When you tour Brazil, you will have to use Brazilian money to pay for things. While your home nation’s currency can be used for gratuities and in some shops, you probably are going to want to exchange some of it for Brazilian currency before or shortly after your arrival.
The unit of currency in Brazil is the real, and the plural is reai. The real can be divided into 100 centavos. The symbol for real is “R$”, which you are likely to see everywhere.
Foreign Currency Exchange Rates
The value of foreign currency versus the Brazilian real is always changing. To see what it is at any given moment, you can visit the Bank of Brazil’s website. As of this writing, R$1 was equivalent to $3.12 in US dollars and 3.38 euro. To see other currencies, click on the “more rates” button under the Exchange column.
Where to Change Currency
Before you leave to tour Brazil, you can check with your local bank to see if they exchange foreign currency. If they don’t, they probably will be able to direct you to someplace nearby that does.
If you wait until you arrive in Brazil, you can exchange money at most banks or currency exchanges, as well as some hotels and travel agencies. Banks typically will give you the best exchange rate.
Credit Cards, ATMs and Traveler’s Checks
Another option is simply to use credit cards or debit cards that are set up to handle multiple currencies, such as Cirrus/Mastercard or Plus/Visa cards. These can be used as payment or in ATM machines throughout Brazil.
If you aren’t sure if your credit or debit card can be used in Brazil, check with the bank or credit card company that issued it. Be aware that you may be charged an exchange rate fee every time you use it.
While traveler’s checks offer more security –they can be replaced if stolen — they can be difficult to cash in Brazil. Plus, there is often a fee associated with them. So you generally are better off using cash or credit cards.