The $1,000 Trip To Rio de Janeiro

 A Trip To Rio de Janeiro For $1,000?

This article will show you how to take a trip to Rio de Janeiro with only $1,000 in your pocket.

For a whole week.

Sounds impossible? It’s not.

Too many guys think you need a few thousand bucks to make it to Brazil. At this moment, you can take an inexpensive trip to Rio de Janeiro from most major cities in America.

Too many guys think you need a few thousand bucks to make it to Brazil. At this moment, you can take an inexpensive trip to Rio de Janeiro from most major cities in America.

Warning: this is a trip on a budget.

If you want to pop bottles, spend money on women and take taxis everywhere, this article is not for you.

I recommend you to budget about $3,000 for a trip if you want to throw money around in Brazil. Rio can still be expensive if you want to have a vacation centered around buying things.

Some of you can’t or don’t want to blow a few thousand dollars in Brazil, but you still want to have fun.

You might be a young guy who wants to travel. You could be an older guy who just doesn’t have the disposable income you once had.

This article is for you.

To make things general, I’ll make your imaginary departure city, New York City. Many of us live on the East Coast. But, you can find plane tickets around the same price from Midwest and West Coast cities as well.


  1. Flight
  2. Accommodation
  3. Transportation
  4. Food
  5. Activities


By far your biggest expense will be the flight. Let’s say your trip is from New York City to Rio de Janeiro, January 21st, 2016 to January 28th, 2016.

When you fly on a budget, you will give up certain luxuries like direct flights and short layovers.

If you want a cheap flight, you have to pay in other ways.

I found this flight information for the travel date on at the time of this post.



That’s cheap.

But also eats up over half of your $1,000 budget. So, let’s do some math.

$1,000.00 – $536.74 = $463.26

Related Article: The Best Sites To Find Flight Deals To Brazil

trip to Rio de Janeiro


The next biggest cost of your trip to Rio de Janeiro is accommodation.

Off the bat, private apartments and hotels are off the table.

You can’t afford to stay in a $50-$100 per day Airbnb apartment for 7 days. Your budget will be maxed out before you even leave your city.

You can only stay in hostels, a friend’s place or a private room.

You want to keep your daily budget at $20 or lower. So, the most you will be spending on accommodation is $120 excluding taxes and fees.

Friend’s Place

When I take a trip to Rio de Janeiro, I prefer to stay at a friend’s place if I’m on a budget.

If you are a first-timer to Brazil, then you probably don’t have any friends there. Hopefully, you reached out to people online before you headed down, but I wouldn’t recommend staying with people you meet online.

You need to see how they are in person first.

If you already have good friends in Rio, then see if they will let you crash on their couch. Your $1,000 budget will thank you for it.

There are also sites like Couchsurfing where you sleep on a person’s couch, but I never did that.


Hostels are great places to stay if you are traveling alone and you want to meet other tourists to go out with. They can also be inexpensive. That’s what you ultimately want.

I’m not a big fan of hostels, but I’ve stayed in plenty and they serve their purpose. Rio de Janeiro has a few hostels that are nice for their dirt cheap prices.

You can do a simple google search or go to sites like to search for hostels in Rio.

Remember, your budget is $20 or less a day. Let’s say you choose Che Lagarto Hostel Copacabana.

The location looks good, right by the beach. Price is under $20. They have WiFi and mixed dorm rooms, so you will have a chance to meet women when you check in hopefully.

Let’s look at some photos and do some math.

$463.26-$118.86 = $344.40

And your down payment is $20.21

Before you book though, let’s look at private rooms.

Private Rooms

Private rooms from websites like Airbnb can be a great alternative to hostels if you don’t want to sleep in a room with multiple people.

Typically, you can find private rooms ranging from $15 to $50 a day. It really depends on the location and how the room is furnished.

I did a quick search on Airbnb and found a private room by Copacabana beach for $20 a day.

Not the best looking place, but if you are in Rio de Janeiro for just a week, I hope you aren’t spending any time in your room unless you are sleeping.

