RIO DE JANEIRO— World Cup visitors, welcome to Brazil, land of soccer, sun and sky-high prices.
Unlike nearby Latin American nations where a tourist’s U.S. dollar or European Union euro seemingly stretches forever, Brazil is astoundingly expensive.
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.
Demand leading up to a big event like the World Cup naturally raises prices. But, since costs already were high to begin with, tourists should prepare to dig deep into their wallets and not be too miffed to receive goods or services of inferior quality, said Rafael Alcadipani, a business administration professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil’s top think tank.
“Anything you buy in Brazil will be more expensive than in the United States or Europe, but the quality is going to be worse,” Alcadipani said.
Here is a sample of the charges awaiting visitors coming for the World Cup:
—Single room at four-star hotel in Copacabana: $400 a night.
—Big Mac: $6.28.
—iPhone 5s: $1,250 on Apple’s Brazilian website.
—Official Brazil national team soccer shirt: $103-$157.
—Pair of Nike’s Flyknit Lunar 2 running shoes: $313.
—Levis 501: $80.
—”Rodizio,” all-you-can-eat barbecue meal: $60, without drinks.
—Caipirinha cocktail, made with Brazil’s cachaca sugar cane liquor: $10.
—Entrance to visit Christ the Redeemer statue: $22.
—Entrance to top of Sugar Loaf mountain: $22.