A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Punta del Este vs. Rio de Janeiro for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Punta del Este or Rio de Janeiro?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Punta del Este or Rio de Janeiro, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este with its many beaches, elegant seaside homes, yacht harbor, high-rise apartment buildings, pricey hotels, ardent night scene and glitzy restaurants is a chic beach resort town in Uruguay. Many tourists come from Brazil and Argentina, on the other side of the Rio de la Plata, to get some nice sun and lay on the beach for a weekend getaway. Punta del Este is more expensive than other areas in Uruguay and has been called the Monaco of South America. Tourist season varies wildly from totally deserted in the winter to very crowded in the summer.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular travel destination in Brazil. It is the second largest city in Brazil and the sixth largest in the Americas. A portion of the city has been designated a World Heritage Site. The peak time to visit is during the city's famous Carnival festival, which is one of the most famous festivals in the world. However, Rio's appeal as a travel destination is apparent year around. The city has a wonderful natural harbour that is surrounded by Sugar Loaf Mountain, Corcovado Peak, and the hills of Tijuca, creating an absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring setting. And you can't miss the beach, either!

Which city is cheaper, Rio de Janeiro or Punta del Este?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Punta del Este is $71, while the average daily cost in Rio de Janeiro is $81. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Punta del Este and Rio de Janeiro in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Punta del Este can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $39, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $78.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Rio de Janeiro is $100. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Punta del Este $39
    Rio de Janeiro $50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta del Este $78
    Rio de Janeiro $100

Food

The price of a meal in Punta del Este can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $22 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $8.80 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

The average traveler spends about $15 per day in Rio de Janeiro for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Punta del Este $22
    Rio de Janeiro $15

Typical Food prices in Rio de Janeiro

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Rio de Janeiro:


  • Popcorn
    $0.57
  • Corn on the Cob
    $0.76
  • Hamburger
    $0.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Rio de Janeiro

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Rio de Janeiro.

  • Food Tour Rio de Janeiro: $30
  • Cooking Class for Cacao Lovers: $51
  • Feijoada Food Tour in Rio de Janeiro with Hotel pick-up and drop-off: $55
  • Plant-based Brazilian Flavours Cooking Class: $56
  • Dinner & Rio Scenarium Nightclub Admission with Transfer: $60
  • Private Tour in Rio Scenarium with Dinner: $65
  • Skip the line: Samba Show Admission & Transfer with Dinner Option: $70
  • Dinner and Brazilian Music Show in Rio Scenarium: $70
  • Small-Group Boozy 7-Recipe Brazilian Cooking Class: $75
  • Brazilian Food And Caipirinhas Cooking Class: $75
  • Food Tour Experience in Rio de Janeiro (Small Groups or Private): $80
  • Secret Food Tours Rio de Janeiro: $82

Local Transportation

Punta del Este's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $16 per person, per day on transportation in Punta del Este.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $6.22 per day to get around in Rio de Janeiro.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Punta del Este $16
    Rio de Janeiro $6.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta del Este

Also for Punta del Este, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Arrival Transfer: Punta del Este Airport to Hotel: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Punta del Este Airport: $40
  • Private Transfer to Garzon Restaurant by Francis Mallmann: $269
  • Punta del Este Airport Private Transfer: $45
  • Punta del Este Wine Tour, Bodega Garzon, Private Transfer: $338

Typical Local Transportation prices in Rio de Janeiro

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Rio de Janeiro:


  • Taxi Ride
    $2.86

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Rio de Janeiro

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Private Transfer: Rio de Janeiro to Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport (SDU): $622
  • Private Transfer: Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) to Rio de Janeiro: $622
  • Tandem Skydiving with Transfers: $617
  • Arrival Private Transfer: GIG or SDU Airport to Arraial do Cabo by Minivan: $481
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Rio GIG or SDU Airport to Angra dos Reis by Minivan: $458
  • Arrival Private Transfer Rio Airport to Buzios or Cabo Frio by Minivan: $428
  • ARMORED Airport Transfer - Rio de Janeiro (COVID-19 Prepared): $387
  • Rio de Janeiro Airport to Búzios Transfer: $360
  • Private Transfer to Paraty: $341
  • Buzios Day Trip from Rio de Janeiro Including Airport Transfer: $310
  • Rio de Janeiro & Angra Private Transfer Business Sedan: $310
  • Private Transfer from Rio to Búzios: $300

Is it cheaper to fly into Punta del Este or Rio de Janeiro?

Prices for flights to both Rio de Janeiro and Punta del Este change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Punta del Este can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $7.60 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $17 per person, per day in Rio de Janeiro. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Punta del Este $7.60
    Rio de Janeiro $17

Tours and Activities in Punta del Este

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta del Este.

  • La Vista 360 Admission Ticket: $10
  • Punta del Este City Tour Clasico con Puesta del Sol en Casapueblo: $25
  • Punta del Este City Sightseeing Tour: $33
  • Art Studio Tour in Punta del Este: $75
  • Punta del Este City Tour: $93
  • Wine Lovers - Punta Wine Experience: $150
  • Punta del Este Special Art Tour: $185
  • Punta del Este Shore Excursion: Private Sightseeing Tour of Punta del Este: $188

Tours and Activities in Rio de Janeiro

Here are a few actual costs in Rio de Janeiro for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Days in Rio: Cultural & Ecologic Tours: $284
  • 2 Days in Rio: Tijuca Forest & Two Brothers Hiking Tours: $265
  • 2 Hour Vidigal Favela Tour Discovery the Most Laidback Favela: $19
  • 3 Hour Sailing Experience in Rio: $39
  • 3-Day Customizable Tour of Rio de Janeiro: $365
  • 4 horas - Tour private: Corcovado e praias: $154
  • 4 hours - Tour Private: Pão de Açúcar e Catedral Metropolitana: $154
  • 4-Day Private Guided Tour from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo – Coastal Trip: $990
  • 4-Days Ilha Grande Experience - Unlocking Brazil's 'Garden of Eden': $1,025
  • 4-Hour Urban Arts Walking Tour: $43
  • 4-hour Rio Downtown Sites & Bites Small Group Tour: $62
  • 4-hour Sum-up Of Rio de Janeiro "Private Tour" – Optional Airport & Port Pick-up: $92

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Punta del Este, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.57.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Rio de Janeiro may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $9.43 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Punta del Este $5.57
    Rio de Janeiro $9.43

Sample the Local Flavors in Punta del Este

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Punta del Este:

  • Wine Tasting from Punta del Este: $128

Sample the Local Flavors in Rio de Janeiro

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Pub Crawl Rio de Janeiro: $11
  • Skip the line: Ipanema Pub Crawl: $28
  • Beautiful Imperial Petropolis City Tour Optional Lunch & Bohemia Brewery: $34
  • Rio By Night Tour: Pub Crawl Experiencing Music, Dancing, Drinks & Local Culture: $105
  • Petrópolis City and Brewery Bohemia Tour - Best of Rio's Mountains: $135
  • Rio: Sitio Burle Marx and Cachaça Distillery Private Tour: $160


When comparing the travel costs between Punta del Este and Rio de Janeiro, we can see that Rio de Janeiro is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Punta del Este vs. Rio de Janeiro Travel Comparison

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