This post outlines the cost of travel in Brazil. Keep reading for suggested shoestring and more comfortable backpacking budgets for South America’s largest nation. We also have information about the local currency and sample prices.
How much does it cost to travel in Brazil?
Brazil Travel Costs on a Shoestring Budget
US$45/day | 170 Brazilian Real
Anyone heading to Brazil and expecting to find a budget travel paradise will be sadly mistaken. It is widely considered the most expensive country in South America although the good news for visitors is that the Brazilian Real lost value against almost all major currencies in 2017 and 2018, making it slightly more affordable now.
Our Brazil backpacking budget of $45 puts it roughly in line with an average country in Europe. Given the country’s size and the massive inequality that exists, this figure is only really a rough guide though. Spend an afternoon or evening in one of the posher areas of Rio or Sao Paulo and you could easily end up blowing this in a matter of hours. However by venturing into cheaper neighbourhoods not to mention cheaper parts of the country, prices tumble and your budget will stretch much further, especially if you have even a basic grasp of Portuguese.
Hostel beds and basic meals are relatively good value on the whole while there are lots of budget-friendly ways to enjoy a night out. What can really cost a lot in Brazil though is getting around the country. You’d need several months to get anywhere close to seeing most of the main travel regions and if you try to cram too much into a small space, you’ll be forking out a lot on internal flights and long-distance buses.
Therefore by focusing on just one part of the country or a couple of regions tops, you can get by on $45/day comfortably enough and perhaps even less. Anything much more ambitious and you might want to start thinking about the ‘more comfortable’ budget below.
More Comfortable Brazil Backpacking Budget
US$70/day | 260 Brazilian Real
Upping your daily budget to $70 opens up a lot more opportunities. If you have say a month or less in Brazil but wish to visit Rio and a few places on the coast as well as heading to the famous Iguazu falls and into the Amazon then this might be more realistic. The cost of internal flights can be quite high and you won’t have time to take the more budget-friendly but incredibly time-consuming, multi-day boat journey into the Amazon.
If time is less of an issue and you’re willing to opt for slower but cheaper transport, then this budget will allow you to pay for a few more organised trips such as guided excursions deeper into the Amazon. It will also allow you stay in nicer accommodation and enjoy more meals/drinks in better restaurants/bars in a country that caters for people on all kinds of different budgets.
This may also be a better budget around key festivals such and holidays, particularly carnaval when prices rise. We have a separate post on the best time to visit South America, which features info on the best and worst times to come to Brazil and how the time of year impacts on your likely expenditure.
Is Brazil Expensive?
Bus journey from Rio to Sao Paulo (7 hours) – $30
Flight from Rio to Manaus (4 hours) – from $120
0.5 Litre local beer in a bar – $1.75
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – $6
Dorm bed in Rio de Janeiro – from $9/night
Private double or twin room in Recife – from $18/night
Compare Brazil prices to the cost of travel in Peru.
Note, these prices were last checked in 2016. Everything else on this page was updated in early 2019. We also have a separate 2021 article on the cheapest cities to live in Brazil which includes some info on the cost of living for anyone planning a longer stay in the country.
How to lower your travel costs in Brazil
A smart idea is to take the chance to volunteer or work in exchange for benefits such as food and a bed for the night. Brazil is the home of Worldpackers, an exciting new platform which allows travellers to search for hosts and take part in a work exchange. This can not only be a rewarding things to do but it really can help cut down your travel costs and make your trip last longer.
At the time of writing, there are 882 opportunities in Brazil on their platform. These vary from hostel work and bar-tending to creative jobs and farm work. Be sure to use our Worldpackers promo for a $10 discount if you opt to register!
Currency – Brazilian Real
£1 = 4.78 BRL
€1 = 4.24 BRL
US$1 = 3.72 BRL
(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2019)
The Brazilian Real has been quite volatile in recent years so it’s worth checking again when you travel. These are fairly unstable times in the country with a controversial new president so do keep an eye on this.
Check out the Walk on the Favela Hostel in Rio for an authentic Brazilian favela experience just a short walk from the iconic Copacabana Beach.
street art in Sao Paulo, Brazil
This page was last updated in January 2019.