A Few Photos From Rio

I went through my photo collection from Rio and selected a few of the best photos to display on this blog. When browsing through my photos, I’m always surprised by how many mediocre or plain bad photos I’ve managed to shoot and start wondering whether I was drunk with the camera most of the time or whether I simply have such a bad taste when determining Kodak moments. But I am also very good at spotting great photo material while being without the camera, or not being quick enough to snap… or the camera working too slowly. But now that I have sufficiently dampened everyone’s expectations, here are the photos:

Cristo Redentor seen from Forte do Leme

The view from Forte do Leme (Forte Duque de Caxias) is spectacular. This photo shows the statue of Christ the Redeemer in the distance as the sun goes down in Rio.

Capoeira in Leme

Traditional Brazilan martial art dance of Capoeira being practiced in Leme.

A Common Marmoset monkey about to take a jump or just landed on this branch

A Common Marmoset monkey about to take a jump or just landed on this branch

Copacabana beach football

Football at Copacabana beach just before sunset.

Upbeat Michael Jackson and downbeat dogs in Favela Santa Marta

Upbeat Michael Jackson and downbeat dogs in Favela Santa Marta

The view from Morro de Dois Irmãos (e. The Two Brothers Hill)

The view from Morro de Dois Irmãos (e. The Two Brothers Hill)

Sunny afternoon in Urca

Rowing on a sunny afternoon in Urca harbour



Concluding Thoughts on Brazil and Learning Portuguese

I have now returned to Iceland after a remarkable time in Rio de Janeiro, a time that will without doubt bring back warm memories for the rest of my life…unless I get a severe case of Alzheimer’s disease one day, but that’s another story.

When I arrived in Rio at the beginning of May, I could understand only a little bit of Portuguese (after taking an evening course of Brazilian Portuguese for beginners three years ago), but I could hardly speak a word, I hadn’t practiced at all in the meantime. When my host family greeted me and asked how my flight had been and so on, the only thing I was able to respond with in Portuguese was “Boa noite” (e. good evening) and a blank stare because I understood none of the rest of what they were saying.

When I left Rio, it was a completely different story however, because now I was suddenly able to speak and hold up conversations in Portuguese. I noticed how I was learning more each day at the language school and by practicing in everyday situations, watching TV and reading. After around five weeks at school, I had learned enough vocabulary to talk about simple topics and from there I continued to improve, to add meat to the bones if you like. On my last night in Rio, I went to a party with many Brazilians and expats and spoke Portuguese with a surprising ease and to the surprise of some of the Brazilians, given how short time I had been learning. Side note: While I was having conversations in Portuguese, a part of my brain was celebrating “Yahoo! I’m actually able to have a conversation Portuguese!” I hope I didn’t look too distracted as a result of this though.

My language school, Rio & Learn, deserves credit for this, because the teaching there was for the most part excellent, although they certainly have room for improvement in some areas. But their combination of formal and informal learning works well, with classes from 9-13 five days a week and arranged social activities in the afternoons. Usually, the classes were also rather informal and fun, which was a good alternative to many of the language classes I had in high school, which were dreadfully formal and boring. Language learning can and should be fun.

One of the things I liked the most about Rio de Janeiro was the social life and how easy it was to meet new people. Of course I met a lot of people at school, but there were also other places and activities that I can recommend for meeting people in Rio:

