ATMs widely available. Credit cards accepted in most midrange and top-end hotels and restaurants.
ATMs are the handiest way to access money in Rio. Unfortunately, there has been an alarming rise in card cloning, with travelers returning home to find unauthorized withdrawals on their cards. This has been especially problematic with Bradesco ATMs, which you should avoid at all costs.
When possible, use high-traffic ATMs inside bank buildings during banking hours. Always cover your hands when inputting your PIN, and check your account frequently to make sure you haven’t been hacked.
ATMs for most card networks are widely available.
For exchanging cash, casas de cambio (exchange offices) cluster behind the Copacabana Palace hotel in Copacabana and along Visconde de Pirajá near Praça General Osório in Ipanema.
Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Rio; MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club are also accepted by many hotels, restaurants and shops.
Credit-card fraud is rife in Rio, so be very careful. When making purchases keep your credit card in sight at all times. Have staff bring the machine to your table or follow them to the cashier – don’t give them your card.
The monetary unit of Brazil is the real (R$; pronounced hay-ow); the plural is reais (pronounced hay-ice).
The real is made up of 100 centavos. Most prices are quoted in reais, though some tour operators and hoteliers prefer to list their rates in US dollars or euros.
- Restaurants Serviço (service charge) usually included in bills and mandatory; when serviço not included, leave 10%, more if a waiter is friendly and helpful.
- Juice stands, bars, coffee corners, street and beach vendors Tipping not customary but a welcome gesture.
- Parking assistants Usually about R$4 (these workers receive no wages and are dependent on tips).
- Taxi drivers Not usually tipped; round up the fare.