John of God
Casa de Dom Inacio, Abadiania, Brazil
It is now possible to be at the Casa for 2-3 weeks and need very little Brazilian currency, the Real. (singular pronounced heal, plural hay-eyes). A large portion of the pousadas will accept US Dollars and some pousadas may accept Pounds and Euros, be sure to check in advance. The book store and the herb dispensary at the Casa accept US Dollars, but I am unsure of other currencies. Since there are now flights from the USA and Europe directly to Brasilia, this is a good place to exchange money. The taxis at the Brasilia airport also accept US dollars, but be sure to verify ahead of time with the driver.
I passed through the Brasilia airport on December 31, 2010. At 10am the money exchange was open and was to the right when exiting the baggage claim area into the main lobby. The best way to get Brazilian currency is with your debit card. When I say best, that refers to the exchange rate, getting the most reals for your dollar or euro. From my observation and reading the experiences of other travellers throughout Brazil, the best ATM is Banco do Brazil. The Banco do Brazil ATMs are located to the left when exiting the baggage claim area, at the end of the lobby, next to the rest rooms. Follow the restroom sign and you can't miss them.
If you are travelling with US Dollars, the small amount of Reais that you will need can be gotten at travel agency across from Frutti's.
If you exchanged $50 or equivalent into Reais in your home country before departure, you could most likely get by without exchanging any more money. But again, if you are planning on paying for your room with any currency other than Brazilian, make sure you check with the pousada owner first. I have no knowledge of exchange policies in Europe or the UK, but at the USA airports, the money exchange rate is poor. But, be aware that things change frequently, and what is accepted today may not be accepted tomorrow or next week.
The Brazilian airport ATMs have good exchange rates, the only limitation is R1000 maximum withdrawal per day. With the pousadas, taxis and the Casa accepting foreign currency (dollars at least), you should have more than enough Reais to last for 2-3 weeks.
Cash conversion to Reais: http://www.oanda.com/convert/classic Whatever currency rate this site shows, 95-98% of that amount is what you will receive when you exchange your money at Sao Paulo. If site shows R1.70 (as of December 2010) then you will get approximately R1.65.
Sao Paulo Airport
On the flight to Brazil, you will be given 2 forms to fill out, one for immigration and one for customs. If you arrive at Sao Paulo, you have no time to waste.
1. You will go through a long line to get your passport stamped at immigration and they will stamp the Cartao de Entrada/Saida that you filled out on the plane. They will return the form to you and remind you not to lose it. You will need it when you leave the country.
2. You must pick up your bags at baggage claim. If you don't, your bags will stay in Sao Paulo. While you are waiting for your bags to arrive on the conveyor, the money exchange will be to your left. When you exchange your money, be sure to get some small bills. You need to keep changing R50's for smaller bills. If you buy anything at the airports, keep breaking down your R50 bills. You will need small bills in Abadiania. You cannot give a R50 to a taxi driver for a R5 ride or for a R1 ice cream or for a R2 water, etc.
3. Repeat: You must pick up your bags at baggage claim. If you don't, your bags will stay in Sao Paulo.
4. You then go to your airline ticket counter. They will put an airport stamp on your boarding pass pass and recheck your bags.
5. You then proceed quickly to your gate. The Sao Paulo airport at times is very chaotic.
If your running late, do not waste time trying to exchange money if the window is busy. You may miss your connection. There is another money exchange on the upper level in the departure area. It is located across from the entrance to concourse B, which is the one you need for Brasilia.
If you don't exchange your money at Sao Paulo, you can still do it in Brasilia.
Arrival--Language Taxi Pousadas
If you are making a room reservation with one of the pousadas, some of them will offer to send a taxi from Abadiania to the airport to pick you up. We recommend that you do not accept this.
If you miss your connection in Sao Paulo (it happens frequently) or your plane is delayed, and have to catch a later flight, you will be charged by the pousada for the taxi, even though you were not able to use it.
There are many taxis at the curb at both airports, and they all know where Abadiania is. Confirm the price before getting into cab.
Taxi to Abadiania
Write on a piece of paper, "Joao de Deus, Abadiania R180." Always confirm prices before getting in the taxi. Most taxi drivers in Brazil are honest and work with fixed prices. If a driver tries to charge you more on your arrival in Abadiania, then get your pousada owner involved to set the driver straight.
The price of taxis has gone up. (March 2011)
The set price to and from Brasilia is R180.
For the return trip to the airport:
If you are travelling alone, the day before your departure, go to Pousada Catarense. They have frequent trips to the airport and you can save money by sharing a taxi with someone. Also the pousada where you are staying can call a taxi for you.
Taxi Costs in Abadiania
A taxi from your Pousada to the Casa is R8 one way.
Taxi to the sacred waterfall (cachoeira) from the Casa is R20 round trip. These are set prices. Stick to these prices and do not give tips. The driver waits at the waterfall for you.
These prices have not been updated, so like everything else, they may be higher.
Car Rental in Abadiania
ToLead Travel Agency has cars for rent starting at R88 per day.
(62) 3343 1628