  • Couchsurfing Thursday meetings – The idea is simple, you show up at a beach bar (Quiosque Três, Avenida Atlantica, 2215) right next to Copacabana beach, get your name tag, meet new people and drink a few beers with discount if you like as well.
  • Meetup.com – here you can look for meetup groups in Rio and find for example a language exchange group called Aprenda Ingles – Learn Portuguese. I went to several language exchange nights on Mondays with this group and enjoyed the atmosphere and informal chat. There were more Brazilians in the group than foreigners, so it is also a good place to meet locals. Many of the same people go to meetings of another group on Friday nights, for this they have a Facebook group called LinguaExchange International.
  • InterNations – An Indian friend I met at the Couchsurfing event in Copacabana introduced me to this organization, which has the slogan “We Make Life Easier for Expats”. I went to several InterNations events (mostly parties) during my stay in Rio and met a lot of interesting people, both Brazilians and expats. Within InterNations you can easily find people and join subgroups with various interests, such as hiking, networking, cooking or even wine-tasting.
  • Free Tours de Aventura offer hiking tours to the numerous mountains of Rio with a guide. There you can combine physical exercise with socializing, enjoying nature and some breathtaking views. Their tours are tips based, so people are expected to leave a small contribution of money at the end of each tour. Using the word “free” in the name is thus misleading, but there are other hiking groups in Rio that do the same, just like restaurants that don’t include “service fee” when listing prices on their menus. I guess it’s a matter of culture, but the tours are certainly worth some contributions. I went with this group to the top of Pedra da Gávea (e. Gavea Stone), which is an 844 meters high mountain with extensive view over the city and the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the walk up there is through a rainforest, but the most challenging part is a 30 meter steep (ca. 90 degrees) cliff wall. This was the most difficult mountain hike I’ve been to (also because of muddy and slippery parts due to rain a few days before), but it was definitely worth the effort.

Returning to Iceland was a bit of a reverse culture shock for me after all this time in Rio, with plenty of sunshine, beaches and palm trees. First I flew from Rio to Amsterdam, where the temperature was 34 degrees C when I landed, even warmer than in Rio and easy to take a walk around the city, enjoy the sun and relax before heading for my flight to Iceland the evening after. In the plane on my way to Iceland I was thinking that actually I was missing my country a little bit and that it would be nice to get home to the fresh air, get the fresh tap water and reunite with friends and family. This feeling quickly evaporated and was replaced with a mild depression when the pilot announced that “The current temperature in Keflavik is 11 degrees C” and when we landed I noticed the fog and the tiny raindrops. I had read and heard about the shitty summer weather in Iceland this year online, a shitty summer for the second consecutive year, but it still came as a shock to me there. When I stepped out of the plane in my T-shirt I felt the fresh air, the cold and a hint of the not-so-fresh smell of fish being processed in a nearby small town. Not an overly warm welcome I got from my country there and now I’m already missing Brazil. Who wouldn’t?

I want to end this post with this photo from the top of Pedra da Gávea on 16 July:

The view from Pedra da Gávea.

The view from Pedra da Gávea.

Game Over for Brazil in World Cup 2014

Brazil lost 7-1 in the World Cup semifinal last night against Germany. Some of the headlines about this are overly dramatic on the reactions of Brazilians, e.g. “Every fan in Brazil is crying right now”.  I watched the game at home with my host family who actually started laughing and joking about the team when the Germans were four goals ahead. There was less enthusiasm for the game here in Rio than for Brazil’s previous games, simply because it was raining heavily on the day. Thus, more people were watching at home and less people on the streets to create the jolly atmosphere that has been the norm here until now. It was quite symbolic how forcefully it rained just after the game finished, as if the sky was joining in with crying fans. I passed by two sad looking ice cream vendors on the street on my way home from school yesterday when the rain had already started…bad day for business followed by a heavy defeat of the national football team. The police reported cases of violence and robberies at the FIFA Fan Fest in Rio yesterday. But life definitely goes on anyway and today the sun is shining again as usual and everything seems to be back to normal.

I have met several Brazilians who have been hoping that their team would be knocked out of World Cup for political reasons, as people feared the effect of winning would result in a secure reelection of Dilma Rousseff in the upcoming presidential reelections in October. A World Cup win would according to them, have distracted the general public’s attention from the grand problems of Brazilian society, such as inequality, lack of healthcare, education and infrastructure in general, not to forget corruption. They have feared that a World Cup win would give the politicians an excuse to say that everything was just fine and that the same politicians would take undeserved credit were the team to win. The comments I have heard from Brazilians on local politics have all been negative. They have been very critical of president Dilma Rousseff’s regime, blaming e.g. corruption and overspending on football stadiums with very limited use for the current stagnation in the economy.

