Etiquette in Latin America
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Etiquette in Latin America varies by country and by region within a given country.
There are several definitions of Latin America, but all of them define a huge expansive of geography with an incalculable amount of different customs. However, some generalizations can be made:
- As every definition of Latin America connotes a shared cultural and linguistic legacy with roots in Spain and Portugal, and to a lesser extent France, many points of etiquette in Europe are applicable, especially those specific to those nations.
- Some countries in South America, primarily Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and the south of Brazil have more European cultural traits and influences.
- Compared to much of the English-speaking world, people from areas of Latin America may demonstrate more relaxed and casual behavior and be more comfortable with loud talk, exaggerated gestures and physical contact.
- In addition, many Latin American people have a smaller sense of personal space than people from English-speaking cultures. It may be rude to step away from someone when they are stepping closer.
- In addition to varying greatly from one individual to another and along various demographic lines, this tendency towards comparatively warm and relaxed behavior does not necessarily hold true among many communities of indigenous peoples, including those who have adopted Spanish or Portuguese as their primary language.
- At some finer restaurants, it may be considered rude for the staff to bring a customer the check without the customer first requesting it.
- Getting the last snack or canape left in a plate without offering it around first makes the person seem rude/greedy.
- It is considered impolite to "toss" objects to people instead of directly handing it to them.
- At the workplace, indiscretions, errors or overall poor performance should be pointed out in private. Mentioning them in front of other colleagues (such as in a meeting) is perceived as hostile.
- The American "come here" gesture of palm upwards with the fingers curled back can be considered a romantic solicitation.
- Throughout Latin America, there are communities of people with strong ethnic and cultural ties to other parts of the world. One example is the 1.5 million strong Japanese Brazilian community for whom certain points of etiquette in Asia may be applicable. Some of these same points of etiquette would apply in Chinatowns in Latin America. Argentina has large communities of German Argentines, Irish Argentines, and so on.
- In many instances, points of etiquette applicable to Latin America will also hold true with Latino people in the United States.
- Phrases like "in America" or "I'm from America" (especially when speaking Spanish) when referring to the United States is offensive to Latin American people as America is a continent, not just the United States. Therefore, all people born in the American continent are Americans. People from the United States of America are referred to by their nationality, "estadounidense" or "Norte americano" (lit. "United-Statian" or "North-American"). (But of course "North-American" is problematic for exactly the same reason just mentioned. Canada and Mexico are also part of the North American continent.)
- Many elements of U.S. American culture left an imprint on life in Latin America, but it is ill advised to bring up topics or discuss subjects about the impact of U.S. Foreign policy. Many Latin Americans may be indifferent, thick-skinned and even unresponsive. U.S. policies is a delicate subject in Latin American, speccially among elders in South America.
- Avoid talk of racial issues: Latin Americans have a history of the merger of the European and indigenous races into the mestizo, while other nations like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela have large percentages of African and mixed race African/Caucasian ancestors. In Costa Rica and Chile, many of the inhabitants rather identify themselves as "white" or castizo, a variant of the colonial casta system no longer in official practice, but each Latin American country has a unique different identity of their own. A few like Guatemala and Paraguay have a larger racial Amerindian minority and most inhabitants speak an indigenous language.
- Religion is not to be taken lightly; many Latin Americans are devoted to their faith, especially the Roman Catholic Church from its Spanish and Portuguese colonial past, which is a major force in life in the majority of countries' polity and social life. Festivals and holidays dedicated to patron saints and holy figures of Catholic Christianity are celebrated. A few nations: Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay are comparably more secular, where nominal church membership but irregular attendance is a common trait and even a stronger sense of the separation of church and state (same goes with post-revolutionary Mexico), though all of Latin America governments guarantee the right of or had granted the freedom of religion.
Specific regions 
The following points of etiquette apply most specifically to a certain region:
- Sunday is commonly the day Argentines gather in family for lunch or dinner.
There are important differences in social interactions and customs between the Andean area and the lowlands. The following apply mostly in the Andean area.
- When hosting you need to serve any kind of food to your guest and insist that they eat. Putting a plate of finger food in the middle for people to help themselves creates an awkward situation for most Bolivians.
- Bolivians acting as host will often belittle and apologize for the food they are serving. This is just politeness.
