How Not to Travel in Brazil

You’re sitting on your couch craving your next adventure; winter is coming and you can only think about beautiful sunny beaches and colorful drinks. You research a bit and all of sudden the Carnival, the Amazon and the semi-naked bodies Brazil has to offer seem like the obvious choice.

A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com
A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com

It is indeed the obvious choice — as a Brazilian, I can confirm that! Still, as with many other cultures, when you travel to a new place, you should understand a little bit about the culture and try as much as you can to not be disrespectful. Unfortunately, many people don’t do their homework and although some might not be disrespectful on purpose, they can be pretty annoying!

So, take a look at these tips and learn what not to do when you decide to travel around Brazil:

We Don’t Speak Spanish (Nor Brazilian)

I mean, seriously? If there were no Internet and you were in the ‘60s, I could cut you some slack, but nowadays there’s no excuse. We speak Portuguese – different, but grammatically similar to the Portuguese spoken in Portugal.

lazyllama / Shutterstock.com
lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

I was once taking some friends to Christ The Redeemer when a tourist approached, saying, “Hola! Como estas?” (“Hello! How are you?,” in Spanish) to which I responded, “Muy bien! Pero no hablo mucho Espanõl. Inglés?” (“I’m fine! But I don’t speak much Spanish. English?”)

“But you are Brazilian, you speak Spanish,” he added.

“No, I don’t, I speak Portuguese!” I replied. I could see his face melting! The guy had been studying Spanish for four months prior to his trip only to find out we didn’t speak it! He was even carrying textbooks!

Kues / Shutterstock.com
Kues / Shutterstock.com