Living in Rio De Janeiro As An Expat

Living in Rio De Janeiro As An Expat – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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Everyday life as an expatriate in Rio brings all the excitement and fun you want. Have you ever craved to live in Brazil? Well, maybe Rio De Janeiro is the right place. Here, you’ll find an increasing feeling of lawlessness. Rio is nicknamed a Cidade maravilhosa, meaning the marvelous city in the country today.

But, guess what! Rio is easily a contender for the most beautiful city in the world. Despite its dark side, this city has many things to explore as it remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And for history, some parts of the city are among the most densely populated places on the planet.

Living in Rio De Janeiro As An Expat

Known throughout the world as a beach city, Rio is also home to the world’s largest urban forest-the Tijuca Forest – which sprawls across the escarpment behind the city. And for the fact that its attraction lies in its space and security, the city remains one of the most popular choices for expatriates.

Have you been surfing the internet to get the correct information about living in Rio De Janeiro? Well, look no further as this is the right platform. While life in Rio is good, it is also full of surprises. Many people imagine moving to Rio De Janeiro as endless days of beach-bumming, samba-dancing, and outdoor living.

However, there is more to explore in Rio De Janeiro. In this article, we will walk you through the ultimate guide to living in this city as an expat. Aside from this fact, we have compiled this article to explain the best outdoor activities in the city and many others. Does that sound interesting? Read further!

10 Things to Know Before Moving to Brazil

Since living in Rio De Janeiro is the main topic today, it’s quite essential that we talk more about the things to know before moving to the country itself. Besides, if Brazil were a human, they’d be a colorful extrovert with solid emotions who sleeps late and enjoys the sensory delights of life.

More so, they like food, drink, music, and football. And for this fact, who wouldn’t love to know that person? Of course, that’s why we need to walk you through the things to know before you plan your needed trip. And chances are the country could be less than you think. So, let’s proceed to the facts.

1.    Life is Pretty Cheaper in Brazil

Generally, Brazil is cheaper to live in than the United Kingdom or any country you could have thought of. But, there are cultural differences even in the way the country prices goods and services. In this case, if you’re after new jeans, shoes, or a car, you may end up spending considerably more than you would in the United Kingdom.

However, when it comes to everything else, from rent to groceries, you’ll be much better off in Brazil – mainly if you’re not living in the two most famous, populated cities, Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. On the other hand, there are cheaper places all over the country, from Fortaleza in the north to Porto Alegre in the south.

2.    Be Ready for Expressive Culture

If you’ve been craving for a move to Brazil, you should be ready for expressive culture. If this sounds strange and potentially uncomfortable to you, just remember the undeniable upside: being expressive and familiar with each other is part of Brazil’s strong collectivist culture, all for one and one for all.

3.    Health is a Universal Right

As an expat coming to this country for the first time, just know that health is a universal right, but going private is better. In fact, around 70 percent of people in Brazil benefit from public healthcare, and it’ll be available to you too, even as a foreigner. But as with many healthcare systems, it’s chronically underfunded.

Like most things in Brazil, private healthcare is cheaper than you’ll probably be used to and generally offers a better level of service than its public counterpart. So, if you’re thinking of getting private medical cover in Brazil, we recommend Cigna. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

4.    Brazil is a Gigantic Country

One first thing you need to know is that; choosing your home state carefully is quite essential while living in Brazil as an expat. We can tell you that it is more significant than India and the actual continent Australia, 35 times larger than the United Kingdom and three times the size of Argentina. The country spans four times zones, from GMT-2 to GMT-5

Living in Rio De Janeiro As An Expat

5.    Brazil Popcorn is Served with Bacon

Not only is it served with bacon, but also a bit of cheese sometimes goes with it. Besides, it seems like an odd combination but one that leaves you wondering why you haven’t tried it before. Aside from this fact mentioned, the active lifestyle will rub off on you. And this is because; a combination of a beach-centric lifestyle that makes people body-conscious and incredible outdoor activities gives ample opportunities for expats to enjoy surfing, football, beach circuit training, and many others, to mention a few.

6.    Essential Relocation Information

When you’re relocating to brazil, your packing list should contain the things that must be brought, including maintenance medicine, original and duplicate copies of all important documents, and other personal paraphernalia. In fact, most of what you need can be found in Brazil, so overseas shipping may not be necessary. However, you can find moving companies in Brazil using online directories like the Yellow Pages.

7.    Driving With American License

One thing no one will tell you is the American driving pass in Brazil. As an expat, you should know that Americans moving to Brazil can legally drive with their U.S.-issued license. On the other hand, it’s important to note that this license is only valid for six months following your entry into the country, assuming you were granted a 180-day visa.

Interesting facts About Living in Rio De Janeiro

It may seem as though everyone knows everything about Rio de Janeiro days. Thanks to the Olympic Games, its popularity rose, bringing burning questions about the city surrounded by the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. But would you love to know better? Take a look at the facts we’ve listed below.