- When you finish eating in company, even strangers, you must say "Buen provecho" or "Que aproveche". This is answered with "gracias" which is not followed by "de nada".
- In the countryside guests will be served a plate and left alone to eat. This is courtesy and goes on until you've been accepted as a close friend of the family.
- Andean people are not very tactile. Cheek-kissing with women is a sign of closeness. In the city any public display of affection between a couple, starting from holding hands, even if married, is at least awkward. Among young whippersnappers, friends of the same sex may hold hands and even hold each other by the shoulder, in public. Handshakes are softer and as a show of appreciation may hold a little longer, only between friends of the same sex.
- Politics, socioeconomics and racial groups are sensitive topics one should not get into in discussion.
- Brazilians speak Portuguese (and usually don´t refer to it like "Brazilian Portuguese", even though some expressions and spelling can be very different of European Portuguese), not Spanish. Addressing someone who speaks Portuguese in Spanish, although most Brazilians understand Spanish to a reasonable degree, may be considered very offensive.
- In Brazil, a form of the American "okay" gesture is obscene when directed at someone, implying something like "go f... yourself!". However, the standard "okay" gesture is also used, as is the "thumbs up" gesture.
- Beachwear are appropriate only in those environments or swimming pools.
- Brazil is mostly catholic and protestant ("evangélicos" is the common term for protestant people on the country, usually referring to pentecostal churches), being 64,6% Catholics and 22,3% of protestants(2010). Often subjects related with theses religions, marriage, homosexuality and family can be polemic subjects.
- Though not mandatory, most restaurants include a 10% tip on the bill. Don´t give tips can be considered rude and stingy. Between 2 to 25 Reais is enough is most of the cases, according to your bill. If you come back to the same restaurant, it is usual to ask to be attended by the same waiter, which will offer a personalized service and always expect good tips.
- Flip-flops are common, specially on summer and hot regions. But many places can have advertisement that you can´t come in on these places wearing flip-flops, like bars and formal meeting, even if it is 41 °C.
- The same rule applies to men without a shirt: it is common they be just in shorts and flip-flops on warm days, at home and beach, but many places like bars, shoppings and even supermarkets don´t accept men coming in without shirts. It iss considered impolite.
- Be careful with jokes about colors. Racism happens in Brazil, but it is considered exponentially offensive when some foreigner comments about it, even if you don´t have the intention to offend. Jokes about afro-descendants made by foreigners are never tolerated. By the way, racism is a crime according to the Brazilian Constitution.
- The number 24 is strongly associated with homosexuality in Brazil. Giving someone anything with that number (i.e. a jersey) might be badly understood, but playful among close friends.
- The gesture of "flipping someone off" by hitting the wrist against the inside of the elbow (sometimes called "a banana" in Brazil) is considered playful and not very offensive (in some other parts of the world, this is more akin to "the finger").
- Giving someone of the opposite gender a gift may be easily misinterpreted as a romantic overture, except in birthdays.
- It is considered polite to say thanks after common actions such as someone opening a door, offering or giving something to drink or eat, or when plates are taken from the table, and after most routine actions whenever they are not expected.
- Men shake hands on meeting and departing. They may share a hug if they are close friends. The cheek-kiss usually occurs between men and women or among women (that is, not between men, except sometimes between a young boy and his father). The number of times people should kiss, alternating cheeks, varies according to the region, being three, two times or just once. Observe and follow according the region, but the most common is one or two kisses on the face. On formal meetings, to both men and women, a firm shake of hands is the rule.
- Personal questions may be asked at an earlier time than what North Americans and Europeans are accustomed to. Nevertheless, questions about finances and personal gains are often considered rude.
- Brazilians are very curious about foreign cultures and often search for connections. Since they are a very mixed nation, with many nationalities on the background (often they descend of three or more nationalities or races), xenophobia is quite uncommon. They want to make you feel comfortable and be sure to have a good stay there, in their way of "you're part of this".
- The concept of personal space is much less stringent than in (say) the United States. Brazilians may stand much closer to each other than Americans normally tolerate. For instance, people greeting each other on a public stairway may almost entirely block the passage of other people, expecting them to simply force their way through or squeeze around. Likewise, in crowds, physically bumping into other people is not only not seen as an offense (as it is in the U.S.A) but is also somewhat expected.
