“Brazil is always a party. You can tan and mingle with the locals on the country's seemingly endless beaches, from Rio's glamorous Copacabana to the unspoiled treasures along the northeastern shores.” - Fodor's Travel
Rio is the second-largest city in the country. There are 79 museums, 133 theatres, 162 cinemas, and 75,000 addresses on the Avenida Brasil, a 36.5-mile road. As you can imagine, there are plenty of places to stay. We wouldn’t recommend just knocking on doors, though.
Instead, we’re going to have a look at all your different accommodation options in Rio de Janeiro. In this article, we'll see where you should stay in Rio de Janeiro and the hotels, hotels, and holiday rentals you can enjoy.
Which of Rio de Janeiro’s Neighbourhoods Should You Stay In?
So you’ve decided to go to Rio de Janeiro, head up Corcovado, see Chris the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, and spend some crazy nights enjoying the samba rhythms and the Copacabana beach. Your friends may be a little tentative about your good news. “Aren’t you scared?”, “It’s the most dangerous city in the world!”, etc. Rio de Janeiro isn’t even in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world.
Of course, like anywhere else, you have to be careful and avoid certain areas. Don’t worry about your safety too much. Just remember one simple rule: Don’t flash expensive items about and avoid certain areas at night!
Find out more about visiting Rio de Janeiro.
Staying in Ipanema, the Luxurious Neighbourhood
Ipanema and Leblon are some of Rio de Janeiro’s safest neighbourhoods and also where you can find trendy young people on the beach during the day and in the area’s bars at night.
Both of these neighbourhoods aren’t far from Copacabana and you can stay in luxury hotels, window shop in swanky boutiques, and rub shoulders with Rio’s elite, particularly during the carnival when a lot of fancy private parties are organised in the area.
- Far from the centre
- Expensive accommodation
Staying in the Touristy Copacabana
Copacabana and its beach are known in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and around the world. There’s a lot of accommodation as this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. It’s closer to the historic centre and the Botafogo neighbourhood, meaning you can easily visit the city. Of course, with so many tourists, there are pickpockets operating day and night in the area. This isn’t the safest neighbourhood at night, especially on the beach.
- A wide choice of accommodation
- Large beach
- Unsafe at night
- Pickpockets during the day
- Very touristy
Staying at Santa Teresa, the Montmartre of Rio
In the heights of the Centro, the Santa Teresa neighbourhood is without a doubt the most picturesque in Rio. Even though the neighbourhood’s quite near the centre, it’s safer than the last neighbourhood we looked at.
This bohemian neighbourhood is home to artists, workshops, and its historic tram that’s been operating since 1875. You can also take the famous Escadaria Selarón down to the Lapa neighbourhood and party there. Similarly, you can always take the cable car (bondinho) to the top of the town.
- Picturesque neighbourhood
- Cute accommodation
- Poor public transport connections
In most neighbourhoods, even the safe ones, you probably should use 99pop at night.
Find out more about the different parts of Rio.
Staying in Rio de Janeiro: Hotels
Are you going to Rio de Janeiro with a bit of money in your pockets?
Make the most of Guanabara Bay, Ilha Grande, the botanical gardens, the seafront, and the best hotels in the neighbourhood.
Relaxing, tanning, shopping, and partying in Ipanema?
Here are two hotels that are great value for money:
- B & B Hotels RJ Copacabana: a double room without breakfast (£6 extra) with access to an outdoor pool starting at around £50 a night.
- Best Western Premier Arpoador Fashion Hotel: 300 yards from the beach, £70 a night for a double room with WiFi and breakfast included.
Make the most of the beach in Copacabana:
- Hotel Canada: 250 yards from the beach in a safe part of Copacabana, around £40 for a double room and breakfast.
- Grand Mercure Rio de Janeiro: located opposite the Copacabana beach, you can get a double room and breakfast starting at £80 a night.
- Windsor Copa Hotel: 300 yards from Copacabana, you can get a double room and breakfast from £60.
This is the neighbourhood where you can spend the night dancing along to samba rhythms:
- Sant’Martre: with a terrace offering a view of the city and the mountains, you can get a double room and breakfast for £50.
- Mama Shelter Rio de Janeiro: double rooms with breakfast for £60.
Are you looking for Portuguese lessons in the UK?
If you’re travelling alone and would like to meet people, youth hostels are the option. You’ll always find someone to share a caipirinha with and visit the city’s best attractions.
Youth Hostels in Ipanema
This isn’t the cheapest hostel, even for backpackers, but the youth hostels are quite affordable:
- Mojito Hostel: £10 for a bed in a dorm with breakfast included. There’s also a reading light and plug by each bed.
- The Light House Ipanema: £7 for a bed in a dorm (breakfast not included). It’s in a good location for travellers.
Youth Hostels in Copacabana
Copacabana is a paradise for travellers.
- El Misti Hostel: £10 for a bed in a dormitory (breakfast is £3) just 5 minutes from the famous Copacabana beach.
- Casa do Adriano: £7 for a bed in a dorm with breakfast included. The hostel is located by the sea and also offers family rooms.
Youth Hostels in Santa Teresa
You can stay in the heart of Santa Teresa:
- Hostel Sela Host: by the Escadaria Selarón, you can get a bed in a dorm for £8 with breakfast included.
- Books Hostel: £9 for a bed in a dorm and breakfast. It’s in a great area for travellers.
Each traveller’s budget in Rio de Janeiro will be different.
Find out more about the cost of visiting Rio.
Staying in Rio de Janeiro: Holiday Rents
If you want to live like a local during your time in Rio, you could always try CouchSurfing and stay for free at a local’s house. Generally, you can stay for a few days and pay nothing. However, you might want to make your host a meal or buy them some drinks just to say "thank you". That said, they might make your meals and get your drinks. This depends on your hosts, though.
If you’re travelling as a family or you just want some independence, you could rent a holiday flat on Airbnb. For longer stays or family holidays, it’s probably more practical. You’ll get a real flat where you can cook your food in your kitchen and save money on your food budget.
A studio in Ipanema will cost you at least £40 a night and the bigger the accommodation, the more it’ll cost you. If you have a view of the ocean, you’ll end up paying double. However, you’re never too far from Lagoa (lagune), a saltwater lake and a great place to avoid mosquitoes.
You can get accommodation from £30 a night near the Copacabana. Ipanema tends to be cheaper unless you opt for an Airbnb Plus.
Accommodation in Santa Teresa tends to be more affordable and start at around £20 a night. Of course, the rates will vary throughout the year.
Don’t hesitate to have a look at Booking.com, Hotels.com, Airbnb, and youth hostels.
Discover the best time to visit Rio.
So where will you stay in Rio de Janeiro?
Before you go, you might want to learn some Portuguese. Fortunately for you, there are plenty of talented Portuguese tutors on Superprof! There are three types of tutorial available, each with its advantages and disadvantages: group tutorials, online tutorials, and face-to-face tutorials.
Group tutorials are great for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutor's time with the other students in attendance. It could be useful if you're going to Porto with a group of friends.
Similarly, online tutorials are good if you're on a budget as the tutor doesn't have to travel and can, therefore, charge less per hour. Your tutor might even be from Brazil. Since they have fewer outgoings, they tend to charge less than face-to-face tutorials.
Finally, face-to-face tutorials are between you and the tutor. This is the most costly type of tutorial but it's also the most cost-effective. However, you'll get tailored tuition and a bespoke Portuguese course designed with you in mind!