Activities

Tropical rainforest, towering peaks and sparkling beaches set the stage for a wide range of adventures in this outdoors-loving city. Hiking, rock climbing, hang gliding, surfing and cycling are just a few ways to spend a sun-drenched afternoon. Rio is also a great place to watch sport; nothing quite compares to seeing the mad spectacle of a football match at hallowed Maracanã.

Walking, Jogging & Cycling

Splendid views and the sounds of the ever-present ocean are just two features of the many good walking and jogging paths of the Zona Sul. Parque do Flamengo has plenty of paths stretching between city and bay. Further south Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas has a 7.2km track for cyclists, joggers and inline skaters. At the lakeside Parque dos Patins you can rent bicycles (R$15 per hour), tricycles or quadricycles (around R$30 per hour). A popular option is to take the seaside path from Leme to Barra da Tijuca. You can also cycle along paths from Copacabana up to Parque do Flamengo. Sunday is the best day to go, as the road is closed to traffic but open to the city's many outdoor enthusiasts.

The short Pista Cláudio Coutinho, between the mountains and the sea at Praia Vermelha in Urca, is closed to bikes but open to walkers and joggers. It's open from 7am to 6pm daily.

Rio by Bike offers excellent tours that combine scenery and cultural insight, with guides pointing out key landmarks and describing events that have shaped Rio. Tours last three to four hours and travel mostly along bike lanes.

Hiking

Rio has some outstanding hikes along the trails coursing through Floresta da Tijuca. You can also go for hikes through wilderness areas around Corcovado, Morro da Urca and Pão de Açúcar.

Rock Climbing

Rio is the center of rock climbing in Brazil, with 350 documented climbs within 40 minutes of the city center. In addition to organized outings, you can also try your hand at the rock-climbing wall in Parque da Catacumba.

Hang Gliding

If you weigh less than 100kg (about 220lb) and have a spare R$500 to spend, you can do the fantastic hang glide off 510m Pedra Bonita – one of the giant granite slabs that tower above Rio – onto Pepino Beach in São Conrado. Flights last about seven to 10 minutes, and no experience is necessary. Guest riders are secured in a kind of pouch that is attached to the hang glider. The winds are quite safe here and accidents are rare.

The price of the flight includes pickup and drop-off from your hotel.

Capoeira

The only surviving martial art native to the New World, capoeira was invented by Afro-Brazilian slaves about 400 years ago. In its original form, the grappling martial art developed as a means of self-defense against slave owners. Once the fighting art was discovered, it was quickly banned and capoeira went underground. The slaves, however, continued to hone their fighting skills; they did it out of sight, practicing secretly in the forest. Later the sport was disguised as a kind of dance, allowing them to practice in the open. This is the form that exists today.

Capoeira, which is referred to as a jogo (game), is accompanied by hand clapping and the plucking of the berimbau (a long, single-stringed instrument). Initially the music was used to warn fighters of the boss' approach; today it guides the rhythm of the game. Fast tempos dictate the players' exchange of fast, powerful kicks and blows, while slower tempos bring the pace down to a quasi-dance. The berimbau is accompanied by the atabaque (floor drum) and a pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine).

You can see musicians and spectators arranged in the roda de capoeira (capoeira circle) at the weekly Feira Nordestina in São Cristóvão. If you're in town for a while, you can also sign up for classes. Fundição Progresso in Lapa offers classes three nights a week.

Surfing

Rio has some fine options when it comes to surfing, with some great breaks just outside the city. If you're not ready to leave the Zona Sul, there are a few options, including fairly consistent breaks in front of posto 10 in Ipanema and posto 11 in Leblon. Copacabana gets an OK break between postos 4 and 5. You'll find better waves near the spit of land dividing Copacabana from Ipanema. On the east side, off Praia do Diabo, you get right and left breaks, which can reach up to 2m high, but it's not a good spot for beginners. On the other side of the rocks is Arpoador, which is generally more consistent, with fast, hollow breaks to the left ranging from 0.5m to 3m. The big drawback here is that the place gets crowded, making maneuvering extremely difficult. To beat the crowds, go early on weekday mornings.

If you're serious about surfing, you'll want to head down to the beaches west of Rio. Just past Barra da Tijucca and Recreio is Macumba Beach; its left and right breaks draw both long-boarders and beginners. After Macumba is lovely Prainha, which is widely considered the best surf spot in the area, with waves reaching 3m on good days. If it's too packed, you can continue on to Grumari, where the swell isn't as good but the crowds are thinner.

Surfing aside, you can also get out on the water on a stand-up paddleboard. You can hire these out by the half hour, or take lessons from rental outfits located at the southern end of Copacabana Beach. You can also rent a kayak off the beach in Praia Vermelha in Urca.

Boards & Surf Camps

For boards and other gear, visit Galeria River. Some hostels, such as Stone of a Beach and Tupiniquim, also rent boards.

To get to the great surf spots outside of Rio, catch a ride on the Surfbus, which will take passengers and their boards down to Prainha, with stops along the way. It departs at 7am, 10am, 1pm and 4pm from Largo do Machado (and picks up passengers in the Zona Sul en route).

Beginners who want to learn to surf can take classes through informal escolinhas (schools) off Ipanema Beach and off Barra. Rio Surf 'N Stay offers lessons (in English) and overnight accommodation.

By Neighbourhood

  • Ipanema & Leblon Cycling or jogging the beach path.
  • Gávea, Jardim Botânico & Lagoa Cycling or jogging the lake-shore path. Hikes in Parque Lage.
  • Copacabana & Leme Cycling or jogging the beach path; stand-up paddleboarding off the beach.
  • Botafogo & Urca Rock climbing up Pão de Açúcar. Walking the short Pista Cláudio Coutinho.
  • Flamengo & Around Cycling or jogging through Parque do Flamengo.
  • Zona Norte Watching a football game at Maracanã.
  • Barra da Tijuca & Western Rio Hikes and climbs in Floresta da Tijuca.

Need to Know

Football at Maracanã

  • Getting to Maracanã You can take the metro to Maracanã station, and buy tickets at the gate; or go with a group organized by Brazil Expedition, Be a Local or Sergio Manhães.
  • Game days Games take place year-round on Saturdays or Sundays, and less frequently on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
  • Information For results, schedules and league tables visit www.sambafoot.com/en/.