You just need a place to rest your head at night. So, this will do. Let’s do the math.

$463.26-$157.00 = $306.26

To make this more fun, let’s say you booked the private room instead of the hostel. You have $306.26 left for transportation, food and activities.


We are defining transportation as

  • The trip from GIG airport to your private room and back.
  • How you get around Rio

Nothing more, nothing less.

But before we get into it, we have to do one more thing.

You bought the plane ticket and booked your room.

You hopped on the plane and flew down to GIG. What’s next?

Currency exchange.

You are done spending money in U.S. dollars. That’s a big deal.

You have $306.26 left. As of this post, that equals to R$1,194.42. Check what the exchange rate is during the time you view this post at .

Okay, you have some money to play with for your one week trip. You won’t have exactly that amount because of fees when you exchange it, but let’s just go with it for now.

Back to transportation, when you land at GIG airport, you need to be looking for the blue buses. I wrote about it in this post. Click and read. Avoid taxis if you can at the airport. You don’t need them and they might try to scam you.

While you are traveling in Rio, the buses and metro are your friend. The occasional taxi, especially late at night should be possible with the rest of your budget. And don’t forget about Uber.

There’s no need to go into great detail because Frommer already wrote a great article about the metro and bus systems in Rio.

But just looking at the official metro site for Rio de Janeiro, a single metro ride is now R$3.70. I recommend buying a Rio Metro card called Pré-Pago so you can easily put whatever you need on it for the week.

Check out to plan subway trips. For example, Copacabana to Lapa (metro stop Cinelândia) is only 16 minutes. The metro is pretty straight forward and you should have no problems if you are from a major city with a decent subway system.

Buses can be more confusing and possibly intimidating if you are a first time visitor. That’s why it’s great to have Brazilian friends to show you around.

Let’s say you spend R$300 for transportation. That’s quite a bit since most of your time will probably be spent in the South Zone but let’s throw in a few taxi rides.

R$1,194.42 – R$300.00 = R$894.42


Now we are getting into the expenses that will vary depending on the person. You might eat a lot. You might only eat once a day.

The food expense depends on what you like to eat as well. If you are into fast food, then McDonald’s will be over R$10 a meal.

At a nice restaurant, you can easily spend R$100.

It varies.

If you are like me and have no problem with going to a mom and pop restaurant, you can get a big lunch for R$10-15 and practically be full until the night.

For now, let’s just say you are eating 3 meals a day at R$15. That’s R$45 a day for food multiplied by 7.

R$300 for food.

I’m leaving out the grocery store, but you can save a lot of money cooking a meal or two in the hostel kitchen or the house you are staying in.

There’s a lot of ways to save money on food. You could even be invited to a cook out and eat for free. I’ve been to plenty in Brazil.

Anyways, let’s see what you have left.

R$894.42-R$300.00 = R$594.42


This is the finale.

You made it to the last expense and still have nearly R$600 to play with. Not bad.

Who would have thought a trip to Rio de Janeiro could be so cheap?

Okay. Activities are clubs, tourist attractions, shopping, motel check-ins, etc. Whatever you like to do, you should be able to do a few of those activities with the money you have left.

Here’s a quick run down on prices for a few activities in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Sugar Loaf MountainR$44
  • Christ Redeemer statueR$36 for train ticket (I believe you can hike up the mountain to it for free.)
  • Botanical GardensR$6
  • Maracana StadiumR$3 for museum (soccer matche prices vary)
  • Barra Music (club) – Varies. You can get in from R$10 and up depending on the night. YELP lists it as $$ out of a possible $$$$$. So it’s definitely within our budget. I recommend this place by the way. Great venue.

Lapa is the party district and you can hang outside for free and dance without even going into a club.

The Selarón staircase is free and a great place to take a photo. My author photo at the end of this article is me with the late Jorge Selarón himself.

Whatever you choose to do, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Rio has tons of free things to do.

So there you have it.

A trip to Rio de Janeiro for $1,000 or less. Now make your own and take a trip to Rio.