Real is the currency used in Brazil
The currency in Brazil is called the Real (BRL). This money began to be used in Rio in 1994 and was a great move as it has led to very low inflation.
Exchanging Money in Rio
There are several different exchange rates in Rio but three are of concern to the visitor. The official rate oversees any business deals. The tourist rate is used for tourists making purchases in the country using credit cards. Finally, the parallel rate is the rate used to convert your cash into Reals anywhere in Rio except the banks.
Using Money in Rio
The United States dollar is quite easy to exchange in Rio de Janeiro. Travelers are advised to either bring American dollars or dollar travelers checks. Keep in mind; however, you might have difficulty finding businesses that will accept traveler’s checks. Of course, all major credit cards are also accepted.
How to Exchange Money
Do not exchange money prior to arriving in Rio, as the exchange rate will probably be excessively high. Customs allows visitors to bring up to $10,000 into the country without having to declare it. This is the best way to exchange your dollars into Reals. Wait until you get to Rio as the exchange rates will probably be more favorable.
Other Options for Getting Cash
If you do not wish to carry a lot of cash then consider a cash card. These can be used at Citibank, Banco do Brazil and HSBC ATM kiosks. Usually, you can get up to $1,000 Reals at HSBC banks and $2,000 to $3,000 Reals from the other banks. These cashpoints do run out of money fairly quickly during holidays such as the Carnival so plan ahead. Most of these cash machines close at 10 pm.
Getting cash in Brazil is fairly easy. There are several banks and ATMS throughout the city that can be accessed.