Surf Rio

  • Surf bus To get to the great surf spots outside Rio, catch a ride on the Surfbus, which takes passengers and their boards down to Prainha, with stops along the way. It departs at 7am and 10am from Largo do Machado and picks up passengers in the Zona Sul en route. It returns from Prainha at 12:30pm and 4pm. Call ahead to confirm pickup location and estimated arrival time.
  • Surf conditions Find detailed information on all the breaks around Rio at www.wannasurf.com. If you can read Portuguese, check out www.riosurfpage.com.br.
  • Boards For boards and other gear, visit Galeria River. Spirit Surfboards rents boards, and you can also rent boards on the beach and from some hostels.
  • Classes Beginners who want to learn to surf can take classes through informal escolinhas (schools) off Ipanema Beach and off Barra. Rio Surf 'N Stay offers lessons (in English) and overnight accommodation.

Best Lists

  • Best football experience Seeing a game at Maracanã.
  • Best bike outing Riding the beachside path from Leblon to Leme.
  • Best climb The ascent up Pão de Açúcar.
  • Best hiking Scrambling through rainforest and up craggy overlooks in Floresta da Tijuca.
  • Best surfing The waves off Prainha.
  • Best airborne experience Taking the hang-gliding plunge off Pedra Bonita.

Courses

Rio makes a fine setting for soaking up an exhilarating dose of the tropics, but if action is what you're after, there's a wealth of opportunities for visitors, from diving to surfing to honing one's volleyball game on the sands.

Guided Tours

There are many ways to experience Rio, whether by boat, helicopter, 4WD or good old-fashioned walking.

Bay Cruises

With its magnificent coastline, Rio makes a fine backdrop for a cruise.

City Tours

A number of private guides lead customized tours around the city, taking in the major sights, leading nightlife and organizing just about anything Rio has to offer.

Favela Tours

The pioneer of favela tourism, Marcelo Armstrong, takes small groups on half-day tours to the favelas of Rocinha and Vila Canoas near São Conrado. The itinerary includes an explanation of the architecture and social infrastructure of the favela – particularly in relation to greater Rio de Janeiro. The trip also includes a walk through the streets, and a stop at both a community center and a handicraft center where visitors can purchase colorful artwork made by locals. A portion of Marcelo's profits goes toward social causes in the favela. To avoid paying a commission, call him directly.

Alternatively, you could try Be A Local, a popular outfit that offers daily trips into Rocinha (you'll ride up by moto-taxi, and walk back down), with stops along the way (R$65 per person). Be a Local also organizes a night out at a baile funk party in Castelo das Pedras on Sunday night (R$60), and organizes trips to Maracanã on game days (R$80 to R$90).

Run by a longtime resident of Rocinha, Aurélio Rio Guide shows an authentic side of life in Rocinha, going up by moto-taxi then descending through the narrow lanes and alleys, stopping en route to meet local residents (Aurélio is well known here). Tours are R$60 per person, or R$100 with the optional barbecue lunch at the end of the tour.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Favela tours are now among the most popular day tours you can book in the city, but many visitors wonder if it's little more than voyeurism to take a trip into the Rocinha 'slums.' In fact, there can be some positive things that come out of the experience. Local residents, who feel marginalized by their own government, are often flattered that foreigners take such an interest in them. Projects focused on the arts are growing in the favelas; and one of the best ways to support the community directly is to purchase locally made paintings and handicrafts.

Choosing a guide is also essential. Try to get the lowdown before you sign up. Does he or she give time or money to the community? If so, how much and where does it go? Does the guide live in the favela? While the majority of agencies operating in Rocinha are simply opportunists, there are a few who are bringing more than just tourists to the neighborhood. Ask around, as for those who are interested in seeing Rocinha from the inside – as a volunteer – there are numerous ways to get involved.

Helicopter Tours

In business since 1991, Helisight offers eight different tours, lasting from six to 60 minutes. From one of its four helipads, helicopters travel around Cristo Redentor, from where you can get a bird's-eye view of Rio's most famous monument. Helisight also has flights over the Parque Nacional da Tijuca and above the mountains and beaches. Helipad locations are in Parque Nacional da Tijuca facing Corcovado; on Morro da Urca, the first cable-car stop up Pão de Açúcar; on the edge of Lagoa; and Pier Mauá downtown at the docks.

Jeep Tours

Excursions led by Jeep Tour travel to the lush Parque Nacional da Tijuca in a large convertible jeep. Four-hour tours, which cost around R$85 per person, consist of a stop at the Vista Chinesa, then on to the forest for an easy hike, and a stop for a swim beneath a waterfall, before making the return journey. On the way back, you'll stop at Praia do Pepino, the landing strip for hang gliders from nearby Pedra Bonita. Other excursions offered by Jeep Tour include trips around the beaches of Búzios. The price of all tours includes pick up and drop off at your hotel.

Another reputable jeep tour operator is Rio by Jeep created by trusted hang-gliding pilot Ricardo Hamond. He offers two different jeep tours (in French, Spanish and English): one that provides a good overview of the city (following the waterfront from the Zona Sul to Centro, through Lapa up to Santa Teresa, on to Cristo Redentor then into Floresta da Tijuca, R$135 to R$170). The second focuses on Floresta da Tijuca, taking in views, a waterfall and a short hike (R$95 to R$110).

Walking Tours

Run by art historian Professor Carlos Roquette, who speaks English and French as well as Portuguese, Cultural Rio offers visitors an in-depth look at social and historical aspects of Rio de Janeiro. Roquette has a wealth of Carioca knowledge (and a quirky sense of humor) and he feels as comfortable discussing Jobim and the bossa nova scene as he does the sexual indiscretions of the early Portuguese rulers. Itineraries include a night at the Theatro Municipal, colonial Rio, baroque Rio, imperial Rio and a walking tour of Centro. He's been in business for over 20 years, and has led thousands of private walking tours.

Hiking Tours

Jungle Me This top-notch outfit offers excellent hiking tours through Parque Nacional da Tijuca led by knowledgeable guides. The peaks-and-waterfalls tour offers challenging walks up several escarpments that offer stunning views of Rio followed by a refreshing dip in a waterfall. The wild-beaches-of-Rio tour takes you on a hike between scenic beaches in Rio's little-visited western suburbs.

Sleeping

Rio's most popular accommodations include high-rise hotels on the beachfront, small art-minded guesthouses (particularly in Santa Teresa) and stylish hostels. With a growing number of accommodation options, rates are fairly competitive (with prices slightly less than in the US). Keep in mind you'll pay a premium (double or triple the normal price) during Carnaval and at New Year's Eve, with minimum stays (four to seven nights) usually required. You can save money by renting an apartment.

Book at least two or three months in advance during high season.

Need to Know

Price Ranges

Prices are for double rooms, except for hostels with only dorm beds, in which case the price is for one person in a dorm bed.

