The Real Costs of Attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil


Last week, I wrote an article on How to Trip Plan for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. I started planning early and have recently finalized my flights and some lodging. I just need two nights in Rio de Janeiro and tickets for three game matches. Since I am an Executive Platinum member, I could cancel my reward flights and re-deposit the miles at no costs if I needed to cancel for some reason. I booked refundable hotels just in case I need to cancel for some reason. Since I have been to Brazil three times within the past two years, I know how expensive it can get. It gets even more expensive if you want to go to Carnival or the World Cup in Brazil. I want to show you the real costs of attending the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Visa Passport Costs:

Cash cost: $160 for US Citizens

My cost: I already have a Brazilian Visa from the previous year.


Cash cost: A round-trip flight from LAX-GRU (Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, Brazil) costs $1,468.58 and higher for June/July of 2014. Hopping from city to city in Brazil will range from $50 – $300, depending on the city and length of flight.

My cost: I used 50,000 American Airlines miles for LAX-GRU one-way in Business class + $5.00 in taxes. On the return flight from GIG-LAX (Rio de Janeiro to Los Angeles), I used 30,000 American Airlines miles in Economy class + $53.02 in taxes. Total: 80,000 miles and $58.02 in taxes. I will also be flying on TAM Airlines from GRU-CNF (Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte) for $54 and CNF-GIG (Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro) for $64.


Cash cost: Hostels are as low as $20 – $100 a night in Brazil. Hotels are $100-$800 a night if you can even find one available. The key is to book early, so you might be too late.

My cost: I looked early and booked three nights at a major hotel chain in Sao Paulo for $135 a night (refundable flexible rate). I might be staying with a friend in Belo Horizonte for two nights, so that will save me a lot of money. I still need two nights in Rio, but might end up at a hostel for $50 a night.

Game Day Tickets:

Cash cost: For World Cup match tickets (see schedule), there is a difference in price for Brazilian locals and foreigners. If you plan on attending the Opening match, it will set you back as low as $220 USD (cheap seats) to $495 USD. Regular matches range from $90 (nosebleeds) to $220 USD. The final match ranges from $440 USD to $990 USD. This is all assuming that you will be able to get tickets in the first place. All the matches will sell out and you will be shelling out more than face value on third party ticketing sites.

My cost: My plan is to attend three games which are the opening match in Sao Paulo, the first group match in Belo Horizonte, and the first group match in Rio de Janeiro. The opening match in Sao Paulo will set me back $220 USD as I will aim to obtain the cheapest seat. The group matches in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro will set me back $90 USD each for cheap seats. Total: $400 USD in tickets, assuming I can get them in August.

Ground Transportation:

Cash cost: Taxis are $50 – $100 USD one-way from the airport to the city-center. Taxis are the same price going from your hotel to the airport. The bus fare varies from ~$1.50 – $4 USD. The premium buses (makes very few stops) are usually ~$10 – $20 USD and are air conditioned. The metro fare various from ~$1.50 – $4 USD.

My cost: I will be taking buses from airports that drop me off at a metro station where I get to my hotel. It might take longer than a taxi, but I will be saving a lot of money in the long run by using public transportation. While in the city, I will be walking, taking the bus, and using the metro everywhere.


Cash cost: You have to eat and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to have a meal in Brazil. Be prepared to pay as low as $2 USD for a Coxinha de Frango (chicken croquette) and a $3 USD choppe  (beer) as a light lunch. A heavy lunch will usually be at a kilo restaurant, where they weigh your food by the kilo and will cost you ~$15-$20 USD. If you like to drink, you will be paying the price and increasing your food budget as alcohol is easily one of the most costly items.

My cost: I usually skip breakfast, but I will have a heavy lunch for ~$20 and a light dinner snack for ~$10. I probably won’t be drinking very much during the World Cup.

Cost Summary:

Brazilian Visa – $160 USD for US Citizens

Flights – $1468.58 USD round-trip in economy from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Hotels – $50 USD+ a night for a hostel or $300 USD+ for a night in a hotel.

Game Day Tickets –$90 USD to $990 USD per game for foreigners.

Ground Transportation – $50- $100 one-way Taxi from the airport to hotel. Prepare to spend up to $400 USD in cabs if you plan to spend a week in Brazil.