Some of the foreign students at my school have been harassed both physically and verbally by Brazilian fans on the streets (and at the FIFA fan fest on the beach) for wearing shirts of their perspective national teams, such as Mexico, Colombia and Germany. Racism is another big problem in Brazil, even though it is on the other hand a fascinating cultural melting pot.

I predicted Brazil to win the tournament before it started and became even more sure of that when they knocked out the best team of the tournament up until that point, Colombia. But Colombia happened to play their worst game of the tournament that day. Now that Brazil is out I really hope Germany will win. They have the best team now and deserve to win. I don’t believe Argentina can continue to be lucky and win with a one goal margin; that habit of theirs has to end today against Holland.  Argentinians have had the liveliest and most colorful fans here in Rio though.

A lot of people were hoping to see Brazil and Argentina in the final, which would have caused high tension and clashes between fans and quite possibly riots and vandalism. Instead, they will probably compete for the third place, which ought to be a wee bit more peaceful.

The Nightlife of Rio de Janeiro

Among Rio’s biggest attractions is the nightlife and I seriously doubt that you can find a better nightlife anywhere in the world (but tell me if you have found it somewhere). One of the things that make it great is its variety, so whether you are into dance clubs, jazz clubs, hip hop clubs or simply looking for a bar to chat with friends, you will not need to look for long. Typical “European” discos can also be found if you want to feel like at home…or like in Europe if you are not from there…as a wise man once said. 40 Graus in Lapa (the main nightlife neighborhood) looked to me like a typical European-style disco when I went there on a Friday night for example, but based on what I read online, it all depends on when you go there, sometimes there is live funk apparently (which sounds a lot better). But a negative aspect is that you need to pay for entrance (40 reais for male, 30 reais for female) and show a passport or similar ID. It is common in Lapa that there is entrance charge, which is alright if you like the first place you go to but not so good if you get into a boring place or places.

One of the things I like about the nightlife here is that there is not the same culture for getting drunk as I’m used to. In Iceland, too many people have a very strange attitude towards drinking and the nightlife, which is that getting heavily drunk is cool and that developing tolerance to alcohol is desirable…even associating it with “our Viking ancestors” and what not. The drinking culture in Iceland has been improving in recent years though, as more people have now learned that drinking can also be done in a more civilized way. In Rio, beer and caipirinha are the most popular alcoholic drinks, but moderate consumption is the norm and I have hardly seen anyone extremely drunk here. Below I introduce three of my favorite nightlife spots in Rio so far.

Pedra do Sal is historical location where samba first arrived to Rio from Bahia in the northeast of Brazil, with immigrants of African origin settling here in the early 17th century. This area was called “Little Africa” and its people also introduced Rio to the martial art dance capoeira.  Nowadays, the samba rhythms take over every Monday and Friday nights from 7 PM. The samba band gathers in the middle of the square and all around, in the square and in the stairs, people gather to listen, dance and enjoy an amazing feel-good atmosphere. I wish I could tap a bottle of this atmosphere to bring back home to Iceland, to sip on, on cold dark days with bad weather. Probably raising curiosity from people: “What is this you are drinking there?” “Just some samba atmosphere from Rio” Beer and grilled meet on a stick can be bought in the street. This is how Pedra do Sal looks early on, on a Friday evening, the square not as full as later on in the night:

Samba night in Pedra dio Sal. Photo from Rio & Learn www.rioandlearn.com

Samba night in Pedra do Sal. Photo from Rio & Learn

Rio Scenarium is a big night club in Lapa, on three floors and live Brazilian music usually on each one of them. It is very picturesque with antique decorations on the walls and the two top floors overlooking ground floor. This is one of the best known nightlife spots in Rio and attracts just as many foreigners as locals.