$ less than R$200

$$ R$200 to R$500

$$$ more than R$500

Room Tax

Keep in mind that many hotels add between 5% and 15% in taxes and service charges. Cheaper places don't generally bother with this. Be sure to read the fine print when booking.

Long-Term Rentals

If you're planning to stay in Rio for longer than a few nights, you might consider renting an apartment. There are a number of agencies dedicated to tracking down short-term hires for foreigners, and it's a fairly straightforward affair. Typically, you'll typically need to pay 30% to 50% up front (some agencies accept credit cards, others work with Paypal). Make sure you inquire whether utilities and/or cleaning fees are included in the price. As is the case with hotels and hostels, prices double or triple during Carnaval and New Year's, with places booking up far in advance. Nightly rates start around R$120 for a studio apartment.

Love Among the Cariocas

Living in such a crowded city, cariocas (residents of Rio) can have a terrible time snatching a few moments of privacy. For those living with their parents or sharing a tiny apartment with roommates, an empty stretch of beach, a park bench or a seat in the back of a cafe are all fine spots to steal a few kisses, but for more…progressive action, cariocas take things elsewhere: to the motel, aka the love motel.

Love motels aren't so much a carioca oddity as they are a Brazilian institution. They're found in every part of the country, usually sprouting along the outskirts of cities and towns. Some are designed with lavish facades – they may be decked out to resemble medieval castles, Roman temples or ancient pyramids – while others blend in discreetly. Regardless of the exterior, the interiors are far removed from the 'less is more' design philosophy. Mirrors cover the ceiling and heart-shaped, vibrating beds stretch beneath them. Rose-tinted mood lights, Jacuzzis, televisions loaded with porn channels, dual-headed showers and a bedside room-service menu featuring sex toys: all these come standard in most love motels. Such places scream seediness in the West. In Brazil, however, they're nothing out of the ordinary. People need a place for their liaisons, so they might as well have a laugh and a bit of fun while they're at it. Motels are used by young lovers who want to get away from their parents; by parents who want to get away from their kids; and by couples who want to get away from their spouses. They are an integral part of the nation's social fabric, and it's not uncommon for cariocas to host parties in them.

The quality of motel varies. The most lavish are three-story suites with a hot tub beneath a skylight on the top floor, a sauna and bathroom on the 2nd floor, and a garage underneath (allowing anonymity). They come standard with all the other mood-enhancement features. For the best suites, expect to pay upwards of R$500 for eight hours, and more on weekends. Cariocas claim that an equally fine time can be had at standard rooms.

If you wish to check out this cultural institution, here are some options:

Where to Stay

Ipanema & Leblon

For

Great location near the beach and the lake, with Rio's best restaurants and bars surrounding. Great views possible: ocean, lake or possibly Corcovado.

Against

Pricier than other locations. Fewer options than Copacabana.

Copacabana & Leme

For

Wealth of lodging possibilities packed into a long, narrow high-rise-lined neighborhood. Proximity to the beach. Good transport connections to other parts of the city. Good restaurants and bars.

Against

Nightlife more limited than Ipanema or Botafogo. Very touristy; some cariocas avoid it. Sex tourism in some parts; tourist-trap restaurants along Av Atlântica.

Botofogo & Urca

For

Good neighborhood with restaurants, bars and nightclubs that attract a local crowd.

Against

Not within walking distance of the beach. Noisy, traffic-clogged avenues. Few attractions.

Flamengo & Around

For

Better prices than the beachside districts.

Against

Few options, mostly budget. Very few restaurants and bars, and very little nightlife.

Santa Teresa & Lapa

For

Santa Teresa is a charming bohemian district with great architecture and alternative, art-minded residents. Has a handful of good restaurants and drinking spots. Lapa is the epicenter of Rio's samba-fueled nightlife.

Against

Santa Teresa is far from the beaches; poor transport links. Lapa is unappealing and gritty by day.

Barra da Tijuca & Western Rio

For

Great beaches with a laid-back vibe.

Against

Long commutes into town. No neighborhood vibe; most locals use cars to get places.

Hotels

Despite Rio's growing popularity, the city's hotel scene is lackluster. The majority of hotels are in glass and steel high-rises, with marble- and chrome-filled lobbies, and comfortable but uninspiring rooms. The best feature will be the view (if there is one) and the door by which to exit the room and explore this fascinating city. Amenities to look for include pools, wi-fi (usually free except in some luxury hotels, which charge exorbitant rates) and beach service (towels, chairs and attendants).

Hostels

With more than 200 hostels scattered around the city, Rio does not lack for budget lodging. Hostels are great settings for meeting other travelers. With more and more Brazilians traveling, your dorm mate is just as likely to be from Porto Alegre as they are from Perth. Rio's hostels range in price and style, and subcultures dominate. For a bohemian vibe, try Santa Teresa; for the nightlife scene, look around Lapa, Copacabana and Ipanema. And for something totally different, stay in a hostel located in a favela.

Apartment Rentals

The best way to save money in Rio is to rent an apartment. There are numerous rental outfits in Ipanema and Copacabana, though you can also go through Airbnb (www.airbnb.com). This site allows you to rent a whole apartment or simply a room in a shared flat, making it a good way to meet cariocas.

If you book an apartment through an agency, nightly high-season rates start around R$200 for a small studio apartment in Copacabana and R$350 in Ipanema. Typically, you'll need to pay 30% to 50% up front; some agencies accept credit cards; others use Paypal. Make sure you ask whether utilities and cleaning fees are included in the price. Reputable outfits include Rio Spot Homes, Ipanema for Rent, Blame It on Rio 4 Travel and Rio Apartments.

Prices & Reservations

Rooms with an ocean view cost about 30% to 50% more than rooms without. During the summer (December through March), hotel rates typically rise by about 30%, and many places book up well in advance, so it's wise to reserve ahead. There's no getting around it: prices double or triple for New Year's Eve, Carnaval and major events, such as the Olympics. Most accommodations, including hostels, will only book in four- or seven-day blocks around these times. It's never too early to book for Carnaval; better places fill up to a year in advance.

Breakfast

Nearly every guesthouse, hostel and hotel serves some form of café da manha (breakfast). At cheaper places, this may only be a roll, some bread and instant coffee; better places serve fresh fruit, juices, strong coffee, yogurt, cheese, cured meats, fresh bread and perhaps cooked eggs. Oddly, Rio's most expensive lodgings often charge for breakfast.

