Finding A Place To Live in Rio: Incredibly Overwhelming

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro with high hopes of finding a place to live in a few days as I have done with other countries that I have moved to. I usually start researching for places online, get past the first initial wave of overpriced tourist vacation rentals, eventually finding the apartments that are rented by owners or the ones that have good prices. In Rio, I only find overpriced tourist vacation rentals after overpriced versification rentals.

I have been living overseas for most of my life and can now say that I have lived in 10 countries across 4 continents.

Rio de Janeiro isn’t chaotic like the organized chaos in Nairobi, Kenya, it is not hard to get around and it’s not very hard to find something be either.  There is a fine line between coming to Rio de Janeiro on vacation while going to the beach and taking pictures and actually trying to live here. In all the countries that I have lived in I have not had so many problems finding an apartment.

One of the reasons is because the prices are astronomical! I can rent a four-bedroom penthouse in Medellin, Colombia for the same price of a shared or private room in Rio de Janeiro.  I can honestly tell you that Rio de Janeiro is one of the most expensive cities in South America, the prices here are higher than in New York City.

rio de janeiro

The beautiful view in Rio De Janeiro

Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the many travel bloggers that backpacks; I look for deals, try to save money when I can, and travel light, but I’m not a true backpacker. Day trading gives me the ability and the opportunity to save a significant amount of time by spending money when I need to.

For me time is money

It’s the little things that matter; think about the time that you waste sitting in a car during rush hour traffic, the time waiting for a bus, and what about the time you waste waiting every time you go to a doctor’s office (don’t you hate that)?

I even consider the amount of time it takes to cook, now that is my excuse for not cooking but I digress.  The faster that I can do something the faster I can do something more valuable with my time, like making money.

Monkey in Brazil

The Monkey Squirrel that likes to steal my breakfast

I have exhausted all of my resources and have grown tired of looking for a place to live in Rio de Janeiro. The hostel that I’m staying at is excellent with great views of the bay in a great little neighborhood called Santa Teresa.

The only problem is that if I ever want to go to a supermarket, the gym, or even the center of town, I have to take mass transit.  This adds a complete hour to my trip or more since I have to take public transport to the city and then take the Metro to wherever I need to go.

I took a look at an apartment today and it took me two hours to get to

Tomorrow I plan on going to the post office to get a special ID for foreigners so I can get a cell phone.  I have been walking around blind when I’m normally used to looking at the Google maps on my BlackBerry (I know it’s time for an upgrade).  I have to go to the post office in order to share the details of  my passport, mother and father’s name, blood type, the reason why get laser hair removal, why I prefer boxers or briefs, get the picture don’t you?

It’s very interesting to me how every country, and even every city, has different tools and little nuances were you can find deals. I have certainly found that in Rio de Janeiro and plan on sharing that via my travel guides and my travel tips as well. I currently have three places in mind I were going to move and considering that I have been able to find a place a week into my stay in Brazil is incredible since most people have told me it has taken them months to find a place.  The apartment search will continue…


  1. As a carioca who’s searched for an apartment for almost 6 months 3 years ago and is about to go through this hell sometime soon all over again because my rental contract is ending in less than a year, Id expect that you, as someone in the financial field, could explain why the real estate has been so surreal in Rio for the last years. Many middle class friends are also desperate trying to find an apartment to rent, since buying is not an option and prices are unreal. All sorts of midia have already tried analyzing why this real state phenomenon has been happening, why prices continue to rise non-stop and if it there will be a crash after the 2016 Olympics or not (is there a bubble or is it all real?)

    1. I would say that there was a bubble at some point but I think its because Rio is such an amazing place to live.. the majority of the condos and apts are right on the beach.. I don’t know of many places in the world where you can find an apt less than 10 blocks from the beach. And thats the majority of the city! I do think that things are going to get worse as Brazil continues to rise as a world power.. once they reach the level of the United States I can only imagine that the prices are going to go higher

  2. Your experience might explain why there were several Brazilians living in the hostel where I stayed. I think one was actually looking for an apartment (and taking a long time to do so) but at least one other was there for only a limited number of months working at an tech incubator and he had concluded that it was just easier to live in the hostel than bother looking for an apartment. I remember thinking that was so strange, especially since there obviously is no language or culture barrier, but perhaps it makes more sense now.

    1. I found many here as well.. many times its actually cheaper as well. The guest house I am staying is works out to roughly 600 usd a month and when you consider that people want $1000 minimum for just a room it really makes a difference. They also serve free breakfast!

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