- When offering something, especially food, Brazilians will often repeat the offer several times and with increasing enthusiasm. Offering something only once can be rude. It is not impolite to refuse such offers, and in some cases they may be made just to be polite without really hoping a person will accept.
- In some parts of the country, most notably in rural or suburban areas in which homes may not have doorbells, the appropriate action is to stand in the yard and clap one's hands. If no one comes to the door, then the visitor may approach the door, knock, and then step back away from the door and await a response. This is especially applicable in regards to small, thin-walled cottages that offer less privacy than homes in North America.
- People in Brazil are very receptive and not formal. Calling a young woman "senhora" may be considered offensive as it usually refers to elderly women. The word "senhorita" (lit. little miss) is not used and is seen as an archaism.
- Punctuality is not taken too seriously in Brazil. Showing up exactly on schedule for a party is very uncommon. A half an hour delay is considered acceptable. But in formal meetings punctuality is taken seriously, specially on the South and Southeast regions. Delay at work is not well tolerated in most of the regions.
- Differently from other cultures, it is sometimes considered rude in Brazil not to open the gift in front of the person who gave it.
- It is considered often very rude and snobbish to do not answer when someone say "Bom Dia", "Boa Tarde", "Boa Noite" (Good Morning, Good Afternoon and Good Night) or even "Oi"/"Olá" (Hi), especially if you are in an elevator or commercial region. People tend to take this personally in most of the regions and if you meet then again they probably won't be friendly as Brazilians tend to be. In any case, you can just give a short smile back and nod your head, that have the same meaning than an answer back. In these cases, sometimes they figure it out you are foreigner and probably will just smile back friendly. If they speak some English, they can feel curious and try to talk with you in some regions.
- Brazilians often feel surprised when hear first about Rio de Janeiro, and Brazilians from others regions are often offended if it is the only thing you know about them. So, if you don´t know much about Brazil, don´t try to speak about Rio de Janeiro first (specially in São Paulo whose people have a kind of animosity against Rio de Janeiro), just ask anything you want to know. Brazilians feel proud to tell the history and show the places to foreigners, specially when they ask. It is a honor for them, so, take it if they offer.
- Be careful when talking about violence in Brazil. Brazilians are easily offended to hear about it from a foreigner, and they will always disagree. Of course the slums are often dangerous, but they usually are on suburbs and borders of cities, not everywhere. And as in New York, you have very well divided regions that can be violent or safe in all big cities of Brazil. If you want to be sure if you are in a dangerous region or not, the best option is a local friend, that can identify and drive you safely (specially on Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Salvador).
- In few regions it is quite common you can be invited to sleep on the house of your Brazilian friend. This is considered you will be "part of the family", meaning that they really like you and will offer the best to you. It means you stay there like in your own home, they will want to cook to you, go the restaurants, parks and drive you everywhere. Sometimes it can be rude do not accept, it depends on the enthusiasm and how deep is the friendship. If you don´t feel comfortable about it, just say you already booked a hotel, but thanks for the invitation, you don´t want bother. In some cases they offer the guest room to you. If you don´t feel comfortable, again, just say you don´t want to bother them.
- In a date with a woman, kissing someone doesn´t mean that a relationship started neither has sexual meaning. The "dating process" is longer. The etiquette is always invite to other dates until they say something in this way. European men dating Brazilian women can be associate with sexual exploiters, so often they take time to trust someone. The same does not happens about Brazilian men.
- The capital of Brazil in Brasília since 1964, not Rio de Janeiro and Amazon is a region around 4000 km from there. Brazil has a huge cultural, racial and gastronomic diversity, don´t focus on these two places. Often people will think you are ignorant or a snob. It can be offensive to people from the other 25 states.
- When eating, don´t speak with food in your mouth or burp. Is considered impolite in almost all situations and regions.
- Brazilians often are very friendly, but they can turn against you if they feel you are being snobbish and/or impolite. To avoid it, be attentive and courteous and always ask if it is appropriate or not. They are very open to answer questions about the local culture and etiquette and usually feel pleased to answer this kind of question.
- In Chile, good etiquette calls for wine to be poured with the right hand, and wine glasses should always be held by the stem.