Favela Chic

Favela sleeps are nothing new. Intrepid travelers have been venturing into Rio’s urban mazes for over a decade, but as more and more of Rio’s favelas are pacified, hostels and pousadas (guesthouses) are popping up faster than the rudimentary constructions which make up the favelas themselves. Our favorites:

Booking Services

  • Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) Thousands of apartment listings across Rio.
  • Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.com) More than 10,000 hosts in Rio, and an active meet-up community.
  • Booking (www.booking.com) Generally the best deals for hotels and guesthouses.
  • Lonely Planet (lonelyplanet.com/brazil/rio-de-janeiro/hotels) Extensive hotel reviews and online booking.

Best Lists

By Budget

$

  • Rio Hostel Great Santa Teresa location and a charming atmosphere.
  • Cabana Copa Buzzing hostel in a peaceful location in Copacabana.
  • Vidigalbergue Fun hostel with unrivaled sea views in Vidigal.

$$

$$$

Unusual Stays

Boutique Lodging

  • Vila Galé Gorgeous new property in Rio's samba epicenter.
  • Casa Mosquito Beautifully designed boutique guesthouse above Ipanema.

Guesthouses

Sleeping

  • Casa Beleza Friendly hosts and an enticing pool in a villa guesthouse in Santa Teresa.
  • Hotel Santa Teresa Rio's finest boutique hotel, with a great restaurant and bar.
  • Pouso Verde Charming guesthouse in a peaceful Jardim Botânico location.
  • Maze Inn Unique English-run place with striking views in Tavares Bastos favela.
  • Copacabana Palace Gorgeous, historic hotel with great restaurants and top service.
  • Mirante do Arvrão Gorgeous views from this hilltop perch in Vidigal favela.

Eating

Despite top-notch chefs, ethnically diverse cuisine and a rich bounty from farm, forest and sea, Rio hasn't earned much of a culinary reputation abroad. Within Brazil, however, it's a different story, with cariocas (residents of Rio) convinced that there's no place quite like home for sitting down to a first-rate meal.

The Dining Scene

Variety comes in many forms in Rio, which is unsurprising given the large immigrant population. Lebanese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French and Italian cuisines are among the standouts, though there's an equally broad selection of regional Brazilian restaurants.

Diners can sample rich shrimp-filled moqueca (seafood stew cooked in coconut milk) from Bahia or tender carne seca (jerked meat) covered in farofa (manioc flour), a staple in Minas Gerais. Daring palates can venture north into Amazonia, enjoying savory tacacá (manioc paste, lip-numbing leaves of the vegetable jambu and dried shrimp) or tambaqui (a large Amazonian fish) and other meaty fishes from the mighty Amazon. Cowboys and the gaúcho from the south bring the city its churrascarias, Brazil's famous all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurants, where crisply dressed waiters bring piping-hot spits of freshly roasted meats to your table.

Wherever you end up, try to pace yourself. Brazilian dishes are normally quite large – and some dishes are meant for two. When in doubt, ask the server to clarify.

Juice Bars

Most cariocas start off their morning with a stop at the local juice bar, where they can enjoy two or three dozen varieties of vitamin-filled elixirs, including the very popular açaí (healthful juice made from an Amazonian berry and whipped up to a thick consistency – it's eaten with a spoon).

Other unique flavors to try: cupuaçu (Amazonian fruit), caju (fruit from the cashew-nut tree), acerola (tropical cherry), carimbola (star fruit), graviola (custard apple), fruta do conde (sugar apple) and cacau (made from the creamy pulp of the cocoa pod; nothing like cocoa). More traditional fruits include maracujá (passion fruit), manga (mango), goiaba (guava) and tomate de árbol (tamarillo).

Juices are made from frozen pulp, with added sugar. To order it without sugar, request 'sem açúcar'.

Juice bars also serve snacks (on display in the counters), hot sandwiches such as misto quente (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) and other bites served up in a hurry.

Per-Kilo Restaurants

At lunchtime, locals favor pay-by-weight restaurants, which range from simple, working-class affairs to sumptuous buffets lined with fresh salads, grilled meats, pastas, seafood dishes and copious desserts. These are found all across the city, and are a great way to sample a wide variety of Brazilian dishes.

Most places charge around R$50 to R$70 per kilogram, with a sizable plate of food costing about R$35 to R$50.

Snacks

Snack stands, juice bars and botecos (small open-air bars) serve up a wide variety of delicious, if utterly unhealthy, salgados (snacks). After a day at the beach, they go quite nicely with a few rounds of chope (draft beer).

A few top picks:

Pão de queijo Bite-sized cheese-filled rolls.

Esfiha Triangular pastry filled with meat and spices, spinach or other fillings.

Kibe Deep-fried Middle Eastern snack with a thin whole-wheat crust and a filling of ground beef and spices.

Bolinho de bacalhau Deep-fried codfish balls.

Coxinha Pear-shaped cornmeal balls filled with shredded chicken.

Pastel de carne/camarão/queijo Square of deep-fried dough filled with meat, shrimp or cheese.

Tapioca A crepe made from manioc flour, filled with chicken, cheese, fruit preserves and more. Found primarily at food markets.

Food Markets

The feiras (produce markets) that pop up in different locations throughout the week are the best places to shop for juicy mangoes, papayas, pineapples and other fruits. For an authentic slice of homegrown carioca commerce, nothing beats wandering through a market and taking in the action. The best time to go is in the morning (from 9am to noon). The feiras end by 2pm or 3pm.

In addition to the markets we list, stop in at Ipanema's Hippie Fair on Sundays for delectable Bahian fare.

Cobal do Humaitá The city's largest farmers market sells plenty of veggies and fruit; it also has cafes and restaurants, and a huge open-air pavilion for alfresco dining.

Cobal do Leblon Fruit stalls, as well as indoor-outdoor restaurants and bars.

Copacabana Markets are held Wednesdays on Praça Edmundo Bittencourt; Thursdays on Rua Ministro Viveiros de Castro and Rua Ronald de Carvalho; Saturdays on Rua General Azevedo Pimentel; and Sundays on Praça Serzedelo Correia.

Gávea Friday market on Praça Santos Dumont.

Glória Sunday market on Av Augusto Severo.

Ipanema Markets are held Mondays on Rua Henrique Dumont, Tuesdays on Praça General Osório and Fridays on Praça NS da Paz.

Jardim Botânico Saturday market on Rua Frei Leandro.

Leblon Thursdays on Rua General Urquiza.

Leme Monday market on Gustavo Sampaio

Santa Teresa Fridays on Rua Felicio dos Santos

Urca Sundays on Praça Tenente Gil Guilherme.

Feijoada

As distinctively carioca as Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) or Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), the feijoada completa is a dish that constitutes an entire meal, and often begins with a caipirinha aperitif.

