Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the ultimate World Cup experience

The World Cup, in all its splendor, is considered by some as the premiere sporting event in the world. Although the Summer Olympics are a global event, the experience is different. The world comes together to celebrate the competition and camaraderie of sports. The World Cup is another kind of event. The world comes together, but not to celebrate. They come to fiercely compete, root on their team, and defend their national pride. There are fights, chants, injuries, and in some cases, as history has shown, even violent riots that arise due to the results of the World Cup competition.

Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro

The World Cup transforms not only a city, but the entire host country into one of the most sought after destinations that year. World Cup 2014 is something a little more special. Not only will it be the premiere sporting event on the planet, but it will also be hosted in a country that has been recognized as one of the top destinations in the world, where futbol (soccer) is bred in their children from birth – Brazil. To add to that, the finals will be hosted in the #1 destination city in the world (according to the New York Times 2013) – Rio de Janeiro. Needless to say, this will be a magical year.

World Cup

Games will take place throughout the country of Brazil leading up to finals. These cities are not to be devalued by the praise of Rio. They are beautiful, majestic cities that are along coastline, on islands, or in outskirts of the Amazon Jungle. Let’s be honest though – all eyes are on Rio.

Rio has some of the most beautiful beaches on the world, with its landscape and beautiful people. Ipanema’s Posto #9 has been recognized as one of the world’s sexiest beaches on the planet. The waters are warm and alive with surfers and sun bathers lining the coastline. If you go too late on a normal weekend, you may find it hard to find a good spot. When World Cup comes to town, these beaches will be packed with people.

Travelers must beware. The World Cup will not be a cheap ticket. The game tickets will be hard to get and expensive. Additionally, since the World Cup and Summer Olympics were announced to be hosted in Rio, the prices of just about everything from a beach chair rental, to the 5 star hotel rooms have steadily increased.

Hotels will be hard to book and have room rates that will make most gasp. Fear not, Rio has an enormous vacation rental industry. Vacation rentals are the perfect alternative to expensive hotels for groups of all sizes to travel to Rio and maximize their budgets. For the price you would pay for a double bed hotel room, you can get a one or two bedroom apartment that sleeps 4 or 6 people. For the price of one of the suites at a hotel, you can get a two level penthouse with private pool, maid service, and butler.

Another advantage to booking a private residence is your host. Your host will be a local. Someone who lives in Rio every day and knows the secrets of the city. Instead of being sent to tourist traps that most hotels or travel agencies get paid for referring you, a local host will give you the real experience of Rio. There are certain neighborhoods that have block parties on certain nights of the week. A sushi restaurant at the base of the favela with some of the best fish I had tasted in town. A hidden beach club on a private beach inside the Forte de Copacabana. These are experiences that TripAdvisor or your hotel concierge don’t tell you about.

If you are thinking about going to Rio for World Cup, a travel agency may not be the way to go. If you are looking for something more and want to get the ultimate World Cup experience, leave comments with questions below and I will answer with recommendations from my personal experience of living in Rio.

Luis Guajardo is Owner of Privé Luxury Rentals.

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Comments (7)

  1. Ryan Hirst says:

    Absolutely loved this piece. The world cup is always one of the largest events and always has been. However as an Englishman I am worried about prices etc.

    On the price of flights and hotels I am upset but not surprised by what I am hearing… It was only a couple of days ago that I heard on the radio that apparently hotels may cost as much as £800 a night while the world cup takes place and also flights from England are set to double!

    If this is the case I must admit that I won’t be doing what I have always dreamt of and heading to Brazil to watch the Three Lions in the world cup…

    I simply cannot accept prices of that range; as I am sure many will say they can’t either. It raises questions for me that football is becoming more of a financially motivated sport as time progresses.

    For me I will probably end up watching it from a television screen, either at home or at the pub. Would you agree with what I am saying?

