Real/Reais (BRL; symbol R$) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of R$100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of R$1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 centavos.
Most major international credit cards are accepted (Visa more so than other cards), though not universally; it is easier to pay by card in hotels, shops and restaurants located within the major cities.
There is an extensive network of ATMs around the country. Occasionally, getting cash from ATMs can be problematic with machines producing a sem comunicação error, which means they won’t give out any cash. Some may find they have still been debited for the sum. Check your bank statement and get in touch with the ATM operator and your bank back home if you are having trouble withdrawing money.
Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly difficult to cash and visitors will find that they often lose money when doing so. Withdrawing cash directly from ATMs is preferable. Banks will not cash traveller's cheques into foreign currency, (including US Dollars) but some hotels will accept payment in traveller's cheques.
There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign and local currency up to amounts equalling R$10,000. Amounts higher than R$10,000 must be declared.
All banks, casas de cambio, travel agencies and authorised hotels exchange recognised traveller's cheques and foreign currency. The US Dollar is the most widely accepted foreign currency.
If you wish to change back any left over reais, it is advised that you keep the initial receipt issued at the time of their purchase.
Brazil duty free
The following goods may be imported into Brazil by travellers over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 12L of alcohol.
• 200 cigarettes and 25 cigars and 250g of tobacco.
• 20 items (such as small gifts) worth up to US$10 each (or US$5 if arriving via land).
• 20 items items worth more than $10 each (no more than three of the same item).
The total value of the above items should not exceed US$500 if arriving via air or sea or US$300 if arriving via land, river or lake. In addition to the US$500 limit, travellers can buy goods up to US$500 in value at the duty-free shop on arrival in Brazil. The following limits apply:
• 24 units of alcohol, limited to 12 units per type of drink.
• 20 packs of cigarettes made outside Brazil and 25 cigars and 250g of tobacco.
• 10 toiletry items including cosmetics.
• 3 of the following: watches, toys, games or electronic items.
Prohibited imports include toy, replica and imitation firearms, illegal drugs, cigarettes and drinks manufactured in Brazil intended for sale abroad, unlicensed wildlife species, and counterfeit and pirated goods.
Restricted items which you must declare and have prior authorisation for include firearms and ammunition, drugs (other than prescribed drugs for personal use), animals, animal products, plants and seeds.