- The customer of a restaurant must ask for the check for it to be brought.
- In past generations it was somewhat common for women and young men to greet male and female friends with a kiss on the cheek; however, for many years the trend has been to cheek-kiss only between men and women or among women (that is, not between men). Close male friends more typically greet one another with an abrazo or male hug, which usually does not involve face contact.
- Chileans tend to stand close to one another while talking or queuing. This is in part because Chileans typically do not recognize European queue etiquette and discipline.
- Opening the door for a woman or helping her with her luggage, etc., is not considered a flirtatious action.
- It is common for men to stare at women. (It is considered harmless and meant to flatter.)
- Women should be prepared to be bombarded with catcalls. (It is considered harmless and meant to flatter.)
- Both practices to attract the opposite sex are actually inappropriate in a professional setting.
- When eating in company, you should not put your hands under the table.
- Tipping bellboys and people who pack things on the supermarket can be considered a must sometimes, thus when not doing so it is recommendable to state you do not have money, but never that you do not want to do so.
- It is well looked upon to offer your seat to elderly people or pregnant ladies when inside public transport.
- Chileans, both male and female, tend to use lots of rude words when in confidence. Do not take this as an insult, it's meant to be endearing, but do not try to use those words yourself as it will appear highly humorous to them.
- When smoking, offer a cigarette to everyone. Chileans have a saying for those who neglect to share: "Did you learn to smoke in jail?"
- If two or more people are having a conversation and you need to leave or want to leave it is well looked to say disculpe ("excuse [me]") or permiso ("[with] permission").
- It is usual to greet family members with a kiss on the cheek.
- It is common for children to be prompted to greet everyone who already has greeted the adult that is with him or her.
- The term "caballero" is more commonly used than "señor" to politely address or refer to a male in public.
- Avoid discussion about politics (in regard to a history of democracy with civil unrest) or authoritarian leaders (e.g., Pinochet), or making comments about Chilean backwardness (such as the high crime rate, or the deplorable state of public education and prisons in Chile). Even when Chileans themselves strongly criticize their own country, it would be considered quite insulting for a foreigner to make such comments.
- Gifts are never opened in public unless the giver insists.
- Group waves are extremely unacceptable.
- After finishing dinner, expect to stay for a few hours. Leaving right away might be perceived as that you were there only for a free meal.
- Avoid discussing the drug trade. This is a delicate subject in Colombia.
- The elderly are given high respect; men are often referred to as Don and women as Doña, followed by their first names.
- There is a strong sense of cultural regionalism in Colombian society. Many Colombians (especially but not exclusively the older generation) identify themselves first with their home region, then their nationality. This is particular true in Antioquia and Valle departments. Bogota, being Colombia's melting pot, might not necessarily reflect such regional identity.
- Colombians that do not know each other typically begin every issue with small talk, no matter how trivial. "Getting to the point" immediately might be seen as impatient and impolite.
- Colombians have a great variety of regional accents. If you speak fluent Spanish, do not try to imitate the accents, for it may be viewed unfavorably by some.
- It is considered improper and slightly immature for adult men to wear shorts (except in recreational areas, such as parks, the beach, or pools).
- It is not usually acceptable to drop by someone's house without calling.
- In most areas (i.e. Bogotá) it is common for men to greet women friends by kissing once on the cheek if they are friends. Kissing a strange woman is considered impolite sometimes (more if you are in a business gathering), especially if she is an elder.
- It is considered polite to say thanks after common actions such as someone opening a door, offering or giving something to drink or eat, or when plates are taken from the table, and after most routine actions whenever they are not expected.
- When referring to someone's height in a conversation, Colombians usually make a distinction between animals and humans in a visual manner by positioning their hand with the palm facing the floor when talking about animals and with the palm facing to the side (like when one is to give a handshake) when talking about humans height.
- Most Colombian women in urban areas respond gladly to decent male flattering (known as piropo). This is quite different from other countries where such expressions could be seen as sexual advances.
- People in Bogota and the central region of Colombia and to a lesser degree in some other parts of the country could be sensitive to the use of formal and informal Spanish. For example, in a business meeting it might not be appropriate to use the informal you (tu) instead the formal you is used (usted). See Spanish conjugation.
