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Porto Alegre

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Travel Guide South America Brazil Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre

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Introduction

Porto Alegre is a city in Brazilian and the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil. With 4.2 million people in its metropolitan area, it is the 4th largest city of the country. The city is not known for its tourist attractions, although it is a frequently used entry point to the Serras Gaúchas region, a major domestic tourism destination.

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Events and Festivals

World Cup 2014

Australian Fans

Australian Fans

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The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.

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Weather

The city has ahumid climate with four well-defined seasons. Average annual temperature of 19 °C Winter (June to September): between -1 °C and 19 °C. Changeable temperatures, warm days with temperature of upwards of 30 °C are not uncommon. Summer (December to March): between 20 °C and 38 °C Fall (April to June): between 7 °C and 25 °C Spring (September to November): between 10 °C and 30 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max30.2 °C30.1 °C28.3 °C25.2 °C22.1 °C19.4 °C19.7 °C20.4 °C21.8 °C24.4 °C26.7 °C29 °C
Avg Min20.5 °C20.8 °C19.3 °C16.3 °C13 °C10.7 °C10.7 °C11.5 °C13.1 °C15 °C17 °C18.9 °C
Rainfall100.1 mm108.6 mm104.4 mm86.1 mm94.6 mm132.7 mm121.7 mm140 mm139.5 mm114.3 mm104.2 mm101.2 mm
Rain Days11101191012121111101010

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Getting There

By Plane

Salgado Filho International Airport (POA) is about 6 kilometres from Porto Alegre's city centre and there are flights to/from Montevideo, Lima, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Cuiaba, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Brasilia, Campo Grande, Curitiba, Rosario, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, Salvador, Manaus and many other smaller cities throughout Brazil.

By Train

Trains serve only the metropolitan area. Locals call it trensurb and services are limited, with only one line connecting Downtown to some metropolitan cities (Canoas, Esteio, Sapucaia do Sul and São Leopoldo). The fare is R$1,85 and there's a station near Rodoviaria (central bus station) and the airport. It is more or less safe to walk during day time from Rodoviaria or the airport to the stations. An automated people mover connects the first floor of the terminal to the local train station.

By Car

Coming from the North (Florianópolis, Curitiba, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), one may reach Porto Alegre by two ways. BR-116 is shorter, but much more dangerous. This road is used to reach other destinations in Rio Grande do Sul, such as Caxias do Sul, Gramado and Canela. BR-116 also connects all major metropolitan cities and traffic jams are frequent during rush hours in weekdays. The other way to get to Porto Alegre from the North is using BR-101 to Osório and then BR-290. The first connects Curitiba, Florianópolis and Osório, and is being upgraded to highway standards; the latter crosses Rio Grande do Sul from Osório to Uruguaiana, through Porto Alegre. The section between Osório and Porto Alegre is called free-way by locals, and is a very well-maintained 6-lane toll-road.

Also, in neighbouring Canoas, BR-386 begins, connecting the metropolitan area with other major cities in the countryside, such as Santa Cruz do Sul, Santa Maria and Passo Fundo. It has 4 lanes up to Tabaí and it is in decent conditions.

From the South, coming from cities such as Pelotas, Rio Grande, and Chuí, one would use BR-116.

From the East, Porto Alegre is reachable by BR-290 from Uruguaiana and Argentina. Using this road, it's possible to reach southern cities such as Bagé and Santana do Livramento. This section of BR-290 shares a stretch with BR-116, from Guaíba's Bridge up to Eldorado do Sul interchange.

Be advised that some of these roads are dangerous due to their poor signaling/conditions and lots of trucks. Most of them are toll-roads and have electronic speed traps. Schedule your travels by car during the day; it is simply safer.

By Bus

The long distance bus station is located downtown and is served by state, national and international lines. Daily services connects Porto Alegre with several cities inside the country and also Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. It is also connected to a trensurb station and several municipal bus lines.

By Boat

Besides its decent port facilities for cargo, a ferry service connects downtown and Barra Shopping Sul to Guaiba, a neighbour city situated across the Guaiba Estuary, known as Rio Guaiba. The crossing takes 20 minutes and costs R$ 7.35 each way. Checking the schedule beforehand is recommended.

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Getting Around

The city is roughly a semi-circle that expanded outward in a concentric manner, beginning from the historical city center, right next to the promontory and the harbor. Avenues going from the center to the outer areas of the semi-circle are the radiais (radials) and are crossed by avenues named perimetrais (perimeters). Hence, to go to and from downtown one will use mostly the former, whereas to go from one neighborhood to another, one uses the latter.

