World Cup visitors: Beware of Brazil’s sky-high prices

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Tourists planning to flock to Brazil for the World Cup a year from now should brace for some of the world’s highest housing, restaurant and transport prices.

Prices have gone through the roof, particularly in the country’s tourism gateway Rio, which this month is one of the hosts for football’s Confederations Cup and in July welcomes Pope Francis for a major Catholic Youth festival.

Famous for its annual carnival and spectacular beaches, Rio is now the world’s third most expensive city when it comes to hotels, according to a recent Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur) study.

A hotel room in “The Marvelous City” on average costs $246.71 (187 euros, £159), compared with $245.82 in New York and $196.17 in Paris, the state-run agency noted.

Victor Mameaux and Damien Lambrecht, two 32-year-old Parisians recently rented a 20 square-meter (215-square foot) apartment in the trendy Copacabana district for $1,324 for two weeks.

“We had heard that Rio is a cheap but unsafe city, while in fact it is just the opposite,” Mameaux told AFP.

“I paid $40 for a ‘feijoada’ (the black bean stew that is Brazil’s most beloved dish) without a drink in an Ipanema restaurant. It is more expensive that what I pay in Paris,” he complained.

Over the past 10 years, restaurant prices have soared 140 percent, according to the national statistics agency IBGE.

“Everything is expensive except cigarettes,” according to Lambrecht, who nevertheless said he saw fewer beggars than in the French capital.

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