Rio on US$50 a Day – (Yes, it’s Possible…)

Discussion in 'Central/South America' started by NileGuide, Aug 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. [​IMG][​IMG]Cash-strapped travelers beware, Rio de Janeiro can be an extremely expensive city if you don’t plan your finances wisely. Spiralling prices and an extremely strong currency combine to make Rio not just expensive by South American standards, but expensive by anybody’s standards.
    But while the eye-watering prices of many Rio de Janeiro hotels and restaurants may be disconcerting, it is still possible to enjoy a break inRio without breaking the bank. Plan your stay carefully, and it’s actually possible to get by on US$50 a day, even with the dollar in its current weak state. On such a tight budget there will be little by the way of luxuries, but you can be assured of a bed for the night, and plenty to eat and drink.
    The first thing to bear in mind when planning your budget break is that some neighborhoods are vastly more expensive than others. The upscale beach neighborhoods of Leblon, Ipanema and to a lesser extent, Copacabana, may boast the most appeal for tourists, choice, but you’ll pay through the nose to stay there. Less touristic neighborhoods such as Botafogo and Flamengo offer more affordable accomodations, and they are still within easy reach of the beaches thanks to Rio de Janeiro’s Metro system. You should also bear in mond that hotels in this price range will be seedy and probably charge by the hour. Look instead to the many excellent hostels to be found here, such as Botafogo’s El Misti Hostel . A dorm bed may not offer much by the way of privacy, but you’ll be able to meet fellow travelers, swap cash-saving tips and, crucially, save big bucks by cooking for yourself. Most hostels offer good breakfasts too, and as these are usually included in the price it’s well worth tucking in. With dorm beds available for around R$35 (around US$17) you’ll still have money in the kitty.
    Away from the hostel, fill up on the inexpensive snacks that are readily available from vendors across the city. Burgers and hotdogs are piled high with everything from cheese and bacon to quails’ eggs, peas and olives, and even vegetarians can make a meal out of the garnishes alone. At around R$2-3, it’s worth experimenting at least once. Alternatively, corn on the cob makes a quick, healthy pick-me-up, while churros (sweet batter sticks deep-fried and filled with chocolate or doce de leite)are a less saintly, but hugely popular, snack.
    Luckily for partiers on a budget, socialising in Rio can be wonderfully cheap. Forget the upscale bars of the beach districts (although you should be able to stretch to a beer at one of the many simple beach kiosks) and head instead for Lapa, where a giant street party takes place every weekend. Hundreds of stalls selling boozy, fruity concoctions mean there are plenty of bargains to be had, and these drinks tend to be so strong that you won’t need to spend much money at all before you’re feeling the effects. Head here with fellow hostel guests and you can all pitch in for the cab ride home, too.
    Another wonderful thing about Rio is that its greatest charms – the beaches and the views, can all be enjoyed without spending a single centavo.

    Photos: Ademar Ribeiro


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    sobore and Eloy Fonseca Neto like this.
  2. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    Rio de Janeiro indeed is the wonderful city of the World. Despite the writer thoughs, don't forget to visit the beaches of Barra da Tijuca, and Recreio, which are most beautiful and better than Copacabana and Ipanema!
     
  3. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Maybe someone can answer this - where oh where, pray tell, does a slightly (and necessarily ) paranoid safety-minded traveler keep his passport and other valuables in these accommodations when he might want to go to the beach?
     
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  4. OY-JFS
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    OY-JFS Gold Member

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    In the hostel reception's safe?
     
  5. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I stayed in Rio and Sao Paulo for a month, about 5 years ago. The strength of the dollar was different, of course, but found quite a few places you could go to without spending much money. Riding the bus, finding nice buffets and so forth, were quite easy, and on average I spent $20-$25 a day on transportation and food. I rented an apartment for $400, if I recall right, in Rio. About 5 blocks to the beach, and never had a problem with any thugs.

    Even in cities that people always say are so expensive, given a little work, I almost always find that $50-$75 per day is doable.
     
  6. slice19
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    slice19 Silver Member

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    While I have not stayed in Rio, I find hostels usually offer some sort of locked storage. I last stayed in a 6 bed hostel in Norway and each person had a locker with a key. I would always racommend carrying my passport on me but felt fine leaving my other stuff in the locker.
     
  7. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    That was Norway. I just don't have a lot of confidence in "some sort of locked storage" in Rio. And, passport at the beach on me? In a waterproof bag on me when I go into the water?
     
  8. slice19
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    slice19 Silver Member

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    I'm one of those people who leaves her stuff on the blanket when in the water and I know that's not the safest idea but it seems common among surfers and swimmers. I don't leave anything out in the open and always have my stuff in a bag with a towel on top so the wallet/keys/passport are not screaming to be stolen. I also don't carry much cash.

    As far as the hostel, only the people in your room would potentially have access to your locker and they are most likely in the same boat as you. Aside from maybe a nice camera and passport, what sort of valuables would you actually bring on a low budget backpacking trip?
    As another suggestion, I just bought a great waterproof bag for swimming point to point in a river last weekend. While this is not the one I got, it looks like they have similar products here: http://www.waterproof-bag.com/Waterproof-Backpack-1.htm#

    Or go the low budget way and put your passport in a zip lock bag (or 2) and make sure you have board shorts with a zippered pocket to hold it.
     

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