GRINGOS IN RIO
Stop the nonsense.
I thought the point of traveling to Brazil was to meet and hang out with Brazilians?!
Yet, I see men only hanging around other tourists every time I’m in Copacabana.
Brazil isn’t as expensive as it used to be, but it still costs enough not to waste your trip hanging out with other foreign men.
I see it a lot. It’s cool to go with your friends, but sometimes they can hold you back from getting the true experience.
You can hang out with other dudes in your hometown.
To the guys who want to experience the real Brazil, check out 7 ways to stand out from the other gringos in Rio.
Trust me, you will want to thank me later.
As soon as you get even the idea to visit Brazil, your next move should be learning Portuguese.
Because so many gringos in Rio don’t know how to say anything in Brazil’s language.
How do you feel when you bump into someone in the states who can’t speak English? You get annoyed fast right? Well, how do you think Brazilians feel when you come to their country and don’t even know how to order a pizza?
And a lot of guys have lame excuses.
“Portuguese is so hard” (it’s a bit harder than Spanish, but it’s not that difficult if you put in the work)
“I didn’t have time to learn anything” (even though you have planned to visit Brazil for a year)
“I thought more people spoke English down there” (no you didn’t, you knew they spoke Portuguese, you were just lazy)
Surprise Brazilians and learn some basic Portuguese.
The ladies will adore you for it and won’t mind your bad pronunciation. At least learn how to read and write. You can survive in Brazil if you at least know how to write what you want to say.
Related Article: Semantica Portuguese: The #1 Online Brazilian Portuguese Course
2. AVOID GRINGO CLUBS
I couldn’t even tell you where the gringo clubs are in Rio and I have spent a lot of time in the city. I just don’t go to them.
I don’t see the purpose of going to them when you know most of the women there are prostitutes and money hungry chicks.
You DO know that and that’s why you go there.
To the guys who aren’t looking for prostitutes and gringo chasers with ulterior motives, just avoid these types of places completely.
Rio de Janeiro is full of bars and clubs, you should get out of Copacabana and check out the local spots.
3. LEAVE COPACABANA
This can be difficult and I understand if this is your first trip to Rio. A lot of guys want to stay on the beach, I mean that is the main draw right.
But, if you are on your second or third trip, I’d recommend leaving the common tourist traps of Copacabana and Ipanema and venture into other areas of the city.
I love Flamengo.
It’s pretty close to everything and it’s right between Zona Sul and downtown Rio. You might see a few gringos in Rio staying in Flamengo, but mostly you will be around middle-class Brazilians.
I’ve already written about my love for Flamengo Beach in this post. It’s a great beach, definitely worth checking out.
I’d also recommend staying in a favela. There are plenty of safe favelas close to the beach. It’s definitely a great experience and shows you a different side of Rio you won’t get staying in a plush hotel in Leblon.
And I don’t know about you, but I like to spend my money with people who actually need it. The cheap food and accommodation doesn’t hurt either.
If you really want to see more of Rio, I have heard great things about the city right next to it, Niteroi. I have a few friends who live there and the beaches look fantastic. You would probably be one of a few gringos there.
You would stand out in a good way.
4. LEARN BRAZILIAN MANNERISMS
I love psychology and I study how to influence people. Actually, there is a great book about it I highly recommend called Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini.
A great way to get people to like you is to imitate their body movements. But in a subtle way of course. You can use this to stand out in Rio.
I’ve written about the thumbs up mannerism everyone does. It’s a great way to fit in. I use certain Portuguese words most gringos in Rio don’t use like “Opa”, “Eba”, “Valeu” and the various ways of saying “dude”.
It might seem meaningless, but using slang is a great way to stand out from the rest and gain friends.
5. VISIT AN ENGLISH SCHOOL
I know you probably won’t do this, but I will put it in here anyway.
No, you won’t be offering your services to teach a class. You are just showing up to show your face and meet some Brazilians who want to….
LEARN ENGLISH of course.
This is a great way to find some friends (including lady friends) for your trip with ease.
How many gringos would do this?
Not many in my experience. It seems like a no-brainer to make friends to me though.
6. NO GROUPS OF +3 GRINGOS
It’s very easy to spot a group of gringos in Rio.
One day in Rocinha, I was walking with my friend and I saw a group of black men walking in front of us. There were about 4-5 of them and they were wearing their fraternity colors.
I won’t say which frat, but I thought it was a little funny how these grown men (had to be in their 30s/40s) were still representing their fraternity so hard.
Anyways, they were obvious gringos and I talked to them for a minute even though I think they thought I was a Brazilian. They were pretty nervous and suspicious of everything around them.
I would be too if I was in a large group of obvious gringos walking through a slum.
It looks very amateurish when you walk with a pack of gringos in Rio. It’s almost as if there is a target on you and everyone is watching.
Why would you want that?
7. TALK WITH REAL BRAZILIANS
But wait Shad, what is a real Brazilian?
Aren’t all Brazilians in Brazil real?
By real Brazilians, I mean the people you wouldn’t expect to interact with. You expect to order food, talk to the hotel front desk employees, the bartender, etc.
But there are a lot of gringos in Rio who avoid the everyday Brazilians. The people you see walking from the grocery store. The old woman on the public bus. The old man enjoying a beer outside of a boteco.
These are the best people to speak to. While living in São Paulo, I used to always go to a boteco close to my home and try to converse with people. Even if my Portuguese was terrible, I would try my best.
I became a regular and found out the owners of the boteco were originally from Bahia. The female owner taught me how to dance to their music, Axé. I met two little black Brazilian girls who were ecstatic to meet a black man who “speaks English”. Sadly, I even met a cool guy from Bahia who moved back and was killed shortly after.
Experiences like that, you won’t get avoiding real Brazilians.
Even if you don’t understand half of what they are saying, the experience is still priceless.
And you are definitely standing out from the other gringos.