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Area Code -- The area code for São Paulo is 011.

Banks & Currency Exchange -- Most banks are located on the Avenida Paulista. Banco do Brasil, Av. Paulista 2163 (tel. 011/3066-9322); Rua São Bento 483, Centro (tel. 011/3491-4008); and Guarulhos International Airport, daily 6am to 10pm (tel. 011/6445-2223). Bank Boston, Av. Paulista 800 (tel. 011/3171-0423; Mon-Fri 11am-3pm). Citibank, Av. Paulista 1111 (tel. 011/4009-2563; Mon-Fri 11am-3pm).

Car Rentals -- At Guarulhos airport are Hertz (tel. 011/2445-2801), Localiza (tel. 021/3398-5445), and Unidas (tel. 011/2445-2113). At Congonhas airport are Avis (tel. 011/5090-9300), Hertz (tel. 011/5542-7244), and Unidas (tel. 011/3155-5710). In the city are Hertz, Rua da Consolação 431 (tel. 011/3258-9384), Avis, Rua da Consolação 382 (tel. 011/3259-6868), and Unidas, Rua da Consolação 345 (tel. 011/3155-5710). Rates start at R$90 per day for a small (Fiat Palio, Ford Ka) car with air-conditioning and unlimited mileage. Insurance adds R$30 per day.

Consulates -- Australia, Al. Santos 700, ninth floor (tel. 011/3171-2889); Canada, Av. das Nações Unidas 12901, 19th floor (tel. 011/5509-4321); United States, Rua Henri Dunant 500, Chácara Santo Antonio (tel. 011/5186-7000); Great Britain, Rua Ferreira de Araujo 741 (tel. 011/3094-2700); New Zealand, Al. Campinas 579, 15th floor (tel. 011/3148-0870).

Dentists -- Portal do Sorriso (www.portaldosorriso.com; Mon-Sat 7am-9pm) has offices in Pinheiros (tel. 011/2626-0889) and Morumbi (tel. 011/3772-5941). Dr. Marcelo Erlich, Rua Sergipe 401, suite 403, Higienópolis (tel. 011/3214-1332 or 9935-8666). Both services offer English-speaking service.

Electricity -- Generally 110V; some hotels have both 110 and 220 volts.

Emergencies -- Police tel. 190; fire brigade and ambulance tel. 193.

Hospitals -- Albert Einstein Hospital, Av. Albert Einstein 627, Morumbi (tel. 011/2151-1233); and Hospital das Clinicas, Av. Doutor Eneias de Carvalho Aguiar 255 (tel. 011/3069-6000).

Internet Access -- Internet access in São Paulo is easy to find in bookstores and Internet cafes. The FNAC chain has stores in Pinheiros, Praça dos Omaguás 34 (tel. 011/3579-2000), and on Av. Paulista 901 (tel. 011/2123-2000). Both open daily 10am to 9pm, with Internet for R$12 per hour. Just off the Avenida Paulista there's the Monkey Lan House, Al. Santos 1217, corner of Pamplona (tel. 011/3253-8627; www.monkey.com.br; 24 hr.), for R$4 per hour.

Mail -- Downtown: Rua Florencio de Abreu 591, Centro (tel. 011/3229-0084), and Rua Haddock Lobo 566, Cerqueira Cesar (tel. 011/3088-1610). The branch at the international airport of Guarulhos is open 24 hours.

Pharmacies -- Pharmacies are called farmacia or drogaria in Portuguese. The following are open 24 hours: Drogaria São Paulo, Rua Augusta 2699, Cerqueira Cesar (tel. 011/3083-0319), and Av. São Luis 34, Centro (tel. 011/3258-8872); Drogasil, Rua Pamplona 1792, Jardim Europa (tel. 011/3887-9508). Most pharmacies will deliver 24 hours a day, usually for a small surcharge (R$4-R$10); contact your hotel's front desk to place an order at the nearest one.

Police -- Emergency number tel. 190. Tourist Police, Av. São Luis 92 (1 block from Praça da República), Centro (tel. 011/3214-0209), and Rua São Bento 380, fifth floor, Centro (tel. 011/3107-5642).

Safety -- During the day, the tourist areas are generally safe for walking; in the evening the safest neighborhoods are Jardins, Higienópolis, and the residential areas of the city. At night, it's best to avoid the quiet side streets of Centro, particularly the empty shopping streets around Praça da Sé and Bixiga. The area around the Praça da Luz is definitely to be avoided after dark. At night, traveling by taxi is strongly recommended -- don't rely on public transportation. The U.S. State Department has reported incidences of armed robbery and widespread pickpocketing in São Paulo, though this has not been our experience. As in any large metropolitan area with great disparities between rich and poor, it's wise to observe common-sense precautions: Don't flash jewelry or cash, and stick to well-lit and well-traveled thoroughfares.

Taxes -- The city of São Paulo charges a 5% accommodations tax, collected by the hotel operators. This amount will be added to your bill. There are no other taxes on retail items or goods.

Time Zone -- São Paulo is 3 hours behind GMT (as is Rio de Janeiro).

Visa Renewal -- Policia Federal, Superintendência Regional de São Paulo, Rua Hugo D'Antola 95, Lapa de Baixo (tel. 011/3538-5000; Mon-Fri 10am-4pm). The fee is R$69, and you may need to show evidence of sufficient funds to cover your stay as well as a return ticket.

Weather -- São Paulo's summers, December through March, are hot and humid. Temperatures rise to the mid-30s Celsius (high 90s Fahrenheit). In the spring and fall, the temperatures stay between the mid-20s to mid-30s Celsius (high 70s and 90s Fahrenheit). In the winter, June through August, it can cool off to a minimum of 15°C (59°F), but during the day temperatures can sometimes rise to the 20s Celsius (70s or mid-80s Fahrenheit). Those traveling to São Paulo between May and September should bring some cold-weather clothes, the equivalent of what someone would wear in New York or London in the fall. Most rain tends to fall in the summer (Dec-Feb); January is especially wet. When it rains heavily the city is prone to flooding, particularly the area around the Tietê River.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.