To many, it may seem that Brazil was created by Mother Nature with extreme care and love. It is so abundantly blessed that making a trip here is invariably an experience of a lifetime. From sun-kissed beaches to thick jungles, cascading waterfalls to scintillating night-life – there is simply so much to see and experience in this South American country that you will soon realize that one trip down south isn’t enough. While there are many things to enjoy in Brazil, you must also be careful not to overstep the line and do something that can offend a Brazilian. Below we have highlighted a few things you should be careful about so that you do not harm the local sentiment or yourself.
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Don’t Worry About Showing Off Some Skin
Brazilians are laid-back and have a casual outlook of life. Since beaches are major attractions even for the locals, you can abundantly find Brazilian women and men flaunting their bare skin. It is no crime to be in your bikini or shorts while at the beach. The locals are not uninhibited to bare it all even if they do not have a perfect body. In fact, you will find it quite liberating that Brazilians do not obsess about perfect figures. No one will give you an awkward glance if you wear a bikini which shows off more fats then muscles. It is perfectly normal to have imperfect bodies. Though you might be deceived by brochures where perfect women model in their bikinis, in reality, the beaches welcome every body type.
Do Not Insist on Speaking English or Spanish
Almost all South American nations, except Brazil, speak in Spanish. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese and it is the lingua-franca in the streets. English hasn’t spoken all around though in major tourist destinations such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo people speak the language to ease communication with foreigners. That’s why you must not press the locals to speak in Spanish or English. If you do not know Portuguese then learn the basics of the language before your visit to Brazil. It will make things easier for you. Brazilians become open with foreign tourists who at least attempt to speak in their language and if you are really interested in mixing with the locals, learning the local language is helpful.
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Do Not Visit Favelas Without Guides
Favelas are shantytowns that surround the city of Rio. There are over 700 favelas in the city housing over 1.4 million people. These slums are notorious for harboring crime and violence and for several decades been out-of-bounds for foreign tourists. Though things have comparatively changed in the last decade or so and some favelas welcome tourists, it isn’t wise to visit them unguided. There are authorized trips to favelas by local guides and if you are really interested in taking a look at these slums, then you must go through the right network. Going alone can get you in trouble as pick-pocketing and mugging are common. Favelas such as Vidigal and Santa Marta have become tourist friendly to a certain extent and you can take a guided trip inside them.
Never Leave Your Bag Unattended
It is no secret that petty crimes rate high in Brazil which is why you must be careful of your possessions. Do not ever leave your bag unattended because in most likelihood you will not get it back. This can happen even if you are sitting beside the bag – the thieves are expert and can take your things without you noticing it at all. It is also considered bad luck to keep your bag on the floor – a local superstition that is very much prevalent all over the country. It is something which you will be told about even if you were unaware of it.
Do Not Show Off Your Wealth
If you have the habit of collecting, wearing and showing off your expensive clothes, jewelry, and watch collection then you better forget all about it once you step foot onto Brazil. It is absolutely necessary to understand that you cannot flaunt your wealth in Brazil because if you do so you will soon become a victim of theft and mugging. Despite concerted efforts made by the local police and government authorities criminal cases are quite high in Brazil. The criminals usually target foreigners who wear an expensive watch, carry around their camera without care and who show-off their cash without care. It won’t take them long to target you and rob you of your things. It is better that you wear casuals at all times, carry only so much cash as would be necessary for a day while keeping the rest safely in your hotel room’s locker.
Do Not Hesitate to Try Local Cuisine
While you will find your regular MNC food joints in all the big cities of Brazil serving you burgers, pizzas, and your regular snacks, ideally you shouldn’t simply stick to them. You must try the local cuisine which offers a wide variety of meat. Some meat cuts are exclusively available only in Brazil and if you are a true foodie you shouldn’t give them a miss. Brazilian beef is also well-known and you must definitely try it. However, if you do not fancy trying a new cuisine it’s okay. Just remember not to show your distaste to the locals. They are pretty proud of their cuisine and do not like people commenting on their food habit.
Drink Responsibly, but Never Alone
It is almost an unwritten but well-known practice in Brazil to share a drink and laugh – every time. If you are the quiet, brooding type who likes to have his beer all alone, then you better change your habit before visiting Brazil. Drinking beer alone is simply not accepted in the country. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone in a bar or pub, the fact that you have a bottle or beer mug in hand is a simple invitation for others. Brazilians drink a small amount of beer at a time primarily because the intense heat warms the beer quickly, making it almost unpalatable if consumed slowly. Though you may be tempted to drink many glasses quickly, resist it at all cost. You wouldn’t want to get drunk at an unknown place, in front of unknown people.
Don’t Be a Stickler for Punctuality
It is definitely a good habit to always keep appointments and be on time. But Brazilians have a casual lifestyle and do not take timekeeping as seriously as others. Adopt the Brazilian way when in the country and do not show your impatience if you are kept waiting for something. Things move pretty slowly here so you shouldn’t be surprised if you have to wait in long queues. A 30-minute delay in the schedule is acceptable and you must keep it in mind. If your tour guide has scheduled a trip at 10 AM, do not be surprised if it starts much later. Since you are on a holiday, give your strict punctuality a break and rather enjoy the laid-back lifestyle!
Tipping Isn’t A Norm – Don’t Do It
Tipping waiters and servers in hotels and restaurants isn’t standard practice in Brazil. Locals do not tip before leaving a restaurant and this is something you must keep in mind. In fact, tipping isn’t really appreciated by restaurant and hotel staff, especially in bars and pubs. You may, however, tip if you are eating in a fine-dining restaurant but not doing so is also okay.
Never Criticise Brazil
You are visiting Brazil in your own free will which should be enough reason not to openly criticize the drawbacks of the country. Though it is true that crime rates are high in the country and favelas are unsafe to a large extent, it by no means gives you the right to criticize such things when you are only visiting. Brazilians are themselves frustrated by their drawbacks and do not appreciate foreigners to spell them out.
See also:Must Try Foods in Brazil
Brazil is an abundantly blessed country – a haven where you can relax and feel rejuvenated. Since its tourism is still booming, there are many shortcomings. But to enjoy the marvels of nature you should be able to ignore them. A trip to Brazil will completely change your perspective of the South American country and you will only take back wonderful memories to last a lifetime. All you need to do is be careful about not insulting or harming the locals. If you are warm, they will open their arms for you.