Weird Things About Brazil That Shock First-Time Travellers

Known for many travellers as a haven of festivities, parties, and beaches, Brazil is a common destination for those who enjoy going on a trip full of fun and adventures. Yearly, the infamous Rio Carnival event is flocked by millions of travellers coming from all parts of the world, who want to join with the locals in this one-of-a-kind street party in Brazil. It is expected that the country will be visited by more tourists this year, given that Rio de Janeiro is the host of the 2016 Olympic Games.

But, going there is not that easy. Many first-time travellers often experience culture shock as the customs and traditions are not the same as what they know back home. If you are planning to visit Brazil, then here are some odd things about the country that you must know beforehand.

Don’t touch the food

The seafood, nuts, and other finger-food in Brazil are highly delectable, but never use your hand to pick one up. Apart from the fact that it’s unhygienic, it’s considered rude to use your finger in picking up food. Even if you’ve already washed your hand, it’s advisable to use utensils or napkins when getting finger-foods. If you dine outside, you will notice a small wax paper in your tray – that is not a tissue, but something you can use to hold the food. So, the next time you decide to pick that slice of pizza, remember to use a napkin or a knife and a fork, especially if you’re in Brazil.


Whilst Brazil is a paradise for many party- and beach-goers, it is also a home to a myriad of food, air, and water-borne diseases. Even the first case of the newly discovered Zika virus was initially reported to come from the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided a health warning for travellers going to Brazil, particularly expectant mothers. Apart from getting your GP’s health approval to travel, visitors must also get enough vaccinations before going to this country. A guide on travel vaccines and diseases suggests that apart from vaccination, travellers also need to be updated of the latest health warnings in Brazil as well as to carry a medkit to keep one’s self from any health problems once on vacation.

Touchy and affectionate in public

Presenting affections in public is not an issue in Brazil. In fact, they won’t greet you with a handshake, but a hug with both kisses on the cheeks. There are different kinds of kisses that you will get in the country, depending on the area where you are staying. From strangers to friends, you will see Brazilians standing too close while talking, which many may find uncomfortable. There’s no such thing as personal space in Brazil, as they always co-share space, by often touching people on the hand or patting their shoulder during conversation. They are more affectionate towards their partners in public, where it’s common for them to heavily make out while in the street, subway, and park. Anywhere, as they have their own little world.

Endless street party and noise

If you will be staying in Rio, you have decided beforehand that rest is optional to you, since all-day and all-night parties are common in this area. But, street parties are apparent in all areas in Brazil, where singing, chattering, honks, noise, and whistles happen everywhere. It’s normal to see cars honking their horns, street vendors shouting, and cheery people dancing in the street in the country, as they won’t call it a day without making such noise. It’s best not to complain and just join the fun.

There will always be differences in customs and traditions wherever you plan to go. With the help of this article, you are more prepared ahead of time on the odd things you may witness while staying in Brazil, avoiding culture-shock and creating problems with the locals.

5 thoughts on “Weird Things About Brazil That Shock First-Time Travellers

  1. Brazil certainly sounds… different.
    What would you say is the best time or season to visit?


  2. Didn’t know that about food – would be a shock if you just came from India!


  3. I didn’t know about not touching the food ! Good to know that, I thought we could eat with our fingers.


  4. Sounds like so much fun. I would really love to visit the world across the Atlantic some day. Interesting article, Mani!


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