Rio de Janeiro is in one of the most stunning settings on earth, but sadly crime continues to be a major problem in the tourist districts. And as the local currency has strengthened quite a bit in the past years, Rio de Janeiro is now quite expensive as well. Hotels can be reasonably priced, especially in the 1 and 2-star range, but generally that means you won’t be too close to the beach.
The attractions are also very expensive by most standards, though admittedly the Corcovado statue and the Sugarloaf tram are still well worth it for the amazing views alone. Sitting on the beach is popular, and free of course, so you can have a good time on a budget if you need to.
Food and drinks aren’t great bargains by South American standards either. Simple meals that the locals eat are easy to find and are reasonably priced, but the nicer tourist restaurants feel expensive. A cheap and cold can of beer on the beach is still quite cheap at least.