"When my baby smiles at me I go to Rio", or so sang Peter Allen. But before you make like the Aussie entertainer, be sure to do your research. From visa requirements to currency, food and more, here we run through some of the basic information you'll need to know before you go to Rio.
Australian passport holders are required to have a proper valid visa before entering Brazil. Tourist visas are valid for 90 days and can be applied for at your closest embassy or consulate of Brazil. Please be aware this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your closest embassy or consulate of Brazil.
The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Brazilian Real can change regularly, so it's a good idea to monitor the rate in the lead up to your trip in order to get the best price.
Rio de Janeiro loves its meat as evidenced by the traditional dish of feijoada, a meaty stew featuring beef, pork and black beans. Some tasty and price-friendly plates of feijoada can be found at the eateries at General Osorio Square. Open-air and street dining is also incredibly popular in Rio with everything from churros to popcorn and coconut candy readily available to snack on. Caricocas also love their sandwiches and meat, happily stacking a ham sandwich with 5 layers and dining on a generous piece of red meat at the city's numerous barbecue steak houses called churrascarias. If you're not so keen on meat-heavy meals, Portuguese and Italian cuisines are also commonly found throughout Rio.
As the home of Carnival, you can rightly assume that Rio de Janeiro knows how to have a good time. While it's best experienced at the street party in early February, Rio is still full of energy and passion on any given night, pumping with music until the early hours. For pre-drinks, make your way to one of the alfresco bars that line the beaches to sip on local beer. For something more potent, order a caipirinha cocktail made with cachaça, a sugar cane rum also known locally as pinga. Be careful though, because pinga is also the local slang for a male's privates, so if someone asks you if you want a pinga, make sure they are referring to cachaça before you say yes! Once you've warmed up with a few beverages, make your way to the local clubs to dance. Though dress is casual in Rio, Havaianas won't get you into a club so be sure to dress up your footwear in order to keep the night going.