Rio Guide - Culture


Rio de Janeiro has a very laid-back culture. Paulistas (people from São Paulo) call the Cariocas lazy (they are jealous they can’t go to the beach after work/school). There is nothing much you can do that will be considered an offence. Overall, Rio people are very friendly and enjoy a relaxed life.


  • Even though everyone knows you are supposed to hold the fork with your left hand, there are people that don’t do it. Also, some people are too lazy use all of the cutlery.
  • Don’t, just don’t go/leave somewhere and forget to say “Bom Dia,” “Boa Tarde,” or “Boa Noite.” It is very rude not to say good morning/afternoon/night regardless of the place. If you and a stranger have eye contact, it is polite to smile and nod your head.
  • Use napkins to eat. And always wash your hand.
  • Brazil has similar manners to North American and Europe, except that we are a lot louder (don’t get too annoyed).
  • When people are introduced to each other, or they meet with someone, they give two kisses in the cheek.


People can wear flip flops everywhere and at anytime. No one will judge you if you go to that fancy shopping mall wearing your new pair of Havaianas. This is something the poorest and the richest have in common.

(Exceptions for restaurants that require a certain apparel)

Live Music

Many bars and restaurants offer live music to create a nice atmosphere. Enjoy your meal at the sound of Bossa Nova, MPB, Samba or Pagode.

Late Arrival

People get late to every occasion. Don’t stress out if your Carioca mate arrives 20 min late for dinner.


Although you don’t have to, you should expect to give the equivalent of 10% of what you spent to your waiter and it is usually already included in the bill. Tipping is not a big thing in Brazil as it is in the USA, so you don’t need to give any extra money at hotels or for taxi rides. However, your tip will always be happily received.

In many areas across the city, there will be “freelance”boys and men from low social classes that take care of parked cars as a way of getting some money, so giving R$ 2 to R$ 10 is very common.


The price you see in the tag is the one you will pay for the product. I remember when I was younger and wasn’t used to the American taxing system. I would always get frustrated when I’d arrive at the cashier and realise that the actual price was US$ ** + tax.

Advice: at stores (clothing/shoes/etc) you can usually get 5% – 10% off if you pay with money or debit card. So always ask about the possibility.

Àvista tem desconto?

Football (Soccer)

Brasileiro AMA futebol, Carioca então

Some people here are just obsessed with football, they treat it as a religion.

Jeitinho Carioca

It means “Carioca way,”and the only way you can ever understand it is by experimenting it. I can tell you in advance that this jeitinho is really slow.

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