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What Are Some Useful Words and Phrases When Traveling In Brazil?

March 15, 2019 Global Basecamps

Category Latin America

 The largest country in South America, Brazil is an amazing place to visit! Adventuring in Brazil can mean nights in tents and traditional hammocks while exploring bizarre and beautiful desert landscapes full of sparkling lagoons, luxury hotels in legendary cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and thoughfully appointed ecolodges while out exploring the country’s endless natural areas.

Whatever your dream trip includes, the highlight of any country is always its people. You’ll relish the opportunity to interact with the local Brazilians of many cultures, whether over a delicious meal, on a tour by canoe or horseback, or strolling through a charming colonial town. Brazil was colonized by the Portuguese in earnest in the 16th century, and by the 18th century the language was accepted as a national standard. While Global Basecamps guides on Brazil tours will have excellent English, learning some of the local language is both fun and an excellent way to show appreciation for Brazilian culture!



Like French, Italian, and Spanish (a language which some of us might be more familiar with - some words and phrases in Brazilian Portuguese overlap), Portuguese is a Latin-based language. It is an official language in ten countries, of which Brazil is the largest, with over 200 million speakers. Brazilian is simpler than English in terms of structure, but pronunciation can present bit more of a challenge.


Brazilian national culture tends to be warm towards visitors, including English-speakers. Being relatively informal, interactions can be a bit less pressured than in some other international settings. Learning some useful and polite terms and phrases can add greatly to your travel experience and build inroads to meaningful new friendships.


Phrases For The Traveler

Focusing on some basic phrases can be the best bet for the traveler, including greetings and other basics.

Hello: oi or hola
Good morning / afternoon / evening or night: bom dia / boa tarde / boa noite
Sir/madam: senhor / senhora
Please: por favor
Thank you (female/male): obrigada / obrigado
Excuse me (as in a mild, “I’m sorry”): me desculpa
Where is the restroom?: onde é o banheiro?
How much does it cost? (while out shopping): quanto custa?
Do you speak English?: você fala inglês?

If you’re a Spanish speaker, you’ll continue to see that some words and phrases in Brazilian Portuguese overlap. Brazilians will likely understand you if you speak Spanish, but there isn’t quite enough overlap for you use Spanish to try to interpret their Portuguese.

Start Planning Carrying a small pocket phrasebook or using apps (some for Android users are here) as you and your guides make the most of communication opportunities is phenomenally enriching experience. Taking some pre-trip classes is an option, too! Once you arrive, sharing your best efforts goes a long way in making cherished connections on Brazil tours, as it does everywhere. Brazil’s welcoming, festive and multicultural environment has great memories waiting to be made, so let’s start planning your aventura Brasileira with us today!

Tags: Latin America