Budget: Less than R$200
- Dorm bed: R$40–80
- Sandwich and drink in a juice bar: R$18–25
- Long-distance buses: around R$15–18 per hour of travel
- Standard double room in a hotel: R$160–300
- Dinner for two in a midrange restaurant: R$80–160
- Jungle trip: R$150–350 per day
- Admission to nightclubs and live-music venues: R$20–50
- One-way flight from Rio to Salvador/Iguaçu/Manaus: from R$470/500/550
Top end: More than R$400
- Boutique hotel: from R$500
- Upscale jungle lodges outside Manaus: R$600–1200 per night
- Dinner for two at top restaurants: R$200–500
A little bargaining for hotel rooms should become second nature. Before you agree to take a room, ask for a better price: ‘Tem desconto?’ (Is there a discount?) and ‘Pode fazer um melhor preço?’ (Can you give a better price?) are the phrases to use. There’s sometimes a discount for paying à vista (cash).
You should also bargain when shopping in markets. And if you’re about to ride in unmetered taxis, be sure to agree on the price before departing.
ATMS are widespread in Brazil. Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants, shops and hotels.
ATMs are the easiest way of getting cash in big cities and are common. In many smaller towns, ATMs exist but don’t always work for non-Brazilian cards. Make sure you have a four-digit PIN (longer PINs may not work). In general, Citibank, Banco do Brasil and Bradesco are the best ATMs to try.
The Brazcurrency is the real (hay-ow; often written R$); the plural is reais (hay-ice). One real is made up of 100 centavos.
It might be handy to keep cash in reserve, though you’ll want to be exceptionally cautious when traveling with it. Cash should be in US dollars or euros.
You can use credit cards for many purchases and to make cash withdrawals from ATMs and banks. Visa is the most widely accepted card, followed by MasterCard. Amex and Diners Club cards are less useful. Visa cash advances are widely available, even in small towns with no other currency-exchange facilities; you’ll need your passport, and the process can be time-consuming, especially at the ubiquitous but bureaucratic Banco do Brasil.
- Hotels Tipping is optional for housekeepers, but appreciated.
- Parking Usually R$2 or more; assistants do not receive wages and are dependent on tips.
- Taxis Not expected but most people round up to the nearest real.
- Tours It's customary to tip guides at the end of a tour, and certainly appreciated if you can give a little to the assistant or boat operator(s).
- Restaurants A 10% service charge is usually included in the bill.
Credit-card and ATM fraud is widespread in Brazil, especially in the Northeast. Card cloning (clonagem in Portuguese) is the preferred method: an entrepreneurial opportunist sticks a false card reader into an ATM that copies your card and steals the PIN when you come along and withdraw money. Shazam! A few hours later, $1500 disappears from your account in Recife while you and your card are safe and sound sipping caipirinhas on the beach in Natal!
To combat fraud, restaurants will bring the credit-card machine to your table or ask you to accompany them to the cashier to run a credit-card transaction. Never let someone walk off with your card. Other tips:
- Use high-traffic ATMs inside banks during banking hours only.
- Always cover the ATM keypad when entering personal codes.
- Avoid self-standing ATMs whenever possible and never use an ATM that looks tampered with.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.