Rio de Janeiro — In the midst of fluctuations brought on by price de-controls and inflation, travel costs in Brazil have soared in recent months. As of May, for example, deluxe hotels in Rio de Janeiro which were charging about $100 per day in February, had zoomed up to over $200, a few as much as $300. Food costs, however, remained inexplicably low, with good meals less than $10 per person.
Travel shoppers may still be able to find Brazil package tours of seven or eight days for under $1000, including transportation, since many hotels have long-term contracts with package tour agencies and thus are holding to agreed costs. There is little consistency in pricing, however, and Rio seems to be hit hardest by the inflationary trend.
It is still possible in places like Ouro Preto, for example, to find nice accommodations for under $30 per day for two (in May). The Hilton in Bel'em, however, recently raised its prices from about $60 per day to about $120.
A warning to travelers: Copacabana Beach in Rio is not only dirty but is virtually under seige by petty thieves who seem to steal anything left on the sand while bathers enter the water. Since all beaches are open to the public, hotels warn tourists to leave cameras, watches, money, even sandals in their rooms.
While it is true that mugging has become a big-city problem all over the world, Rio seems to have more than its share of the problem.
Brazil's official tourist board (Embratur, 230 Park Ave. in New York, call 212-286-9600) insists that the country's free economy will soon force hotel prices to stabilize, probably at lower rates than those being asked in May. If you plan a trip, disregard the prices in all the guide books published last year and ask a Brazilian travel agency such as Abreu Tours for current prices. Its offices are located at 60 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10165. Telephone 212-661-0555.