The Maze is a jazz club located on top of a favela in the Catete neighborhood, with an astonishing view of the city from the rooftop. I think many travelers miss this place because of all the hype about Lapa, but it is certainly worth going to if you like jazz and good view.

The bars with tables outside and extending to the sidewalk are also great. The Quiosques alongside Copacabana beach are nice places to sit down for a drink and chat and sometimes there is live music as well. The main drawback are the salesmen that come to the tables offering t-shirts, peanuts, Christ the Redeemer replica statues with blinking lights (which in a perfect world should exist in every home, obviously) etc. If you like shopping, then maybe you will enjoy this experience where the salesman come to you and you don’t need to walk between stores like in shopping malls. Just sit there, enjoy a beer and do your shopping at the same time…But I hear from locals that these walking salesmen are more than usual now because of the World Cup. “I see you are a tourist that likes football. Maybe you will also like a blinking statue replica? No?… Cerveja cocacola água? Caipirinha? A hat? Sunglasses?”

The Contradictions of Rio

Foreigners, including myself, typically think of Rio de Janeiro as this paradise-like place of beaches, sunshine, samba queens, jazz clubs and easy going bohemian lifestyle. And this is exactly how it is…to a certain extent. If you would somehow only see Copacabana and Ipanema on sunny days and the best nightclubs, this idea could easily attach itself inside your brain. But most people will also notice a few other things in Rio.

For me, one of the most negative sides is the traffic, which is very chaotic and slow most of the time. Buses are currently the main mode of public transportation in Rio, but the subway system (Metro Rio) is being expanded, which is highly needed.

By walking just a few blocks up from Copacabana beach, you can find the busy shopping street, Avenida Nossa Senhora Copacabana, where there is no time to relax, most people are rushing and you will hardly see a happy looking face. On the contrary, you will see people looking worried, checking the time, many pedestrians walking against a red light to save one or two minutes and cars nearly crashing into them in many cases. I find this interesting, maybe these pedestrians are thinking: “I just saved a minute there. It was definitely worth risking my life for that! It adds up in the long run, you know.”

Patience is not the order of the day on this street, I saw a car stop for a brief moment there the other day to pick up a passenger and instantly the drivers behind him started a concert of honking, screaming some carefully chosen swearwords from their windows and so on. If you find yourself in a similar situation here in Rio where you feel Brazilian swear words are required, here is a list of popular swear words in Portuguese that I learned at school the other day:



Filho de puta!


One day recently, I was with a group from school waiting for a bus on the same Nossa Senhora to go to the famous attraction, Pao de Acucar. We waited for almost one hour before giving up on this bus that never arrived. This is a problem with the public transportation in Rio de Janeiro, it is not too reliable. Another problem on busy streets, such as Nossa Senhora, is that you have at least ten different bus routes driving there, sometimes three of them arriving at a stop at the same time, people waving for them to stop, but they drive past because of lack of space, heavy traffic, stress, uncertainty or what do I know. But this is another factor that makes them hard to rely on, even though they run according to plan more often than not.

I have also been told that the trains here are unreliable, as they often break down, causing long delays for passengers on their way to work, school or other commitments. In fact I think the traffic might be one of the reasons why it is generally considered acceptable here to arrive late and have a flexible attitude towards time. Transport is of course also one of the biggest infrastructure challenges that have raised doubts on whether Brazil was fit to host grand sporting events like the World Cup and the Olympics. With regards to the World Cup, I think so far, there haven’t been major issues with the transport of football fans, even though bus driver strikes and metro workers strikes in some cities haven’t come at the best time.

In spite of the traffic, mosquitos and a few other negative aspects of Rio, the positives have by far outweighed the negatives for me here. One stark contrast I have noticed was between the people commuting in Nossa Senhora and the people I saw in Vidigal favela when I passed through there, was that in Vidigal, most people seemed to be enjoying the moment, e.g. children smiling and playing ball games or with toys, grownups playing cards or having fruitful conversations and so on.

