Launched in January 2022, the new Brazil Digital Nomad Visa is attracting a new type of traveler to this South American country. And Rio is one of the most attractive places to settle.
Rio de Janeiro, a colorful city divided by forest-covered mountains and surrounded by golden coastlines, has long enticed international tourists with its samba-fueled nights and spectacular scenery. Now the “wonderful city,” as the Brazilians call it, is attracting a new type of traveler thanks to digital nomadic visa which was launched across the country last year .
The local government continues to invest to make the city more suitable for remote workers, including improving connectivity with 5G coverage across the city. The new coffee shop scene is also bringing new jobs and a digital nomad vibe to Rio’s popular beach areas, with modern cafes equipped with high-speed internet, modern brunch options and a variety of decent coffee.
Born in Rio, Cariocas love sports, being outdoors, and socializing outside of work, and it’s this work-life balance that makes Rio so attractive to digital nomads compared to other Brazilian cities. “Unlike Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, Rio has all the amenities of a big city as well as great beaches, hiking and other great outdoor activities,” said Janice Hollingshead, a North American digital nomad who lives in It’s been a year in Rio.
Digital nomads are drawn to Rio for its work-life balance, while locals love to socialize and be outdoors (Image credit: MareMagnum/Getty Images)
Why should I go now?
Obtaining a residence permit in Brazil used to be complicated, but Digital Nomad Visa has simplified the process. It allows visitors keep your current job in another country, allowing you to stay for one year, renewable for the next 12 months. Applicants must provide proof of employment and earn at least $1,500 (£1,200) per month or have savings of $18,000 (£14,400).
Remote workers in Rio also benefit from a thriving digital nomad community, Hollingshead said. Active social media and WhatsApp groups allow visitors to find a variety of personal encounters, from samba nights and hiking expeditions to business contacts and language exchanges. These online hubs are also valuable resources for finding information about visas, taxes and other general day-to-day life in Rio.
We (foreigners) are treated well here – the locals want to help you. It makes you feel good about where you live
The international community is also supported by the welcoming and friendly locals. “To us [іноземців] they treat you well here – the locals want to help you. It makes you feel good about where you live,” said Dan Hobbs, Australian owner of Aussie Coffee in coastal area of Ipanema.
Traditional bakeries designed for strong espresso and a quick bite remain prolific. But remote workers can also find a few coffee shops scattered throughout Rio’s affluent southern zone (zone Sul) that offer air conditioning and high-speed internet, e.g. Café Cultura and Mini Joe in Copacabana and Aussie Coffee in Ipanema. “There are free Wi-Fi hotspots that are easy to find and are laptop-friendly,” said Emily Anctil, a multilingual consultant from Canada who has been working remotely in Rio for six weeks.
Most co-working spaces in the city are located in the Center (Image copyright MareMagnum/Getty Images)
Many of Rio’s co-working spaces are located in the central business district of Centro, which is a bustling hive of activity on weekdays but mostly empty on evenings and weekends. Coworking spaces in downtown Rio often attract corporate people looking for quiet places to call, while coffee shops embrace digital nomads looking for a more casual community, Hobbs explained.
“We get digital nomads every day [в Aussie Coffee], because they feel comfortable working here,” he said. “Many foreigners come to Rio alone. They may have friends, but they’re looking for a community that they can find here.”
I live in Rio
Rio is one of the most expensive cities in Brazil , but it’s still affordable compared to European and American megacities, especially with current exchange rates. “You get great value for your money in Brazil, especially if you have euros and dollars,” said Jack Krier, YouTuber and a content creator from Luxembourg who worked remotely in Brazil for two months. “Rio is a bit more expensive than São Paulo, but still, compared to Western prices, it’s just good value.”
In Brazil, you get great value for your money, especially if you have euros and dollars
This means prime locations such as the beach areas of Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana become much more accessible. “I could never live on a beach in Australia like I do here. AND [Іпанема] is one of the best beaches in the world,” Hobbs said.
Inland areas such as Flamengo, Botafogo and Catete are cheaper options that are still close to beaches, hiking and vibrant nightlife. For Hollingshead, Botafogo is a favorite place to live. “It’s super convenient, has tons of restaurants and bars, is within walking distance of two different malls (both of which have good co-working spaces), and feels a lot less touristy and crowded than Copacabana. You can also get a lot more space at better prices,” she said.
“Enjoying the outdoors is what Rio is all about,” according to Brazilian tour guide Alessandra Alli (Image: John W Banagan/Getty Images)
Balance between work and personal life
Enjoying the outdoors is what Rio is all about, whether it’s running along the black and white Copacabana boardwalk, surfing the gentle waves of Ipanema, or sitting at a bar enjoying a cold beer and samba. “The outdoor lifestyle is very important to the city,” said Alessandra Alli, Brazilian tour guide and founder Hike in Rio .
Beaches, woodland walks and numerous alfresco bars are on the doorstep of anyone living in the South Zone, making it easy to switch to fun activities when the laptop is closed for the day. There are many free and affordable outdoor activities, including free gyms on the beach in Ipanema, as well as free daily yoga, beach spin classes and sessions HIIT in to the Mude app which anyone can sign up for.
Avid hikers can enjoy miles of trails through the Atlantic Forest, one of the most biodiverse biomes in the world, which surrounds the city and caters to all tastes with attractions including deep caves, refreshing waterfalls and breathtaking views. “That’s why routes [Ріо] unique,” said Alli. “IN [Rio] there are tracks for all ages, all difficulty levels and different distances.”
For those who want to immerse themselves in cultural activities after work, there is no shortage of live music, street markets and gastronomic events on weekends. “Culture in Rio has so many layers. It has so much depth and color,” Hobbs said.
It’s hard to do any work in Rio because there’s so much going on
It’s a contagious lifestyle, and it takes willpower to keep you going, Krier said. “It’s hard to do any work in Rio because there’s so much going on.” This is especially true of Carnival, which officially lasts for six days in February or March, starting on the Friday before Ash Wednesday. During this time, the city closes down and the party atmosphere becomes palpable. Brazilians often joke that the year doesn’t start until after Carnival, so be prepared for things to slow down in the run-up to and during the festivities.
Work often slows down in the run-up to Carnival and during the six days of official celebrations (Image credit: Jag Images/Getty Images)
Find out before you go
Brazil’s crime-ridden reputation may scare off some digital nomads planning to move to Rio. Most violent crime occurs in favelas and on the outskirts of tourist destinations. However, vigilance is still required to avoid pickpocketing and robbery. To reduce such risks, it is recommended to keep expensive devices out of sight and take taxis, especially at night. Anktil cited security as one of the downsides of working in Rio, but added, “I haven’t had any problems.”
English is not widely spoken in Rio, although the locals tend to welcome those who learn Portuguese. “Everyone was very nice and patient with me while I was learning Portuguese (which was a challenge!) and I really appreciate that,” Hollingshead said.
It’s a good idea to learn some basics of Portuguese before traveling to Rio, or to take a Portuguese course upon arrival for long-term residents.