Rio de Janeiro on a Student’s Budget!

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain is the perfect way to experience Rio de Janeiro on a student's budget

With South America being one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for budget travelers, it makes sense that at some point, you might find yourself bound on a plane or bus for Brazil. While much of the continent is affordable for student travelers, Brazil is a notable exception, with prices in the nation approaching first world prices in recent years.

That being said, it is still very possible to enjoy this country and its liveliest city, Rio de Janeiro, on a shoestring. While it does cost money to purchase, investing in a Rio de Janeiro city guide will pay you back by uncovering secrets that only a Rio local would normally know about, helping you to get the most from every dollar spent in this internationally significant city.

While it will have many pointers on how to save a buck here, start your budget planning here so you will have an idea on how to experience Rio de Janeiro on a student’s budget.

Hike up Sugarloaf Mountain

Start your trip to Rio by getting the adrenaline pumping on a hike up the area’s most iconic peak. No matter where you are in Rio de Janeiro, Sugarloaf Mountain dominates the skyline, but as nice as it is to look up at this granite monolith, it is quite the experience to gaze down upon the urban chaos that comprises this city from the top of it.

While the true summit of Sugarloaf requires a pricey cable car ride to reach, the lower of the twin peaks is free to access on foot, giving views that are no less impressive than the ones had on the slighter higher point nearby.

Hit up any one of its fabulous beaches

After dropping near your body weight in sweat, you will have earned your dip in the Atlantic at any one of Rio’s world famous beaches. After cooling off, you can continue to carve up the surf on a body, surf, or SUP’ing board (Barra da Tijuca is best for this, with 11 km of surf breaks that gives everybody room to do their thing), or you can indulge in the active social life that takes place at beaches here.

On the latter point, beach soccer and volleyball are available for active types, while others will enjoy having some cervejas (not cervezas … that’s Spanish, Brazilians speak Portuguese) with the animated and very good looking locals.

Of all the beaches in Rio, the best place to take in this scene is at Copacabana and Ipanema, as they are both the focal point of social life on the many excellent days that Rio enjoys during the year.

Go on a favela tour

Unfortunately, not everyone in Rio is having a fabulous life, so if there’s any guided tour to go on while you are here, be sure to go on one to a favela (Do NOT attempt to go to one alone, unless you like being mugged for all your worldly belongings).

These competitively priced tours will show you how less fortunate residents of this city get by every day, even as their well-off neighbors live in luxury next door, with less other than a security fence separating them in some cases. Definitely an eye-opener!

Live it up in Rio after dark without going bankrupt

Before bidding Rio farewell for points further afield in Brazil, party in style without emptying your wallet of Reals. Two places that stand out for an affordable night out here include Cinelândia, which is an outdoor bar set up on a street offering reasonably priced drinks that pair well with street food and local samba musicians, and Lapa, which allows its many bars and clubs to spill out onto the streets.

In a city with such an infectious party spirit, it doesn’t make sense to keep it all bottled up in a building, especially when the weather is so agreeable much of the year.

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