A properly prepared feijoada consists of black beans slowly cooked with a great variety of meat – including dried tongue and pork offcuts – seasoned with salt, garlic, onion and oil. The stew is accompanied by white rice and finely shredded kale, then tossed with croutons, fried farofa (manioc flour) and pieces of orange.

Feijoada has its origins in Portuguese cooking, which uses a large variety of meats and vegetables; fried farofa (inherited from the indigenous inhabitants) and kale are also Portuguese favorites. The African influence comes with the spice and the tradition of using pork offcuts, which were the only part of the pig given to slaves.

Traditionally, cariocas eat feijoada for lunch on Saturdays, though a few restaurants serve it on other days. Among the top places to sample the signature dish is Casa da Feijoada, which is one of the few places in Rio that serves feijoada daily. Vegetarians can sample tasty meat-free versions of feijoada at Vegetariano Social Club.

Recipe

Ingredients

6 cups dried black beans

500g smoked ham hocks

500g Brazilian lingüiça (Brazilian sausage; substitute chorizo or sweet sausage)

500g Brazilian carne seca or lean Canadian (loin-cut) bacon

1kg smoked pork ribs

The intrepid can add one each of a pork ear, foot, tail and tongue

2 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 strips smoked bacon

salt and black pepper

orange slices to garnish

rice, farofa, kale or collard greens to serve

hot sauce (optional) to serve

Preparation

After soaking beans overnight, bring them to a boil in 3L of water and then keep them on low to medium heat for several hours, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut up the ham hocks, lingüiça and carne seca into 3cm or 4cm chunks, separate the pork ribs by twos and place them all in a separate pan full of water and bring to a boil. After the first boil, empty out the water and add the mixture, along with the bay leaves and salt and pepper, to the beans. As the pot simmers, in a separate pan sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil, adding in the smoked bacon. Take two ladles of beans from the pot, mash them and add to the frying pan. Stir around, cook for a few more minutes, then add frying-pan contents to the pot; this will thicken the mixture. Simmer for another two to three hours, until the beans are tender and the stock has a creamy consistency. Remove bay leaves and serve over rice with farofa and kale or collard greens. Garnish with fresh orange slices. Add hot sauce if desired, and be sure to enjoy with a cold caipirinha.

By Neighbourhood

  • Ipanema & Leblon Best assortment of dining from inexpensive juice bars and per-kilo places to award-winning restaurants.
  • Gávea, Jardim Botânico & Lagoa Charming upscale neighborhood options, plus dining with views at open-air lakeside kiosks.
  • Copacabana & Leme Humble rotisseries, ethnic fare and beachfront kiosks, plus hidden gems on the side streets.
  • Botafogo, Humaitá & Urca Creative, high-end eateries along Rua Conde de Irajá; casual open-air options along Rua Nelson Mandela.
  • Flamengo & Around Small selection of midrange and downmarket options and a few well-concealed surprises (Lebanese, Japanese and Rio's best pizzas).
  • Centro & Praça Mauá Atmospheric lunch options on cobblestone streets near Praça XV, but few dinner options.
  • Santa Teresa & Lapa Small but enticing collection of eateries, with the densest concentration around Largo do Guimarães.

Need to Know

Opening Hours

Most restaurants open from noon to 3pm and 6pm to 11pm. On Sundays many restaurants open only for lunch, if at all. Juice bars open around 7am or 8am and close at midnight or later.

Tipping

A 10% tip is usually included in restaurant bills. When it isn't included, it's customary to leave 10%.

Reservations

Most restaurants accept reservations for both lunch and dinner, so call ahead to avoid a wait. Reservations are essential at high-end restaurants, and the answering host will usually speak English.

Lunch Specials

Some restaurants serve multicourse lunch specials, which often provide decent value for money. Prices hover around R$30, but can go upwards of R$50 for more elaborate offerings.

Dress Code

Cariocas (residents of Rio) are quite casual when it comes to dress, and dining out is no exception. Even at the nicest places, a pair of smart jeans and a collared shirt or blouse will do just fine.

Etiquette

Brazilians can be fastidious when it comes to eating. Use a knife and fork when eating pizza. In fact, never touch your food with bare hands: always use a napkin when eating sandwiches, bar snacks etc.

Price Ranges

The price symbols in reviews indicate the cost of a main course.

$ less than R$30

$$ R$30–75

$$$ more than R$75

Best Lists

Eating

  • Espírito Santa Superb Amazonian dishes and creative cocktails in Santa Teresa.
  • CT Boucherie Juicy grilled dishes and limitless servings of creative sides.
  • Zazá Bistrô Tropical Handsomely converted mansion with contemporary Asian-inspired fare.
  • Aprazível Beautiful setting with magical views over the city.
  • Lasai One of Rio's best and most creative restaurants.
  • Ferro e Farinha Wonderful pizza in an atmospheric but hard-to-find space.

By Budget

$

$$

  • TT Burger Outstanding burgers, a short stroll from the beach.
  • Mironga Stylish but good-value lunch spot in Centro.
  • Volta Creative Brazilian comfort fare in a pretty villa.
  • Frontera Excellent per-kilo joint in Rio, with a huge variety of dishes.

$$$

  • Churrascaria Palace Rio's best all-you-can-eat joint, with sizzling cuts of meat in an elegant setting.
  • Olympe An imaginative fusion of Brazilian and French cooking.
  • Térèze French decadence at the plush Hotel Santa Teresa.
  • Zuka Brilliantly executed dishes on Leblon's main eat street.

Seafood

Views

  • Bar Urca Sit on the sea wall, nibble on great snacks and admire the view.
  • Cafe Colombo Unbeatable views across Copacabana Beach, plus tasty brunch fare.

Atmosphere

  • Rústico Creative cooking in an open-air setting in Santa Teresa.
  • Bar do Mineiro An old-fashioned favorite for traditional Brazilian cooking and lively ambience.
  • Brasserie Rosário An old-world bistro on a peaceful cobblestone lane.
  • Cais do Oriente Delectable fare and a classy 19th-century setting.

Vegetarians

Snacks

  • Sírio Libaneza Rio's best Middle Eastern snacks.
  • Tacacá do Norte Simple tiled lunch counter with mind-blowing tacacá (an Amazonian soup).
  • Bibi Sucos Sandwiches and snacks that go nicely with the huge variety of Brazilian juices.
  • Vero Creamy rich gelato in Ipanema.
  • Nega Teresa Scrumptious Bahian street food served with a smile.

