Brazil Currency Exchange Guide

From sweeping sandy beaches and lush jungles to vibrant cities and iconic landmarks, this South American gem can provide some of the most unique experiences in the world – whether it’s a thrilling tour of the Amazonian rainforest or a tropical getaway in Rio de Janeiro. With its fascinating history, tantalising cuisine and diverse culture, especially with regard to music and art forms, travelling to Brazil promise lasting memories that will follow you for years ahead.

General Brazil Currency Information

What is the currency of Brazil?

The official currency of Brazil is the Brazilian real (BRL).

What do Brazilian notes & coins look like?

bra notes

Brazil’s current range of real banknotes features the Effigy of the Republic on the obverse side, which is depicted as a sculpture, while the reverse of each note features unique wildlife found in Brazil. For instance, the R$1 green banknote has a hummingbird on its reverse side; the R$2 blue and grey note has a hawksbill turtle; the R$5 violet one has a great egret; for the R$10 crimson note, we can find a greenwing macaw; and so on. The R$20 yellow and orange banknote portrays a golden lion tamarin, while the beige R$50 note depicts a jaguar. Finally, for an accurate representation of Brazil’s underwater life, check out the blue-hued R$100 bill, with its dusky grouper gracing the reverse side.

bra coins

The current coins of the Brazilian Real are truly a symbol of Brazil’s rich history and culture. On the obverse side of each coin, an iconic figure is featured, including Pedro Álvares Cabral on R$0.01 coins; Joaquim José da Silva Xavier on R$0.05 coins; D. Pedro I on R$0.10 coins; Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca on R$0.25 coins and lastly, José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior which is displayed on R$0.50 coins, while R$1 has a portrait of the Republic at the inner part of the coin leading towards its outermost ring area to complete its design. On the other hand, the reverse side is denominated with the current coin values for each denomination, respectively.

Economy

Brazil is one of the leading economies in the world, boasting the 3rd-largest economy in the Americas and the 12th-largest GDP expenditure globally. It has a long tradition of being amongst the biggest ten economies in terms of nominal GDP value and reach. Brazil is almost self-sufficient when it comes to energy production due to its abundant natural resources and a strong focus on renewable sources. Its manufacturing sector is also highly developed, remaining amongst the top 10 global exporters. Coupled with its well-developed services sector, Brazil’s economic development will surely continue well into 2022 and beyond.

Brief currency history

The Brazilian currency system has undergone significant change throughout its history; the current currency, the Real, is an example of great success. It first came into circulation in July 1994 and replaced the Cruzeiro Real, which had lasted only ten months.

The Real draws its name from the pre-1942 currency and stabilised the Brazilian economy by putting an end to soaring inflation rates, balance-of-payment crises and wild fluctuations in currency value.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, Brazilian currency history was largely defined by influence from Portugal and the Netherlands. All coins issued prior to 1694 had been manufactured overseas, with some bearing the Dutch West India Company mark and others showing the word ‘Brasil’ on one side.

In 1694, King Peter II established the first Brazilian mint to allow for domestically produced coins, and notes were then issued in 1835 through Brazil’s Treasury Department. This saw a decentralisation of power over Brazil’s monetary system, transitioning away from earlier colonisation influence.

Since 1965, Banco Central do Brasil (Central Bank of Brazil) has had a monopoly over issuing Brazilian currency and providing currency services within the nation’s borders.

The economic turnaround experienced in Brazil after the introduction of the Real as its legal tender in 1994 was remarkable. Prior to this period, the Brazilian economy had been crippled by a period of extreme hyperinflation that left consumers and companies alike struggling to manage their finances.

The resulting rapid devaluation of Brazilian currency meant that shoppers would run to supermarkets as soon as they got paid in order to spend their cash before it lost purchasing power.

Businesses found it almost impossible to accurately anticipate production costs amidst a climate of daily price hikes, while the annual rate of inflation had surpassed 2,500% at its peak.

As part of a successful plan to put an end to this turbulent period, the Real was introduced and achieved instant success in stabilising the country’s economy.

Taking Travel Money to Brazil

bra L

What currency should I take to Brazil?

If you’re travelling to Brazil, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Brazilian reais (BRL) before you leave. Get more information on how you can exchange AUD to BRL.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Brazil?

When planning to travel from Australia to Brazil, it is more practical and cost-efficient to convert your Australian dollars into Brazilian reals in Australia. By doing so, you can adequately budget for your trip, and you will have access to funds right away when arriving in Brazil. Furthermore, by completing the currency conversion at home, you can avoid having to search for currency exchanges during your trip. This allows you to save time and access more accurate exchange rates in a trusted environment.

How much cash can I take to Brazil?

Going to Brazil? It’s important to keep in mind the federal law related to currency amounts of R$10,000.00 or more. If you plan to bring local or foreign money with you into (or out of) Brazil exceeding this amount, you must complete a declaration form for the Brazilian Federal Revenue Department.

Where to convert currency?

Crown Currency Exchange is a trusted and experienced foreign exchange provider with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry. Our friendly team provide a transparent service with no hidden fees or commissions, so you can be assured of receiving only the most competitive foreign exchange rate. To save you time and effort, we have convenient stores all around Australia, making sure you won’t have to search far and wide to find an exchange service.

Is tipping customary in Brazil? How much is expected?

If you’re planning a trip to Brazil, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the local customs. This includes understanding when and how much it’s customary to tip. To help you out, we’ve put together a simple guide to tipping in Brazil.

