Follow this great guide extracted from the Guardian to avoid ripoffs, punchups and running out of money in Rio next year.
Where to stay and where to find hotel bargains in Rio
The best place to stay is in the Copacabana tourist trap. For those looking for more upmarket neighbourhoods, try further down the beach at Ipanema or Leblon. If you are looking for a more bohemian experience, try a boutique hotel in Santa Teresa.
How to get around
Make sure you book your flights early. Domestic flights within Brazil are extremely expensive (compared to domestic flights in the UK). If you leave it until the last minute, the price of a half-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo can double, triple or even quadruple from the original price! One alternative to flights, is long-distance bus journeys – which are a lot cheaper and give you an opportunity to enjoy the sights and scenery on the way.
What to do between matches
Usually the first thing tourists flock to when going to Brazil are the crowded landmarks of Christ the Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf mountain and the bars and beaches of Copacabana. For the arty ones amongst you, The Museum of Art arguably has the best collection in Latin America.
But make sure you also check out the majestic Iguazu Falls – recently voted the seventh natural wonder of the world. Located on the border with Argentina, Look South Tours run tours to Iguazu Falls and also the opportunity to explore Northern Argentina. Check these out here.
What to eat
The most common dish in Brazil is rice, beans and manioc (or cassava), which means that vegetarians will never go hungry. But as Brazil is the land of cerrado plains – beef country – meat eaters will be spoilt for choice of the many local delicacies. For those brave tourists up for a challenge, try the popular street snack chicken hearts.
Ripoffs to avoid
Value for money is not common in Brazil. Instead try to stretch your budget to the max; get around by bus or metro (instead of expensive taxi), fill up on rice and beans at a kilo restaurant where you pay for the weight of your food. Also, try and avoid the gimmicky items with little or no use such as the caxirola.
Where to avoid
Rio is a lot safer than it was a decade ago. But wherever you go in Brazil be wary of any quiet dark street and keep a close eye on your belongings. Try to avoid unspecified favelas unless you have a local guide.
- One year to go: The countdown begins until the Football World Cup kicks off in Brazil (looksouthtours.wordpress.com)
- Iguazu Falls, Argentina: The wonder in under a minute (looksouthtours.wordpress.com)