Rio is a City of Millionaires

Of course, we know you might be wondering why we call this place known as the city of millionaires, right? Well, not to worry, as wealthy and notable individuals occupy the city. In fact, they are mostly located around tourist attractions or very close to green spots. More so, the well-known Forbes billionaire list from a few years showed 30 billionaires, and 137,000 millionaires in Brazil live in Rio.

Street Art is Legal in Rio

Even as of today, street art is legal in Rio. So, if you’re among the street art lovers, this is one place you need to consider. However, it was just a few years ago when the city legalized street art or graffiti, in other words.

But there’s a catch, as research revealed. The decree allows graffiti on Rio’s property which includes construction sidings, columns, and gray walls, and the property mustn’t be historically designated. Also, street artists must have special permission to ornament the city that has become an urban art canvas.

Home to Eight Largest Libraries in the World

Undoubtedly, the eight largest libraries in the world are located in Rio, and this happens to be the price of the city. Another unbelievable fact about Rio is that the same library is the eighth biggest library on the planet.

Well, this history all began in the nineteenth century when the Portuguese royal family had to escape Napoleon, and the only way was to travel to this marvelous city. Together on their journey, they brought the Royal Library and its 60,000 things with themselves.

But as of today, the Biblioteca Nacional, as it is called there, has over 15,000 precious items, attracting visitors from all over the world with the gorgeous events and exhibitions held there.

Hosted the Biggest Soccer Game

Since its inception, history has made it known that Rio de Janeiro hosted the biggest soccer game in the world. And that’s why the list of mind-blowing facts about Rio wouldn’t be complete without a few words about soccer. This is because; the city is practically treated as a religion there – everyone plays it, and everyone loves it. And this is the passion that gave birth to a record.

Meanwhile, in 1950, Brazil was playing against Uruguay in the final of the world cup, and the venue was the famous Maracana Stadium that was then the biggest stadium in the world and is still a symbol of the city. Moreover, the match was the most-viewed one in history.

According to history, the official numbers say that around 173,850 spectators watched the match, but unofficially the number is much bigger.

Home to the Biggest Urban Forest

This is another interesting fact about living in this city. As research made it known, 6 million people live in Rio de Janeiro, and the first thing that surely pops to mind is a huge metropolitan city without any patch of green land.

That doesn’t apply to Rio, but it is a city where one can find the world’s biggest urban forest called Floresta da Tijuca. Meanwhile, this place covers a large space of 33 square kilometers with lots of fantastic flora and fauna. Nonetheless, it’s the home of many tourist attractions like the Corcovado.

Rio is the First Brazil Capital

Another interesting fact to know before relocating to this place is that it’s the first Brazil capital. In fact, once Brazil gained independence from Portugal in 1822, this city was named as the country’s capital. The monarchy continued in Brazil until 1889 when the country became a republic. Aside from this fact, they kept Rio de Janeiro as their capital, and this city remained the capital of Brazil until April 21, 1960.

Status of Christ the Redeemer

The interesting fact about living in Rio is not complete without mentioning the Christ the Redeemer statue. And as of today, the status has become emblematic of both the city of Rio de Janeiro and the whole nation of Brazil.

Additionally, Brazilian engineer Heitor de Silva Costa and French-Polish sculptor Paul Landowski began building the statue in 1931. Also, the statue is 98 feet (30 meters) tall, with its horizontally outstretched arms spanning 92 feet (28 meters).

Pros and Cons of Living in Rio de Janeiro

1.    Healthy Standard of Living

Cariocas, as Rio residents are called, have easy access to the seaside. From Guanabara Bay in the east to Sepetiba Bay in the west, 90km of sandy beaches curl around the city’s coastline. Research disclosed that Copacabana and Ipanema might be the best known. Still, the 18km stretch in the wealthy Barra da Tijuca suburb, 30-minute drive south-east of the city center, attracts many foreigners.

Therefore, in a city where average temperatures in the coldest month are still 21C, residents can keep fit with outdoor activities all year round. In this way, you can enjoy a good standard of living. Not only that, but you can eat well, and raw cocoa are Cariocas bread and butter.

2.    Rio is known as Party People

Since its inception, Rio has known how to let its hair down when it comes to the party. In this city, nearly 600 street parties take place, drawing about a million people to samba around the colorful floats. At night, in the raucous Lapa neighborhood, wheeled carts offering zingy caipirinhas keep people’s energy up until the small hours. So, if you’re an expat that loves party life, this is the best city to live in today’s digital world.

3.    Stunning Coastlines and Amazing Hikes

Are you a master when it comes to hiking? Littered with rocky peaks and imposing mountains, Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding land have an incredible array of hikes for expats to enjoy. They have a forest tray that delivers enchanting tropical scenery with broad palm and towering trees, with the occasional marmoset jumping through the canopies overhead.