- In Bogota the wearing of sandals or open shoes by women is frowned upon in some exclusive commercial locations.
- Unlike the U.S., most (if not all) restaurants include the tip in the total amount to be paid by the customer; you may choose not to pay it anyway.
Dominican Republic 
- The Dominican Republic has a history of some strong cultural connections with the USA.
- Dominicans tend to be direct in social situations, and are not subtle as, nepotism in organizations and workplaces is regarded as a good thing.
- Avoid discussing Haitian immigration, Dominican emigration and racial identity (most of the population are mixed-race African/Caucasian). Most people will let you know what they want to speak about so just listen. Most Dominicans love to talk about what is happening in the country; they might even battle each other about a certain topic.
- Salsa, merengue and even reggaetón may seem like "sexy dancing", but there are unspoken rules. It is rude for a man to dance too close to a woman who is not his wife or girlfriend, even if others seem to be doing it. (The same rules apply in Puerto Rico.)
- Dominicans also expect you to look your best at all times. This is seen especially in the women who take pride in their appearance.
- When an invitation is issued (such as to go to dinner or to a bar), invitees typically assume that everything will be paid for. The same is true in Mexico and in other parts of Latin America.
- Dominicans are extremely friendly people. They usually shake hands and give a kiss upon the cheeks when they are introduced to someone or when they come across a known friend.
- The man is the one supposed to pay during a date.
- A woman never approaches a man first (usually).
- Is not considered polite to ask a woman about her age (also common in Puerto Rico and much of North America).
- When you're eating and someone arrives, the eater says "a buen tiempo" (it means "you're arriving in good time"). It is usually polite to say "buen provecho" (meaning "good eating", also subtly meaning "have a nice meal").
- Dominicans love to talk, but politeness is supposedly important in conversation.
- The most popular sport in the country is baseball, so this should be the right choice of conversation.
- Visitors to Ecuador often marvel at the brightly colored traditional attire of natives. However, it is impolite to photograph someone before asking permission. Some people will ask for a tip in exchange for this favor and to begrudge them this source of income is considered unkind. Moreover, do not dress in traditional attire; this will be perceived as mocking the local culture. Only the natives are entitled to do so, not even Ecuadorians from the city (non-Indians and rural areas).
- Beachwear should only be worn at the beach and not in towns. The same is true with short pants for adults, both male and female.
- Never refer to someone as an "Indian", unless they happen to consider themselves so.
- Men greet women, and women greet women, touching right cheek to right cheek and making a kissing sound. Not doing so is considered impolite.
- When invited, it is consider impolite not to bring a present. (If not asked, never bring food; a more appropriate gift would be flowers, wine, chocolates or a small toy for the host's child.) The same is true when you are (even for a short time) meeting someone at their home and they offer snacks or something to drink. It is often polite to decline the first time, but not accepting later would be consider impolite.
- Dance: (see Dominican Republic) Ecuadorian styles are more based on Andean and Colombian.
- There is a strong sense of regionalism in Ecuadorian society. Many Ecuadorians identify themselves first with their home region (specially if they are from the coast or the highland), then their nationality.
- While a few object to the title "American" in reference to citizens of the United States, most have no problem with this.
- Politics are a controversial subject in the country. One should avoid talking about religion, politics, money or illness at dinner with (not so close) friends and strangers.
- To blow one's nose in public, while eating or in a room is considered vulgar and one should try to avoid it. The same rule applies in Venezuela.
- Ecuadorian society, like in most South American countries, is very conservative and foreigners (e.g. foreign exchange students, in-laws, but not necessarily tourists) should observe this and try to behave like their peers.
- As in most South American countries, unmarried childless (young) women should always be referred to as "señorita" and not "señora", otherwhise you could offend them. If unsure, it's better to say "señorita". If married, she will feel herself flattered and will immediately correct it. In addition, asking women about their age is considered rude.
- Women expect doors to be opened for them by males, be helped with luggage, etc. These actions are not construed as flirtatious.
- When dealing with someone with an academic degree in a formal (e.g. at work) situation, it is usual to mention it. (Ingeniero/a, Licenciado/a, Doctor/a, Abogado/a, Economista, Contador/a, Arquitecto/a) If used outside a formal situation (e.g. between friends), the titles might sound sarcastic.
- People's hygiene habits are very important, especially in the tropical climate of Guayaquil or other tropical cities in the country. People are expected to take one or more baths or showers daily. Body odor, unshaven legs and underarms in women, ugly or dirty bare feet, or wrinkled clothing and dirty shoes are considered disgusting. Many men wear cologne and have a comb with them. Women usually wear high heels. Never use sport (running) shoes at a formal restaurant, work or going out with friends at night.
- Although tied more closely to France than Spain or Portugal, the etiquette regarding Haiti is generally similar to other Latin American countries.
- Haitians often signify particular people through appearances or characteristics. Calling someone "white man" (blan) and "the dark skinned one" (neg) are often mere terms of acknowledgement with no racist overtones.
- Entering a household and not greeting the elders or owners of the household is regarded as highly offensive.
- Being overly generous can be interpreted as offensive as to them it may seem as if you pity them.
- Eating is considered a social event and so withdrawing from the center of activities during meals is considered slightly offensive.
- Avoid discussing Dominican life to Haitians as well as the corruption within government, as these are sensitive subjects (especially if you do not know about the subject).
- The infamous Haitian Creole phrase "Langet Maman" is highly offensive, insulting one's mother. Uttering this to someone will almost certainly provoke conflict.
- Haitians use very good manners and take things seriously.
- Haitians expect to haggle when making a purchase.
- Men shake hands on meeting and departing. Men and women kiss on the cheek when greeting. Women kiss each other on the cheek. Friends, family and close acquaintances usually share a light kiss on the cheek.
- Punctuality is not highly valued and being late is usually not considered rude.
- People of the same gender holding hands is an ordinary display of friendship though women and men seldom show public affection toward the opposite sex but are affectionate in private.
- Because almost all Haitians are descended from African slaves, much African etiquette also applies to Haiti.
- In many situations, punctuality is less important than it is for people elsewhere. Showing up exactly on schedule for a party or gathering is undesirable. However, punctuality is expected for business matters.
- The courtesy titles "Señora" and "Señorita" (Mrs. and Miss, respectively) are taken colloquially as "Married Woman" and "Virgin Woman". This follows Catholic prohibitions against intercourse outside of marriage. Hence, it is more polite to address even an elderly woman as "Señorita" if her marital status is unknown. To do otherwise impugns her character.
- Some Mexicans are religious. It is a predominantly Catholic country. Church tours in the country are very solemn. While non-Catholic churches are present, be advised to witness some Catholic practices (crossing oneself) in tours.
- Positioning yourself so your back is not facing another person is customary in Mexico. If a person's back is facing another person, he or she must excuse himself or herself.
- When an invitation to go out is issued (e.g. going to dinner) using the words or the phrase "I invite you to...", it is common that invitees typically assume all the expenses will be paid by the inviter.
- Several kinds of food are eaten with the fingers (tacos, tortas, churros, etc.) Eating them with a fork and knife is viewed as both comical and snobbish. In case of doubt, follow the lead of other diners.
- In some regions of Mexico leaving an empty plate after dining is rude, whereas in some others is rude to leave it with food. Then again, in some regions it is appropriate to accept a second portion, while in others a rejection is expected; always speak clearly about your eating in order to not get misunderstood.
- Before starting to eat it is a common courtesy to say/be wished Buen provecho (as in "Bon appetit") when in company of new people. This courtesy is almost always not used between long-time friends.
- Going to the bathroom during any meal is not acceptable but even more so in formal situations.
- The least a host can offer a visitor is a glass of water. Several other kinds of drinks can be offered. Offering alcoholic drinks is appropriate if meeting in the evening, or if the visitor is a well-known person to the host.
- Women expect doors to be opened for them by males. This also applies to lighting of cigarettes, turning off mobile phones in dates or appointments, and helping them to their seat. None of these actions are construed as flirtatious but simply as a gentlemanly courteous gesture.
- Gender specific situations, phrases and behaviors are expected in conservative regions of the country. Many upper-class Mexicans are less chauvinistic and biased towards women in social roles. Machismo (male assertiveness/aggressiveness) versus femininity issues are still present in older age Mexicans in conservative regions.
- As in the USA, unless service is atrocious, tips should never be below 10% of the bill total as they are commonly a waiter's main means of income; 15% or more is most appropriate.
