After driving through Africa, and eating in Spain we were ready to head back to the beach in Rio de Janeiro for 12 days. Our budget was set at $80 per day for two people. Just like in our Spain budget, we expected to spend more than our goal average for the trip. As usual, we found an interesting way to keep ourselves under budget, but still ended up going over instead. Our daily expenses (excluding flights) ended up at $71 per day, and our total daily average was $93 per day. The expensive visa and flights drove up the total, which would have been even higher if we didn’t save so much on accommodation. Exchange rate: 2.02 BRL = $1 USD (August 2012) Below, you can see a breakdown of our 12 days in Brazil by category:
|Total Daily Spending||$867.04|
Budget Notes: (All numbers are only daily spending for two people, items like visas, fees, activities and food can be split in half to get a per person amount. The numbers don’t include airfare or other transportation to get to the country.)
- Again we found a way to save on lodging, albeit completely by accident. One of Caroline’s training clients happened to be in Rio while we were there and let us stay at his beautiful apartment on Ipanema beach. Our only lodging cost was for the only shared dorm night of our entire trip. Expect to pay at a minimum $80 – $100 for a private room.
- Food was again our highest cost, even though we received a lot meals for free at the apartment. We couldn’t resist the rice and beans, filet mignon sandwiches, fresh fruit juice and acai! We averaged about $30 a day for food.
- Transportation includes a great bus to and from the airport ($12/pp) a taxi to Lapa for a night of Samba dancing, and bus fare to Corcovado to see the Christ.
- Activities includes entrance to Samba club ($7.5/pp), and admission to the Christ the Redeemer statue ($21/pp).
- Miscellaneous was a Brazilian bikini for Care ($20), new flip-flops ($4.50), toiletries ($12), and a gift for our gracious host ($25).
We bought a round-trip flight on Avianca from Sao Paolo to Rio. By trying to keep the flight as close to our international flights as possible, we ended up with a 12 hour layover in Sao Paolo. Try not to do that, as it’s a terrible airport. We had planned on staying in Sao Paolo for a few days but the flights worked out for us to just spend the time in Rio.
|BUDGET SUMMARY||USD ($)|
|Daily Average (All Included)||$93|
Rio de Janerio, Brazil Budget Travel Tips
- You don’t need to go on a tour to see Corcovado (the Christ) just take public transportation to the base of the mountain and hop on the train up to the top. After paying your train ticket you can walk around the top at your own pace.
- While there are many expensive restaurants, there are plenty of smaller, local places to eat for cheap. Learn your favorite dishes in Portuguese so you can read the specials. Eat as much rice and beans as you can, it is so good!
- The cheapest way to spend your time in Rio is on the beach! All you need is your bathing suit and a towel and you have free entertainment all day. There are more food vendors walking the beach than you can count, so have lunch from one of the friendly guys walking by.
Escaping Abroad says
I love these kind of posts that give an idea of how expensive things are.. really helps to plan a budget of your own. And it’s always interesting to see how expenses differ from country to country.
Too bad the visa costs for Brazil are so expensive!
The cost of visa is not expensive. Brazil works on a reciprocal policy, meaning they charge the same for a visa to enter the country as the country you are coming from charges Brazilians. Since US charges Brazilians $160 for a visa, they do the same for Americans. Europe doesn’t charge anything, so Europeans don’t pay anything on their visa either.
Josh Eaton says
Expensive is relative. I never said it wasn’t fair, just that it was expensive relative to other countries. Something that needs to be factored in if you plan on visiting.
Ron | Active Planet Travels says
Great post. It’s perfect for someone who’s trying to get a “real life” idea of what the estimated daily budget would be for one to visit Rio de Janeiro. I always pictures Brazil to be a slightly more budget friendly destination but I guess I’ve been doing too much research on Southeast Asia…lol 😛
Gareth Leonard says
Great tips for saving money in Rio de Janeiro! I have been living here the last few months and it definitely is the most expensive city I have lived in South America. Prices are rising across the board because of the FIFA World Cup coming this summer and Summer Olympics in 2016, but like you said, there are still many ways to travel on a budget in Brazil if you’re smart!
Gareth, would you be able to give an update on Josh’s post? I will be in five cities (Sao Paulo, Rio, Brasilia, Belo and Manaus) during the WC14. I’m guessing each city will have very different budgets etc but any tips to add to Josh’s? Thanks in advance
Fabio Mendonça says
Excelent post to how organize the budget when come to Rio. Like i am borned and i live in Rio de Janeiro today i think its better to rent a room in a airbnb to cook in home than eat in the restaurants or stay in hostels and hotels in the Safe Favelas (In the Favela do Vidigal has many good options where you can pay for a couple room around U$50,00/U$60,00 per night and The Maze Hostel at Tavares Bastos) where you can pay better prices. Christ and Sugar Loaf today are easy to visit alone. Other free tips to enjoy Rio de Janeiro is to do the trekkings that the city offers like Two Brothers Hill, Pedra Bonita Trekking, Tijuca National Park and Catacumba Park. Lapa always offer some options cheap and free for the nightlife. Subways and buses are easy to move around. Just get a map and use the GPS.