Food – $50 USD daily budget for breakfast/lunch/dinner not including alcohol.

Don’t forget to include Misc Expenses such as souvenirs, gifts, and memorabilia.

Total costs for a 5 night stay at a hotel in Brazil and a game ticket, excluding the purchase of gifts and souvenirs: minimum spend of at least $4,378.

My cost:

Brazilian Visa – $0 (already have)

Flights – 80,000 American Airline miles and $176 (taxes and intra-Brazilian flights)

Hotels – $405 USD for 3 nights in Sao Paulo. 2 nights in Rio (cost pending)

Game Day Tickets – $400 USD for three matches in the nosebleeds.

Ground Transportation – I will be spending a week in Brazil, but will try to avoid taking a taxi. I will still be prepared to pay up to $300 USD in ground transportation.

Food – I will probably spend $30 a day on food in Brazil. A week would be $210 USD.

Total costs for me at a minimum of a one week stay in Brazil: $1,491


As you can see, using miles are the best bet in terms of saving a lot of money going to the World Cup in Brazil. Hotels are really expensive if you didn’t start looking early because a lot of hotels are already sold out. If you can stick to hostels or airbnb’s and apartment rentals, you can save a lot of money. Game day tickets are going to be tough to obtain since they don’t go on sale until next month.

Even I am having second thoughts about going on this trip because of the high cost factor. Thankfully, I’ve booked refundable airfare and hotels. We shall see what happens after tickets on sale and I will give you an update of my World Cup plans next month.


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Points Summary
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16 Comments on "The Real Costs of Attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil"

  1. Timely post. Thanks! I managed economy award tix for 3 people via CLT to GIG. The return will be via EZE to IAH. Award tix have been snapped up quickly when available. I agree that hotels will be the main stumbling block as FIFA has blocked them all. Spending some time in argentina will defray some of the cost. Sounds like you do not have a preference about which teams to watch in person and also were able to arrive a bit before the start and book in sao paolo before the hotel blocking occurred. Good cost saving measures!

    • Glad you liked the blog post. Hotels are tough right now but maybe they will open up space once people realize they can’t secure tickets to their favorite game.

      • the problem is for the world cup, i should,nt book airline tickets now. no one managed to buy a ticket, we are all going into lottery mode in octuber. 1 ticket for every 7. awful. i am waiting till octuber so i dont end up with a expensive airline reservation. and then have to pay the fees for canceling. i already have my hotel reserved.

  2. Thanks for the great write-up. What time(s) do you recommend checking award availability on I’m Aadvantage Platinum and feel like I have been checking diligently but have yet to see any flights become available – either LAX/GIG or LAX/GRU.

  3. What routing did you find to get from LAX to GRU?

    I’ve been checking every day for the past 2 months and have never seen any sAAver business seats open up from JFK, DFW or MIA to GRU.

    Did you fly LAN ? How’d you find SCL to GRU? That’s another one that has never opened up as far as I can tell.

  4. I just found out I got follow my team tickets. How do I find out where they will play so I can determine where to fly in, the other cities to go to and in what order, etc?

  5. according to Fifa, they can’t charge you for your visa if you’re going for the world cup. You need proof of tickets though.

  6. Hey! great post – I’ve been to brazil a bunch of times and I think this is for the most part, very accurate. Heres a good tip: (bank/atm) Banco do Brasil does not charge ATM fees (there are many other banks if your card does not work there but the no fees always wins my heart). Also finding a credit card and a debit card that does not charge fees will eliminate any additional costs you have to pull out your own money while you are there. Also keep in mind that ATMs close at 10PM in Rio de Janeiro for safety reasons. So if you need money, think ahead of time.

    For the cost of living part, I found this video contest where you could win a free stay in Discovery Hostel Rio for the first games in Rio de Janeiro. Free is always awesome! (to bad I already booked my stay haha)

  7. For 15 days, I managed to spent $4500 only. Flights + hotels + 3 match tickets. We planned a year ago and booked flights + hotels on the day of the World Cup group draw.

  8. Do you still need a place to stay in Rio. I have an AIRBNB in the Leblon district. I will be out of town for possibly 2 days. Let me know if you are interested.

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