Rio on a Budget Rio de Janeiro is certainly not known as a cheap tourist destination, however it is possible to be budget conscious and keep money in your savings account while you enjoy all that the city has to offer.

Rio on a Budget

I traveled to Rio de Janeiro and stayed for one week spending only R$876.54 (~$388 USD) and this is how I did it…


I stayed at the Casa Alto Vidigal hostel at the top of the Vidigal favela during off-season in a 4-bed dorm room for $13 USD (R$30) per night.
Since it was not peak season, two of the nights that I stayed there I had the room to myself; there was full occupancy on only one of the nights during my entire stay. I don’t believe in spending an outrageous amount of money on accommodation, especially since I spend most of my time in a destination exploring a destination, and not in my hostel/hotel/apartment rental.
TOTAL SPENT: R$180.00 or ~$80.00 USD (6 nights at R$30/ $13 USD per night)

Food & Beverages

Eating in Rio

The majority of the days that I traveled, I stuck to eating the most of my meals inside of the favela, which were ‘por quilo‘. Some of my most enjoyable  and inexpensive meals happened to be inside of the favela as well (a tip that I got from the blog travel-stained).There were a couple of meals where I ended up splurging on (*) however, avoiding eating expensive food all of the time saved me a lot of money. I estimate that if I had eaten all of my meals inside of the favela, I could have saved about R$190/ ~$84 USD.

Day 1 – R$14.00 Water (R$2) + Sushi in the favela (R$12)
Day 2 – R$31.65 Breakfast in the favela (R$10.50) + Water from the grocery store (R$1.15) + Tapioca in the favela (R$5) + BBQ at the hostel (R$15)
Day 3 – R$104.88 Lunch in the favela (R$8)+ Water (R$4) + Water (R$2) + Dinner in Copacabana* (R$72.88) + Pizza and Caipirinha in the favela (R$18)
Day 4 – R$80.00 Breakfast and 2 waters in the favela (R$10) + Lunch and Caipirinha de Maracuja on Ipanema Beach* (R$70)
Day 5 – R$83.12 Brunch at Parque Lage and Service Fee (R$39.12)* + Dinner and Dessert at Guanabara (R$44)*
Day 6 – R$36.50 Food at Gloria Market (R$23.50) + Dinner in favela (R$13)
Day 7 – R$6.00 Breakfast in favela (R$6)

TOTAL SPENT: R$356.15 or ~$157.00 USD


Rio Transportation

Transportation around Rio de Janeiro is very inexpensive. The bus and the transportation inside of the favela were by far the cheapest means of getting around (with the exception of the moto-taxi driver in the favela who took advantage of me and overcharged me when she noticed I was wearing a travel backpack). The most expensive means of transportation were the tram to the Christ the Redeemer (R$50/ ~$22 USD), and the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain (R$62/ ~$27.40 USD).

Day 1 – R$32.00 Airport Bus to Vidigal (R$13.50) + Moto-taxi to hostel (R$10) + Bus (R$3) + Bus (R$3) + Van to hostel (R$2.50)
Day 2 – R$12.00 Bus (R$3) + Metro (R$3) + Bus (R$3) + Van to hostel (R$3)
Day 3 – R$117.00 Taxi to Corcovado (R$13.50) + Tram to Christ the Redeemer RT ($50) + Bus to Lapa (R$3) + Metro ($3.50) + Bus to Vidigal (R$3)
Day 4 – R$7.00 Van in favela (R$1) + Bus to Ipanema ($3) + Bus to Vidigal ($3)
Day 5 – R$102.00 Van in favela (R$2) + Bus to Leblon (R$3) + Bus to Parque Lage ($3) + Taxi to Sugarloaf (R$17) + Cable car to Sugarloaf RT (R$62) + Bus to Leblon (R$3) + Taxi to Vidigal (R$9.50) + Van in favela (R$2.50)
Day 6 – R$30.00 Taxi to Gloria (R$22) + Bus to Ipanema (R$3) + Van in favela (R$2.50) + Moto-taxi in favela ($2.50)
Day 7 – R$18.50 Moto-taxi in favela (R$3.50) +  Bus to airport (R$15) -> Bus driver didn’t have change

TOTAL SPENT: R$318.50 or ~$141.00 USD


Christ the Redeemer Rio de Janeiro

*Note: The Sugarloaf and Christ were free to visit, but paying to get up there were not free, and those costs were included in the ‘Transportation’ section.

  • Jardim Botanico (R$6)

TOTAL SPENT: R$6.00 or ~$3.00 USD


Random things, like losing my keys to the hostel and buying a replacement and needing some products from the grocery store.

  • Pen (R$.90) – died the same day
  • Toothpaste – (R$1.19)
  • Pen (R$1.50) – still alive
  • Feminine goods (R$2.30)
  • Key replacement (R$10.00)

TOTAL SPENT: R$15.89 or ~$7.00 USD

It is possible to travel to Rio de Janeiro for one week and spend less than $400. I could have cut my budget down even further in all areas (not losing my key, eating only in favelas, not taking taxis, etc.)

Have you traveled to Rio de Janeiro? What tips do you have for saving money? Share them below!