Argentina fans have parked their caravans near Copacabana beach.
Hundreds of cost-conscious football fans have found a cheaper way to attend the World Cup in one of Brazil's most expensive cities -- "camping by Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach," according to Walter Brandimarte of REUTERS. Most of them drove thousands of miles from other South American countries "to support their national teams, avoiding expensive flights as well as Rio's notoriously pricey hotels." The largest contingent of supporters camping by the beach is Argentine, but Colombians, Chileans and Ecuadoreans "could also be seen parking old cars, trailers and even small buses turned into rolling dormitories along Avenida Atlantica, one of Rio's most famous postcards." While their presence "has annoyed some local residents, many Brazilians have welcomed them." Several campers said that they have not "been hassled by police." Camping "is usually not allowed on Rio's central beaches and cars must pay hourly parking fees in most of the city, but authorities have largely turned a blind eye to the presence of World Cup campers so far." A military police officer stationed near the Argentine group said that "it was the responsibility of Rio's municipal guard to take action." A nearby municipal guard said that "he would only intervene if the campers caused trouble" (REUTERS, 6/18