  2. Stephen Garland says:

    Hi Ryan, unfortunately your impression, fuelled by media and some reality is becoming the internationally accepted version and it is simply not true that the World Cup in Brazil is not accessible.
    The realities: Brazil is the 5th largest country on the planet.
    The nation is football mad with an economy that has developed over the last 20 years and so the biggest set of supporters make no mistake will be the Brazilians themselves.
    If you go to Rio tommorrow, it is expensive and yes for the Copa prices will be exorbitant.
    Undoubtedly the most prohibitive situation is travel in Brazil and this tournament is the most ridiculously planned event in history or else it was designed by a cartel of airlines. There is virtually no way of comfortably moving between host cities without flying so yes these elements will be very expensive
    OR
    back on the ground there is still real value to be had in accommodation, food, drink and experiences if you know what you are doing
    you can target a host city, (take in an England game or 2), enjoy the atmosphere and a real Brazilian holiday.
    I pioneered professional English language comedy in Spain a decade ago and still have the Barcelona Comedy Festival but have followed my wife to Brazil where I have being living for the last 2 years. I have spent that time establishing contacts to act as a ‘world cup fixer’ for my friends and network so how about this for a world cup alternative
    The pound is currently worth 3.8 Real to 1 pound!!!!
    If you come to one of the host cities in the North East where a really good lunch will not cost more than $20 Real (£5!!!) a 600ml beer is $6R and a quality caiparinha for $10R a coconut costs $1.50 its cheap!!
    You can rent amazing quality hidden pousadas on the most beautiful tropical beaches for realtively cheap.
    It is also the Brazilian winter and the the only place, despite what the article says about Rio there will actually be warm waters is in the North East where you will have everything else that goes with that, surfing, kitesurfing (both of which nature provides free!)
    SO…
    I implore you not to discount the World Cup, yes the flight to get here will be expensive, ALWAYS IS!! but at 7 hours flight from Lisbon you can be kicking back on a tropical beach the same day slurping on one of those caiparinhas :)
    After Dec 6 you will know where England will be playing and each host city offers a completely different and incredible experience. My advice is to do it independently, don’t pay any attention to the massively overpriced packages out there, get yourself a consultant (like myself :))to tailor what you want to do, btw there are only 4 group, 1 x 2nd round and 1 x quarter final games across all the groups taking place in Rio anyway, there is the final but 3 lions… I’m not sure! :)
    It will be expensive, sure!! but the strength of your pound right now is double what it was when I arrived here 2 years ago and will go a long way to alleviating the burden! Tell the people that the next time the conversation comes up, people are being turned off and that is a shame!! Brazil is nuts for football and there will be a party everywhere, how you want to enjoy it decide yourself.
    Stephen

  3. chris says:

    Which are the safe areas to stay in Rio and sao paulo to look for an apartment during the world cup 11th June to 24th June…

  4. Luis Guajardo says:

    Hi Chris-

    The Brazilian government has made a noticeable effort to improve safety throughout Rio. I personally felt that Ipanema, Lagoa, and Leblon were the safest areas. You also can see that reflected in Real Estate prices and rental prices.

  5. Siza says:

    I’m currently in South Africa and have been hoping to go for Brazil World Cup,however it has become sooo expensive I can’t afford it,however I wud love to get more info abt the idea of sharing with a family in Brazil….

  6. Angelina Rugarcia says:

    Hi, I’m Angelina from Mexico and I’m looking for an apartment in a nice are (Ipanema or Leblon) for rent… We would like a short rental, from the 21 of june til the 29 of june… We are 3 girls visiting Rio for the World Cup, a couple of days we will be out from the apartment since we are leaving to Recife for Mexico-Croacia match (from the 22 of june at night and coming back the 25 in the morning)… I’m mailing everyone, since I only know a few persons in Rio… If you know of anyone interested on renting us a flat for those dates, will be really helpful… We are posh girls, so we don’t want anything old and not nice decorated… Our budget for those dates are around 2,500 for the 8 nights…

    Thank you,
    Angelina

  7. Paul Johnson says:

    “Our budget for those dates are around 2,500 for the 8 nights…”

    You might like to confirm what you mean by that, Angelina?

    2,500 BRL
    2,500 USD

    …?

    If it’s BRL, that wouldn’t be much at all for three of you during the WC and I don’t think you could expect anything too posh on that budget. Even if it’s USD, your options will be limited to more the budget end I’d have thought…

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