Not allowed to toss toilet paper down the toilet at São Paulo airport. Luckily rest of Brazil is different.
1. DON’T be afraid of people who want to help you.
Brazilians are really helpful and love meeting people from other countries!
2. DO greet someone with a little more contact.
In Brazil, people greet each other with a handshake or a hug. Women greet another man or woman with a handshake, hug, or a kiss on the cheek. Fun fact: This rule can change in some cities. In São Paulo, people give one kiss on the cheek; in Rio, they do two kisses; and in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), they kiss three times.
DON’T be afraid of physical contact. This is part of simple communication in Brazil. You may notice that Brazilians also stand extremely close to one another too.
3. DON’T expect to see all Brazilian women dressed in something like this:
DO be polite to women in Brazil, even if they’re dressed differently than what you’re used to — a small bikini is not an invitation to act aggressively.
4. DO be patient when you are in Brazil.
Punctuality can be a bit different here. DON’T always interpret lateness as a sign of rudeness, because it’s common to arrive 15 minutes late.
5. DON’T speak Spanish. Brazilians don’t always understand Spanish, and you might sound lazy when you confuse it with Portuguese.
DO learn some basic sentences before you go to Brazil, because you won’t find a large number of people who understand English. You should know things like how to ask for your check at a restaurant (“A conta, por favor?”) and where the bathroom is (“Onde é o banheiro?”).
6. DON’T throw paper in the toilet (the pipes are not prepared for it).
7. DO stay alert when you use your cell phone in the street or near a crowd.
You shouldn’t leave your cell phone on the table in a restaurant or a bar when it may be easily accessible to other people.
DON’T get too crazy about this. Make sure you’re safe, but don’t let worrying ruin your fun!
8. DO try feijoada.
Black beans + beef + pork + rice + kale = HUMMMMMMM.
Try coxinha too. And other street foods. Just make sure what you’re eating is fresh!
Try foods in a boteco or botequim (aka a Brazilian bar) — it’ll likely be cheaper than eating in restaurants every night.
9. DO plan your World Cup trip using public transportation.
This tip is applicable in big cities, like Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, where traffic can be intense and taking a taxi may not be the best choice.
10. DON’T make the “OK” signal.
This can be considered rude or vulgar in Brazil.
11. DO give a “thumbs-up” — it’s the best way to signal that you’re OK or that you like something.
12. DON’T cheer for Argentina.
Brazil and Argentina have had a long-standing soccer rivalry. It’s not always serious, but you may make some enemies when you choose Argentina over Brazil!
13. DON’T (EVER!!!!) say Maradona is better then Pelé.
“HELLO, GUYS! FYI: I’M THE BEST, OK?”
14. DON’T criticize Brazilians’ problems when talking to other Brazilians.
You will notice that Brazilians are often critical of the government — when it comes to issues of corruption and other social problems — but you shouldn’t criticize it as well, or you’ll run the risk of sounding rude.
DO try to learn something about Brazil and understand that these problems are complicated even for Brazilians. Respect the riots and protests; Brazil has entered a new phase, and these can be important for effecting change. DO try to be safe if you notice that a riot is getting dangerous.
15. DO go with the flow and be happy!
Try new foods, meet new people, go to parties, and visit beautiful places. Brazil’s gorgeous landscape coupled with its friendly people will likely make for a truly unique experience!