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Porto Velho

Travel Guide South America Brazil Rondonia Porto Velho

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Introduction

Porto Velho is a city in the central west of the country at the edge of the Amazon Rainforest. It is the capital of the Brazilian state of Rondonia, in the upper Amazon River basin. The population is estimated to be around 450,000. Located on the border of Rondônia and the state of Amazonas, the town is an important trading center for cassiterite, the mining of which represents the most important economic activity in the region, as well as a transportation and communication center. It is on the eastern shore of the Madeira River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. It is also Rondônia's largest city, and the largest state capital of Brazil by area. The municipality occupies most of the border between Amazonas and Rondônia, and is both the westernmost and northernmost city in the state.

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Sights and Activities

  • Railway station - Estação da Ferrovia, Ferroviária. Built as compensation for Brazil taking over the state of Acre from Bolivia, and to transport rubber and other Amazon produce. Since long not operational, the station is rapidly suffering from decline. The once excellent museum is now closed for reforms, with nobody able to tell when it will open again. The trains have long since seen their last maintenance due to lack of funding. For the novela Maria Fumaça part of the track was restored. The train was also supposed to be operational for tourism purposes, but the project has not finished to date. All in all, the terrain is interesting enough to see and imagine the hardship it took to build in the heat.
  • There's a small promenade (Beira Rio) with a number of bars looking out over the Rio Madeira at the end of Av. 7 de Setembro. A nice place to watch the sunset.
  • Caixas D'água, Porto Velho's post card. Built for the Bolivia railway now 3 water towers on a square in reform. To get there: Facing the entrance of the railway station go to your right and keep walking. Can't miss. Sometimes illuminated at night for nice photos. To make the best one go to the last square on 7 de Septembro, walk up to the Clube da Ferrovia and turn left.
  • Casa da Cultura just off the square with the Caixas D'água. Here you'll find changing expositions by local artists and once done an exhibition of local culture. Free.
  • Catedral On Dom Pedro II - The main church of Porto Velho. Simple on both the inside and outside but well worth a visit.
  • Weekly Market Porto Velho hosts a lively weekly market, Feira Cai na Agua, turn left at the Clube da Ferrovia on 7 de Setembro. Starting as early as 5:00am on Sundays, this is your opportunity to buy and taste good local flavors such as açaí, tacacá, vatapá, molho tucupi apimentado or see a live chicken slaughter on the off side of the market. Lots of local fruit and vegetables, fresh caldo de cana (sugercane juice) and açaí. Try the last one with guaraná, banana and granola.
  • Edificio Feitoza is one of the older structures in the centre. dated 1945.

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Weather

Porto Velho features a tropical monsoon climate. The city features a short dry season that covers the months of June and July and a lengthy rainy season that covers the remaining ten months. September is also a relatively drier month, almost giving the city the appearance of having two separate wet seasons. However September is not quite a dry season month, seeing on average more than 60 mm of rain. Porto Velho is particularly wet from December through March, averaging roughly 300 mm of rain per month in each of these months. As with many cities with a tropical monsoon climate, Porto Velho temperatures tend to be relatively consistent throughout the course of the year, with average daily temperatures typically between 23 °C and 26 °C, highs being some degrees higher and lows a few degrees cooler.

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Getting There

By Plane

Port Velho-Governador Jorge Teixeira de Oliveira International Airport (PVH) offers flights with about 5 airlines to/from Brasilia, Cuiabá, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Campinas, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Campo Grande, Cruzeiro do Sul, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Rio Branco, Belo Horizonte, Cacoal, Ji-Paraná, and Vilhena.

By Car

From Rio Branco, follow the BR-364, 544 kilometres. From Cuiabá, take the BR-070, then BR-174, and then the BR-364, total distance 1,456 kilometres.

By Bus

From the Rodoviária (bus station) there are buses to most big cities in Brazil. Cuiabá is 24 hours away, Brasilia is 36-48 hours away, and São Paulo/Rio de Janeiro are both about 60 hours. To the west the nearest big city is Rio Branco, about 7-10 hours away, all depending on the type of bus service you buy. The town of Guajará-Mirim on the border with Bolivia is five hours away, and from the small airport across the border there are flights to anywhere and everywhere in Bolivia. Transacreana buses go all the way to Recife, along the Atlantic coast.

By Boat

There is a boat to Manaus two-three times per week. Hammock class (bring your own hammock) is about 100 reais, a cabin 300, and a double cabin 350. Prices are somewhat negotiable. Before booking a boat make sure to check the boat, captain and crew out and try to negotiate with them instead of one of the 3 or 4 agents at the entrance of the harbour. Take care walking in the harbour area, it is not one of the nicest places to be in, take as little as possible with you when going there.

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Drink

Every Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays there is a Forro (dance) at the Mirante I & II. Walk all the way up from Av. Farquar - parallel to the Beira Rio (riverside) and follow the noise a bit to your left. The street gets blocked, there is security, you probably will be checked entering, but don't let that set you off. You'll probably have a good time doing what the locals do.

For a bit more upscale experience take a taxi and go to a pseudo authentic beer brewery. The hot one in Porto Velho is Public Haus.

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Sleep

There are some cheap hotels just across the street from the Rodoviária.

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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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This is version 5. Last edited at 12:30 on Dec 15, 17 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

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