Prices for consumer goods in Brazil have traditionally been high. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand: Brazil’s ever-growing middle class has money to burn, while the country limits imports by imposing high tariffs.
And now the World Cup is coming to town, meaning prices will continue to rise as the soccer-loving world descends on Brazil. The numbers, as compiled by the Associated Press, are somewhat stunning:
If one’s budget isn’t immediately busted by the flight or the hotel, it will soon be done in by the $10 caipirinha cocktail, the $17 cheeseburger or the $35 pepperoni pizza. And those are the prices city-dwelling Brazilians saw even before the World Cup set off a new standard of sticker shock.
“Prices in Rio are absurd,” Maria Anda, a Norwegian artist who has lived in Brazil for a year, said while enjoying the sunset on Ipanema beach. “I still like it. It’s worth being here, but it’s not paradise.”
The dizzying prices are referred to here as the “Custo Brasil,” or “Brazil Cost” — the mixture of high taxes and steep import tariffs, combined with bad infrastructure, a dose of inefficiency and a thick shot of bureaucracy.
The AP goes on to report that hotel prices have more than doubled ahead of the World Cup.
Massachusetts-based TripAdvisor reports visitors to Rio will face the highest prices, with hotel rates averaging $445 per night. Add in food, a ticket and other expenses, and solo travelers to Rio should prepare to spend $682 each day.
Next costliest are Fortaleza and Manaus, where average daily expenses are estimated at $602 and $554, respectively. Even the more affordable host cities will set travelers back a good amount: $457 per day in Cuiaba and $477 in Sao Paulo.
And then there are electronics and clothing:
Take iPhones: The unblocked 5s that costs $649 in the U.S. has a starting price of $1,250 on Apple’s Brazilian website. Need a pair of running shoes? A pair of the popular Nike Flyknit Lunar 2 runs about $313 at a Rio shopping mall – nearly triple the U.S. price.
The examples go on. Levi 501 jeans start at $80. The $6.28 Big Mac is among the most expensive in the world. Shaving cream, soap, tissues, aspirin — all are double to triple the prices found elsewhere.
“The Cup prices are ridiculous. Everything shot up. The only thing you can buy in Brazil is a bikini, a cachaca (Brazilian sugar cane liquor) and a pair of Havaianas (sandals),” Gillian Santos, a Brazilian who now lives in Belgium and was back in Rio on a recent visit, told the AP. “How do people afford things around here? As a Brazilian living abroad, I think it’s outrageous.”
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