- When dealing with someone with an academic degree in a formal situation, it is usual to mention it. For a BA-level, the distinctions are clear (Ingeniero and Licenciado for graduates of Engineering programs or for most other fields, respectively). Afterwards, it's usual to call a Master "maestro" and a Doctor-level student "Doctor". If used outside a formal situation, the titles might sound ironic.
- It is common for men to greet ladies (and vice-versa) by kissing one time on the cheek. It is not so common when introduced to someone for the first time, as this means closeness or relation.
- When someone sneezes, you should say "Salud" (lit. "Health"). This is the equivalent for "bless you" in United States. The person who sneezed should respond with "Gracias" ("Thank you").
- The use of the Mexican flag for any other reason than for national holidays (such as Independence Day) is considered a serious insult and faux pas for Mexicans, as is painting, throwing, making clothing from it, etc., and is also penalized under the law.
- Using Mexican Spanish phrases and interjections like "Chihuahua", "Caramba", "Ándale", "Taco" (Mexican Taco Bells advertise Tacos as Tacostadas or Tachitos) or "bad words" thinking that by doing so you will "blend in" is sometimes seen as mocking and disrespectful coming from tourists.
- Mexican men can speak with dirty language (albur) among themselves (be this friends or relatives). But women must avoid this, for it is regarded as vulgar and low class.
- Trying to use Mexican Spanish double entendre or albur is not recommended since the connotations of the double talk are usually sexual and may be used against the speaker. If keen on an explanation of the double entendre, it is recommendable to do so in a more private environment.
- Be advised that socioeconomic issues (i.e. classism) are very strong and prevalent in the country.
- Avoid discussions on politics, national differences between the U.S. and Mexico, and especially racial/ethnic issues. Mexican-Americans in the USA as an ethnic group have experienced discrimination. Mexicans are highly aware of the historical conflict with the United States in this case; likewise, economic disparity, political crises and global diplomatic issues are not discussed without respect and appropriate sympathy. In fact, the Mexican Constitution specifically says that only Mexican citizens are to formally participate in the political arena.
- In Nicaragua, exchanges of hospitality are important. Refusing a drink (especially on a hot day) or not praising the host on the quality of the meal is considered rude.
- Exchanging greetings is also very important. Seeing (even at a distance) someone one knows typically prompts approaching them to exchanging handshakes and kisses as appropriate. Waves and verbal salutations do not suffice.
- Greeting someone with "Hello" is always followed by the appropriate time of day greeting; "Good day", "Good Afternoon", and, "Good Evening."
- When speaking to an older adult, it is respectful to refer to them as "Don" or "Doña." This is a sign of respect.
- Saying goodbye is said in two popular ways "Adios" and "Chau." Although "Chau" is derived from Italian language, it is used in Nicaragua and was brought by the influential quantity of Italian immigrants.
- Nicaraguans are very expressive and passionate. Hand movements are usually accompanied when speaking.
- Salsa, merengue, bachata, and tango may seem like "sexy dancing", but there are unspoken rules. It is rude for a man to dance too close to a woman who is not his wife or girlfriend, even if others seem to be doing it.
- The official language of Paraguay is Spanish, but 73% speaks Spanish and Guarani language.
Puerto Rico 
- When others are about to eat, it is very considerate to say "buen provecho" (enjoy your meal).
- It is very common for members of the opposite sex or women to women to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. This is never done between men however.
- Going out at night is an important time to dress your best and trendy. Simple jeans and T-shirt, khaki shorts, flip-flops, etc., are considered tacky.
- In Puerto Rico the older generation is looked upon for knowledgeable insight and highly respected. In family or social gatherings the children and younger adults will give seats to elders first.
- Remember that Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory or colony of the United States and as such, most rules of the United States are applicable here as well.
- Among Puerto Ricans, conversations are usually very interactive and full of interruptions. If you're talking to someone else and a third person joins you, you are expected to stop what you're saying and acknowledge the newcomer.
- Watching television is a very social activity. Asking for quiet is typically considered both unreasonable and impolite.
- Refusing a second or third helping at a host's home is considered rude. To do so because of any diet is even ruder.