Restaurants: In most restaurants in Brazil, a 10% “servico” charge is added to your bill. This amount is for the staff at the restaurant, and it’s considered customary for customers to pay this service charge. That said, there is no legal obligation for customers to pay this fee.  

Taxi: Tipping taxi drivers in Brazil is not expected, but they are accustomed to receiving tips if they provide good service. As with most transactions here, however, they will likely expect payment in exact change – or rounded up to the nearest real.

Hotel: Just like any other hospitality service industry, it’s customary to tip hotel staff like room service personnel, maids and bellboys. The usual rate is R$7-10 (roughly AUD $2-3), depending on the level of service received.

Hair Salon & Spa: Generally speaking, a 10-15% tip is expected in hair salons and spas. However, some places might include this amount as part of the bill. It’s best to ask beforehand if this is the case.

Tour Guides: Having a qualified tour guide in Brazil can be the difference between an extraordinary and lacklustre experience. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with an outstanding guide, do not hesitate to show your appreciation by tipping them 10%, regardless if it’s for a private, multi-day or walking tour. Not only will your gesture of gratitude make their day but it also ensures that they continue providing the same high standard of service!

Can you bargain in Brazil?

Bargaining in Brazil is definitely an experience that you’ll never forget! Speaking with a street seller and haggling over the price of products is a normal part of doing business in this country, and everyone enjoys a good bargain. Most sellers will have pre-determined prices, so the more you buy, the greater the discount – and it’s true what they say about bargaining, you really can get some amazing deals.

What is ATM access like in Brazil?

In Brazil, accessing an ATM is a breeze. Banking platforms are sophisticated and well-established, leading to extensive use of ATMs by the population, even before their prevalence in Western Europe. If you’re travelling outside of larger cities, you can rest assured knowing that there will almost always be an ATM nearby as they are scattered (often freely) across the nation – even in the smallest towns.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

If you are visiting Rio de Janeiro and looking to keep costs as low as possible, you can expect to need about R$200-220 (AUD $58-64) per day. This should cover accommodation at inexpensive hostels, meals of simple but delicious street food, transportation by public transit, and plenty of free activities such as enjoying the beach and hiking.

Moderate

For a more comfortable stay in Rio, a moderate budget of approximately R$400-420 (AUD $116-122) per day should be sufficient. With this amount, you can opt for a private hostel or Airbnb room, explore the local cuisine at affordable restaurants, take the occasional taxi ride, use buses between destinations, have some drinks on occasion, and participate in more expensive activities such as surfing or samba lessons.

Luxury

Exciting things await you with a luxury budget of R$680 (AUD $197) or more per day! With this amount, you can book yourself into a nice hotel, and your dining options are endless. You can head out to all the best restaurants, enjoy cocktails and other drinks without worrying about breaking the bank, take taxis all over town, fly between cities with ease and have enough left over to experience all the amazing tours and activities that Brazil has on offer. Go wild – when it comes to luxury budgets, there’s nowhere to stop but up!

Currency details

Currency:

Brazilian real

Currency code:

BRL

Currency symbol:

R$

Central bank:

Banco Central do Brasil

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Centavo = 1/100

Bank notes:

R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50, R$100, R$200

Coins:

5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, R$1

Must-do's while you are in Brazil

bra 1

1. Swim in Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches 

No trip to Brazil would be complete without taking a dip in the iconic waters at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. These two beaches are amongst the most famous in the world and offer visitors an idyllic setting for a day of sunbathing, swimming, or just relaxing on the white sand shores. Plus, they’re both located close to Rio de Janeiro’s city centre, so you can easily fit them into your itinerary. 

bra 2

Visit Christ the Redeemer Statue

The Christ the Redeemer statue is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most iconic attractions. Located atop Corcovado mountain, this 98-foot tall statue of Jesus Christ offers up spectacular views of the city below. Visitors often take pictures with their arms outstretched as if they’re embracing Christ himself – it’s a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

bra 3

3. Sample Traditional Brazilian Cuisine 

Brazilian cuisine is full of rich flavours and interesting ingredients that will tantalise your taste buds. The country is known for its delicious seafood dishes such as moqueca (Brazilian fish stew) and bolinhos de bacalhau (codfish cakes). There are also plenty of vegetarian options like feijoada (black bean stew), pao de queijo (cheese bread), and coxinha (deep-fried chicken croquettes). No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed.      

bra 4

4. Enjoy a Caipirinha on a Picturesque Patio 

Nothing quite beats sipping on a refreshing caipirinha while taking in breathtaking views from an outdoor patio. This popular Brazilian cocktail consists of cachaça (sugarcane liquor), lime juice, sugar, and ice cubes – all blended together for a tart yet sweet flavour that goes down easy on hot days. If you want to truly enjoy your time in Brazil, then taking part in this classic pastime is a must! 

bra 5

5. Explore Rio de Janeiro's Vibrant Nightlife 

There’s no shortage of things to do when it comes to experiencing Rio de Janeiro’s vibrant nightlife scene. Take advantage of live music performances at Lapa Arches or dance until the sun rises at one of many clubs along Copacabana Beach. Whether you’re looking for an intimate bar experience or an all-night party vibe—Rio has something for everyone! 

Other helpful guides & resources on travel in Brazil

Let's discuss your currency needs

Fill out the form or call us to arrange your complimentary consultation.

© 2024 Crown Currency Exchange.  
All Rights Reserved.

Translate this site