Rio de Janeiro City Guide
OVERVIEW: Rio de Janeiro. The place we'd all rather be. The second largest city in Brazil, and the third largest in South America. Rio is known for it's beautiful beaches and beautiful women, as well as for being the host of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. Do some pushups before you get here, because everyone on Copacabana looks like Greek Gods.
WEATHER: Tropical wet and dry (22-26 °C). Wettest month is December.
SAFETY: Somewhat dangerous. Obvious tourists are targeted by muggers. Do your best to blend in as a local. Fortunately, this is not that hard because Brazilians come in all races, shapes and sizes. Don't walk alone at night if you are new to the city, no matter how tough you think you are.
MUST DO: The beach! Hang out at the famous Copacabana. F*ck the Christ statue, it's exactly what you'd expect.
RENT AN APARTMENT IN RIO DE JANEIRO: $800.00. If you can get a cheaper place in a nice area for less than this, please tell me how.
HOSTEL DORM BED/NIGHT $13.00-16.00. Cheaper in Lapa than Copacabana, but generally you won't pay less than $13.00/night.
NIGHTLIFE IN RIO DE JANERIO: 9.5/10
I have to give it the "almost-perfect 9.5." Rio is made for partying. The atmosphere, people and music make Rio the perfect place to tie one on. Chances are, you will be staying in Copacabana, so my recommendation will be from there. Although, if you have some time, don't neglect the area around Arcos da Lapa (Lapa Arches), which turns into a gigantic street party every Friday night. Lots of bars around here as well.
I recommend: Mud Bug. Always busy. A good first bar to hit in Rio de Janeiro.
BOTTLE OF BEER: $1.75
CHANCE OF HOOKING-UP IN RIO DE JANEIRO: 7.5/10
Brazil's infamous stereotype of having easy women is exaggerated. You have no better chance of getting laid in Brazil than you do in Colombia or the Dominican Republic. But the girls are incredibly friendly and fun-loving. As a gringo, you won't have much exotic factor going out in Copacabana, but the local ladies do seem to have a genuine curiousity about where you're from...it's just not always going to lead to sex. One night stands don't seem to be the norm here, but making out with a girl is remarkably easy. The guys here take quite an aggressive approach to picking up girls, so don't be bashful; if you like a girl, let her know. Girls here will make it incredibly obvious if they're interested, so keep a lookout for indicators of interest.
*If you plan on using online dating in Brazil, I recommend Brazil Cupid as your best option for meeting trustworthy local women.
ARE GIRLS HOT IN RIO DE JANEIRO?: 9/10.
Rio de Janeiro has some of Brazil's most beautiful women. This is also the plastic surgery capital of the world, so fakes boobs and behinds aren't hard to spot. On average, the women may not be quite as hot as you've been led to believe by the media, but once a day or so, you'll see a girl so pretty that you'll doubt she exists. And the personalities of the girls in this city are downright intoxicating. You're likely to swear off any other nationality for the rest of your life if you ever date a Brazilian.
If you want to make the most of your time in Brazil, you will need to speak some Spanish. PortuguesePod is the best resource for learning Portuguese quickly and easily.
GROCERIES: Milk (1L)= $1.30 Loaf of Bread= $2.00 Eggs= $2.00 Water (1.5L)= $1.20 Cigarettes= $2.75
JOB OPPORTUNITIES: You'll have a very difficult time finding work in Rio without a visa.
NOTES: True to it's name: a magnificent city. It has everything you could want: perfect weather, incredible nightlife, friendly people and great beaches. But, it's not all sunshine and sexy-time in Rio. The city is still dangerous, even with security being amped up for the World Cup and Olympics. Also, Rio de Janeiro is expensive. As I noted above, it is difficult to find a decent apartment in a safe area for under $650.00 USD. Finally, learning Portuguese can pose a challenge for a native English speaker. If you have a good grasp of Spanish it will be easier, but it's still an uphill battle. Learning Portuguese makes learning Spanish look like a cakewalk, but it is integral to getting the most out of Brazil.
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
Recommended Resources: Brazil Cupid & PortuguesePod
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*More city guides from Brazil here!