- Salsa, merengue and even reggaetón may seem like "sexy dancing", but there are unspoken rules. It is rude for a man to dance too close to a woman who is not his wife or girlfriend, even if others seem to be doing it.
- It is considered vulgar and ostentatious to open gifts in public. Gifts are never opened in front of a group of people to avoid people comparing the merits of different gifts.
- Do not praise anything you do not want to receive as a gift. In rural areas in particular, to give away objects something a visitor likes is considered polite and a way to show detachment from material objects.
- Women in Puerto Rico are very independent and many of them dislike to feel patronized or bound to traditional roles. While talking to a woman in informal situations avoid calling them "señorita" (miss) or "señora" (Mrs), as they could interpret those titles as 'inexperienced'/'ignorant' or 'old'.
- Political issues, and racial or socioeconomic distinctions can be touchy subjects in Puerto Rico. Questions about such matters are best asked in private. In public, they are seen as a sign of immaturity.
- Waving at a stranger is awkward and should be avoided.
- Using your index finger to motion a person to approach you, as practiced in the United States and other places, is considered rude. A more polite way to beckon someone is to place the palm down and gently sweep your fingers toward you.
- In a gathering, you must greet each and everyone, especially the eldest.
- It is very common to greet with a kiss (From men to women and women to both men and women). Nevertheless, two men don't greet with kiss, since it's frowned upon. Two male relatives can kiss in the cheek (normally father-son and grandfather-grandson).
- In churches and monasteries, err on the side of discretion (low-rise pants, midriff shirts, peekaboo thongs, and anything else that reveals a lot of skin is not usually acceptable).
- Discussion of drugs (and coca-plant cultivation) and religion should be handled with great tact.
- In a country in which nearly half the population is Amerindian, expressing respect for native peoples is important. Try to refer to them not as indios, which is a derogatory term, but as indígenas.
- Amerindian populations are more conservative and even shy. They don't kiss to greet one another, nor do they shake hands as frequently as other Peruvians; if they do, it is a light brush of the hand rather than a firm grip. Many Indians from small villages are reluctant to look a stranger in the eye.
- Photographing military, police, or airport installations is strictly forbidden. Many churches, convents, and museums also do not allow photography or video.
- Be sure not talk too much or in depth about the Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path", a guerrilla movement).
- Peru, like most of South America, has a problematic history with politics. It is advised not to bring up political issues casually.
- In Peru, a form of the American "okay" gesture may be obscene when directed at someone, your interlocutor can interpret that you are saying that he is homosexual. However, as a substitute for the standard "okay" gesture, you can use the "thumbs up" gesture.
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Out of all of Latin America, Uruguay is the least religious, about 40% of the population is secular or irreligious and 60% is in some religion (primarily Roman Catholic). It is the most peaceful country of South America. Uruguay has a secular tradition evolved in the country during the late 19th and early 20th century. Official holidays like Christmas and Easter are referenced as "family days" and "gathering week".
Uruguayans have a comparable standard of living to that of Anglo America, Western Europe and Australia, although their customs and etiquette are closely linked with its geographical neighbor Argentina.
Their culture is conservative but have a history of experimental socialist policies like universal health care, retirement benefits and a developed social security system for unemployed and low-income people.
- Politically Uruguay is very important to South America, having the capital of Mercosur (in Montevideo), even economically they are not so expressive like their neighbours.
- In Venezuela, it is often considered rude to point at a person or even an object with the index finger.
See also 
- Etiquette in Africa
- Etiquette in Asia
- Etiquette in Australia and New Zealand
- Etiquette in Canada and the United States
- Etiquette in Europe
- Etiquette in the Middle East
- Worldwide etiquette
- For example, it is common to greet known people by kissing him/her in the cheek. Erin Richards Cultural Etiquette September 19th, 2006
- ACIS Travel Talk August 2006
- U.S. Institute of Languages Spanish Culture and nonverbal communication
- Morrison, Terri; Wayne A. Conaway (July 31, 2006). Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries. Adams Publishing Group. ISBN 1-59337-368-6.
- Morrison, Terri. "Doing business abroad - Brazil".
- Terri Morrison The Business of Gifts
- South American Travel tips
- Cultural Tips
- Peru Etiquette in Depth - http://www.frommers.com/destinations/peru/0814026691.html