What are the different Brazilian time zones? Which weight, distance, volume, temperature measurement systems are used in the largest country in Latin America? How do phone calls work? Do you need an adapter for electrical outlets in Brazil? This part of our Brazil travel guide answers all of these practical questions.
This is information that incoming tourists to Brazil ask us for regularly. Like all countries in the world, Brazil has its own standards, however unlike other countries, some regional differences exist. Here is a detailed guide to Brazilian standards, time zones and phone calls.
Brazilian Time Zones
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. Brasília Standard Time (BST) is GMT / UTC -3. There are 3 other time zones as follows:
Acre Time (ACT) – GMT / UTC-5 as in the city of Rio Branco.
Amazon Time (AMT) – GMT / UTC-4 as in the city of Manaus.
Fernando de Noronha Time (FNT) – GMT / UTC-2 as in Fernando de Noronha.
Until 2019 Brazil practiced daylight savings time, however it is no longer used.
In short, it is easy to remember that the time is the same from South to North of most of Brazil. Fernando de Noronha (UTC-2) is one hour ahead. Manaus or Pantanal (UTC-4) are one hour behind. The city of Rio Branco in the far west of the Amazon, in the state of Acre, on the border with Peru is 2 hours behind UTC-5.
Brazilian Units of Measurement
The International System of Units (SI) has been used in Brazil since 1862. SI is also known as the metric system. Here are the dimensions and the units used to represent them.
- Length is in meters (m) .
- Mass is in kilograms (Kg).
- Time is in seconds.
- The liquids are calculated in liters (L). On the bottles the indications are in milliliter (Ml).
- Temperatures are represented in degrees Celsius (° C).
Fahrenheit to Celcius = (°F – 32) × 5/9 = °C
Celcius to Fahrenheit = (0°C × 9/5) + 32 = 32°F
Electricity in Brazil – Voltages, Plugs, Sockets and Adaptors
Voltages in Brazil
In Brazil, the distribution of electric current is managed by private companies at the local level and not by the state. Therefore, the voltage of socket outlets is not standardized and it can vary between 110V and 220V from one region and even sometimes from one city or hotel to another. Here is a table with the list of states and their respective voltages, but there may be exceptions. It is always best to check with the hotel reception, if in doubt.
Today, most common mobile device chargers such as phones, laptops and cameras can be used with a voltage between 100 and 240V. To check if this is the case, look on the manufacturer’s label which must indicate an “INPUT 100-240V” input voltage. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s website or instruction manual.
Otherwise, take a 110 / 220V converter and check the voltage in the building with the reception of your hotel before connecting your electrical devices.
Plugs and Sockets in Brazil
Modern Brazilian sockets are of Type N.
Type N plugs consist of two round pins and a round grounding pin.
Type N sockets are also compatible with Type C plugs, which are used in Europe (two round pins).
American Type A or Type B plugs are not compatible with Brazilian Type N sockets. You will need an adapter.
Phone calls to and from Brazil – Mobile, Landline and Internet
Calling Brazil from abroad
The country code for Brazil is (+55). To call Brazil first dial (+ 55 or 0055) + the area code of the Brazilian region known as the DDD (see list below) + 8-digit number.
When calling for cell phones, add 9 before the 8 digit number if it not already there.
