A Travel Price Comparison for Brazil Sao Paulo vs. Rio de Janeiro for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sao Paulo 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.

Sao Paulo

With a population of around 11 million, and 20 million in the metropolitan area, Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It's also one of the wealthiest cities in the southern hemisphere, although you don't have to look far to see the income disparities and inequalities that exist. The city is diverse and culturally rich, with excellent food, music, and entertainment.

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 Sao Paulo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sao Paulo is $41, 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 Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Sao Paulo can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $23, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $46.

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
    Sao Paulo $23
    Rio de Janeiro $50
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sao Paulo $46
    Rio de Janeiro $100

Food

The average traveler spends about $11 per day in Sao Paulo 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.

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
    Sao Paulo $11
    Rio de Janeiro $15

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sao Paulo

For Sao Paulo, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Sao Paulo - Pinheiros Gourmet Food Tour (4 hours tour + 3 dishes included): $45
  • Brazilian Cooking Class: $79
  • Cooking Class in São Paulo: $268
  • Private Food Tour in São Paulo: $278

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

Sao Paulo'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 $4.61 per person, per day on transportation in Sao Paulo.

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.
    Sao Paulo $4.61
    Rio de Janeiro $6.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sao Paulo

Also for Sao Paulo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfer: São Paulo Hotels to GRU International Airport: $50
  • CGH Airport transfer Sao Paulo city / Hotel: $38
  • Creative & Natural Transfer São Paulo-Paraty: $375
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU by Standard Car: $43
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU in Business Car: $82
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU in Luxury Van: $77
  • Guarulhos International Airport Transfer: $100
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to Guarulhos City - One Way: $122
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to São Paulo City - One Way: $122
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo to Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Int. Airport (GRU): $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Int. Airport (GRU) to Sao Paulo: $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo/Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Sao Paulo: $22

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 Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro?

Prices for flights to both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo 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 Sao Paulo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $3.16 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.
    Sao Paulo $3.16
    Rio de Janeiro $17

Tours and Activities in Sao Paulo

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sao Paulo.

  • Downtown São Paulo: An audio tour tracing the city's epic history: $5.00
  • Virtual Live Tour of Sao Paulo Graffiti Hosted by Artist: $25
  • Street art is not for lazy tourists :P: $25
  • São Paulo Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $31
  • Discover Sao Paulo History Guided Tour: $31
  • Paulista Avenue Walking Tour: $31
  • Private São Paulo Historic Center Walking Tour: $45
  • Small Group Highlights Tour in São Paulo: $49
  • City Tour Meet São Paulo Half-Day: $50
  • Alternative City Tour: $50
  • Rain Forest Trail - Cantareira Natural Park day tour from São Paulo: $58
  • Embu das Artes Largest Handicraft Fair Tour from São Paulo: $58

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 Sao Paulo, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $2.75.

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
    Sao Paulo $2.75
    Rio de Janeiro $9.43

Sample the Local Flavors in Sao Paulo

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Sao Paulo:

  • 4 Hours Pub Crawl in Vila Madalena: $69

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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, we can see that Rio de Janeiro is more expensive. And not only is Sao Paulo much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sao Paulo would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sao Paulo and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Rio de Janeiro would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rio de Janeiro than you might in Sao Paulo.

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Sao Paulo vs. Rio de Janeiro Travel Comparison

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