Sharing Plates

  • Venga! Buzzing atmosphere and satisfying tapas.
  • El Born Great tapas and beer that pay homage to Barcelona.
  • Casa Momus Delicious Mediterranean fare in a picturesque setting in Lapa.
  • Meza Bar A trendy spot in Rio's most food-centric neighborhood.
  • Bar do David Tasty bar snacks and first-rate seafood in the Babilônia favela.
  • Stuzzi Italian stuzzichini (sharing plates), great wine and a festive atmosphere.

Eat Streets

  • Rua Barão da Torre, Ipanema
  • Rua Dias Ferreira, Leblon
  • Rua Garcia D'Ávila, Ipanema
  • Rua Almirante Alexandrino, Santa Teresa
  • Rua do Rosário, Centro
  • Rua Conde de Irajá, Botafogo

Drinking & Nightlife

Any night of the week you'll find plenty of ways to experience Rio's electrifying nightlife: open-air bars by the lake; festive outdoor drinking spots on the colonial streets of Centro; beachfront kiosks; stylish lounges and nightclubs; and warm and welcoming botecos (small open-air bars) that are scattered all across the city.

The Scene

As in most places in the world, there are a few different subcultures (models and modelizers, surfers, hipsters and hippies) within the nightlife circuit, though there's plenty of crossover between groups. The well-heeled crowd from the Zona Sul tends to favor high-end nightclubs in Gávea and Barra, while an alternative crowd heads to the clubs in Botafogo. Lapa's mix of bars and dance halls attracts a greater diversity of people from all backgrounds, who have little in common aside from a love of samba.

Venues come and go – and the best parties are often one-off events in unique spots – so it helps if you can get the latest from a local source. If you can read a bit of Portuguese, pick up the Veja Rio insert in Veja magazine, which comes out each Sunday. Rio Show, the entertainment insert that comes in the Friday edition of O Globo, also has extensive listings

Botecos

For an insight into Rio's drinking culture, familiarize yourself with one of the great sociocultural icons of the city: the boteco. These casual, open-sided bars are scattered all over town, and draw in a broad cross-section of society. You'll find young and old, upper class and working class, men and women, black and white mixing over ice-cold chope (draft beer) or caipirinhas (cocktails made from lime, sugar and sugarcane alcohol), flirting and swapping the latest gossip as bow-tied waiters move deftly among the crowd.

Just as most cariocas have a favorite team, nearly every local also has a favorite boteco to call their own. These range from hole-in-the-wall joints where canned beer is handed out to drinkers slouched over plastic tables to classic, wood-paneled bar rooms with murals on the walls, expertly mixed drinks and a history dating back several generations. Wherever you go in the city, you'll find food is an important part of the experience, as cariocas rate bars not just on the drinks and the vibe but on the menu as well.

Lately the beer scene has improved immensely thanks to the rise of the craft brewing industry across Brazil. New bars featuring top microbrews from within the state and beyond have opened all across Rio, and cariocas are discovering their beer nerd within.

Nightclubs

Rio has some great places to shake your bunda (booty). DJs pull from the latest house, drum 'n' bass and hip-hop favorites, as well as uniquely Brazilian combinations such as electro-samba and bossa-jazz. In addition to local DJs, Rio attracts a handful of vinyl gurus from São Paulo, New York and London to spin at bigger affairs. Flyers advertising dance parties can be found in boutiques in Ipanema and Leblon, and in the surf shops in Galeria River by Praia Arpoador. You'll save money by getting on the guest list – this usually means adding your name on the club's event-listing page on Facebook.

Consumption Card

At many clubs in Rio you'll receive a control card when you enter. Rather than paying for individual drinks, your card will be marked each time you order. At the end of the night, you'll head to the cashier and pay for your food and drinks, plus the admission charge. Don't lose the card, as you'll be hit with a hefty fee (upwards of R$200).

Gay Rio

Rio has been a major destination for gay travelers since the 1950s. Back then the action was near the Copacabana Palace, which is still popular with a slightly older crowd (look for the rainbow-hued flag). Today, however, the party has mostly moved on, with the focal point of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) scene, especially for visitors, being in Ipanema. The gay beach at the end of Rua Farme de Amoedo (again, look for the rainbow flag) is the stomping ground of some of Rio's buffest men, sometimes known as 'barbies' in carioca slang. The bars and cafes of nearby streets – Rua Teixeira de Melo and Rua Farme – attract a mixed crowd and are a good spot to explore if you're not quite ready to jump into the beach scene.

Rio also hosts an enormously popular Gay Pride Rio festival. For more info on the gay scene in Rio, including recommendations on nightclubs, bars, cafes and guesthouses, visit Rio Gay Guide (www.riogayguide.com).

Nightlife

For the following listings, most places kick off around 11pm or midnight and close around 4am.

By Neighbourhood

  • Ipanema & Leblon Lots of botecos, a handful of lounges and nightclubs.
  • Gávea, Jardim Botânico & Lagoa Romantic lakeside drinking spots popular with couples.
  • Copacabana & Leme Beach kiosks, botecos, nightclubs and bars with views in the favela above Leme.
  • Botafogo, Humaitá & Urca Several popular spots in Urca; great botecos, and creative bars and drinking dens in Botafogo.
  • Centro Atmospheric after-work drinking spots on pedestrianised streets.
  • Santa Teresa & Lapa Old-fashioned bars and bohemian haunts in Santa; riotous street parties and samba clubs in Lapa.

Need to Know

Opening Hours

  • Bars From 6pm to 2am Monday to Friday, from noon on Saturday and Sunday. Most places stay open later (typically till 4am) on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Nightclubs From 11pm to 5am Thursday to Saturday

How Much?

  • Drink prices A draft beer will set you back roughly from R$6 to R$10, with cocktails from R$14 to R$22 and up to R$30 at pricier lounges. Most bars tack on a 10% service charge.
  • Club admission Prices vary; women typically pay less than men. Fridays and Saturdays are the most expensive nights. On average, club admission on a weekend night is around R$50 for men and R$30 for women.

Getting In

  • The dress code at clubs isn't strict in Rio. Neat shorts and sneakers are fine, though flip-flops and swimsuits are a no-no.
  • Groups of single men will have a harder time getting in. Try to join up with a few females.
  • Go before midnight to beat the crowds.

Best Lists

Drinking & Nightlife

  • Palaphita Kitch Amazonian-tinged cocktails and serene lakeside views.
  • Canastra A friendly French-run neighborhood bar with great food and drink.
  • Bar dos Descasados Romantic outdoor lounge with hilltop views.
  • Comuna Creative gathering space for art, music and microbrews.
  • Complex Esquina 111 Great cocktails and a stylish crowd flock to this outdoor Ipanema spot.
  • Estrelas da Babilônia Mesmerizing views from a terrace high up in Babilônia favela.