Additionally, Rio has a slice of tropical beach on your doorstep, and this is what makes the key appeal of Rio. Some of the most famous beaches in the city include; Copacabana and Ipanema, which have their defining characteristics and features.

4.    Delicious Foods and Waterfalls

For food lovers, Rio is another place to explore. This is because; this city offers a wealth of different food that’s a source of local pride yet barely registers on the global cuisine scene. In fact, social activities and daily routines in Brazil are often centered on food, such as stopping at a padaria (bakery) for a strong black coffee and toasted bread in the morning and returning later to grab a refreshing acai after spending some time at the beach. Besides, Rio has many waterfalls that’d allow you to enjoy your stay in the city.

5.    Friendly People and Community

Whenever you feel welcomed in a particular city or country, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay as an expat in such a nation. And it’s a generalization, yet it contains plenty of truth because Brazilians are mostly exceptionally welcoming people and genuinely love to meet people from new cultures.

Rio, in particular, is a great place for solo travelers. Here, you can head up to a bar alone, and before long, you’ll undoubtedly have new Brazilian friends who would treat you like long-lost pals. Not only that, but we can tell you that the social side of Rio is endearing, and the locals’ approach to forming lasting friendships is touching.

6.    Notable for Pop Culture

If you’ve been looking for a country to experience the pop culture, look no further, Brazil is the best option. This city has inspired several films and music videos. The city of God was set and filmed in Rio de Janeiro, and this illustrates the social complexities in favelas between the 60s and 90s. Not only that but plenty of famous musicians have filmed music videos in Rio, enchanted by the exotic, carefree lifestyle it gives.

7.    Thriving Nightlife in Rio

This also contributes to another reason why this place remains the top destination for expat around the world. Rio de Janeiro has several spots where expats can enjoy an unforgettable night out. Also, you can get to Ipanema and Leblon for chic and sophisticated bars that pull in a young, beautiful crowd.

Again, Barra da Tijuca has a few large, music-thumping nightclubs that get going around 1 a.m. and continue until the late morning. Not only that, but Lapa is the most famous area for nightlife, with the main street flanked either side by samba-fuelled bars and clubs and the space in between accommodating all-night street parties.


Crowds Are Unavoidable Here

Just like in every city you would think of, there are always a ton of people and not enough of anything. This means long lines at the grocery store because there aren’t enough check-out clerks, long lines in the women’s restroom. After all, there aren’t enough stalls and hordes shoving at the metro. After all, there aren’t enough trains at rush hour.

Cost of Accommodation

Since Rio is the country’s capital, what do you expect as an expat moving to this country for the first time? Of course, high cost of accommodation. An apartment that would cost nothing less than $500 equivalent in Bangkok is $1,500 in Rio de Janeiro. Aside from that, the buses are twice as expensive as in Bangkok, and the metro is also.

Another thing to note is that movie ticket prices are on par with the US, like dining out like most travel expenses. And while the prices match the US or are even higher, the quality and the service that you receive are much worse, and this feels disappointing. That’s why it’s always harder to save money here.

Woman Disrespect is Rampant

One thing you should also consider while moving to this country as an expat is that disrespect is common to women. So, as a lady moving to this country for the first time, you need to be careful. However, the only thing that could help in this case is being with a man. Then the people on the street cut it out, and its only guys on the buses that pass by, which isn’t so bad.

Frequently Asked Question about Rio De Janeiro

What’s living in Rio like?

Weatherwise, research made it known that Rio is a steamy, tropical city with high humidity levels year-round. Meanwhile, summer is the hottest in this city, which is also known as the sickest time of the year. Moreover, temperatures generally hover between 35-40°C, although it can get hotter and there is a lot of rain.

Is it safe to live in Rio?

When it comes to safety in Rio de Janeiro, we can tell you that things are a bit mixed. But the good news is that rates of violent crime are dropping in Brazil. Also, Rio is a big city with many tourists, which means two things: one, many crimes are crimes of opportunity. And two, you should approach Rio like you would in any big city.

Can I Retire in Brazil?

Of course, you can definitely retire in Brazil. In fact, Americans can flee to Brazil on a retiree visa. But to obtain a retirement visa, you must be over age 60 and have a pension that earns at least $2,000 per month. To apply for a retirement visa, you must apply at least four to eight weeks before arriving in Brazil.

Is it cheap to retire in Brazil?

While the cost of living is lower in this country than in many western countries, it can be quite varied. But due to low labor costs, many services are much less expensive. And unsurprisingly, some of Brazil’s largest cities rank among the most expensive in the country.


Living in Rio means having the most beautiful outdoor activities at your doorstep. With over 11 million digital nomads and younger expats, love living in this wonderful city. Moreover, it is the national center for oil, mining, and telecommunications. Nonetheless, refer to this guide to know better.

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