Tipping in Brazil is typically not expected nor given. Usually, Brazilians only consider giving an extra if there was some special, nonstandard service. However, if you are a foreign guest with a good exchange rate and can easily afford to be generous, service people will be grateful.

At almost all restaurants and bars, a standard "serviço" service fee of 10% is included as a line item at the end of the "conta" or bill. This fee is not compulsory, even though it may seem so. However, most people do pay it unless there's a good reason not to (e.g. a very bad service or an absence of service - at places where you were not waited on). Although optional, some waiters may complain or may react negatively if you decide not to pay the 10% service fee.

Tipping at bars, pubs and nightclubs 

The term "bar" in Brazil is not used a synonym for a nightclub or for a indoor property with music.  It's rather used to refer to restaurants where people usually have appetizers and drinks, and which are usually open to the public, with no bouncers or whatsoever.  In other words, a bar is a type of casual restaurant. At bars, the bartenders do not usually handle cash. In a bar or a restaurant, you ask the bartender for your bill, and he brings a total (usually with full details). You decide how you'll pay and then give the money, check or card. As most cards in Brazil are chip cards, the waiter or bartender will bring a card reader machine and will swipe the card in the presence of the client.

American-style indoor bars are usually known as "pubs" in Brazil, whereas nightclubs may be referred as "balada" (São Paulo) or "boate" (Portuguese version of the word boite, widely used in Rio de Janeiro).  At pubs and nightclubs, clients are carded by a bouncer or hostess and are usually given a card or a piece of paper, in which orders will be registered.  At the end of the client's stay, the card or the piece of paper has to be taken to a cashier inside the establishment, where the client will pay his or her bill, when a 10% service fee may be added to the finall sum. Therefore, bartenders don't handle cash and giving them tips directly is not common.  

Cab drivers: to tip or not?

Make sure to understand the differences between a regular cab and a radio taxi.  Radio taxis are available at airports in major Brazilian cities and charge set prices which vary depending on the destination.  Therefore, taximeters are not used by radio taxi drivers.  Regular cabs are those which circulate around the city using taximeters.  They tend to be a second option at airports as well.  In Rio de Janeiro, radio taxis are booked inside the terminal, whereas regular cabs wait outside the arrivals area, lined up, waiting for clients to come. In either case, it's not usual to tip a cab diver.  

Common taxis (yellow in Rio de Janeiro and white in São Paulo) run on a taxi meter. Typically, if the total for the trip comes to say R$12.20 (i.e. a bit above R$12.00), people pay the amount round to the next whole number (in this case R$13.00) so that no one has to deal with coins. No other tip is required or expected. To/From the airport, a taxi may apply a R$3 per case charge on top of the fare. This happens occasionally and, supposedly, they have a right to ask for it.  However, if they apply this charge, they should definitely transfer your luggage out of the car for you.  There are also special or radio taxis. These typically quote prices for a trip and do not use a taxi meter. A tip should not be given in this case as you are already paying a higher price for these taxis.

Tipping at hotels 

For most hotels, tip the bell hop if they transfer all of your luggage to/from the room. In this case a small tip (R$5 to R$10) is appreciated. The chamber maid should be tipped (about R$5+ per day) for good service, as she is integral to the enjoyment of your trip.

Tipping beach vendors

Tip the person who rents you a chair and umbrella at the beach, and arranges your food and drinks, and stay with him during all your beach days. He will remember you with even better service the next time. In Rio de Janeiro, beach umbrellas and chairs are usually rented by vendors for a set price, so make sure to know which price you're being charged before renting those. 

Tipping organized tours 

Organized tours (especially boat trips) also typically make a request of a tip by passing the hat at the end of the tour. It is up to the individual if and how much they wish to give to the crew.


Brazilians tend to be friendly and enjoy chatting very close to their friends or newly-met persons.  Kissing on the cheek is the customary greeting between women and between a man and a woman, even if they have just met.  Men greet by shaking their hands and/or by giving a sutil backslap. Frontal hugs are not common between men, unless if they are related or have been friends for a long time.  

Although Brazilians tend to make friends quickly, they can be easily offended by sincere opinions.  It's not common to bring polemical debates or opinions that may be offensive to one of the parties in a conversation.  Instead, Brazilians tend to talk about certain topics very carefully.  This said, although many Brazilians are critical of their own country, foreign visitors should avoid criticizing Brazil to locals and should also avoid adressing touchy domestic topics in a harsh manner (e.g. racial relations, social conditions, etc).  

When hosting someone, it's customary to open the door to your guest when he or she is leaving your place.  

The "OK" sign made with a hand widely used in the United States is an obcene sign in Brazil and should not be made.  

Brazilians don't tend to be punctual and when meeting friends, it's considered normal to be up to 15 minutes late.  Punctuality varies from region to region, but overall it's acceptable to be slightly late.

Unanswered e-mails, Facebook or SMS messages may be understood as a lack of interest and may, thus, offend Brazilians.