If you're anything like me, before moving to Rio you're doing a lot of research on what will and will not be easy to find once you get here. Along with the help of several other expat women throughout the city, this list is a work in progress and will be edited as items are found in Rio! Please feel free to advise me if you know of a place to find any of our impossible-to-find items and add your comments!
I've included some of the anecdotes of the ladies for entertainment value!
Hard to find and/or expensive in Rio (and in some cases, where you can find it)
(In most cases, anything that's hard to find is also expensive but I've marked the particularly heinously expensive items with "$!")
Mexican Food - many items available at Zona Sul & Sendas, including:
Refried Beans ($!)
Tortilla Chips ($!)
Rice Noodles &
Goji Berries - available at Asian food stores
Pam Cooking Spray ($)
Ziplock Bags - not as much selection of different types/sizes here and anything plastic. ($!)
Plastic storage containers - everywhere, but not of as good of quality. ($!)
Sour cream - very hard to find but apparently it's been done!
Peanut butter - particularly if you have a brand you like. Brazilian "amedocreme" readily available here.
Chicken stock in a can. ($!)
High quality linen and towels - Trousseau - ($!)
Philadelphia creme cheese
Fritos Corn chips ($!)
Potato chips ($!)
Greeting cards ($!)
Wrapping paper ($!)
Nice stationary ($!)
Crystal wine glasses (not glass) ($!)
Sun screen SPF 50 - ($!)
Cosmetics - particularly name brand ($!)
Cheeses - Brie, Camembert ($!)
Magazines/books in english ($!)
Campbell's soups ($!)
Neutrogena sunblock ($!)
Good hard candy
Plain Peanut Butter
Maple Syrup ($!)
Great Chocolate ($!)
Swim Goggles ($!)
Running Shoes ($!)
Quality Clothes ($!)
Contact Solution ($!)
Depending on the time of year - blueberries & pomegranates.
Good tea towels
Cheddar cheese (S!) available at Zona Sul in Leblon
Ketchup & Mustard ($!)
Heintz 57 Sauce
Designer jeans ($!)
Dish soap that works
Impossible to find in Rio
Salt & Vinegar Chips (or any type of chips other than BBQ, plain or sour cream & onion for that matter)
Velveeta Shells and Cheese
Reach Flosser refills
Laundry detergent for HE machines
Organic pet food
Italian bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs of any kind besides panko bread crumbs)
Organic Peanut butter
Bathing Suits with full coverage
U.S. Brown Sugar (and yellow sugar)
Real cranberry juice - not cocktail, the thick, horrible stuff that is hard to drink but great for UTI's.
Most types of breakfast cereal - pretty much everything but all bran flakes, granola, sugary cereal.
Cream of wheat hot cereal - there is a similar one here but it's not the same.
Muffins & bagels & English Muffins
Granola Bars without nuts
Most types of protein bars
Baking soda in a box rather than a little packet that holds about a 1/4 cup
Honey Mustard Sauce
PEPPERmint tea (lots of mint but no PEPPERmint)
Certain types of soda/pop like Ginger Ale and Root Beer
Canned Green Beans
Many Salad Dressings: Poppy Seed, Blue Cheese, Ranch
Italian Dressing Mix (although there is "Vinegarette")
Ranch Dressing Mix
Convenience Mixes - for cookies, gravy, sauces, etc.
Refrigerated dips, such as dill pickle, french onion, ranch, etc.
Recommendations of Items to consider bringing, depending on your preferences... in the words of the expat wives themselves...
- I bring in my favorite oatmeal and grits. A good coffeepot with the filters to fit. These are very expensive here. We also bring in our favorite coffee (but there are several good ones here.) Pots and skillets. Be certain to bring your good ones. Most apartments use natural gas stoves.
- I bring Reach Flosser refills and my favorite toothpaste. Over time, my list has shrunk because I find Brazilian items that work for me. Someone from Brazil told me to stock up on underwear before I moved because the cut is different here-like the swimsuits. She had a hard time with US underwear and figured we would feel the same about theirs. One thing that I wish I had more of is the 3 prong to 2 prong electrical adaptors. I bought some extension cords here, but to plug in a 3 pronger, you really need the US adapter.
- Bring 3 way light bulbs, certain spices you're used to cooking with; I bring pecans and lemon pudding to make pies. I buy canned or whole wheel cheeses in the USA and bring them here...but be sure to unpack your suitcase as soon as you get here...or the cheese will stink. I brought 2 or 3 wheels of brie back - or rather I sent them with my husband, and he never unpacked them...needless to say I had to throw them out when I arrived a week later. Also expensive - fine quality sheets and pillowcases - you can buy 500 thread count at Penny's for less than what you would pay for 100ct here.
- Any medicinal teas, herbal remedies, specialty items you like to have - bring from home! They are hard to find here. Things like oil of oregano, etc. impossible...
- If you have a baby or are having one, bring as much as you can from home as everything for baby is very expensive here!