Rio de Janeiro Digital Nomad Guide
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. What’s not to love about its streets full of life and the lively personality of the Brazilians? Tourists all around the world flock to the place when carnaval is held, but its beauty is all-year-round, and digital nomads know it. We present you with this Rio digital nomad guide for you to fall for its captivating personality.
Do I need a visa to visit Brazil as a digital nomad?
Brazil is one of the few countries in Latin America to offer a digital nomad visa. Starting in January 2022, remote workers can request this permit to live in Brazil and stay for a year. This also entails free public healthcare for holders.
To obtain Brazil’s digital nomad visa, you must have:
proof of your employment status, and
a monthly income of USD 1,500, or
proof that you have USD 18,000 as a backup at the moment of your application.
You can also choose to visit Brazil as a tourist, but without the healthcare benefit. Most European and American countries do not need one to enter the country. You can check the complete list of countries here. To apply either for the digital nomad or the tourist visa, you can check Brazil’s Foreign Affairs site.
Is Rio good for digital nomads?
Brazil draws international attention due to its cozy weather, lovely beaches, and exotic landscapes. Rio de Janeiro itself is a city of the world, a cosmopolitan hub that lacks nothing in contrast to other major international cities. With a population of around 6.7 million people, its charm is second to none, and digital nomads from any country want to come and see it.
Though not cheap, it surely is an affordable destination, with options for different budgets. Brazil's currency is the Real (BRL). Its exchange value is BRL 5,15 = 1 USD, approximately. Exchanging money or paying with your card should not give you any kind of problems.
Portuguese is Brazil’s official language. Though English is not widely spoken (about 5% of the population speaks it), you are more likely to find speakers in Rio or other major cities. Specifically, people under 35 or tourism staff will probably be able to engage in some kind of conversation in English. Therefore, you should learn your Portuguese basics and expect to use a lot of body language.
So, going back to the initial question, Rio is definitely hospitable to digital nomads. It blends in nicely with its natural and urban sceneries, and its nightlife is simply out of this world. A youthful city with its own personality, digital nomads will find themselves quite comfortable when staying here.
When is the best time to visit Rio as a digital nomad?
Brazil’s weather is predominantly hot for most of the year. A tropical city, its weather ranges from 65°F (18°C) to 88°F (31°C). Therefore, the best seasons to visit are February - March (end of Summer), April - May (Autumn), or September - October (Spring). This goes to show that Rio is a year-round destination, as winter is still not that cold if you prefer the heat.
Rain is not a deterrent to visiting either. Despite its tropical nature, Rio is not particularly rainy throughout the year. You will experience occasional showers or rains but it is not something that happens so frequently between seasons.
Is Rio safe?
Rio has a troubled history in terms of safety, but most of its bad reputation sits in the past. This means that you should be able to move freely in the city as long as you move around the safer areas (we will talk about this later on). You should take the usual precautions of watching your possessions and avoid going to more unsafe areas or walking alone at night. This should help you avoid uncomfortable situations.
Favelas are the cities’ low-income neighborhoods. They should be treated with respect, as sometimes there is conflict in their streets. Touring throughout them is not advised. They are located mostly on the western side of the city. On the other hand, the southern side is more tourist-friendly, hence, safer to take a stroll by the seaside.
What is the cost of living in Rio?
Though more expensive than other Latin American cities, Rio is still affordable for digital nomads, especially those who earn in USD or EUR. If you are visiting on a budget, a USD 970 income should suffice you to fend off nicely in the city. On the contrary, if you want to spend a little more to make your stay more pleasant, USD 1,720 should do.
With those numbers in mind, accommodation will of course vary. For a studio apartment on Airbnb, the average rent price is USD 65. If you decide to split costs and share a bed in a hostel or a similar spot, you should be paying around USD 46 for the night.
