How to survive in Rio when you’re broke

Ah Rio, of all the places I’ve traveled, and they’re not really that many, I love Brazil the most, and Rio is one of the most lovely places I’ve been to in this country.

View of Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro

I like to consider myself someone who keeps good track of my money and how I’m spending it… just kidding this is a total lie! So let me tell you how I ran out of money while spending a week in Rio de Janiero. And how I made it to the end of the week with just enough money to pay an uber for a ride to the airport.

First of all, I went into this situation knowing I didn’t have much money. I had just spent three months in Ecuador and had no way to make extra money, but my flights were already booked so I figured, hey I can survive a week in a hostel with not much food. Thankfully, said hostel provided breakfast each morning giving me one less meal to worry about during my stay.

All that being said, I’ll share with you some the things I did to keep from spending what little money I did have.

Book and pay for your hostel ahead of time. Arriving in Rio and already having a place to stay was really nice. I like to use when choosing where to stay, they usually have really good deals, and let you compare places to stay. It’s also a good idea to choose a place that will provide breakfast at no extra charge, like I said before it was nice to have one less meal to think about.

If you enjoy the beach, you can spend most of your time at the beach laying out or swimming, this is what I did, the beach is free and it’s beautiful.

Do a lot of walking. The majority of the most famous attractions in Rio are accessible by foot, with the exception of Christ the Redeemer which you can get to by bus or train. I went to Sugarloaf by foot and had no trouble walking. Just plan ahead as it can take around 45 minutes depending on what part of Copacabana beach you start. (I was staying two blocks from the beach so this may not apply to you)

Two of my roommates from the hostel and I in front of a sandcastle

Stay away from the restaurants and bars right on the beach. These places tend to be more expensive as they have the view and beach access. I tried to stick to places a few blocks away from the beach, or I just bought things from grocery stores I could prepare in my hostel.

Find the discounts. When visiting places like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf it’s a good idea to check the websites first as they offer discounts to students no matter your citizenship and to Rio’s locals.

Christ the Redeemer

The only other advice I can give is to be watchful, Rio can be dangerous if you get into the wrong neighborhoods. The majority of the time through the people you will meet will be some of the nicest you’ve ever come in contact with so enjoy your time, have fun it’s Rio!



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