Life & The Cost of Living in Rio de Janeiro

As the second largest city in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro provides students with the opportunity to live and study in a lively and culturally diverse setting. Rio is considered one of the world’s most striking cities, situated between beaches on one side and a jutting mountain range on the other. In Rio, Brazil’s emotional and economic center, life is as varied as both landscape and culture, and equally vibrant and intense.

Rio is a large city with many diverse neighborhoods and an enormous variety of activities to choose from. Students should beware of spending all their time in the Gávea-Leblon-Ipanema enclave around PUC. For suggestions on what to do, check Rio Show (a supplement to the Friday edition of the newspaper O Globo), or Veja-Rio (a supplement to the weekly magazine Veja).

The Beaches

To truly understand the Carioca it is imperative that students take part in the beach scene. Located on the coast, much of Rio’s music, vocabulary, jokes, styles, and pastimes revolve around the beach. Along Rio’s coast are “postos”, or lifeguard posts, every kilometer. Groups tend to meet at a posto regularly, and thus it is not odd for a Carioca to ask someone which posto they hang out at to try and understand what “galera” or crowd they belong to. Clubbing is a major part of the young Carioca lifestyle and Rio is full of great clubs.

Eating Out

Rio has more restaurants than most cities in the world. Those who can afford it have tremendous culinary resources at their fingertips. Many of Rio’s most interesting restaurants are not located, however, in the PUC area. Explore possibilities in Flamengo, Botafogo, Laranjeiras and downtown. For a more up-to-date listing, it is best to consult a guide to Rio such as that published by Lonely Planet. Students can also check the weekly Veja-Rio (an insert to the Veja magazine) or Rio Show (a supplement to the Friday edition of O Globo).

Tourist Information

Cost of Living

Before coming to Rio de Janeiro, it is advisable that students plan out their anticipated expenses for the whole semester. The budget should take into account spending on food, transportation, cell phone charges, school materials, cultural and social activities, as well as independent travel.
The budget presented below is approximate and reflects a range of basic expenses that students should anticipate covering. It does not include estimates for personal independent travel outside of Rio de Janeiro nor for social activities, as these expenses will vary widely by individual student.
Unless otherwise noted, the amounts listed correspond to the entire semester (typically 5.5 months). Meal expenses will vary according to whether students purchase groceries and do their own cooking, eat out, or any combination thereof.
Estimated budget CASA 2023.1_KES.pdf