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Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?

1 post
1 review
Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?


I'm wondering best practice for tipping in Brazil and if it is desired to receive tips in US currency. I've gotten some mixed messages from "Yes, Tip in US dollars" to "No, it is insulting to tip in US currency - only use the Real"

Since I'm leaving tomorrow, I really need to know if I should carry small US bills or just exchange money immediately upon arrival.


5 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Rio de Janeiro
Level Contributor
25,602 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?

The currency in Brazil is the Real (pl. Reais), the only legal tender in the country. I would recommend tipping with the Real, although you can be sure that U.S. dollars will not be turned down.

Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
6,924 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?

tip in reais if you can (of course no one will refuse a good tip in any currency though)....

giving tips in USD will only make it more difficult for the recipient to use it, as he/she will have to exchange it to be able to use it... the USD does NOT really circulate widely in Brazil (maybe apart from some tourist guides and the like who deal mostly with foreign tourists)... it is not like Argentina etc where everyone wants USD; the avg person here, unlike Arg, does not keep its savings etc in USD, but in reais...

no need to amass a bunch of small USD bills prior to your trip (Brazilian local currency comes in denominations from 2 to 100 reais, so the largest bill is not much more than US$25 anyway... and the smallest is not much more than US$0.50...)

as far as exchanging money, avoid airport... worst rates there.... wait till you get to the cities... "cambios" will offer the best rates and easy, convenient service (banks tend to be much slower and worse rates too)....

so that you have an idea of what a good rate is, link below shows what US$1 (cash) would get in many cambios in Rio (look under heading "Papel Moeda")... it will list some cambios; you will see that rates vary from place to place (and alll the time).... right as I write this, between 3.56 and 3.71 reais per USD:


Level Contributor
1,176 posts
14 reviews
3. Re: Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?

Who are these people or websites that advocate tipping in US dollars? I would not put a lot of faith in other advice they give about Brazil.

r c
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9,328 posts
1 review
4. Re: Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?


I look at it from the other way. How would you like to be tipped in Peso?

I would also add, if ALL you had was USD, or you were kidnapped and dumped there and all you had was USD, then, yes, i would use USD.

One thing to consider is the exchange rate. Would you give 1+ USD for a tip? It maybe a really nice tip for someone. Or will you give some coins?

also for what its worth, some places, im not saying Brazil, the tip maybe included or its not necessary. But its up to you how and what you do with your money.

Many times you just round up.

good luck

Petropolis, RJ
Level Contributor
713 posts
5 reviews
5. Re: Tipping/Gratuities in Brazil - US or Real?

You can tip in US$ and it will be appreciated. But remember that in Brazil we have a more coletive view of life. So avoid personal tips in services that more people are involved. It won't be appreciated at all. Service tax on restaurants are for the team, and keep this attitude where you want to tip.

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