Rio De Janeiro, its beaches and mountains are stuff that travel dreams are made of. But, Brazil has a lot more to offer than the ‘city of gods’ and it is about time more of us make real plans to visit this Latin American powerhouse. There is one problem though; Brazil isn’t the cheapest country to visit. Even with the slide of the Real(Brazil’s currency), the country remains a challenge for many a backpackers. Also, if you are from countries with a weaker currency than Real, then a budget trip is not going to be the easiest thing to do. And hence I am guessing you could do with budget tips, like I needed them while traveling.
I spent four months in Brazil, extending my visa once. That was because I fell in love with Caiprinha(Brazil’s national cocktail), Soterpolitanos(residents of Salvador) and Cariocas(people from Rio De Janeiro), and I just did not want to leave.
So here it is; Eccentrips tips on how to travel in Brazil for thirty days with 900 dollars. If you do a long stay in one city, use workaway or are active on couchsurfing the cost might be lesser. This guide is for the backpacker who wishes to travel to a few places in Brazil for thirty days and is willing to do so without throwing his money on everything that comes his way.
Where to stay? How much to pay?
Rio has more hostels than you can imagine, and most of them are pretty decent for the price they are offered at. Hostelbookers is my favourite site for booking hostels, because somehow they have one or two cheaper hostels listed which aren’t on other sites. But it would be fair to have a budget of 800 INR/ 12 USD/ 40 Reals per night, either for hostels or Airbnb. I used Airbnb way more than I used hostels while traveling, they were partners on my travel project called ‘The 12 Project’.
However, the best thing to do is to use Couchsurfing. If you are already active on the platform, and you speak English, there is a strong possibility that you will find hosts in Brazil. And the more you travel cities beyond Rio and Sao Paulo, the better your chances are of finding hosts on CS. In Salvador, I was able to live with Couchsurfers for 60 days. Yes! I kid you not. It helped that I was happy to help them practice their English.
So make a target to get hosted at least ten nights in that month. And no, it is not impossible to find those many kind Couchsurfers in Brazil.
Tips summary: Hostelbookers, Couchsurfing, use your English language skills in exchange for accommodation.
Is the food yummy? And, expensive?
Brazil is a journey of sights, smells and flavours. The country won’t disappoint even if food was the only reason for your travel. The Buffet al kilo lunches are filling, extremely delicious and come with a wide variety of options. If you go beyond the tourist areas, you can find such meals for 12-15 reals. Generally lunch is so heavy that Brazilians have only three meals, they are not really big on evening snacks.
In cities like Rio, they make really good and filling burgers which cost 8-10 Reals depending on the area and type of establishment. My favourite early dinner in Rio was a burger with juice and then a cup of sweet creamy something. That was Acai. Want to know what it is? Read this post on Brazilian dishes. I am sure you would want to try it too!
Acai and juice can he had at 3-5 Reals each in corner joints. So you would do good to have a look at what your area has to offer. The other option is to cook one meal. Brazilian service is not very fast, so cooking a small meal sometimes may mean the same amount of time. Also, looking for B & B’s is not a bad idea; it saves both time and money.
Tips summary: Cook, eat local and look for B & B’s.
Commute generally costs between 3 – 4 Reals per ride in most Brazilian cities, Rio and Sao Paulo being the most expensive. So it does make sense to plan your day and ensure you aren’t taking more rides than required. Cities in Brazil are massive, so it isn’t like you can walk around at leisure either.
Also, Brazil’s long distance transport is probably the most expensive in Latin America. Sometimes flights can cost the same as buses on certain routes, so look for good flight deals. I took a flight from Sao Paulo to Salvador which cost me just 6000 INR/90 USD/ 285 Reals. But to get back to Rio from Salvador was way more expensive by flight. This meant I had to take a bus, a 30 hour long one. Yes, really!
That bus cost me about 6300 INR/ 95 USD/ 300 Reals, more than the flight from Sao Paulo to Salvador which is a longer distance.
So it would be safe to say that you will need about 18000 INR/ 270 USD/ 860 Reals for local and long distance transport for a month. This should allow you to take 3-4 long distance rides. Best is to focus on one region or maximum two while traveling in Brazil. You do anything more than that, then your costs will multiply. Plus, Brazil is such a huge and diverse country, trying to see too much in a short time would not be doing justice to places you visit.
Another pro tip: Stock up on food & snacks before you take long bus rides. The highway restaurants where the buses make pit stops are ridiculously expensive.
Brazil is a country of active people; even on the beach Brasileiros are always doing something. Yes, that is for free. But parties, excursions, music concerts are not. And that is why you will need to keep a budget for that.
Keep looking for complimentary shows and concerts (there are quite a few during the high season) through hostels and other websites. But a budget of 8500 INR/ 125 USD/ 405 Reals should keep you going without feeling that you are missing too much. You could also take Capoiera lessons like I did. There are other free things to do in Rio which you could have a look at.
The other tip is to attend Couchsurfing events. There are some really cool CS events in Rio and Salvador. Most of them are ‘bring your own’. It is a great chance to meet new people, enjoy the beach and dance. Because, you know, money or not, Brazilians know how to party.
Tips summary: look for free things to do, attend Couchsurfing dos, go to the beach and request locals to let you participate in fut-volley.
Here is an easy table of tips for you:
|Type of expense||Indian Rupees(INR)||Brazilian Reals(BR)||United States Dollar(USD)|
|Accommodation||800 X 20 = 16000(get CS hosts for 10 nights)||765||240|
|Food||600 X 30 = 18000(try to cook one meal at least once in two days, look for B & B’s)||860||270|
|Transport||18000(daily transport + 2-3 long rides)||860||270|
|Activities||8320(for a few parties and music concerts or other activities that you like)||397||124|
But the cerveja? Oh, you mean beer?
Brazil is a good place to have beer (is there any place that isn’t good for beer?). The best brands change as per the state or region you are in. But a pint is about 3-4 Reals, in smaller shops you can get them for less than that too.
My favourite is Skol, which is pretty popular in the Nordeste or the North-East.
Now that you know, how much it costs to spend a month in Brazil, just look for flights and start saving. For dying without ever having visited Brazil, would be a bit unfortunate. Just kidding!
And when you get there, let the people know that I love them!