Example (Mobile) +55 85 9 xxxx xxxx
Example (Landline) + 55 85 xxxx xxxx
Full list of area codes in Brazil
DDD 11 – São Paulo – SP
DDD 12 – São José dos Campos – SP
DDD 13 – Santos – SP
DDD 14 – Bauru – SP
DDD 15 – Sorocaba – SP
DDD 16 – Ribeirão Preto – SP
DDD 17 – São José do Rio Preto – SP
DDD 18 – Presidente Prudente – SP
DDD 19 – Campinas – SP
DDD 21 – Rio de Janeiro – RJ
DDD 22 – Campos dos Goytacazes – RJ
DDD 24 – Volta Redonda – RJ
DDD 27 – Vila Velha / Vitória – ES
DDD 28 – Cachoeiro de Itapemirim – ES
DDD 31 – Belo Horizonte – MG
DDD 32 – Juiz de Fora – MG
DDD 33 – Governador Valadares – MG
DDD 34 – Uberlândia – MG
DDD 35 – Poços de Caldas – MG
DDD 37 – Divinópolis – MG
DDD 38 – Montes Claros – MG
DDD 41 – Curitiba – PR
DDD 42 – Ponta Grossa – PR
DDD 43 – Londrina – PR
DDD 44 – Maringá – PR
DDD 45 – Foz do Iguaçú – PR
DDD 46 – Francisco Beltrão / Pato Branco – PR
DDD 47 – Joinville – SC
DDD 48 – Florianópolis – SC
DDD 49 – Chapecó – SC
DDD 51 – Porto Alegre – RS
DDD 53 – Pelotas – RS
DDD 54 – Caxias do Sul – RS
DDD 55 – Santa Maria – RS
DDD 61 – Brasília – DF
DDD 62 – Goiânia – GO
DDD 63 – Palmas – TO
DDD 64 – Rio Verde – GO
DDD 65 – Cuiabá – MT
DDD 66 – Rondonópolis – MT
DDD 67 – Campo Grande – MS
DDD 68 – Rio Branco – AC
DDD 69 – Porto Velho – RO
DDD 71 – Salvador – BA
DDD 73 – Ilhéus – BA
DDD 74 – Juazeiro – BA
DDD 75 – Feira de Santana – BA
DDD 77 – Barreiras – BA
DDD 79 – Aracaju – SE
DDD 81 – Recife – PE
DDD 82 – Maceió – AL
DDD 83 – João Pessoa – PB
DDD 84 – Natal – RN
DDD 85 – Fortaleza – CE
DDD 86 – Teresina – PI
DDD 87 – Petrolina – PE
DDD 88 – Juazeiro do Norte – CE
DDD 89 – Picos – PI
DDD 91 – Belém – PA
DDD 92 – Manaus – AM
DDD 93 – Santarém – PA
DDD 94 – Marabá – PA
DDD 95 – Boa Vista – RR
DDD 96 – Macapá – AP
DDD 97 – Coari – AM
DDD 98 – São Luís – MA
DDD 99 – Imperatriz – MA
Calling abroad from Brazil
To call a foreign country from Brazil, you must dial:
00 (the exit code) + your Brazilian operator code (see list below) + the country code + the phone number (dropping the first 0).
Example from Brazil to USA: 00 21 1 404 xxx xxx
00 is the Brazilian exit code
21 is the operator code
1 is the USA country code
404 is the area code for Atlanta
List of Brazilian telephone operator codes
Claro / NET / Embratel: 21
Oi: 31 (14 in the Southern region)
CTBC / Algar: 12
Buying a SIM card in Brazil
You can very easily buy a prepaid sim-card (pre-pago chip) in Brazil for 10 Reais at any news stand. The main Brazilian mobile operators are VIVO, TIM, OI and CLARO.
However, to activate it, you must give a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas) number, a specific register assigning a number to all residents of Brazil over the age of 12. It is issued by Receita Fédéral, and is used for tax identification. It is similar to a UK National Insurance Number, or a US Social Security Number.
It is difficult for visitors to activate the sim – card since they do not have a CPF. It is therefore necessary to go through another system to be able to buy a chip that can be activated otherwise.
The TIM Visitor chip, the ideal mobile phone plan for foreigners in Brazil!
The mobile operator TIM developed a system that allows a foreign national to buy and activate a sim – card using their passport. This was initially developed to serve the Football World Cup in 2014. To do this, you have go to a TIM store, normally found in all major shopping malls.
The TIM Visitor telephone chip costs 50 Reais but you will also have 50 Reais added to your credit. To activate it you ring 144 and give your passport number and your temporary address/hotel in Brazil.
The rate is 0.5 real per minute for national calls (with the prefix 041) and 1 real per minute for international calls.
It costs 25 Reais for 1.5GB of 4G data. It is valid for 7 days after which it will have to be reloaded regardless of the amount of data actually consumed.
There is no cost for incoming calls, both from Brazil and from the rest of the world.
To top up credit you must go through the code * 241 which offers support in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Telephone and SMS credit worth 30 days.
For more information, see the specific page on the TIM website.
Useful alternative solutions for making calls to and from Brazil
Another generally cheaper and more practical solution for calling from Brazil is Skype. You can install the application on your smartphone then buy credit and call from Brazil abroad and vice-versa, as soon as you have an internet connection. In addition, you can make free calls (excluding connection costs) to other people registered on the Skype network if they are online.
With WhatsApp, you can send messages, multimedia content and even call for free, anywhere in the world, just save your number before departure and use the Wi-Fi in the hotels. It is definitely the most convenient solution for making calls during your stay in Brazil as long as whoever you are calling also has a WhatsApp account. Also, WhatsApp is the most commonly used mode of contact in Brazil, most phone operators do not count WhatsApp against your internet usage allowance.