Meeting People

Dancing

  • 00 (Zero Zero) Nightclub of choice for a fashion-conscious, electronic-music-loving crowd.
  • Bar Bukowski A party house in Botafogo with a dance floor, upstairs stage and a games room.
  • Leviano Bar Outdoor tables on Lapa's wildest street and dancing upstairs.
  • Cabaret Lounge Whimsically decorated bar space for cocktails and dancing.
  • Mais Que Nada Small Copacabana club with nights of salsa, samba and rock.

Botecos

Beer Lovers

Gay Clubs & Bars

  • Week One of the best Saturday-night party spots in Rio.
  • Buraco da Lacraia A trashy good time for adventure seekers in Lapa.
  • Tô Nem Aí Buzzing bar on Ipanema's gayest street.
  • Le Boy Legendary, long-running nightspot in Copacabana.
  • TV Bar A good-time crowd against a backdrop of TV screens and DJs.
  • Galeria Café A staple of the Ipanema scene.

Atmosphere

  • Crazy Cats Antique-filled drinkery with a rock-and-roll soundtrack.
  • Samba Caffe Raise a glass over the cobblestones of Rio's oldest neighborhood.
  • Bar do Zé Atmospheric and well-hidden bar tucked away in Glória.
  • Bar Astor Luscious cocktails and a great location across from Ipanema Beach.
  • Jazz In Champanheria Fun space to sip champagne in the reborn Praça Mauá district.
  • Mud Bug A big draw in Copacabana for both rock lovers and football fans.

Entertainment

Rio has a celebrated music scene, with enchanting settings to catch live performances, from cutting-edge concert halls to small and intimate neighborhood venues. Dance, theater, classical concerts and opera also have their small but loyal local following, while cinema is an even bigger deal – Rio is one of the leading film centers in Latin America.

Live Music

In addition to samba, Rio is a showcase for jazz, bossa nova, Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), rock, hip-hop and fusions of these styles. Brazil's many regional styles – forró (traditional Brazilian music from the Northeast), chorinho (romantic, intimate samba) and pagode (relaxed and rhythmic samba) – are also a part of the music scene.

Venues range from modern concert halls seating thousands to intimate samba clubs in edgy neighborhoods. Antiquated colonial mansions, outdoor parks overlooking the city, old-school bars, crumbling buildings on the edge of town and hypermodern lounges facing the ocean are all part of the mix. Rio has a few large concert halls that attract Brazilian stars such as Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento, as well as well-known international bands visiting Rio on world tours.

Major music festivals include the Rio Music Conference (www.riomusicconference.com.br), held in the Marina da Glória. In addition to established venues, during the summer months concerts sometimes take place on the beaches of Copacabana, Botafogo, Ipanema and Barra da Tijuca.

Dance

Rio has produced a number of successful dance troupes, including the contemporary Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, which spends much of its time touring abroad. One homegrown talent you might catch in town is the Cia de Dança Dani Lima, an avant-garde troupe that weaves provocative pieces together through dance and aerial gymnastics. Also keep an eye out for the Lapa-based Intrépida Trupe, whose talented acrobat-dancers bring surreal works to the stage.

There is no space dedicated solely to dance; performances can take place at many venues around the city.

Rio's biggest dance festival, Festival Panorama de Dança (www.panoramafestival.com), is held in November. For classical dance, try to see a production by the Ballet do Theatro Municipal, which puts on highly professional performances at Rio's most venerable theater.

Best Dance Venues

  • Ginga Tropical See an amazing range of folkloric dances from across Brazil.
  • Espaço SESC Wide-ranging cultural fare, with global dance groups and plenty of experimentation.

Theater

Brazil has a long history of theater. Literary greats from the 19th century, including the highly imaginative carioca (resident of Rio) Joaquim Machado de Assis, gave vision to the stage. Talents from the 20th century, such as the great Nelson Rodrigues and more recently Gerald Thomas, have kept the flame alive, and you may be able to catch some of their work on Rio's stages. There are more than two dozen theaters in town. Unfortunately, if you don't speak Portuguese, you won't get a lot out of an evening at the theater.

Classical Music

In the classical-music scene, Rio has several symphony orchestras, and irregular appearances are made by chamber groups and soloists. The best new venue is Barra da Tijuca's excellent Cidade das Artes, where the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra plays. Other first-rate places to catch a performance include the Sala Cecília Meireles, which has excellent acoustics, and the magnificent Theatro Municipal. You might also attend a performance at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil or the Fundação Eva Klabin, both of which host orchestral works periodically.

The biggest classical-music festival is Música no Museu, held in museums, churches and cultural centers around town.

Cinema

There's plenty of variety at Rio's many cinemas. The market here is remarkably open to foreign and independent films, documentaries and avant-garde cinema. This isn't to say that mainstream Hollywood films are in short supply. The latest American blockbusters get ample airtime at movie megaplexes, while cultural centers, museums and old one-screen theaters offer a more diverse repertoire. Films are shown in the original language with Portuguese subtitles. On weekends, popular shows often sell out, so buy your ticket early. Prices range from R$20 to R$34 per ticket, with cheaper matinee prices from Monday to Thursday and the highest prices (and longest lines) from Friday to Sunday.

The Rio film fest is one of the biggest in Latin America; more than 400 films representing 60 countries show at theaters all across Rio, and there are occasional screenings at the Marina da Glória and other open-air spots around town. In past years the two-week festival has attracted more than 300,000 attendees. It runs from the last week of September to the first week of October. Although there’s a wide variety of international fare screened here, the festival often sets the stage for the success of Brazilian films aimed at wide release. For more info, visit www.festivaldorio.com.br.

Music in the Museum

Classical-music lovers should try to attend a concert held during the ongoing Música No Museu. Held annually over a number of months this event features dozens of concerts (all free) each month, held at museums and cultural spaces around the city, including inside the Museu de Arte Moderna, Museu da República, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and Parque das Ruínas. Most concerts are held during the daytime (typically starting some time between noon and 3pm), making it an alternative to the beach if you need a break. Visit the website or pick up a brochure from any tourist office for the current schedule.

By Neighbourhood

  • Ipanema & Leblon A handful of theaters, cinemas and live-music venues.
  • Gávea, Jardim Botânico & Lagoa Live-music spots at lakeside kiosks.
  • Botafogo, Humaitá & Urca Several cinemas and creative venues.
  • Flamengo & Around Small concert halls in arts spaces.
  • Centro & Praça Mauá Large selection of concert halls and theaters.
  • Santa Teresa & Lapa Many live-music venues in Lapa.
  • Barra da Tijuca & Western Rio Home to megasized concert halls.

