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Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro: The best places

Rio’s neighborhoods have their own atmosphere, idiosyncrasy and identity, each one is like an island of cultural and social diversity.

Rio de Janeiro, called the ‘Wonderful City’, is the second most populated city in Brazil, it extends along the length and width of a series of small coves within a large bay that protects the city’s coastline from the Atlantic Ocean.

It is internationally known for some of its most popular icons such as the Sugar Loaf, an outstanding promontory that can be seen from any point in the city and which is its natural viewpoint, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Maracana Stadium, the beaches of Ipanema or Copacabana and the carnival, which is perhaps the most popular show in all of Brazil.

To enjoy these attractions and everything that this multifaceted city has to offer will be easier if you get the right accommodation .

The best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro

The districts of the bay that form the cove of Rio de Janeiro are arranged in an unconventional way, each occupying the free areas that were once the old outskirts of the city or were won over to the sea in the last century.

The traveller will be able to enjoy rooms and very urban lodgings , a little more expensive, in the centre; very different from the residential areas of Lagoa or Flamengo, in which the tourist apartments with the best categories and qualities predominate.

On the other hand, the beach districts , like those of Ipanema, Copacabana or Botafogo, on the edge of their sands, offer accommodation of all kinds, very varied in terms of quality and prices.And those of Santa Teresa plus bohemian and of a medium-low level.

In general the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro are Copacabana and Ipanema .Besides these there are other highly recommended areas such as Centro, Flamengo, Botafogo, Lagoa, Leblon, and even Santa Marta.

1.Downtown

You can see, practically wall to wall, jewels of the colonial period like the Imperial Palace, which was occupied by the emperor of Brazil and his court, with high glass buildings belonging to some of the first Brazilian companies.

The image of the Chafariz da Pirámide in front of the reflections of the large windows of the towers in the center of Rio is one of the most shocking (and iconic).On the other hand, the old two-storey houses on Rua do Mercado nearby have a very Mediterranean air.

In this center, you have to walk along Rua Primeiro da Março and find time to approach the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro and discover its interior and its wealth of works of art. also has museums as important as the National Museum of Fine Arts or the National Historical Museum among others.

Downtown is an option to sleep in Rio de Janeiro for those who like to be in historical areas with many monuments, culture, and museums to visit.

– Downtown Accommodation

2.Lagoa

Lagoa is a district of Rio de Janeiro of the south.it is a neighborhood of wealthy class , one of the most developed of the city and the least urbanized of Rio.It sits on land reclaimed from the sea and is dominated by buildings of luxury apartments many of them with sea views.it is an ideal place for water sports (Playa de Arpoador).

Its leisure areas, its bars and restaurants , its avenues are an international attraction.Lagoa -lake in Portuguese- is a name that is related to a lagoon, Rodrigo de Freitas, which occupies a large part of the neighborhood.

In Lagoa, you can’t miss, besides the huge lake, the also huge local botanical garden or the Pedra da Gavea, a rocky outcrop that dominates the area and whose top can be climbed in a short trekking route.The city bus service guarantees good communications and combinations with any of the neighbourhoods in Rio.

– Accommodation at Lagoa

3.Flamengo

Flamengo is another neighbourhood in the south of Rio.It offers incredible views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, which is an archaic viewpoint of Rio de Janeiro, at the top, and is surrounded by the Guanabara Bay on which a beach stretches for almost two kilometres .

It is an area inhabited by residents with a medium-high economic level In this district, is located the Aterro do Flamengo, a park of 122 hectares which is said to be the lung of Rio.

The last Strategic Plan of Rio left a rosary of buildings that time has made emblematic and that will delight the lovers of modern architecture as the Edifício Flamengo, the Instituto dos Arquitectos do Brasil or the set of the Palacete Sabra.the Avenida de Aterro is closed on Sundays to road traffic to allow recreational use of the area.

– Accommodation in Flamengo

4.Ipanema

Ipanema is a very glamorous neighbourhood with located south of the city centre and is, perhaps, the most internationally known area of the city of Rio de Janeiro and without doubt one of the best options for accommodation in Rio de Janeiro .

In this area, it is possible to find a huge variety of themed cafes and restaurants, shop at luxury boutiques of the main brands and the clubs of this district are among the most famous in the city.if you are looking for nightlife will not disappoint you.

But it is Ipanema Beach the focus for all travelers.Here you can listen to music in the open air or, even better, surf in a sea that is always rough. The reference for surf and wave lovers is Posto 7.

Don’t miss a walk through the Apoador neighbourhood, which many say is a neighbourhood in the district of Ipanema.In addition to surfing, you can cycle through the avenues or complete a route following the incredible urban art (graffiti) that is in the main streets of Ipanema.it will not leave anyone indifferent.

Ipanema is accessible from anywhere in the city thanks to the metro network and the local bus service .Another advantage is that it is one of the areas where it is easier to find accommodation in Rio de Janeiro due to the large amount of supply it has.

– Accommodation in Ipanema

5.Leblon

Leblon is a beach district in the south of Rio that is adjacent to Ipanema with whom it rivals for the interest of visitors.

In the Leblon shopping mall, there are no less than two hundred leisure establishments and the name Leblon comes from the Frenchman Charles Le Blond who in the 19th century had a fishing factory in the area.Every 26th of July, the Leblon Day is celebrated in the district.