World Cup Fans Photos

Argentinian football fans have pretty much overtaken Rio de Janeiro in the past few days. On Saturday night, they occupied a huge area of Copacabana beach for partying ahead of their game on Sunday night. Many of them have come by well decorated buses, trailers and cars and this morning I saw around 50 of them sleeping or just waking up at the beach.

The Argentinian fans were of course dominant during their team’s game at the FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana.Their team did not play very well and struggled against the first-timers from Bosnia Herzegovina, but it sure helps to have both Messi and Jesus (see photo below) on your side. Here are photos of the Argentinian fans celebrating Argentina’s first victory at World Cup 2014.


Messi strikes for 2-0.

Argentina Bosnia FIFA Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro

Celebrating Argentina’s win.

Argentina Bosnia FIFA Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro

Jesus was on Argentina’s side this time around.

Argentina Bosnia FIFA Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro

The Bosnian minority.

Argentina Bosnia FIFA Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro

The mystery fan.

Argentina Bosnia FIFA Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro

Argentina takes the lead.

Celebrating a successful start for Argentina.

What better place for religios propaganda than the World Cup?

What better place for religious propaganda than the World Cup?

France 3 Honduras 0

France were thrashing Honduras.

Cariocas – The People of Rio

Identities are an interesting part of human culture; most humans feel a need to identify themselves as part of some groups. Nationalities are one example, nations send their teams or individuals to represent them at sporting events, such as the upcoming FIFA World Cup here in Brazil, and lots of people relate strongly to their national teams. I was for example disappointed when my national team lost in the playoffs against Croatia, for a place in this year’s tournament. Just as I’ve been very disappointed with Liverpool FC time and time again in recent years, which is in a way absurd, given the fact that I’ve been living in other countries and don’t really have any relation to that team other than knowing many other supporters.

In Rio de Janeiro, the common identity for its citizens has a strong significance. People of Rio define themselves as Cariocas, as opposed to e.g. Paulistas (people from Sao Paulo), which are not considered very special around here. But what do people want to reflect with this identity? It reflects a relaxed way of life where e.g. punctuality is a flexible concept. Touching and kissing is a general feature of friendly interaction and people greet each other with kisses on both cheeks. Rio has been called the friendliest city in the world, which is no coincidence. From my time here so far, it seems like the most social place I’ve been to and in general, people here seem in very open. In stores, for example, I have noticed this friendliness and how common touching is. Some of the female employees have also flirted, which is not bad if you ask me. There is a popular song about Cariocas, telling about their alleged features, such as being modern, direct and sexy.

The human need to identify with a group reflects our relation to chimpanzees, who are known to have their troops and identify themselves in terms of these, at least if we use the same theory as Dr. Steve Peters does in his excellent book, The Chimp Paradox. I am not used to strong identities based on cities, there is for example no sense of a common identity for people of Reykjavik, they will much rather define themselves in terms of e.g. nationality or sports teams. Going back to my support for Liverpool, I grew up seeing my dad and the football enthusiasts in my mom’s family supporting this team, so already there I got the “chimp” idea that this was one of my troops. For people that don’t understand football or why football supporters can get very upset about their teams, jump with joy, cry, scream or show other seemingly irrational emotional actions to the performance of their team, the chimp theory might explain this behavior to some extent. Some might call it caveman behavior. The Chimp Paradox explains several other “irrational” and emotional human behaviors in a simple and funny way.

Julia Michaels, who runs RioRealblog.com, wrote an interesting post about the changes in the identity of Brazilians (which applies not least to the Cariocas):

“Perhaps the fact that a growing number of young black Brazilians are letting their hair grow, without using straighteners or wearing braid extensions, is more than a passing fashion statement. The new look, which harks back to the time when black militants were fighting racism in the United States, is called “Black Power” — in Portuguese. It speaks of power and self-esteem.“

Exactly why identity based on the city became so important here in Rio in the beginning, I am not sure, but now that it is in place, it is easy to understand how it passes from one generation to the next. The kids grow up learning that they are Cariocas and what significance this has.

