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Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

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Seattle
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Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Thinking of going to Rio with a couple friends in October of this year. I've heard that Brazil is expensive and when looking at budget hotels it seemed like all I could find were ones in the $100(US) dollar range. I'd like to travel to South America but want to do this without spending a fortune. Any thoughts/tips/advice? Should I go to a different country? Thanks!

DJ
Princeton, New...
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1. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Well, you can eat pretty cheaply, for around 10-20 USD a day. Hostels are available, what are you looking to spend? You can find some cheap hotels for less than 100 USD.

Salvador, BA
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2. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Rio and Sao Paulo are the two most expensive cities in Brazil that I've been in. In smaller cities like Salvador, and in some beachside villages in the northeast, you can spend much less. In Rio, entries to the almost obrigatory tourist sights are fixed, and you would want to go out to some clubs and take taxis at night. But it is possible to find budget hostel dorm accomodation or apartement rentals in Rio, and to put some effort into eating less expensively, in order to reduce costs somewhat. Fares from the U.S. west coast are likely to be pricier (than from the east coast) too, though, and the dollar is not at its best right now in relation to the Brazilian real. Hope you take the opportunity to see Brazil.

NYC
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3. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Los Angeles to Rio is usually the same price as New York to Rio...(I know I was pretty surprised too.) The flight is pretty much the most expensive part of the trip.

The way I did my first trip, was by signing up for an American Airlines mastercard that came with a 25,000 mile incentive. (There are terms...read ALL your fine print.) I already had about 17,000 with AA, so the first one was free. (40,000 miles)

Rent an apt, don't stay in a hotel. They are way overpriced; and that's before you get sacked with "Taxes and fees" on the final bill.

Once in RIo; you can get by on pocket change if you like; even in the most glamorous part of Ipanema there are hidden gems with dirt cheap great food. Take the Onibuses instead of taxis. It's easy, even for a non-portuguese speaker. They say how much and where they are going on the front.

You can also use the vans that run along the Beach between Lapa, Copacabana, Ipanema, Sao Conrado. It's R$2 per person, At night I prefer these, they come more often than the bus; and are faster.

For nightlife, Go to Lapa, hang out at Beach Quioquis; or local neighborhood Botequims and your budget will stay intact. Beer and Caipirinhas are very cheap. I have considerably more fun at these places than I do at the fabulous high-end nightclubs anyway.

Rio de Janeiro
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4. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

BRAZIL - RIO - SOUTH AMERICA

A point of view in a brief explanation…

RIO, together with Stockholm and Barcelona were in the 31st position of the world hank of the most expensive cities of the world in 2008. SÃO PAULO got the 23rd position!

BRAZIL is growing with an expectancy of almost 10% this year; though for sure our economy is very strong!

All COUNTRIES SURROUNDING Brazil are considered extremely cheap if compared to us or under North American and European standards.

US$ 100/ day can be considered a low budget for Rio. Besides, if you plan it well, trying to minimize your expenses with lodging (you are three) and eating, you will maybe feel less this limitation!

Some tips:

- Sugar Loaf cable car fees are R$ 44/ person.

- The cogwheel train to Corcovado costs R$ 45. Decreasing this cost finding a reliable and cheap cab driver to go uphill and spending only R$ 13/ person as park entrance fees won’t be so easy. They try to touch R$ 200 when going uphill. It will be easier and maybe more profitable if you try to take a longer ride paying the same amount.

- Most discos charge from R$ 25 as entrance fees. The Samba Bars in Lapa Area start per R$ 15/ person during the week days/ only entrance fees.

- Lunch and dinner can represent R$ 20 with drinks in good kilo restaurants. Even cheaper: our “Pratos Executivos” daily served in the Botequins from R$ 7. I mean a plate with rice, beans, beef/ chicken or pork, salad or French fries. Talking to the right people (look for locals who work in the commerce) you’ll find the correct places!

I WOULD NEVER MISS RIO!

It is maybe clever to start your trip in our city: You'd over spend your daily budget here, you already know it isn’t cheap; but then you'd easily reduce it in other South American cities!

I wish you all a great trip!

J

Salvador
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5. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Actually I find Santiago is more expensive than Rio and Buenos Aires isn't the bargain it was four or five years ago.

If you want to keep prices to a minimum you might want to look at other options in terms of accomodation such as hostels or pousadas. A quick search of hostelworld will bring up a multitude of options well below $100 USD, private rooms running on average between $20 - 30 per night.

hostelworld.com/countries/brazilhostels.html

You could of course just google albergue + rio de janeiro

Or you could look for pousadas. Try google searching pousada.

Ipanema.com has sections on budget and economy hotels:

www.ipanema.com/rio/hotels/e/budget.htm

You are likely to getter better value outside of the standard choices of Ipanema and Copacabana. Santa Teresa, Flamengo and the city itself offer alternatives. No doubt this will be pooh-poohed by others on this forum as being too far from the action or they'll cite some concern for safety, none the less these are viable alternatives, especially if you are looking to do things cheaply.

Rio is somewhere you should see at least once but if you have an extended period to travel you should head up to the northeast where it's a degree cheaper.

Good luck.

NYC
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6. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

More ways you can slash your budget is to avoid the obligatory tourist sites. I've made the trip 16 times and I've never been to the Cristo. (I've also lived in New York 17 years and never hit up the Statue of LIberty.) I'm sure they're both awesome. You can simulate the experience by picking up a small replica at the hippy fair and take pictures of yourselves with it at the top of Selaron's Stairs. If you drink enough beer you won't know the difference.

Instead of the Sugar Loaf; head up to hills of Santa Teresa. There are breathtaking view of Rio everywhere. You do not have to shell out any money for them. This pousada; Casa 579 in ST has stellar views and offers pay what you wish options on some of their rooms. www.casa579.com

In Lapa; there is really no need to go into Carioca de Gema; or anywhere with a cover charge for that matter. There is free live samba at Boa Amizade. You can buy drinks on the street just as you can inside a venue. My most fun nights in Lapa were probably the ones where we didn't go anywhere.

The beach is free; even if you do utilize the vendors it's not profoundly expensive. You could easily fill a busy itinerary with gratis points of interest Marina Gloria, Surfing in Arpoador etc. I've gone with tons of money and very little and it wasn't any less fun.

Salvador, BA
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7. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

How do millions of Brazilians live there on less than U$200 a month if it's not possible? It just depends on what kind of travel life style fulfills your expectations of course.

Rio de Janeiro
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8. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Cheap is possible? maybe...

but,sincerely,i don't recommend.

Welcome,

Brazil Rio

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Well, you can bring your own homemade bread and a tub of cheap margarine. And a pup tent, a flash light, and a can of beans for those special moments on the beach. Also, instead of purchasing a plane ticket, why not stow away in the cargo hold of Rio-bound jet?

Or--you can spend just a little bit more than you originally intended to and have a great time in a great city.

NYC
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10. Re: Rio on the cheap... is it possible?

Why would you make your own bread..? It's Bakery fresh for like 75 cents a loaf at Zona Sul.

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