- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Rio de Janeiro Guide (PDF)
The most glamorous of Brazil’s cities and one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, Rio de Janeiro is certainly an exciting place to call home. The city's stunning beaches and natural beauty, as well as its lively culture and annual festivities, attract millions of visitors annually.
Living in Rio de Janeiro as an expat
Rio is an important commercial hub of Brazil. Major oil, textile, shipbuilding, pharmaceutical, media and communications companies have a presence in the city, while it also boasts a number of important educational institutions. This diversified economy attracts many foreign workers to Rio’s shores every year, making it a popular expat destination. But competition for employment is also high. The majority of expats moving to Rio de Janeiro for work have been transferred there as part of a relocation package with their current employer.
Cost of living in Rio de Janeiro
For expats earning in a foreign currency, the cost of living in Rio de Janeiro is reasonable and well below that of major expat destinations in Western Europe and North America. As with most Brazilian cities, the extremes of wealth and poverty are visible in Rio. Expats being paid in the local currency will likely feel the pinch and should budget adequately to ensure all costs are covered.
Expat families and children
Expats moving to Rio with children need not stress about education. There are several international schools in the city. It’s also essential for expats living in Rio to be covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan. Public healthcare in Rio is underdeveloped. Most expats prefer private facilities which offer high-quality healthcare but at a high price.
Climate in Rio de Janeiro
With its stunning beaches and favourable year-round climate, Rio enjoys a far more relaxed lifestyle than other major Brazilian cities such as São Paulo or Brasília. Warm, sunny days are frequent.
As residents of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Cariocas (as the locals are referred to) are used to having foreigners in their city. They are generally open and welcoming towards newcomers, especially if they make an effort to speak Portuguese. With a little time and effort, expats are sure to settle into their new life in this vibrant city.
"The culture is relaxed, amicable, and fun-loving compared to most work-centric Western cultures. From an interpersonal relationship perspective, it’s easy to make friends here. Moreover, the natural setting is unparalleled – bustling beaches amidst lush forests and vertical, rocky peaks. It also never gets cold!" Elliot shares his advice for embracing a new city in his interview with Expat Arrivals.
"Try and embrace the differences you encounter here in Rio rather than opposing them. I think it is very common for expats to arrive in a new country and, after the initial honeymoon period, to focus on all of the differences between the new country and your native country. Such differences are generally experienced as negative. My advice is to try and accept them for what they are, simply different." Niamh, an Irish expat, moved to Rio with her Brazillian husband. Read more about her expat life in Brazil.
Are you an expat living in Rio de Janeiro?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rio de Janeiro. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.