Let’s break down the costs for some daily activities. For instance, a rather affordable meal goes for USD 7, to which you can add USD 2 more if you want a beer with it, or USD 1.60 for a coffee. If you want a more fancy dinner for two, you will pay around USD 32 (includes entree, main course, and dessert).
Public transportation is another important expense. USD 1 is the price you pay for a one-way bus ticket or USD 50 for a monthly fare. Taxis start at USD 1.20 approx and an additional USD 1 per km. 1 liter of gas goes for USD 1.5 if you decide to lease or buy a temporary car.
If you plan to live alone throughout your visit, utilities are an expense to consider. Basic ones (gas, electricity, water, and heating/cooling) cost about USD 95 for an 85m2 apartment. If you add connectivity, a minute of prepaid local mobile tariff is USD 0.25, plus internet for the month at your place, it’s USD 21 on average.
Speaking of connectivity, Brazil’s internet speed is quite good. With a fixed download speed of 94 MBPS and an upload speed of 26 MBPS, you should experience a smooth connection during your stay. In terms of mobile connectivity, it’s 35 MBPS for download and 11MBPS for upload according to the Speed test site. Also, do not forget that Rio’s plug type is C, N / 220V / 60Hz (just like in all of Brazil).
What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Rio as a digital nomad?
Rio is a stunning city with a lot to offer. You can find everything here: beaches, luxury spots, and artsy areas. Let’s take a look at the best neighborhoods for you to look for a place and enjoy everything at hand.
If you picture Rio and the first image that comes to your mind is a golden beach, you are probably thinking of Copacabana. It is not only a tourist spot but a paradisiac and cosmopolitan experience. Here, you will find plenty of locals and international visitors. Just imagine yourself taking a break while drinking some fresh coconut and sunbathing, or simply have the magnificent view in your window. Copacabana is an iconic place to be.
“Tall and tan and pretty, the girl from Ipanema,” sings Carlos Jobim, one of Brazil’s most famous bossa nova composers. Indeed another iconic spot, this upscale area has luxurious hotels, bars, and restaurants. It is a cultural and architectural hub for Rio. Filled with plenty of bookstores, galleries, and movie theatres, you will always have something to do in Ipanema.
If you are a creative worker and dig in the artsy vibe, then Santa Teresa is for you. Bohemian, this is a traditional hilltop neighborhood, with authentic Brazilian cuisine for you to taste the real local food. Plus, there are many fun and quirky spots for you to check out.
If nightlife is on top of your mind, Botafogo is the hotspot to be. Located close to Sugar Loaf Mountain and with a popular mall, local students chill in its local bars and restaurants. The connection with the rest of the city is good because of the subway, and a short trip gets you to the beach in no time.
Right next to Botafogo, its twin neighborhood is equally regarded for its gastronomy. Many travellers and digital nomads choose it as a base, not only for its great transport connectivity but for being a hub to meet international friends. If you can’t help but socialize constantly, Flamengo will introduce you to your new buddies.
Of course, not everyone is looking for partying all the time. Rio hears you, and Jardin Botanico (“Botanic garden”) is a lovely green area to get away from it all without renouncing proximity to other neighborhoods. In this residential place surrounded by trees and leaves, it won’t be strange if you find yourself doing involuntary bird-watching, as the place is filled with local species. The green environment also offers a much-needed cooldown from the hot beaches.
The 6 best neighborhoods to stay in Rio as a digital nomad:
What are the best coliving places in Rio?
A pinnacle of any Rio digital nomad guide, let’s discuss some shared accommodations. As you travel to this amazing destination, coliving is always a great way to meet other digital nomads who are looking for adventure.
Of course, we cannot do this list without mentioning Selina and Coliving. Trusted partners in the coliving business, they both have many locations to choose from within the best areas in Rio. Plus, you can choose different options depending on the level of privacy you are looking for.
