There are a few things you need to know to use the phones effectively in Brazil and Argentina. LOCAL CALLS: If you're in South America, and you're making a local call, just dial the seven or eight-digit local number without any area code. NOTE: If you're calling a cell phone from a fixed phone, like a pay phone or your hotel room phone, you'll be paying more than a standard fixed-to-fixed local call because in Brazil/Argentina, as in most other countries, the calling party pays for the call. In Brazil, local cell phone numbers begin with 8 or 9, so you can tell before you call. In Argentina there's a separate area code (15) for all cell phone numbers in the B.A. area. The area code for B.A. fixed phones is (11). So that's how you know what kind of phone number you're calling there. I'm not sure if there are separate cell phone area codes in other parts of Argentina, though. In both Brazil and Argentina, local calls from your hotel to other fixed phone numbers are usually free. In Brazil, to get an outside line from your hotel room, you usually have to dial "0" and then wait for a second dial tone. I'm not sure what the current drill is in Argentina. If you need to ask the hotel operator for an outside line, ask for "uma linha/una linea, por favor" in Portuguese or Spanish. When you get the outside dial tone, just dial the number you want. LONG DISTANCE: In Brazil or Argentina, to dial long distance within the country just dial the area code (beginning with a 0) and the phone number. In Brazil, though, you're forced to choose a long distance company to complete your call. For this reason, you'll often see phone numbers written this way: (0xx21) 2332-3223. The "xx" is for the two-digit code of the phone company you select. If you're using the phone in your hotel room, ask the hotel operator or the front desk for the dialing instructions to be used. Usually they use Embratel, whose code is 21, but they'll tell you which company code to use. For in-country long distance, the hotels usually charge the actual rate of the call, without a lot of expensive surcharges. (This may not be the case if you stay at a big international chain hotel, which may charge a small fortune, so ASK before you dial!) Alternatives to your hotel phone are pay phones (you buy a magnetic long distance phone card at any newstand, with the highest number of units you can get on it) and the phone booths at many Internet cafes and phone company offices. These are sometimes identified by a sign saying "Locutorio." INTERNATIONAL CALLS TO BRAZIL/ARGENTINA: To call Brazil from abroad, dial your int'l access code + 55 + (Brazilian area code, dropping the initial zero) + phone number. To call Argentina from abroad, dial your int'l access code + 54 + (Argentine area code, dropping the initial zero) + phone number. INTERNATIONAL CALLS FROM BRAZIL/ARGENTINA: If you have a telephone calling card in your home country, you can use the Home Country Direct service of your phone company at home. Call your phone company before you travel (or check their website) to find their Brazilian and Argentine toll-free access numbers. Dial the access number, then follow the voiced instructions to make your call (usually entering your calling card number and then the home country phone number you want). You can call directly from your hotel, of course, but check first to determine the rates and any surcharges! Finally, you can go to an Internet café, or to a Locutorio, and use the booths there. The Internet cafés may be the best bet, as they use cheaper Internet based phone calling. However, the sound quality of Internet calls isn't quite as good as a standard call over phone lines.