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Is it safe to tour Brazil independently not knowing Portugese?

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DH and DS are joining me on a visti to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. We only have a full day in Sao Paulo, 3 days in Rio and 2 days in Salvador. Is it a good idea to explore on our own without any knowledge of Portugese ? What are the must dos for Sao Paulo in one day, or should we just join a tour? We enjoy culture, food, architecture and people watching.
Thanks, everyone

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