If you want to look like a local in no time – and do so without blowing the travel budget – your first port of call should be Saara - the maze of shopping streets in downtown Rio head to the streets of Saara with our guide and look hot without spending a fortune.
Located in the Historic Downtown, the Pólo Saara is considered to be the largest open air mall of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Composed of eleven streets on the surroundings of Alfândega St., it has over 88 stores, most of which cater to the popular market. At the end of the 19th century, the region was originally occupied by immigrants of different nationalities who opened up small family business. The buildings of Saara still preserve the original architecture of that time. The region is known as the Mecca of popular commerce and offers a variety of clothing stores, toy stores, souvenir stores and even some official Rio 2016 merchandise. The Pólo is in the same region that some touristic attractions, like the Campo de Santana, the Candelária Church and the Biblioteca Parque Estadual. While this is not the place to come for super-sophisticated clothing, Saara is a wonderland of cheap garments and accessories that are fun to wear even if they won't stand the test of time. The standard Carioca uniform - teeny denim shorts and clingy vests for the girls, board shorts and tees for the guys, can be found here in abundance, along with all manner of costume jewellery and accessories. There is also a store dedicated to the ultimate Brazilian footwear - the simple but enduringly hip Havaiana flip flop, and style-conscious visitors would be well advised to buy a few pairs to take back home.Saara (pronounced 'Sahara') was named for the Arab immigrants who opened stores and warehouses here in decades past, and there is still a Middle Eastern influence to be felt in this part of Rio. There are several restaurants and snack bars selling such tasty snacks as falafel and esfiiha - folded pastries typically filled with spiced meat or ricotta cheese, spinach and mint.