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Discover Local Customs in Brazil

Written by: Dave Owen

There are some local customs in Brazil you should be aware of before you travel, to ensure that your adventure goes off without a hitch.
Generally, if you behave as you would in any westernised country you won’t have a problem, but here are a few things about social etiquette in Brazil to brush up on.

Money in Brazil


The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian real (pronounced hay-ow), and the majority of shops, restaurants, etc. will only accept this, and not US dollars or euros.
Brazil Money Bank Notes


As a rule of thumb, tipping in Brazil is largely similar to what is expected in the USA, though often a lower amount is expected.
In many restaurants, bars, and clubs a 10% service charge will automatically be added to the bill. This is not compulsory, but your server may not respond well if you refuse to pay. Wherever a charge is not added a small tip of R$5 or R$10 will be appreciated, and will likely result in great service if you return.

Social Etiquette in Brazil

Same sex relationships

Brazil is welcoming to LGBT tourists. São Paulo is home to the biggest Pride parade in the world, and you’ll find gay scenes in most major cities.
However, verbal abuse of same sex couples is not uncommon, so some caution should be exercised. It’s worth doing some research beforehand and asking in hotels about which parts of a city are more conservative, just to be safe.
Sao Paulo street

Greetings and conversation

The etiquette of meeting new people in Brazil can take a bit of practice. Cheek-kissing is very common, but only between women or a woman and a man. Two men will shake hands, with cheek-kissing considered highly unusual.
Brazilians generally are very confident and open, and may stand quite close to you during conversation. They might also talk openly about their personal problems, and ask personal questions of you soon after meeting.

Drinking etiquette

Brazilians are generally fun, up for a party, and keen drinkers, but they frown upon getting too drunk, especially in public. If you’re with good friends do your best to judge the atmosphere and pace yourself accordingly.

Things to Avoid in Argentina


Racism in Brazil is considered a very serious offense, even if said jokingly, and carries a minimum jail sentence of six months, without the chance for bail.
Even if you think you know your company well, avoid telling racist jokes or talking about Brazil’s history of racial inequality.


Brazil is football crazy, and locals can be very proud about their domestic club. Therefore it’s best to avoid wearing the strip of a local team, as doing so in certain areas could cause trouble. You’re better off wearing the colours of the Brazilian national team.


Religion in Brazil is taken very seriously, and the majority of Brazilians are devout Christians. Whatever your beliefs, it’s safer to avoid discussing religion, at least until you know somebody well enough to judge how it will be taken.

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