Tipping in Brazil
Wages for many Brazilian service workers are low, and tipping in Brazil for several professions is customary and is always appreciated. However, the amount or percentage of the tip is far less than in the United States.
The jobs for which tipping in Brazil is expected are similar to most other western countries and include: waiters, bartenders, tour guides, hotel bellmen and housekeepers. It is also proper etiquette to give small tips to taxi cab drivers, apartment doormen (Porteros), beach vendors, and parking attendants.
Tipping in Brazil - Waiters & Bartenders
The standard tip for waiters in restaurants and botequims is 10% and is often included in the bill. Note: sales tax is included in the menu prices and is not added to the final bill!
Most waiters in Brazil are men who work at this profession full time to support their families. They tend to be quite professional, often wear starched white shirts with bow ties, and provide great service.
At right, is a picture of our favorite waiter, " Vava", at Botequim do Itahy, grilling Churrasco at our table during a recent Rio de Janeiro vacation.
If you have enjoyed the meal while on your Rio de Janeiro vacation, then feel free to add a bit more to the standard tip. We feel good about doing this, as restaurants in Rio are usually much less expensive than in the USA and Europe and it leaves a good impression of the American and other international traveler. If you pay by credit card, it's easy to drop a few extra Reais on the table as you leave the restaurant.
In Bars, the bill may not include a tip and 10% is customary for good service. Tipping a bartender after he makes your first Caiparinha will usually ensure you receive an even stronger drink for your second (or third...) rounds!
In nightclubs, you may be given a card upon entry on which your drinks are tallied; 10% is usually added to the bill. Take note that if you lose this card you will have to pay $R 100 or more when you leave!
Tipping in Brazil - Taxi Drivers
Taxi drivers are usually not tipped, but it's customary to round up the fare to the next Real. If you "contract" with a taxi driver to take you to or from the airport, you are not expected to tip. However, we recently took a long trip to the airport from Ipanema (long because of traffic congestion), and by the time we arrived, the cab driver had given us 2 Brazilian Bossa Nova CDs! We were quite happy to leave him a tip. We've had only good experiences with taxi drivers in Rio, and if you speak some Portuguese, they can be very engaging and informative.
Follow this link for more information about using Taxis in Rio de Janeiro.
Tipping in Brazil - Tour Guides
Tour guides - you will be pleased with the professionalism displayed by most tour guides on your Rio de Janeiro vacation. They are usually aged 20 - 35, well versed in Rio history, and speak English quite well. It's customary to tip these guides up to 10% of the cost of the tour, especially if they have provided excellent service.
After a daytime excursion to Sugarloaf or Christ the Redeemer Statute, these guides will usually offer other tours, such as an evening excursion to Maracana Stadium for a football match, or for dinner and Samba show at Plataforma Churrascaria steakhouse. They may also suggest arranging a trip to Buzios, Ilha Grande, or Paraty.
Insider's Tip - It's worthwhile to listen to a tour guide's pitch for other tours and excursions and to save the information for consideration and comparison pricing. If you liked the tour guide company, then it's a "known quantity" for your next tour or excursion. You also can ask for a discount for giving them repeat business.
Tipping in Brazil - Hotel Workers
For the hotel bellman or porter, it's customary to give $R1 or $R2 upon arrival and when leaving. You should tip $R1 per bag if you have several bags for him to carry to and from your room. Avoid leaving money for the maid each day, as it's best to tip them upon leaving the hotel. You can leave it in the room or at the front desk in an envelope labeled "para a empregada" (for the maid). Four or five star hotels will usually have a concierge, otherwise a front desk worker doubles as the concierge. They can be very helpful especially for booking tours, giving information about local music and shows, and football matches. If the concierge arranges an activity for you, it's customary to tip him a few Reais.
Tipping in Brazil - Other Service Workers
Beach vendors - These are the guys who move up and down Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach selling cold beverages and snacks and who rent beach chairs and umbrellas. When you rent the umbrella and chair at the vendor's kiosk in the sand, it's not necessary to tip. These vendors will usually send a guy to check on you and attend to your needs. If he fetches you a drink or snack, it's customary to give him a small tip. Tip these guys and they will be very attentive to your needs all day! For more information visit our Rio de Janeiro Beach Tips page.
Parking attendants - An oddity in Brazil is the young guy who unofficially "watches" your car while parked at the curb or in certain parking lots. This is more common in the smaller towns and coastal areas than in Rio. 1 or 2 R$ is the customary tip. In Rio de Janeiro, there are official parking attendants along Ipanema and Copacabana Beach who wear a city uniform (blue shirt, shorts, and Havaianas...), and who will give you a receipt in exchange for a standard charge. You do not need to tip these guys, as they receive wages.
Gas station attendants receive small tips for the full service they provide. Take note that there are no self serve gas stations in Brazil!
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