Rio De Janeiro, Brazil Report of what it's like to live there - 06/14/24

Personal Experiences from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 06/14/24


1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

This was our first post with USG but we've lived abroad before.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

DC. If you're lucky you can go Rio-->Miami-->DC and it takes about 14 hours. If you are traveling with pets you may need to fly a different route.

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3. What years did you live here?


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4. How long have you lived here?

We lived there for two years.

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5. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic Mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Everyone is in apartments and most have three bedrooms. We were told housing would be small but we had been living in New York previously and the housing felt really big. Folks tend to live in Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, or Lagoa. It's about a 30 minute drive or metro ride to the consulate.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries were readily available with lots of stores within walking distance. Less variety in the US but good quality. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables but very seasonal. I think less expensive than the US.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Good peanut butter and maple syrup. We used vitacost for dry good items we couldn't find locally. Ship your favorite liquids that you can't get through DPO.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Rio has a lot of Japanese and Italian restaurants and not much of anything else, though more things were opening up when we left in 2023. Local food is good but lacks spice. Bring hot sauce! You can get most things delivered on Rappi.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

We didn't have any insect problems except the occasional cockroach.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

We used DPO. I never used local post.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

We paid about $250/month for a housecleaner to come once a week.

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3. Do you feel that it is safe to walk, run or hike outside? Are there areas where bike riding is possible? What is the availability and safety of outdoor space for exercising? Are these easily accessible?

Yes, lots of people run along the beach and there is a bike lane. Lots of hiking about in and around the city. There is a crime issue, see below for more detail.

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4. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Every kilometer along the beach has a workout station that is free to use. There are lots of different HIIT classes on the beach. You can swim or surf in the ocean. Some people did Samba classes. They have gyms but I never used one because there were so many outdoor options.

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5. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We used our cards at most grocery stores and restaurants. A few places are cash only and a lot places outside the city are cash only. We only used the ATM or cashier in the consulate.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Not a lot of people speak English and having some Portuguese would be helpful. Google translate is helpful as a lot of communication is through whatsapp.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

The sidewalks are not even so that could be a problem.

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1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Ubers are super affordable. There is a metro but it just goes in a straight line. Taxis are safe but agree on the price beforehand. We're not allowed to take buses.

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2. What kind of vehicle(s) including electric ones do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, infrastructure, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car or vehicles do you advise not to bring?

We had a smaller SUV and it was fine. You don't really need a car though, Ubers can take you most places, even out of town hours away. Parking is tricky if you have a bigger car.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet worked well most of the time. It took about three days to set up after we got there. It was a bit cheaper than the US

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We used Google fi and it worked great. People had local sims also.

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1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Rio is a pet owner's dream! Our dog had a vet who we could message and would respond quickly, a dentist, a cardiologist, and a dermatologist and it cost a fraction of what you would pay in the US. There's day care and overnight boarding and lots of dog walkers. People bring their dogs to the mall and the beach. There are several dog parks throughout the city.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

I don't think the consulate had many EFM employment opportunities

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual. No suits at the office. Around town it's perfectly normal to see people walking around in bathing suits. Lots of bright colors, crop tops, shorts, and flip flops.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Yes. It is not safe to walk around at night. There is a lot of crime and I do know of a few instances were people were robbed at gun or knife point. There was one car jacking while we there. We never wore our wedding rings or fancy jewelry and we carried minimal cash on us. That being said, I felt safe walking around during the day. I walked most places in the neighborhood. I would take evening classes on the beach and felt safe walking home afterwards. When driving, you would always keep your windows up and be careful driving after dusk. At night people don't always stop at red lights for fear of being car jacked.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Health care in Rio is excellent. A lot of doctors were trained in the US. Any kind of specialist you need is available. The hospital is like a five star hotel.

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3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Rio is mostly hot. December–March can be very hot upwards of 100 degrees. July–September can get cooler, like mid 60s. It's very humid.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

There are a lot of expats in Rio, all of them seem very happy.

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2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Rio is great for singles, I know several people who married their Brazilian partners. Dating seems safe and I think people use apps. We don't have kids and had a great time. I people with kids also enjoyed it.

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3. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?

Brazilians are nice and genuine. It's easy to make friends with locals.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

There is a very active LGBTQ community.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

There's lots of domestic travel, Brazil is huge and it's easy to get around. There are tons of national parks and natural wonders. Sao Paulo is quick flight if you need a big city fix.

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6. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

You will likely live within walking distance to the beach.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?


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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Fancy jewelry

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3. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Netflix has lots of Brazilian Portuguese shows that can help with your language skills

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