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    December 02, 2008


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    This annoys me too. Anywhere there is no price written down people seem to invent whatever price they think they can get away with. Fortunately, I've been reassured by Brazilian friends that this kind of behaviour is not reserved strictly for gringos/tourists; it's not a 'gringo tax' as such, just general 'malandragem' on the part of the salespeople.

    I was at the beach yesterday and discovered that along with the increase of tourists to the city at this time of year, the price of Matte/limonada has also increased. Apparently it is now R$2 for the small and R$2.50 for the big one. My income has not increased for the summer. I told the guy it should be R$1.50 and R$2: 'I live here,' I told him 'I know.' In the end he reluctantly agreed that that was the usual price, but insisted that the price 'at the moment' was R$2/2.50. 'Ok, at the moment I am not going to buy any.' So he walked away and I remained very thirsty.

    One way to possibly avoid what happened to your friends at the 'lanchonete' is to order and pay at the same time, at the caixa. Then you get a receipt which you take to the person serving the food. If there's any mistake on the ticket, you can query it before you receive the food.

    I find here it's always better to agree on a price before you receive the goods. That way, if you are quoted a ridiculous price and there's no room for negotiation, you at least still have the opportunity to walk away. The hair salon is a particularly tricky one though.


    I disagree, I feel there is a "gringo tax". Unfortunately there is a general perception that gringos have tons of money. The best way to avoid this is 1) agree to pricesup front and 2) try to go to not-so-touristy places. I was lucky to have cariocas agree to take my family and friends around when people came down to my wedding, but my poor brother got majorly ripped off in Rio when he went by himself. It is sad, but it happens not just in Rio. Even acquaintences will automatically recommed the most expensive vacation spot or restaurant because they assume that is what you want.


    Yeah, with a tiny glimmer of dread I'm not looking forward to this type of stuff. We're getting ready to come to Rio for 3 weeks for the Chrismas/New Year's Holidays and my wife is afraid that after 4 years in the U.S. that she has lost her "Carioca" wariness.

    Like your Dad and Uncle am an obvious gringo. At 6'7" with blue eyes and very fair skin I stand out big time!!!
    But I'm sure that after a day or 2 my wife will get back into the groove of being in Brazil.

    Generally to avoid these "gringo incidents" I hang back when it comes time to pay.

    Oddly enough, I have to do the same thing at a Brazilian restaurant in Orlando! If I go to the cashier to pay they'll consistently charge us more than when my wife pays!

    That having been said though, I think that the excitement of our visit outweighs any trepidation!


    Rio has been this way since I first arrived in 1964. In fact I think it is worse than the old days.

    That is why Cariocas are known as "malandros". They actually pride themselves on this title.

    One isn't only Gringo Tourist that get ripped off. They rip off Brazilians as well. At least they are non-discriminatory when ripping off folks. :-)

    Very sad...Rio could be oh, so much nicer.


    Hi!!. Your website is so interesting.

    I´m from Spain and next year I´m coming to Rio with my wife and we´re gonna stay at Sofitel Copacabana.

    Why do you say that it´s better not to catch a cab at this hotel?. Where do we have to catch a taxi?. In another place close to the hotel?.

    Cabs sometimes don´t turn on the meter?.

    Is it possible to take bus or metro to go inside the city?.


    Rest assured its not a Rio thing. We endured the same thing in Delhi and here! Taxis are the worst. Teh other day a taxi driver tried to charge me 20LE for a 5LE ride. Just because my grasp of the language isn't that good doesn't mean i'm stupid.


    That kind of thing happens in lots of other countries as well, such as Turkey, Egypt etc. North Americans and Europeans are seen as a "pot of gold" everywhere.
    It also has to do with the "jeitinho brasileiro", the Brazilian way. A short-term one point of view : to rip off as much and fast as possible, not thinking about their reputation... really sad
    Brazilians are also ripped off, when I was in Rio ( they saw straight away that I was paulista ) they also wanted to charge a little bit more than the locals, but still not as much as they would with a gringa


    This is a story of a friend of mine who went to New York.He wanted to buy a camera,spent about 30min. in the shop and as he was about to pay, "camera" opened and there was nothing inside.Just a shell,toy.Other people who were in the shop saw that and of course started leaving.Owner got very angry,took a baseball bat and started to chase my friend.He ran out,found nearest policeman and told him what happened.He said:"Yeah,we get complaints about them all the time".And that was that.
    This happened in Manhattan,of all places.

    Daily Rio Life

    Wow so it really happens everywhere!

    Enrique - for more on why you should never catch a cab at the Sofitel, read my May 2nd post: Be Warned!

    All you need to do to catch a cab there is walk away from the front, about 20 paces or so then catch a normal cab and have them turn on their meter. In the course of a few days you will save hundreds of Reals (you can thank me later!)


    It even happens where I live in Rocinha but it is from people from the outside who come in here and open up some decent place. The reason I say they are outsiders is because all of the small eateries I have never had a problem with.

    There is this por kilo place that has excellent food but many time I go the cashiers and they make errors with my change. I often have to correct them. And yes, I wonder what others in the community have to say about this.


    If you decide to take people hang gliding, be aware that there are two prices, one for locals(cheaper) and one for gringos(more expensive and charged in dollars).

    Daily Rio Life

    Wow unfortunately it seems everyone has a story...


    anybody that goes to rio is mixed up in the head!you men think that rio has all these fine women that are dishing out sex for free, wrong!most of the women there are fat to average looking and broke looking for sugar daddies!rio is nothing but sticks, crime, poverty, drug lords, and gangs 10 times that of los angeles!the jail cells there are overcrowed with innmates living like sardines in a can!

    Claude Arango

    Rio is great city to live in and an even better city to visit, but you would be foolish to put your guard down. If you are visiting Rio then you are a target, regardless if you are Brazilian or not, and if you are a gringo then you are a bigger target. Greed is prevalent in Rio de Janeiro, and there are no legitimate excuses for it.

    Always agree on a price, up front, for everything, and always check your receipt. Never catch a cab parked in front of a well known establishment. Simply walk to the street and hail a cab and make sure they turn on the meter, then and there.

    Rio is full of beautiful women and some charge for their favors, and I am sure that most men know that, but if you are looking for true love, good luck.

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