Brazil is one of the most vibrant and popular travel destinations in the world. Its stunning beaches, rainforests, and megacities offer something to please everyone! Sand lovers flock to Rio de Janeiro‘s iconic Ipanema Beach, while the megacity of São Paulo is a haven for foodies and culture lovers. Meanwhile, for people looking to escape the modern world, the Amazon rainforest is like stepping back in time. No wonder it is one of the most-visited places on the globe, drawing over 6.5 million tourists each year! With so much variety, you can expect some pretty interesting gifts to bring back from Brazil to boot…
Yep, Brazil is a country of many faces. The 5th-largest nation in the world, it covers a massive area of over 8.5 million square kilometers. So, it’s unsurprising that local culture varies widely across its regions. Crafts made by indigenous people are great gifts to buy if you are visiting the Amazon Rainforest, for example. In contrast, coastal cities like Rio de Janeiro offer fancy swimwear and stylish clothes. On top of that, Brazil’s fertile soil gives it high-quality coffee and tobacco. With so many souvenirs to take back home, it can be hard to know where to begin! Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you…
Yep, we’ve sifted through all the eco farm shops in the backcountry and the icon shops in Brazil’s tourist areas. We’ve delved into the emporiums with their identical statutes of Christ the Redeemer and novelty Brazilian flay keychains. The aim? To help you find the perfect gifts to bring back from Brazil this year…
One of Brazil’s most popular craft gifts is a handmade hammock. Although they are often associated with the arrival of Portuguese colonists in the 16th century, they were actually part of Brazilian culture long before that. They have been used for sleeping and relaxing for centuries. They are still favored for chill sessions in the north-eastern parts of Brazil in particular. In the rest of Brazil, they are often used more for decoration. What’s more, travelers seem to have a serious soft spot for hammocks. But hey, who doesn’t want a portable bed in the backpack?
Hammocks come in hundreds of patterns and colors! With so many designs, you can find something for everybody. Be careful to buy a functional hammock if it is going to be used for sitting or sleeping. They are woven differently from decorative hammocks so they can support your weight safely. If you accidentally buy a decorative one, your friend or family may have a bump they weren’t expecting! We especially love how easy hammocks are to pack for long journeys home. Most will set you back $10-18. Larger double hammocks (known as casal) will cost around $26.
Cachaça is the perfect gift for budding at-home bartenders. Only made in Brazil, cachaça is the product of fermented sugar cane. It is most famous as the main ingredient in the tropical (and deliciously sweet) cocktail caipirinha. Although cachaça is good fun, it is an important part of Brazil’s history to boot. Production of this drink dates all the way back to 1532. It was even banned by the Brazilian government at one point.
Also called pinga, it is the most popular spirit in Brazil, and an estimated 396,000,000 US gallons are drunk by Brazilians each year. Until 2013, the US often mislabeled cachaça was as ‘Brazilian rum.’ Although it is a similar spirit, cachaça is very much a drink that should be celebrated in its own right.
If you are have decided to buy someone a bottle of cachaça, you won’t struggle to find a good one in Brazil. Brazil only exports 1% of this spirit, keeping the best for itself! There are now people producing cachaça all across Brazil.
With 40,000 different cachaças on offer, you can find the perfect bottle to take home as a fantastic gift. One of the most popular and cheaper brands of cachaça is Picu, great for budget gift buying! Options can vary wildly in taste, from smooth to very bitter, so it’s worth trying one before buy it as a gift.
Brazilian Crafts and Musical Instruments
Local items made by Amazonian tribes and indigenous craftspeople can be unique Brazilian souvenirs. The inhabitants of the rainforest make a wide range of items, such as bows and arrows, baskets, headdresses, and ornate beads. Although they are not usually actual artifacts, they promise to be intriguing gifts that ooze heritage and history.
Brazil is famous for its music, and musical instruments are great items to buy in Brazil for friends. The obession with samba music means there are lots of percussion instruments to buy here. They are not only great for anyone who loves music. Instruments are often also intricately decorated and brightly colored, which makes them perfect decorations when hung on walls or placed on shelves. Popular instruments to take home are the banjo, the mandolin, as well as more traditional instruments such as the ‘laughing gourd.’
The best place to pick up local crafts is in the villages of the Amazon. However, they are usually also available in cities. Look for the artisan fairs that are held on the weekends. Or, head to one of the many craft shops that can be found in most tourist areas. Government-run shops are also perfect places to hunt for local gifts. These establishments also ensure a fair rate is given to the craftspeople.
You will see cangas everywhere in Brazil and they make perfect gifts to take home. The canga is difficult to describe. They are somewhere between a sarong and a towel! The fact that they are hard to define is part of their joy, though. A trip to any Brazilian beach will quickly convert you to the importance of the canga. Brazilians don’t bother carrying a heavy beach towel around. Instead, they take these lightweight and multi-use throws. The beauty of the canga is it can be used for many things. They are at once a towel, pillow, cover-up, and even used to change behind on the beach.
If you find yourself on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, you will find rows and rows of shops selling cangas in every color and pattern under the sun. Salesmen even wander the beach selling them. You should find it’s a super-easy gift to get your hands on. Small and easy to travel with, they make fantastic Brazilian souvenirs. You can even find ones with the Brazilian flag on them.
