Brazil Money

Currency: real (plural 'reais')

Credit cards are now accepted all over Brazil. Visa is the best card to carry for cash advances, finding an ATM that accepts your particular card can be difficult, though. Changing cash and travelers' checks is simple - there are cambios in all but the tiniest towns. It's worth having enough cash to tide you over the weekend, when finding an open change bureau, even in big cities, can be difficult. When buying cash, ask for lots of small bills as change is often unavailable for small transactions.

Most services get tipped a mandatory 10%, often included in the bill. If a waiter is friendly and helpful, you may like to give more. Because of Brazil's high unemployment rate, services that may seem superfluous are customarily tipped. Parking assistants are the most notable as they receive no wages, but petrol-station attendants, shoe shiners and barbers are also frequently tipped. Taxi drivers are an exception: most people round the price up, but a tip is not expected. Bargaining for hotel rooms should become second nature - always ask for a better price. You should also haggle in markets and unmetered taxis.

Copyright 2003 Lonely Planet Publications , all rights reserved, used with permission 

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