Top 10 Cheap Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Cheap things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Today’s guest post comes from Paulo Ferreira from… 

It’s one of the world’s top summer destinations, so expect Rio de Janeiro to be one of the most expensive as well especially during Carnival. This is mainly because the Brazilian Real is at its strongest today. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune and can stay at one of the Best Party Hostels in Rio to save some cash. By being frugal, you will learn that there are a number of cheap things to do in this famous and expensive Brazilian destination…

1. Take the public transport

Taking a taxi or renting a car in Rio de Janeiro is quite pricey. The latter may also prove to be inconvenient especially if you are visiting the city for the first time. If you are heading to Ipanema for instance, you can take the Barra Expresso bus to get to the subway for only 3.80 reais or roughly EUR 1.65. This trip will only take about 30 to 45 minutes.

Cheap things to do in Rio de Janeiro

2. Take a stop to Cinelândia

With streets featuring a pack of cheap outdoor bars which offer affordable drinks, Cinelândia is perfect for those who do not want to spend a lot in Rio. The streets are also filled with various music, from Brazilian funk to samba, to keep you entertained while you dine at your street table.

3. The crafts market at General Glicério

Located in General Glicério, this leafy neighbourhood only takes a 15-minute walk from Lorgo do Machado subway. There are a lot of nice and cheap crafts here you can take with you as souvenirs. Don’t miss the pasties here – the fried dough has a meat or cheese filling and for 5 reals you can already enjoy it with sugar cane juice.

4. Go on a favela tour

Most tours in the city include a guided walk through the city’s hillside slums, also known as favelas. If you want to save from spending on guided tours though, you can explore the place alone – so long as you take extra precaution and know which favelas are controlled by the Police Pacification Units.

Rio de Janeiro Favela

5. Rent a beach chair

Rio is known all around the world for its great beaches. Thus, you can expect hotels and resorts fronting or near the beach to have skyrocket expenses. If you want to enjoy the beaches in the city though without having to spend a lot, just rent a beach chair and munch on the snacks offered by roaming vendors.

6. The Hippie Fair in General Osório Square

Taking place every week, the fair is interesting to visit, especially for those interested in local good luck charms. Figas (amulets with clenched fist clasped around a thumb) are among the favorite charms tourists buy for their friends back home.

7. Take a walk around the city

Most attractions in the city do have admission fees which can be quite expensive, but a walk on its streets is free – so go walk around the city and grab a bite on some street food for less expense.

8. Learn to cook a Brazilian meal

Instead of spending lots of bucks in an expensive restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, why not ask about a famous Brazilian dish and try cooking it in the place you are staying in the city? You’ll get to experience cooking a local dish yourself without having to spend a lot.

9. Flex your muscles walking the Lapa Steps

Unlike other landmarks in Rio, the Lapa Steps or the Escadaria de Selaron does not have any admission fees, which makes it an ideal place to stop by for tourists in a budget. The steep flight of stairs which link Lapa with St. Therese or Santa Teresa, is filled with many different artworks that will make the walk ‘pleasing’.

Free things to do in Rio de Janeiro

10. Party on the streets of Lapa

Bars and disc clubs? Nah, too expensive! The street parties in Lapa is enough to complete your nightlife in Rio de Janeiro. With cheap drinks from street vendors, this is one great way to enjoy the night in the city without spending too much.

Travelling sure is expensive, but making yourself a frugal traveller will take you to an adventure without draining your wallet. But remember to follow basic security instructions provided by Brazilian authorities to make your trip always enjoyable.

Thanks to  Cyro A. Silva,  kevin.j and Koala:Bear for the excellent images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting. 

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