However, we know that many of you wish to blend in with the more local initiatives. We hear ya, as we bring you these 3 options: Hub Coliving, Nova Era, Tribo do Mar, and Babel. Apart from cozy accommodation and proximity to beaches, they are all prepared for coworking too. So you might find yourself enjoying social as well as corporate events. Whenever you feel tired of walking around and you need to stay put for some days, these coliving spots have everything you need, so you can sleep, work and socialize in the same place. Besides, we always encourage every local initiative, and so should you if you want to properly know the country and practice your Portuguese.
The 6 best coliving spaces:
What are the best coworking places in Rio for digital nomads?
Once settled, you are probably looking for places to build your network, or at least get some work done. Great views, flexibility, and networking potential are some of the many perks you will find in this city. Let’s dive into the most notable coworking spaces in Rio for digital nomads.
We know many of you feel more comfortable with familiar brands. If that is the case, you will find WeWork in Rio. All the usual amenities are there: offices, fast connectivity, events, and anything you need to work. Regus is also a global company, and its local chapter is right by the beach, in case you like to work with a view. It is open 24 hours for members and has flexible options for you to use its facilities at your convenience. Another interesting local coworking station with many hubs throughout Rio is Delta Business Coworking. Whether you need a private or virtual office, its team can provide you with a tailored service based on your business structure and needs.
In Ipanema, you will find Spaces by the sea. It is a comfortable and modern workspace with designer details. You can keep up to date with its activities by subscribing to its blog and magazine. WeCompany is also another one worth mentioning. This one offers any service you might need while you stay, with a special focus on creative workers who want to connect with others in the same situation.
Nitis is an interesting alternative for a more discrete ambiance. Right in the city center, it offers traditional yet elegant offices. Speaking of elegance, Rio Co.Working is a modern and professional alternative, with many networking possibilities. Flexible and strategically located, you might meet your next business partner in any of these two.
Great opportunities can come from Emwork. Its huge offices and various workspaces are amazing, and its prices are quite affordable. Station is another interesting choice, right next to the Jardim Oceanico metro hub. Recognizing that connecting people is the center of coworking, its strategic location right by the station is a great workplace to meet new collaborators.
Best 9 coworking spaces in Rio:
What are the best working cafes in Rio for digital nomads?
Brazilians adore coffee, and Rio is no exception to the rule. A very cosmopolitan city, all of its cafes have a very international vibe. If you wish to try delicious brewings while you work somewhere nice, then this list is for you.
We start with La Bicyclette, a Parisian cantine in the tropical weather of Rio. Right in Jardin Botanico, the place is famous for its delicious homemade bread. Jumping from one continent to another without moving from the city, Aussie Coffee offers a Brazilian blend with an Australian style. Two countries with great beaches in common, this place combines the best of both worlds. For homesick Americans, Gringo Café has the best U.S. cuisine as well as a good coffee to sip while getting work done. If you feel you need a more Brazilian spot, Talho Capixaba is the place for great breakfasts, afternoon snacks, and coffee.
Every cafe has its philosophy. Dark Coffee wants its customer to have a sensorial experience when tasting its crafted beverage. With a calm mood and beautiful ambiance, you will feel comfortable and delighted. And speaking of unique ambiances, Plage Cafe is simply stunning. Its colonial architecture blends perfectly with the city, and its food is well regarded, an ideal combination to take your laptop to.
Finally, you can opt for browsing for books in between coffee breaks at Livraria da Travessa. A beautiful bookstore, you'll work surrounded by the world’s greatest authors. Or, you can choose the modern Work/Cafe Santander, in multiple Rio locations. Coffee, wifi, and even coworking spaces are available for you.
Best 8 working cafes:
Closing thoughts on visiting Rio as a digital nomad
Rio de Janeiro is a city like no other, a perfect mix of metropolitan and natural landscapes. This Rio digital nomad guide cannot stress more the fact that the Brazilian villa is open to the world, and locals are open to visitors as well. You will find it easy to make friends in this digital nomad-friendly environment and fall in love with its rich culinary and artistic culture. Teleworkers of the world: Rio awaits, so don’t miss out!