We found Brazil to be pretty inexpensive to travel in with things costing usually about a third to half what they would for comparable items in the U.S.
ATMs (caixa automática) are prevalent in Brazil, but they don't all work for international transactions. Specifically, we were able to use ATMs in Salvador, Ilheus, and Valença that were inside Banco de Brazil branches. The ATMs in the Banco de Brazil in Una did not work for us. Nowhere were we able to use standalone ATMs.
U.S. traveller's checks (cheques de viagens) were not widely accepted but could be used to exchange for Reals in banks and major hotels.
- Pousadas (Inns/Bed & Breakfasts)
- We stayed in mostly mid-level pousadas. The range we paid for them was R$ 30 - R$ 66 ($12 - $27) per night for a double room. This included breakfast, hot shower, and clean (usually) double bed.
- The cost of meals varied widely. We bought frittas (deep fried cornbread with shrimp and salsa) on the street for R$ 1.50 ($0.60) apiece. Fuller meals for two (moquecas, pizza) usually cost between R$ 12 and R$ 26 ($5 - $11). A bottle of mineral water was usually R$ 1 while beer (again, for two) was R$ 2.
- Our biggest single expense at R$ 60 per person ($25) was the overnight bus from Salvador to Porto Seguro. (We actually got a deal there because they were supposed to charge half that again for the bikes, but the baggage man--for whatever reason--didn't charge us.) We also took busses from Itacaré to Nilo Pecanha for R$ 19 ($8) and from Valença to Bom Despacho for R$ 12 ($5).
Boats were our next big expense. We took a five-minute ferry ride the first day for all of R$ 1.20 ($0.50). Then, in Belmonte, we hired a 12' open, metal skiff to transport us to Canavieiras for R$ 15 apiece (R$ 12 per person plus R$ 3 per bike) ($6). The slow boat to Morro de São Paulo was cheap, just R$ 7 ($3) for both of us and our bikes. But, we got stuck in a bind trying to get off the island early on a Sunday morning and were roped into hiring a private launch to get back to Valença for R$ 110 ($46) ... ouch. The ferry from Bom Despacho to Salvador wasn't as cheap as we expected either at R$ 7.30 ($3) each.
Taking taxis around Salvador can add up quickly as well. Expect to pay between R$ 20 and R$ 50 ($8 - $21) to get to and from the airport, for example.