The photo below is from yesterday and shows construction work on the FIFA Fan Fest zone on Copacabana beach, which looks like a job half done, now when the opening match is 4 days away. Maybe this is the Carioca way to tell the rest of the world to relax? Or as they would put it in Portuguese: “Calma, calma, tudo é tranquilo”

Construction work for the FIFA Fanfest zone at Copacabana beach

Construction work for the FIFA Fan Fest zone at Copacabana beach


Rio de Janeiro Facts

Where does the name Rio de Janeiro come from? What is the population of Rio? What is the rate of crime? How is the climate? Below you can find facts about Rio de Janeiro, regarding the city name, population, language, and climate.

Name: The name Rio de Janeiro literally means The River of January, which reflects the fact that the European explorers arriving in Guanabara Bay in January 1502, believed it was the mouth of a river. Source: The Free Dictionary (Retrieved 3 June, 2014).

Population: The population of the Rio de Janeiro urban area was reported to be 11.6 million in 2013, which makes it rank among the world‘s megacities. Source: New Geography (Retrieved 3 June, 2014).

Crime rate: The US State Department has rated Rio de Janeiro as “critical” for crime for the past 25 years and report high and rising levels of crime, such as robbery, rape, fraud and residential thefts in both the state and city of Rio de Janeiro. The rate of homicides has been dropping significantly in recent years though, a 50% decline in homicides per 100,000 inhabitants since 2005. A major factor in this reduction is claimed to be the Favela Pacification Program, which was first presented in November 2008. Source: US Department of State (Retrieved 3 June 2014)

Based on the news I read before coming about violence and crime, I got the idea that Rio was very unsafe.  I have met one foreigner here who was drugged and robbed in the main nightlife area, Lapa, within a week of arrival, but this is the only crime case I have heard of from the many people I have met here.

The New York Times reports increased violence and crime ahead of World Cup, but only time will tell what happens after the tournament starts in 9 days.

Climate: The climate is tropical and the summer temperature can reach 40 ºC, but the average is around 25 ºC. The summer starts in late November and lasts until March. The winter begins in June and finishes in August, with temperatures going down to 15 ºC, while the average daytime temperature is around 23 ºC. Spring and autumn are not significantly different, the weather being somewhere in between typical winter and summer weather. Source: World Weather Online (Retrieved 3 June 2014).

Language: The official language is Portuguese and as a foreigner in Rio, you should not expect people in e.g. stores and restaurants to speak much English. In most cases, they can speak a little bit, but for foreigners, it certainly helps to learn simple phrases in Portuguese to use for these occasions.

Five Things to do in Rio

Here I present five activities in Rio that I have done and would definitely recommend to travelers in Rio. These are free of charge except Forte do Leme, where entrance costs 4 BRL, so you shouldn’t go bankrupt by visiting any of these.

Take an afternoon walk in Urca

Urca is one of the neighborhoods of Rio, located around the famous attraction Pão de Açúcar (e. Sugarloaf Mountain). Praia Vermelha is a small beach in Urca that looks like it was squeezed in between two mountains in a small bay. A walk along the seaside in Urca will give you a chance to see the sailboats, fishermen at work at the harbor and houses from the 1920s among other things as the sun goes down. If you want a little rest from walking, you could lie down for a moment on Praia da Urca (e. Urca beach) and listen to the waves coming in.

Afternoon in Urca

Harbor in Urca

Play football or volleyball at Copacabana beach

I can hardly think of activities that are more calming and enjoyable than playing football or volleyball at the beach. Just being there and enjoying the game and the good weather and forgetting about time and any commitments you may have is a magnificent feeling. If you are not with a group, it is usually easy to find people playing that will allow you to join.