Need to Know

Tickets & Reservations

  • Tickets for Fun Sells tickets to big shows at Citibank Hall and Arena HSBC, both in Barra da Tijuca. Also sells through various stores in Rio including Lojas Saraiva, in Shopping Rio Sul.
  • Ingresso.com Sells tickets to various venues, including Theatro Municipal, Sala Cecília and Espaço Tom Jobim. Purchasing online or over the phone requires Portuguese, or you can buy from a distributor such as Lojas Americanas.

Listings

  • Rio Guia Oficial (www.rioguiaoficial.com.br) The city's tourism authority maintains up-to-date listings of major events.
  • Time Out (www.timeout.com.br/rio-de-janeiro) Maintains a weekly calendar of key concerts and events in Portuguese.
  • Rio Show (http://rioshow.oglobo.globo.com) Published inside the Friday edition of O Globo newspaper; has extensive listings in Portuguese.
  • Veja (http://veja.abril.com.br)The Rio insert included with this magazine, which comes out on Sundays, is a good (but Portuguese only) source of info.

Best Lists

Entertainment

  • Theatro Municipal Grand dame of a theater that showcases some of Rio's best performing arts.
  • Cidade das Artes Massive R$500 million home to the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.
  • Odeon Petrobras Classic old-fashioned cinema on Praça Floriano in Centro.
  • Circo Voador Creative open-air space for top concerts in the heart of Lapa.
  • Espaço Tom Jobim Concerts and plays in a historic setting in Jardim Botânico.

Cinemas

Jazz & Bossa Nova

  • Maze Inn Fabulous setting for a bimonthly jazz concert party high up in Tavares Bastos favela.
  • TribOz Some of Rio's best jazz shows in a beautifully decorated house in Lapa.
  • Vinícius Show Bar Long-running Ipanema gem with good bossa nova.
  • Beco das Garrafas An intimate club in the legendary birthplace of bossa nova.

Rock

  • Miranda Upscale venue with good food and drink overlooking Lagoa.
  • Usina Posh Leblon club with an upstairs where bands sometimes play.
  • Barzin In addition to DJs, this Ipanema spot hosts an eclectic lineup of live music.
  • Teatro Odisséia A Lapa mainstay with rock and Música Popular Brasileira (MPB) bands.
  • Fundição Progresso A showcase for top names and up-and-coming groups in Lapa.
  • Teatro Rival Petrobras Downtown venue where you can eat, drink and catch MPB.

Theaters

Shopping

Unsurprisingly, beach and casual wear are a big part of the shopping scene in Rio. Less well known is the great variety of stores selling antiques, custom-made handicrafts, wine and spirits, handmade jewelry, records and CDs, coffee-table books and one-of-a-kind goods found only in Rio.

Markets of Rio

Rio's many markets are ideal places for exploring the subcultures beneath the city's surface, whether that means you're brushing elbows with antique lovers, recent migrants from the Northeast or youthful flocks of fashionistas from the Zona Sul. Several markets, such as the Feira Nordestina and the monthly Feira do Rio Antigo, are as much about food and music as they are about shopping.

A few top markets:

Rio Souvenirs

  • Music Expand your CD collection with local favorites such as singers Maria Rita, Diogo Nogueira or Mart'nália.
  • Cachaça Buy quality cachaça (high-proof sugarcane alcohol) from Minas for around R$35 and up.
  • Swimwear Flaunt your new tan in a tiny sunga (Speedo) or fio dental (string bikini). Ipanema, along Rua Visconde de Pirajá, is the place to look.
  • Maracatu drums If the massive Northeastern instrument won't fit on your coffee table, consider the smaller ukelele-like cavaquinho.
  • Havaianas Find a pair for every mood at the spacious shop in Copacabana.
  • Paintings Artists showcase their works at the Sunday Hippie Fair.
  • Soccer jerseys Score a jersey for one of Rio's teams. Loja Fla is the go-to place for Flamengo fans.
  • Folk art Tap into Brazil's handicraft traditions at stores scattered about town.

By Neighbourhood

  • Ipanema & Leblon Loads of boutiques; high prices.
  • Gávea, Jardim Botânico & Lagoa Several small-scale but atmospheric shopping streets.
  • Copacabana & Leme Loads of stores, a few markets and tourist fare.
  • Centro & Praça Mauá Wine shops, bookstores and downmarket clothing shops; Medina-like browsing in the pedestrian streets of Saara.
  • Santa Teresa & Lapa A few handicrafts shops and galleries near Largo do Guimarães.

Need to Know

Opening Hours

  • Stores 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday, to 1pm Saturday
  • Malls 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, 3pm to 10pm Sunday

Consumer Taxes

Most stores list their prices with the tax already included, so what you see on the price tag is the total price you'll pay for the goods.

Language Barriers

Many sales assistants in high-end shops speak English.

Bargaining

A little bargaining is expected when making purchases at markets, but keep in mind that sellers generally don't over-inflate their prices and so aren't willing to haggle very much.

Best Lists

Shopping

  • Pé de Boi Eye-catching handicrafts made by artists from around Brazil.
  • Hippie Fair Have fun browsing – and eating street food – in Ipanema.
  • Maria Oiticica Elegant jewelry made from Amazonian seeds and fibers.
  • Osklen Attractive mens and womens fashion from Brazil's best-known designer.
  • Granado High-end skin-care products in an old-fashioned pharmacy.
  • Gilson Martins Wallets, bags and other accessories with iconic Rio imagery.

Handicrafts

  • Índio e Arte A small range of handmade crafts at Botafogo's Museu do Índio.
  • La Vereda Handicrafts Unique gift ideas with a local focus in Santa Teresa.
  • O Sol Folk art that benefits a social-welfare organization.
  • Tucum Small store with Amazonian jewelry, pottery, baskets and wall hangings with pre-Columbian motifs.

Jewelry Stores

  • Antonio Bernardo Artful high-end creations in Ipanema.
  • H Stern One of the world's top jewelers, with an on-site museum where you can see the technicians in action.
  • Amsterdam Sauer An iconic name with an extensive showroom.
  • Sobral Colorful eye-catching pieces in resin that won't break the bank.

Fashion Boutiques

  • Dona Coisa Fun, high-end browsing in Jardim Botânico.
  • Forum Captivating womens and menswear.
  • Isabela Capeto Lovely one-of-a-kind garments sold from the studio in Jardim Botânico.
  • Redley Eye-catching clothing for the summer.
  • Zimpy Affordable skirts and summer dresses in Copacabana.

Bookshops

Music

Shopping Malls

Unusual Stores