Street Vendors in Rio de Janeiro

Hi, everyone and welcome back to A Dica do Dia! Today, we will talk about a very famous and honorable profession: the street vendors. Do you know how to say street vendor in Portuguese? This topic is very important because if you ever come to Rio de Janeiro, you will see these people everywhere, selling the most different kinds of things! They are very famous in the beaches, where they sell food, sunglasses, and even some handmade accessories. So, let’s take a look!

The Meaning for Street Vendor in Portuguese

There are many different words for street vendors in our language. We call the street vendors camelô or ambulante. The word ambulante has a more formal meaning in Portuguese, while camelô is more informal. This is a person that sells things at the streets of the city. You can find them anywhere, anytime, during the day or during the night. There are many kinds of camelô around the city. The simple ones and the ones that are more sophisticated and have many of items. You can buy pretty much anything with them.

The Street Vendor Impact

Many imagine that street vendors are informal workers, who do not follow labor laws. But did you know that this is a myth? Since 1992, the city of Rio de Janeiro has had a law that formalizes and registers people who work on the street. Street vendors are considered self-employed, and have some government guarantees, such as retirement. Many of them today have formalized themselves as MEI, a variation of microentrepreneur. If you want to read more about MEI and the different types of employment relationships, we have a special Dica just for that.

The city of Rio de Janeiro has more than nine thousand duly registered street vendors. Of these, 49% declare having an assistant to perform their sales functions. When registered, street vendors must define a geographic region for their work. The region that has the most registered street vendors is downtown (mostly due to the Popular Market that developed there, and which you can visit through RioLIVE!). Soon after, come the street vendors registered for the region of the beaches of Rio, which reach more than a thousand people!

It is obvious that there are many unregistered street vendors in the city, but these data already show us how important this activity is not only for the economy of our city, but also for the survival of many families!

What Can We Buy?

Let’s list examples of things you can find when looking for a street vendor in Rio de janeiro:

  • clothing in general, like t-shirts;
  • accessories in general, like sunglasses;
  • canga, if you’re going to the beach;
  • headphones, earphones or items to your cellphone;
  • souvenirs to your family and friends;
  • bed wear, sheets and towels.
  • food: the beach food and the street food in Rio de Janeiro is simply amazing!
  • and even weird things like: chicks (yes, the live animal), analog antennas for television (who still uses that?) and snowsuits (in Rio???) ?

Vocabulary Related to Street Vendor in Portuguese

ambulante/camelô street vendor
autônomo self-employed
aposentadoria retirement
assistente assistant
leis trabalhistas labor laws
microempreendedor microentrepreneur
mito myth
região region
registrado registered
não registrado unregistered
simples simple
sofisticado sophisticated

Let’s Experience the Street Vendor Culture!

What about we have an online experience with street vendors in Rio? The video below shows, not only the vocabulary we learned, but how it works in real life! Let’s experience it!

That’s it, guys! So, if you’re coming to Rio de Janeiro, you won’t be wondering what is a camelô in Portuguese anymore! Remember, ambulantes are all around the city, so you just have to look around and you will find them. There are a bunch very near Rio & Learn in Copacabana! By the way, one of them has a message for you:

Here it’s all happiness, the Marvelous City. It’s the best city in the world!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel or join us on LinkedIn to find more Dicas of Portuguese for foreigners.
Hugs and kisses to everyone!

botão-pt          botão-es
Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Brazilian Street Food
Brazilian Beach Food
What is a Canga?

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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