-2000).
Dentist -- Sorriclin, Rua Visconde de Pirajá 207/209, Ipanema (tel. 021/2522-1220).
Doctor -- Clinica Galdino Campos, Av. N.S. de Copacabana 492, Copacabana (tel. 021/2548-9966; www.clinicagaldinocampos.com.br), offers 24-hour service, including house calls. English spoken. Ask your hotel for further recommendations, as they may have an arrangement with a doctor nearby.
Emergencies -- Police tel. 190; fire and ambulance tel. 193; tourist police, Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco 159, Leblon (contact line tel. 021/2332-2924 or 2332-2885 or 2332-2889).
Hospitals -- Public hospital emergency rooms can be found at Miguel Couto, Rua Bartolemeu Mitre 1108, Leblon (tel. 021/3111-3800), or at Souza Aguiar, Praça da Republica 111, Centro (tel. 021/3111-2600). Private emergency rooms can be found at the Cardio Trauma Ipanema, Rua Farme de Amoedo 86, Ipanema (tel. 021/2525-1900), and at the city's best hospital, Copa D'or, Rua Figueiredo de Magalhães 875, Copacabana (tel. 021/2545-3600).
Internet Access -- Internet cafes or Lan Houses can be found everywhere. There is also free public Wi-Fi on the entire beachfront, from Leme to Leblon.
Mail -- Look for the yellow-and-blue sign saying CORREIOS. Downtown: Av. Rio Branco 156, Centro (tel. 021/2240-8764); Copacabana: Av. N.S. de Copacabana 540, Copacabana (tel. 021/2256-1439); Ipanema: Rua Visconde de Pirajá 452, Ipanema (tel. 021/2567-6197). The international airport also has a post office (tel. 021/3398-7024), open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday till 1pm.
Maps -- Riotur (Av. Princesa Isabel 183, Copacabana) has helpful small maps of the main tourist areas.
Newspapers -- Your best bet for international papers is the newsstands along Visconde de Pirajá in Ipanema, and the bookstore Letras e Expressões, Visconde de Pirajá 276, Ipanema (tel. 021/2521-6110). The English-language Rio paper, the Gringo Times (www.thegringotimes.com) is mostly Web-based but has free distribution in some Zona Sul hotels.
Pharmacies -- In Copacabana, City Farma, Rua Toneleiro 153 D (tel. 021/3208-0000), delivers Monday to Saturday 7am to 10pm and Sunday 8am to 2pm. All major credit cards accepted. In Ipanema, Drogaria Pacheco, Rua Visconde de Pirajá 265, Ipanema (tel. 021/2287-7686), is open 24 hours.
Safety -- Rio retains a somewhat unsavory reputation for street violence, though things have improved significantly since their nadir in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That said, there are still several things to keep in mind. It's a bad idea to wander unaccompanied into any of the favelas (shantytowns) found in and around the city. In the ritzy areas like the Zona Sul, favelas cling to steep hillsides and ridge tops. It's also best to avoid the city center (Centro) on weekends and holidays when this part of town remains mostly empty, and more than a little eerie. Avoid the beaches at night, which are dark and mostly deserted (stick to the brightly lit and police-patrolled pedestrian walkway that borders the beach). At night, traveling by taxi is recommended -- don't rely on public transportation. Finally, as in any large metropolitan area, it's wise to observe common-sense precautions: Don't flash jewelry and large amounts of cash, and stick to well-lit and well-traveled thoroughfares.
Taxes -- The city of Rio charges a 5% accommodations tax, collected by the hotel operators. This amount will be added to your bill. Hotels may also add a 10% service charge to your bill. There are no taxes on retail items.
Time Zones -- Rio de Janeiro is 3 hours behind GMT. During daylight saving Rio's time difference changes to 2 hours behind GMT.
Visa Renewal -- If you need to extend your visa, go to the Policia Federal at Galeão airport (top floor Terminal 1) (tel. 021/3398-3897), open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. The fee is R$75, and you may need to show evidence of sufficient funds for your stay and a return ticket.
Weather -- Rio's summers, from December to March, are hot and humid. Temperatures rise routinely above 40°C (105°F). In the spring and fall, the temperatures stay between the high 20s to low 30s Celsius (high 70s and low 90s Fahrenheit). In the winter, June to August, it can cool off at night to as low as 15°C (59°F), but during the day temperatures range from the 20s Celsius (70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit). Rain falls in the summer in short, intense tropical showers, and in the winter in longer drizzly showers.