Swimwear is big business in Brazil. It’s also a cracking gift option. In places like Rio, going to the beach is an occasion to dress up, especially when that beach is the world-famous Ipanema or Copacabana! Brazilians take pride in their beach outfits, and it can often feel more like a fashion show than a day relaxing on the sand. Hundreds of Brazilian swimwear companies make stylish items in an array of colors and shapes. One of the most famous designs is the iconic and flattering Brazilian bikini which is available almost everywhere.
Seeking out the most fashionable swimwear shops is easy. If you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro, you will see rows of outlets by the beach, all jostling for custom. There are choices for a whole range of budgets, so you can spend as much or little as you want. They even make swimwear sporting the Brazilian flag, which should match perfectly with that canga (see above).
Brazil is one of the world’s leading producers of dry-cured cigars. The soil in the country is extremely fertile, making it perfect for growing high-quality tobacco leaves. The crop is dried slowly, too, giving a slightly spiced taste. In fact, Brazil has always been one of the world’s top-rated tobacco producers, although Brazilian cigars have been growing in popularity and quality in recent years especially.
The Bahia region is teh most famous for cigars in Brazil. However, you will also find lots of places selling cigars across the country. The most popular brands are Menendez and Amerino. If you really want a gift that impresses, look for the Gran Corona cigar made by Josefina tobacco. This is the largest Brazilian cigar – it tops nine inches!
You will see colored gemstones and gemstone crafts for sale everywhere. The reason? Brazil is the world’s leading producer of colored gemstones, producing 65% of the global supply. Several different gemstones can be found in Brazil, with the most famous being emerals, topaz, quartz, and amethyst. Some are made into traditional jewelry, which is some of the finest in the world. Others are set into ornaments. The best area for gemstones is Minas Gerais, although you can find them in most craft markets and gift shops across Brazil.
If jewelry isn’t your thing, there is a strong tradition of crafts that use gemstones in other ways. They are often made into small handmade ornaments and figurines. One of the most popular designs is a tree. The leaves are made from green stones. Hundreds of designs exist, so you can have fun picking the most suitable. These can be made with both real gemstones and colored glass, so you can spend as much or as little as you want.
The South American drink yerba mate is gaining in popularity all around the world. Yerba mate is a herb used to make a drink called chimarrão, or mate in other South American countries. By infusing the herbs in hot water, the result is something similar to green tea. Sugar can be added to give it a sweeter taste. Drinking chimarrão is a cultural custom in Brazil and enjoyed by people of all ages.
Yerba mate is sold everywhere in South America and is easy to buy in Brazil especially. It can even be found in most supermarkets. You’ll see it as loose tea or in the more convenient form of teabags. Yerba mate is sold primarily as a health drink in the US and Europe, usually in dedicated health food stores. It is full of antioxidants and has been linked to weight loss and reducing heart disease. Recently, it has also been used in iced coffees and energy drinks.
Brazilian coffee is world-renowned. It’s also an easy gift to buy in Brazil. The country is actually the world’s largest exporter of coffee. In fact, a massive 60% of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil! If you a looking for a high-quality espresso, the best blends are Bourbon Santo and Brazil Cerrado. Coffee from Brazil is rich and dark, while not being too bitter.
The aromatic beans are available in virtually every city, making it an easy souvenir to get in Brazil. Affordable Brazilian brands are found in most supermarkets. If you want a coffee that is of a higher quality, the best is grown in Minas Gerais. This is the biggest coffee-producing region in Brazil, fame for crop that has a full-bodied and has a fruity aroma.
Brands to look out for are Café Dom Dia, which are the largest sustainable producers of coffee in Brazil. Santa Clara is a superb eco-friendly brand and all its products are 100% certified organic.
What Gifts To Bring Back From Brazil For Family?
Local snacks make for affordable gifts to take back from Brazil for all the family to enjoy. Brazil is a country that has a sweet tooth and there are so many desserts and sweets to try! Nestle’s Caixa de Bombom is a selection box of Brazilian candies. This can be fun for the whole family, as everyone can taste and compare the different types and flavors! Passatempo are perfect for children. They are small, buttery vanilla biscuits with a chocolate filling sandwiched inbetween. The biscuits are decorated with images of monkeys doing funny poses, making them a hit with the younger ones!
If you are buying for a family of chocoholics, try to find Bis. These wafers are coated in white, milk, or dark chocolate and are a firm favorite among Brazilians. For a more traditional sweet gift, biscoito caseiro are handmade biscuits made with butter, milk, and condensed milk. They come in a variety of shapes and often have additional flavors like strawberry.
What Gifts to Bring Back from Brazil for Partners?
Soccer shirts make great gifts to bring back from Brazil for your partner. Brazil is soccer-mad and their iconic shirt of yellow and green, known as canarinho (canary), makes a great gift for any partner who loves sport! Alternatively, you can get bespoke jewelery or a snazzy bikini.
What Gifts to Bring Back from Brazil for Friends?
Footwear is a fantastic gift to bring back from Brazil for friends. Brazil is one of the world’s biggest makers of shoes and sandals, so there should be something in the markets for any shape and style. One of the most famous names is Havaianas, an uber-cool flipflop brand that is sold here for just a fraction of the price as in the US.
Happy Gift Buying!
After experiencing the beauty of Brazil, whether with the sunset at Christ the Redeemer or jungle treks in the Amazon, you will probably start thinking of what souvenirs to bring home. With our list of the best gifts to bring back from brazil, you really can find something for everyone!