Enjoy the view from Forte do Leme

Forte Duque de Caxias, commonly known as Forte do Leme (e. The Fort of Leme) is an old military fort, located on top of Mount of Leme and used to play an important role in defending Guanabara Bay and the coast of Rio de Janeiro from the start of the 18th century. It takes an 800 meter walk on a road paved with cobblestones to get up there, through the forest landscape, where there is a good chance to see tiny monkeys, known as common marmoset. The view over Copacabana, Guanabara Bay and the city when you get up is spectacular.

The view from Forte do Leme

The view from Forte do Leme

Soak in the samba atmosphere at Pedra do Sal

Nightlife in Rio is a topic for another post, but so far, Pedra do Sal in the city center has been a highlight of the nightlife for me. This area has special significance for people of African descent and fans of samba and chorinho music. It is known to be the center of an area known as “Little Africa” and was originally a slave market, the first African immigrants from Bahia settled there in the 17th century.

Every Monday and Friday, “Roda de Samba” gathers around a table at Pedra do Sal to perform samba classics for the people. If you get hungry or thirsty, you can get beer or caipirinha and grilled meat or cheese on a stick. The atmosphere at this place is very lively and you can sense a strong feel good factor in the air.

Watch the sunset from Arpoador

Sunset over Ipanema beach.

Sunset over Ipanema beach.

Arpoador is a small rocky peninsula that separates Copacabana beach from Ipanema beach. From there, you can watch the sunset over Ipanema and see the people bathing in the last sunrays of the day. It is a popular place among professional and amateur photographers and when I went there, a couple was getting married on the rock, probably mostly to get a good background for their wedding photos without the help of Photoshop.

Prices in Rio de Janeiro

Compared to other countries in South America, the cost of living is high in Brazil. Prices in Rio de Janeiro are in general also higher than in many other parts of Brazil. Below is a summary of the price range on some of the most commonly used products and services (all prices are in Brazilian reais (R$), convert to your currency here)

Transport: A one-way ticket for the bus costs 3 R$. The bus system is extensive and covers the city well, while the Metrô Rio is a limited in this regard. A one-way ticket to the metro costs 3.50 R$. Taxi start charge is 4.7 R$ and charge per driven kilometer is 1.90 R$.

Food & Drink: Beer is cheap compared to what I’m used to from Europe. A large beer (0.5 liter) at a bar in e.g. the Copacabana area or Lapa will typically cost around 5-7 R$. Large Brazilian beer in the supermarket will cost you around 2-4 R$. Bohemia is definitely the best Brazilian beer I’ve come across here, but it’s usually more expensive than the others. The best known cheaper options are Itaipava, Brahma, Antarctica and Skol. From these four, I would recommend Itaipava and Brahma.

For lunch or afternoon bite, it is convenient to go to a bakery or a fast food restaurant (lanchonete), they usually offer a good variety of quick and reasonably priced bites. You can expect to pay around 10 R$ for a slice of pizza and fresh orange juice. The pizzas I’ve got here have been really tasty.

An economic option to eat out is the kilo restaurants, where you select your food from a buffet and pay by the weight. Restaurante Estação Sabor on Avenida Nossa Senhora Copacabana is one that I can recommend in this category. You can get a full meal there for around 25 R$.

Zona Sul and Pão de Açúcar are expensive supermarket chains that focus more on quality and variety than low prices. Cheaper supermarket options in the Copacabana area are e.g. Mundial on Rua Siqueira Campos and Supermercados Inter.

Clothes:  Cotton t-shirts can be bought for 30 R$, shorts for 100 R$ and leather shoes for around 240 R$.

Activities & Attractions: To see Rio’s most famous attraction, the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), you pay 50 R$ to get up to the top of Corcovado mountain.

To enter the impressive Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico), you pay 6 R$.

Feira de São Cristóvão is a market and festival venue that offers food, music and culture from the Northeastern part of Brazil. Entrance ticket costs 20 R$.

Here you can find further information on prices on various products and services in Rio de Janeiro:


Numbeo (compare average prices in your own city to the prices in Rio).

I might add to this guide to prices in Rio later. If you have any additions or comments, let me know.