Rio de Janeiro: Bikinis and Havana flip flops aside, tourists are being forced to dig deep into their wallets in the city of soccer and sand with the average to high-end hotels, reportedly on FIFA's instructions, charging three times the normal tariffs and raking in the maximum moolah during the World Cup.
For a deluxe room in a five star hotel that normally costs around $200-250 per night, soccer fans from across the world are being made to shell out $700-800 at the moment, courtesy the world football governing body.
"FIFA has taken over all the hotels not just in Rio but all over the country, especially the host cities. It has instructed the hotels to spike its tariffs as that way they will end up making a lot of profits," said Sanjeev Mehra, a director with an established travel agency in India and who is currently in Brazil heading a package trip.
"Apart from the hotel people, I have been speaking to the top guys in FIFA for months for bookings. During the World Cup time in Brazil, one has to go through FIFA. You need contacts there and this credit business doesn't work with FIFA. They need instant payment," Mehra, who has been to Brazil twice before the ongoing visit and heads Aryan Holidays and Leisure, said.
He added, "In my current trip, one room costs $800 per night, just imagine. It's madness."
Add food, game tickets and other miscellaneous expenses, and a solo traveller to Rio de Janeiro will surely end up making a hole in his/her pocket.
"I just can't understand the pricing in Rio. Though we love coming to this city as it's such a fantastic place, the sky-high prices are not worth it," said a tourist from Ireland.
"I had been to this place in the past as well, but the price rise has been maximum this time around, breaking all records thanks to the World Cup."
While the souvenir shops around popular tourist attractions such as Christ The Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain are raking in the moolah, the flea market in the heart of Copacabana beach has emerged as an affordable option for tourists. They are open till as late as 1 am in the morning and are crowded by tourists from all over the world.