By Car

There are plenty of taxis. They can be pricey, if compared to other towns, but they are also an easier, safer and more dependable option than buses in some cases. To ride a cab, one can walk to the nearest "taxi stop" (usually in crowded areas or points of interest), wave for an empty passing cab or call a tele-táxi service. Tele-táxi may charge extra for this service. The price of the fare is determined by a machine called taxímetro, usually in front of the passenger seat. There is always a minimum price, which is shown when the machine is reset for the trip, which is, as 2011, R$3,50. Next to the value, there is a "flag" indicator that shows the level of price being paid, always according to the service. Usually there is a table inside of the cab explaining each level of service. It is recommended to check if the correct level is being charged at the beginning of the trip, in order to avoid problems when you reach your destination.

By Public Transport

To understand the bus system, one must consider the above description. All lines are identified as "(prefix)-number name/neighborhood". Currently, almost all lines are radial, that is, they connect an outer neighborhood to the various downtown terminals. Those lines have no prefix. It is quite common to switch buses at downtown but, considering there is a myriad of lines there, it can be challenging to find the right terminal to hop on the next bus. Transversal lines (prefix "T" - T1, T2, ..., T11), connect different neighborhood without going through the downtown area, effectively eliminating the need of changing buses for the most common trips. Circular lines (prefix "C" - C1, C2, C3), as the name indicates, run in a circular manner, usually connecting parts of the downtown area to the nearest neighbourhoods.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find bus stops with indication of lines' destinations or timetables. Hence, when in doubt, the easiest way is to ask the locals which bus will get you to you destination. Porto Alegre's buses are, in most cases, clean, safe and fast, specially when the line uses the bus corridor, a reserved lane with special stops in main avenues, effectively avoiding traffic jams. In order to use the bus, you must be at a bus stop and signal or wave your hand to the arriving bus you want to ride (they will not stop unless waved upon!).

The fare must be paid to the cobrador before crossing the turnstile located inside the bus. Fares may be paid either in cash or using a smartcard system named TRI. TRI-users get discounts in consecutive trips - currently, a fifty percent discount is granted to the second trip within half an hour.

The Lotação is an alternative transportation system, with fewer lines, served by vans with up to 20 people in capacity, where one can hop on and off at any point (i.e. outside designated stops) of the trip. The fare is R$6.00 for everyone. The vans are easily recognized by their "red and blue" colour. If you're not sure if a lotação goes to the destination you want to go, just wave your hand, wait until it stops and from the street ask the driver if it goes to your destination (for instance to go to Iguatemi Mall just say Iguatemi?), don't go in just to ask otherwise the driver might ask you to pay the fare since the counter is measured on the stairs near the door.

By Foot

Walking around is a reasonable idea only inside a given neighborhood or downtown, as opposed to from one neighborhood to another, as they are usually too far apart. Walking during the night in most parts of the city is outright dangerous. During the day, it is recommended to pay attention to your belongings at all times, due to activity of pickpockets and other thieves. Avoid parks at night. Porto Alegre is a dangerous city at global levels. Be advised that pedestrian crossings, most of the time, are completely ignored by the vast majority of drivers; never rely on them without looking or making sure the driver will stop. It is also not recommended to cross the street outside the proper crossing areas in traffic jams: motorbike riders usually split between stopped cars, causing a great risk to pedestrians.

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Drink

Porto Alegre's nightlife is basically divided onto two neighborhoods: Cidade Baixa and Moinhos de Vento. Although, several pubs and clubs are located throughout the city.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Porto Alegre or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer or of course smartphone. Sometimes it is free, sometimes you need to register and there is a time limite and sometimes you need to pay a small amount for (day) use.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Brazil is: 55. To make an international call from , the code is: 0014. All cities use the following emergency numbers: 190 (police), 192 (medical) and 193 (fire department). However, if you dial 911 or 112 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
Brazil uses two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.

Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them.

Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo (Telefónica Group), Claro (Telmex/América Móvil Group), OI and TIM (Telecom Italia Group), all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks. Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc.

Post

Correios is the national postal service of Brazil. It is a government run postal service and overseen by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. Post offices are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00am to 5:00pm, although post offices located in shopping malls have their own opening hours, usually from 10:00am to 10:00pm. There are no set opening hours at weekends and as post office owners can choose when to open and close. More and more post offices are open until 1:00pm on Saturdays though. You can check things at the nearest post office.

Sending postcards, letters and parcels is a rather straightforward process and services are reliable, though not overly fast when sending post internationally, mostly taking about a week to the USA and Europe, and there is a track-and-trace service for this as well. Domestically, there are both next day as well as more expensive same day delivery options. Stamps are available at post offices, as well as some kiosks or other places where they sell postcards.

For sending packages internationally, you can also used competitively priced private companies like TNT, UPS or DHL. They are generally much quicker and not much more expensive.

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Accommodation in Porto Alegre

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Porto Alegre searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Porto Alegre and areas nearby.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 9:11 on Dec 15, 17 by Utrecht. 28 articles link to this page.

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