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Prices in Brazil Part One

So after making it up the East coast from Argentina to Colombia and then making it West from Colombia to Venezuela we eventually started heading South and into Brazil. Brazil was very different to Spanish speaking South America. Not only did they speak some bizarre gypsy version of Spanish but they also thought, acted and dressed differently, especially in the north. Sadly, we found Brazil very expensive, as we had been warned. The accommodation and food was more, but the real budget killer were the incredibly expensive bus journeys. Flights to Sao Paulo and Rio were reasonable but we didn’t want to miss out on one of the best parts of the continent.

As always our budget was $30 a day. That makes $60 between 2. The exchange rate was awful – 1.8 Real or less to one dollar. It made me wonder how the average Brazilian managed to survive.

The running totals for the trip are included at the end of the post.

Colonial Building in Manaus. Only a facade

Colonial Building in Manaus. Only a facade

21/09/09, On bus to Manaus

2 empanadas = 16 B.F
Taxi to Brazilian border = 50
Changed 150 B.F for 52 Reals
Fags = 14 B.F
Bus from Pacaraima to Boa Vista (16 Reals per person) = 32
Lunch = 23 reals
Changed $40 at Pacaraima @ 1.65 = 66 Reals
1 soft drink = 2 R
Changed $120 @1.8 in Boa Vista = 216 R
The man at the tourist information nicely found a shop keeper to change some dollars for us at the bus station and at the rate quoted in the newspaper. This really saved our bacon. As you can see from the changes we made on our first day in Brazil the exchange rate was really pot luck.
Bus ticket from Boa Vista to Manaus (100 per person) = 200
2 cokes = 3
1 shared dinner = 8

Total = 80 B.F ($15) 268 Reals (Average exchange rate = 1.7 Reals for $1 = $158. Total in dollars = $173 ($113 over budget)

22/09/09,Manaus

Manuas, mythical city in the heart of the Amazon, was not what we expected. Instead of being a refuge in the jungle, it was a big sprawling city that was a duty free zone full of cheap shoes, clothes, TVs, stereos and tat. Daft considering there was only one road into the place. There were hardly any mosquitos at night.

Bus from Manaus bus terminal to centre (2.5 per person) = 5
Hostel Manaus (22 per person) = 44
Deposit for sheets = 40
Supermarket = 36
Fags = 10
Changed $500 T.C @ 1.8 (minus $3 commission) = 894.6 Reals
Hammock = 10

Total = 145 (38 over budget)

23/09/09, Manaus

Bus to zoo (2 per person) = 4
Fags = 6
Drinks = 3.30
Entry to zoo (5 per person) = 10
Bus from zoo back to centre = 4
Supermarket = 20.60
Beer = 6
Anti-itch cream for mosquito bites = 14
Suntan lotion and mosquito repellent = 39.40
Hostel Manaus = 44

Total = 151.3 (44.3 over budget)

24/09/09, Manaus

Hostel Manaus = 44
Changed $1,000 @ 1.8 (minus $6 commission) = 1789.2 Reals
Toilet = 1
Fags = 6
Boat ticket from Manaus to Santarem (80 per person) = 190
Apparently if you are adept at these things you can try and weasle your way on the boat without paying and then strike a cheaper deal with the captain.
Hammock = 25
Cord for hammock = 3
Internet = 6
Supermarket = 21.70
Beer = 2.5

Total = 299.2 (192.2 over budget)

25/09/09, On boat to Santarem

Food (6 per person) = 12
Beers & coke = 15

Total = 27 (80 under budget)

boat from Manaus to Santarem

26/09/09, On boat to Santarem

Food = 18
Beer & coke = 12

Total = 30 (77 under budget)

27/09/09, Alter do Chao

Breakfast = 2
Bus from Santarem to Alter do Chao (2.30 per person) = 4.60
It was a struggle with our heavy packs and the blazing sun to get this bus. We walked 5Kms from the port in what we hoped was the right direction to a small fishing dock. We were then directed hither and thither by locals until with nerves really frayed we find a bus going to the beach. However, it was really worth it. Alter was an amazing river beach.

Fags = 12
Oriental Pousada = 50
The original price was 60 per night but we managed to re-negotiate the price the following day by writing on a piece of paper, “We want to stay 3 nights. Can we have a discount?”. The phrase book we brought with us proved useful at this point.
Boats to beach and back = 9
Gear = 50
We scored from some really nice beach hippies.
Lunch = 10
Dinner = 26
51 Cane spirits = 5.5
Gurano soft drink = 2.5
Beer = 2.5

Total = 174.1 (67.1 over budget)

Alter do Chao

28/09/09, Alter do Chao

Oriental Pousada = 50
Water = 5
Lunch tip = 12
Drinks in shop and a pen = 11
Boats to beach = 6
Dinner = 30
Sweets = 1.30

Total = 115.3 (8.3 over budget)

29/09/09, Alter do Chao

Oriental Pousada = 50
Fags = 6.40
Water = 6
Lunch = 12
Boats = 6
Supermarket = 4
Dinner = 27

Total = 111.4 (4.4 over budget)

30/09/09, Alter do Chao

Oriental Pousada = 50
Supermarket = 11.65
Lunch = 10
Boats = 6
Gear = 50
This was a terrible mix up. We gave the money to a beach hippy to score for us and he irritatingly assumed it was a gift to him. In the end we got a small amount of gear from his twaty Japanese girlfriend when we had chased down where the dude lived.
Drink = 3
Gurana soft drink = 2.3

Total = 132.95 (25.95 over budget)

01/10/09, Alter do Chao

We had to stay another night because we didn`t know at the time how infrequent the boat to Belem was.
Oriental Pousada = 50
Lunch = 10
Boats = 6
Shop = 21
4 packs of fags ,papers & 2 beers = 16.50

Total = 103.5 (3.5 under budget)

02/10/09, On boat to Belem

Bus from Alter do Chao to Belem (2.30 per person) = 4.60
2 boat tickets from Santarem to Belem (80 per person) = 160
Lunch (6 per person) = 12
Dinner (3.50 per person) = 7
Drinks on boat = 22.50

Total = 206.1 (99.1 over budget)

03/10/09, On boat to Belem

Lunch (7 per person) = 14
Drinks = 22.50

Total = 36.50 (70.5 under budget)

04/10/09, Belem

Hostel Amazonia (13 per person for dorm beds) = 26
We apparently took a big chance by walking from the port to the Hostel on a Sunday morning. The LP warns against it and another group of travelers who tried to do the same thing that day were stopped by the police and made to take a taxi.

Supermarket = 33
Supermarket = 15

Total = 74 (33 under budget)

05/10/09, Algodoal

Bus from city centre to bus terminal (2.80 per person) = 5.60
Bus from Belem to Maruda (16.50 per person) = 33
Ciggies = 12
Boat from Maruda to Algodoal (5.50 per person) = 11
Boa Vida camping = 15
The people in the pousada let us camp in their back garden under a huge cashew tree. This was the cheapest place we stayed in Brazil. The Island had no cars, motorbikes or concrete roads. The only ways to get around were walking or horse and cart.
Dinner = 28
Beer = 4

Total = 108.6 (1.6 over budget)