Updated 8 months, 1 week ago

Plunging Dollar Makes Visiting Rio Olympics More Expensive

The drop in the dollar and higher prices for some services, such as hotels, will make Rio de Janeiro a more expensive city to visit during the Summer Olympics next month, but tourists will find the “Ciudad Maravilhosa” more affordable than during the 2014 World Cup.

Visitors arriving in August will find that the Brazilian real is up about 20 percent against the U.S. dollar since the start of the year, when the exchange rate hit 4.00 amid a serious political and economic crisis.

Although the exchange rate will be less favorable than a few months ago, visitors will find more attractive prices than during the World Cup, when Rio de Janeiro was one of the host cities and the exchange rate was hovering around 2.20 reais.

In addition to dealing with the low value of the greenback during the World Cup, tourists had to contend with currency speculators in the streets, especially in Rio’s most popular areas, a problem that many residents fear will happen again as the Games, which start on Aug. 5, approach.

Coconut water, a popular beverage on Brazilian beaches, and umbrella and chaise lounge rentals, provide a good gauge of the higher prices in the city, where everything tends to cost more than in the rest of Brazil.

Far away from the beaches, vendors at the Olympic complex will sell coconut water for 8 reais (about $2.40), while beer will go for 13 reais (some $4.00) and a bowl of pasta will set visitors back around 20 reais (about $6.10).

Air fares could be the big budget buster for Olympic visitors and Brazilians who want to take in the Games.

Some carriers are asking for up to 10 times the usual amount for tickets, a practice that is not unusual in Brazil, the Brazilian Association of Travel Agencies, or ABAV, said.

“We’ve found that they’re going for 10 times the normal price, but there are also air fares with practically no change in price, compared to other times, depending on the date, the time and the company you’re looking at,” the ABAV told EFE.

Housing will also put a dent in most visitors’ wallets, with the cost of staying in the three Rio districts hosting Olympic events – Maracana, the southern tourist zone and Barra de Tijuca – soaring.

In the southern tourist zone, home to the world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, rents have climbed 259 percent, compared to the low season, the Rio de Janeiro Housing Association, or SECOVI, said.

The daily rate for a two-bedroom apartment during a regular August is usually 320 reais (about $98.20) per night.

The same apartment will cost about 1,150 reais (some $353) a night during the Olympic Games.

Latin American Heral Tribune