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An update from Evaneos

How to behave politely in Brazil

Brazil is a welcoming country and to make the most of your stay, try to avoid getting into any embarrasssing situations that could make you and the locals feel uneasy. To help you, here are some tips and tricksto make things easier during a trip to Brazil.

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

A welcoming country

G-strings are ok, but keep your top on! You may be surprised that, in the country where the G-string/thong is a swimwear norm, going topless is disrespectful and, along with nudity on the beach, can cause offence.

Overall, Brazilians are a demonstrative and tactile people. To say 'hi' or 'bye', they often hug, in a similar way to Brits or Americans with people they know. If you're not used to this, don't worry - it's normal if they 'take you in their arms'!

If you're invited over, the protocol is the same as in Europe where you shouldn't arrive empty handed... flowers, wine or something from your home country will do the trick!

Like all countries, something's are acceptable, other's not.

Whilst in Europe it's considered impolite/annoying to sniffle away, in Brazil it's even worse if you blow your nose in public, so keep that one private. In the same vein, you'll find toothpicks on tables in be used out of sight!

Whereas bartering may be part and parcel of life in other places, in Brazil it's not always a good idea, particularly in stores and markets off the tourist trail. If you want to bargain, only do it in very touristy areas, where it's more acceptable.

How to do things their way

Wherever you are in Brazil, throw toilet paper in the trash can and not in the toilet itself, as the sewer system is not designed to flush paper away. It may be wierd at first, but after a few days it'll become second nature. I gave myself a shock, when I found myself doing it once back in France!

Delphine Teisserenc
46 contributions
Updated 28 May 2015
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