Area Code -- The area code for Salvador is 071.
Business Hours -- Stores are open 9am to 6pm Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays. Pelourinho's stores open Sunday afternoon. Shopping centers open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm; on Sunday malls are closed except for the movie theater. Banks are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm, but exchanging money may be restricted to 11am to 2pm.
Car Rentals -- Avis, Av. Presidente Vargas 3097, Ondina (tel. 071/3251-8500); Hertz, Salvador International Airport (tel. 071/3377-3633); Localiza, Av. Presidente Vargas 3057, Rio Vermelho (tel. 071/3173-9292); and Unidas, Salvador International Airport (tel. 071/3251-8500).
Currency Exchange & Banks -- Banco do Brasil, Praça Padre Anchieta 11, Pelourinho (tel. 071/3321-9334), or Rua Miguel Bournier 4, Barra Avenida, parallel to the Avenida Oceanica (tel. 071/3264-5099). Citibank, Rua Miguel Calmon 555, Comércio, close to the Mercado Modelo (tel. 071/3241-4745), or Av. Almirante Marques Leão 71, Barra (tel. 071/4009-6310). All have ATMs.
Dentist -- Salvadent is a 24-hour dental clinic, Rua Conde Filho 87, Graça (tel. 071/3332-9393; emergency number tel. 071/8818-9603).
Emergencies -- Police dial tel. 190; fire and ambulance dial tel. 193.
Hospitals -- Hospital Portugues, Av. Princesa Isabel 2, Barra (tel. 071/3203-5700), or Hospital Aliança, Av. Juracy Magalhães 2096, Rio Vermelho (tel. 071/3350-5600).
Internet Access -- Bahia Café.com, Praça da Sé 20, Centro (tel. 071/3322-1266); Internet Café.com, Rua João de Deus 2, Pelourinho (tel. 071/3331-2147), and Av. Sete de Setembro 3713, Barra (tel. 071/3264-3941); and Pelourinho Virtual, Largo do Pelourinho 2 (tel. 071/3323-0427). Most are open daily, and rates range from R$6 to R$10 per hour.
Mail -- Downtown: Rua Visconde de Cairu 250, by the Mercado Modelo (tel. 071/3346-9518); Pelourinho, Largo do Cruzeiro de São Francisco (tel. 071/3321-8787). There is also a post office at the international airport.
Maps -- The tourist office has an excellent Salvador map for R$5 and free booklets with small maps of the main tourist areas.
Pharmacies -- Try Farmacia do Farol, Av. Sete de Setembro 4347, Barra (tel. 071/3264-7355); or Farmacia Santana, Av. Antônio Carlos Magalhães 4362, at the bus station (tel. 071/3450-3599), open 24 hours. Most pharmacies will also deliver 24 hours a day. Call tel. 136 to find the nearest pharmacy.
Restrooms -- Public washrooms are scarce, except during big events like Carnaval when the city provides chemical toilets. Your best bet is to try a hotel or ask nicely at a restaurant.
Safety -- Salvador's main sightseeing areas are heavily policed and safe, even at night. Still, it pays to follow some common-sense precautions. Don't carry valuables or excessive amounts of cash, or display expensive camera equipment unnecessarily. At night, stick to the main streets where there is more foot traffic and surveillance. The Cidade Baixa around the Mercado Modelo and the commercial heart of Salvador in Comércio are less safe at night, and mostly deserted on the weekends.
Taxes -- The city of Salvador charges a 5% accommodations tax, collected by hotel operators. This amount will be added to your bill. There are no other taxes on retail items or goods.
Time Zone -- Salvador is on the same time zone as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, 3 hours behind GMT. Due to out-of-sync daylight saving in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Salvador can be in the same time zone as New York (approx. May-Sept) or 2 hours ahead of New York (Oct-Apr).
Visa Renewal -- For visa extensions, go to the Policia Federal, Av. Oscar Pontes 339, lower city (tel. 071/3319-6082). The fee is R$69. You may need to show a return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.
Weather -- Salvador has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 26°C (78°F) year-round. With over 2,220 hours of sunshine a year, there is little precipitation; most of it falls between April and August when brief heavy showers are common. Summer clothes can be worn year-round, and fashions are very casual. But even in summer there is often a cool breeze coming in off the ocean. If you plan to go to the interior (Chapada Diamantina) or do a lot of boating, bring a few pieces of warm clothing.