Budget Traveller’s Guide to Rio de Janeiro

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Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is somewhat of a magnet for travellers from all over the world, with its renowned gorgeous beaches, beautiful backdrop of mountains, interesting and unusual attractions, tasty cocktails aplenty, exuberant locals, and more. Brazil is, however, known to be rather an expensive destination, especially when compared with some of its more affordable South American neighbours. There’s no need to skip one of the country’s most popular destinations altogether though if you’re trying to maintain a budget whilst on your travels; the city has a number of great things to do and see that won’t cost you much at all.

Here are some of Rio de Janeiro’s best budget activities:

Chill Out on the Beaches

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Enjoying the idyllic beach life is a major part of travelling to Rio, and the soft sands and warm waters cost nothing at all to enjoy. Spend the day (or several) basking under the warming ray’s of the sun, topping up your tan, and cooling off in the enticing calm waters. Whilst many people head to the city’s most famous beaches, such as Ipanema and Copacabana, there are many more quieter beaches to enjoy. Whilst chilling at the two headline spots is free, you may find that you are more tempted to buy from the beach vendors or splurge in one of the bars and eateries. Enjoy the lively beach scene at these two gems and then make your way to another equally beautiful city beach (they’re all around Rio) for a more chilled out time with fewer temptations to part with your cash.

Pay a Visit to Santa Teresa

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Taking a stroll around the charming neighbourhood of Santa Teresa costs you absolutely nothing but your time … and it will certainly be time well spent! You can see many local artisans and admire great views, which include excellent vistas of the famous Sugarloaf Mountain. Wander the cobbled streets and see the grand old colonial buildings that used to house the city’s rich and famous. Pause for a while in Largo de Guimaraes and indulge in a spot of people watching. Head to the top of the hill and you can visit the historic Parque das Ruinas for no charge. Another interesting local attraction is the Museu Chacara do Ceu, which charges a very modest admission fee. Costing just 2 Brazilian real, the museum is home to a collection of modern art. Santa Teresa is also a great place to try a variety of foods from all around Brazil at (usually) cheaper prices than in the bustling heart of the city.

Join a Free City Tour

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Several organisers arrange free or cheap city tours, allowing you to soak up the sights, save money, and benefit from the expertise of a local. Tipping is expected, but this is still a super cheap and mega fun activity in Rio. You can expect to see places like the National Theater and Carioca Square, learn about the history and culture of the city, find out that makes it tick, and see Rio through the eyes of a native.

Eat like a local, avoiding touristy hotspots, shop in the local markets, walk the streets, and have a great time enjoying Rio de Janeiro!

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