Karolina Puin

Karolina Puin

The Brazil Business


Cost of living in Rio de Janeiro

Karolina Puin

Karolina Puin

The Brazil Business


This article will point out the costs that a professional relocating to Rio de Janeiro must maintain the same standard of living. Have in mind that a European or American life style is not cheap in Brazil.

Living in Rio de Janeiro could be a real dream: good restaurants, beautiful views, beautiful people and different cultures, but nothing is entirely good as it seems to be. A middle-class standard way of life in Rio de Janeiro is not simple as it seems to be.


Being the 12th most expensive city in the world, in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is only behind São Paulo (10th place) according to the research that classified 214 cities, living in cities as Rio de Janeiro brings higher costs for transportation, living, food, goods, entertainment and clothing.

The purpose of this article is to look at the cost of keeping a middle-class Western European life standard in Rio. At first, have in mind that the living cost will be different from person to person, depending on what you are planning to let go of.


The accommodation is for sure the most problematic topic when talking about expensive prices in Rio de Janeiro. Depending on where you are going to work, it is better to live near your job, as neighbourhoods are far from each other and the public transportation is still under development. The prices of renting or buying a property depend on the neighbourhood you choose to live in.

Very poor people, especially those who live in extremely poor areas, as favelas for example, sometimes spend more than five hours commuting for work. It is important to say that the traffic and the public transportation are not good enough to support the population.

Item Price
Renting a Furnished Flat in Laranjeiras (50 m2) BRL 3500 (per month)
Renting a Furnished Apartment in Copacabana (72 m2) BRL 5000 (per month)
Renting a Furnished Apartment in Leblon (55 m2) BRL 3000 (per month)

Flats have housekeeping services included


The public transportation in Rio de Janeiro is not good enough to support the whole population. Subways are still better than buses, but they do not cover the entire city. Taxis are very easy to find in Rio de Janeiro, but the ride price is not too cheap, riding from Copacabana to Ipanema, you will spend approximately BRL 12, so if you are going to get a cab everyday, you better by a car.

Item Price
Underground single faire BRL 3.10
Buss single faire BRL 2.75
Garage spot in Copacabana area BRL 340 (per month)
1 liter of fuel BRL 2.75

Food and Beverages

Food is not the most expensive item in Brazil; therefore, Brazilians do spend most part of their income buying food. Eating and drinking costs are almost the same in the whole country, with only a few things vary

Item Price
Large whole grain bread BRL 4.95
500 gram Turkey BRL 5.50
150 gram Philadelphia cream cheese BRL 5
240 gram Strawberry jam BRL 15
600 ml Coca Cola BRL 2
2.5 l Coca Cola BRL 4.50
300 ml Mainstream local Beer BRL 1.70
500 ml Imported Beer BRL 18
Big Mac Menu BRL 17
European style lunch (double sandwich + coffee ) BRL 20
Simple Brazilian style lunch (buffet + juice) BRL 10
Nice Brazilian style lunch (selection of beef + desert) BRL 30
Tall Starbucks Cappuccino BRL 8
Generic Cafe Americano BRL 2

Have in mind that these prices are for the most common products here in Brazil, but there are similar ones more and less expensive than these prices. That list is only a trivial view of Rio de Janeiro.


Having fun in Rio de Janeiro is not complicated. The city has activities to every kind of people. You only have to choose what pleases you the most. The one good point is that during the day, most of the events are free of charge.

During the day, beaches, expositions, parks, and street theatres entertain those who love having fun followed by the sun. There are activities in the whole city and websites specialized only in this kind of fun.

During the night there are the famous pubs and bars, where people go to their famous “HAPPY HOUR”. For those who love nightclubs and partying all night, Rio de Janeiro has music nights for all sorts of music lovers. The prices start on zero (specially for women) and can reach BRL 400.

Living in Rio de Janeiro can be or not a good deal, it mostly depends on what lifestyle satisfies you the best. Something you always have to remember is: having a middle class standard life style in this city is not that cheap. Have in mind that the costs can be reduced, according to what you are willing to let go.

Other Resources

It's impossible to cover all products in this short article, that's why we provide some useful links to obtain prices on common products: