In Brazil, tipping is generally not expected. But it is certainly always appreciated, especially if you have received some sort of special, non-standard service. The best advice would be that if you can afford to tip, the people receiving your tip will be extremely grateful.
Tipping in Restaurants
In most restaurants in Brazil, a service charge of 10% will be added to the bill. While you aren’t legally required to pay this charge –which is typically listed as a “contra” — it is traditional. Most people will pay it unless the service they received was exceptionally bad or if you weren’t actually served by somebody, such as at a fast-food restaurant. Be aware that if you fail to pay this service charge, some servers may complain or react negatively.
In Brazil, the term “bar” has a slightly different meaning that it does elsewhere. A bar is usually a kind of casual restaurant where people can have appetizers and drinks. American-style indoor bars are generally called “pubs” in Brazil. In Rio de Janiero, they are often called by their Portuguese name, “boite”.
In both instances, bills are typically presented at the end of the visit, rather than paying as you go. You may decide to add a 10% tip to the bill if you choose. The same holds true in nightclubs.
Tipping Cab Drivers
It’s not usual to tip cab drivers in Brazil. In fact, if you try to give your driver more money than you owe, they may find it confusing.
It’s important to understand the distinction between radio cabs and regular cabs in Brazil. Radio cabs are usually found at the airports and a set rate based on the distance you are traveling. You probably won’t find a rate meter in a radio taxi. They also typically are booked inside the terminal.
A regular cab is just like the type of typical taxi you would find in any US city. They have a taxi meter that calculates how much you pay based on the time and distance you are in the vehicle. Usually, the final rate is rounded up to the next whole number. That’s because Brazilians don’t like to be bothered dealing with change. While the drivers of regular taxis generally will expect to “keep the change”, no other tip is expected or required.
‘Should I Tip at Hotels?’
Bellhops who carry your baggage to your room generally expect to receive a small gratuity of R$5 to R$10. It’s also traditional to tip the person who cleans your room (as long as they do a good job, that is) about R$5 per day.
At most beaches, you will find helpful attendants who will rent you a chair and umbrella, arrange for you to have food and drinks, and who will pay attention to your needs during your entire stay. Generally, they will remember who you are and will provide you with high quality service throughout your stay. In Rio de Janiero, beach chairs and umbrellas are typically rented for a set price for the entire day, so make sure you understand how much you are expected to pay before agreeing to the rental.
On organized tours, Brazilian tour guides will generally pass the hat at the end of the tour. It’s up to you how much and if you want to contribute.