The district has many green spaces and from a well-known viewpoint, the Mirante de Leblon , you can have a perfect panoramic view of this whole sector of the city.

The streets of Leblon are often the setting for one of Brazil’s soap operas and it is not unusual to find yourself in the middle of a recording.Especially in the area of the terraces on the beach and in the shopping centers.

Six large avenues connect Leblon with the rest of Rio de Janeiro and the local bus service guarantees good communications with the rest of the city.

It is a good option to stay in Rio as long as you find accommodation suitable for your needs.

– Accommodation in Leblon

If you are interested in knowing about where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro you will surely be interested in this other article: Where to stay in Salvador de Bahia, where to stay in Sao Paulo, where to stay in Fortaleza

6.Copacabana

Copacabana is the star quarter of Rio de Janeiro, it is, together with Ipanema, one of the best known or, if anything, one of the most famous, especially for its beach where the 109 streets of the district are arranged, a crescent-shaped stretch of sand that has been locally dubbed La Princesita.

Around the Avenida Atlántica, a district full of glamour, distinction and a certain elitism coexists with a touch of bohemian that has given it its always thriving cultural life .

It is necessary to emphasize the great quantity of cinemas that are distributed in the streets of the area, the commercial premises of all type and of all class of genres, but also the theatres or the synagogues that speak of the remarkable Jewish presence in Brazil.Copacabana is a kind of cultural and social microcosm.

Don’t miss the Army Museum at the Copacabana Fort, an old military fortress.line 1 of subway , which connects to the whole city of Rio de Janeiro, has three stops in Copacabana.

It is without a doubt the best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro next to Ipanema.If you find a hotel or apartment that you like in this area, don’t look any further, you’ll be comfortable and have everything you need to enjoy your visit.

– Accommodation in Copacabana

7.Botafogo

Botafogo is also a neighborhood in the south of Rio that opens around a inlet with very calm waters .So much so, that it was once known as Le Lac (The Lake) among French residents who came to the city to take advantage of its commerce.

A series of underground tunnels communicate Botafogo with Aterro Flamengo and with Copacabana, facilitating urban transport inside the city.You must see the old Palacio da Cidade, which corresponds to the whole of the old prefecture of the city and which, at the time, was also the seat of the British Embassy.

Several shopping centres in the same area offer the opportunity to shop for all kinds of articles, among them, the Rio Plaza, the Botafogo Praia or the Canecão.The latter also offers live shows.

In Botafogo, there are five public and private museums in the area that deserve the attention of curious travelers: the Indian Museum, dedicated to the ancestral culture of the first Brazilian settlers; the curious Gas Museum; the House of Rui Barbosa, a permanent historical exhibition; the Museum of the Theaters of Rio de Janeiro and those of Villa-Lobos and Glauber Rocha, both dedicated to art.

As a curiosity we can mention the Favela Santa Marta where the singer Michael Jackson recorded one of the versions of his video clip ‘They don’t care about us’.

Botafogo is a neighborhood that is becoming fashionable , also as an option to stay in Rio de Janeiro.

– Accommodation in Botafogo

8.Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is the artists neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro.One of the urban icons of Santa Teresa is the bondinho, the last electric tram in Rio that still runs and crosses the Arcs of Lapa, a picturesque urban aqueduct, and the constructions of low and colorful houses of colonial aesthetics.Some of the buildings are from the 18th century.

You should visit the Chácara do Céu Museum, the Valentim Castle, the Church of Nossa Senhora das Neves or the Bonde Museum.in the Parque das Ruinas, a restored mansion in the city centre, there is a viewpoint that allows you to enjoy beautiful views of the area, in particular the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio.

As an option for to sleep in Rio de Janeiro is not one of the most sought after, however it has a very interesting touch if you are looking for something different and its accommodation is good value for money.

– Accommodation in Santa Marta

Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro

The city of Rio de Janeiro offers a great variety of options for accommodation o. The key areas are located between the district of Copacabana and Leme, at the northeast end of Copacabana Beach.

If we put ourselves in front of the sea, in the area to the left of the end of the avenue.the reference to move in the area are the avenues Atlantica, Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and Rua Barata Ribeiro.

It is an area where a great quantity and variety of accommodations are grouped together in a very small space.Many of these establishments were built in the 1940s and 1950s, when Rio de Janeiro was a reference point for North American and European tourism.

From that period, there remains the glamour that can be seen in many functionalist style hotels with only exterior decorations but that look like scenes from period films.

Rio de Janeiro is a city with a subtropical climate with an average temperature of just over 23 degrees, which invites to visit it all year round and to live on the streets and practice outdoor sports.

– Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro

Cheap accommodation in Rio de Janeiro

If your budget is limited you will have no problem finding cheap accommodation in Rio de Janeiro The complicated part is finding it in a premium area.If you choose one of the areas that although highly recommended are neither Ipanema nor Copacabana you should not have any problem.

On the other hand if you decide to book Ipanema or Copacabana it is advisable to book as far in advance as possible to guarantee that you will find something cheap and worthwhile.

To give you an idea, a bed in a shared bedroom will cost you from 30 or 40 reais , and the rooms in inns or very simple hotels around 100 reais .

– Cheap accommodation in Rio de Janeiro

Apartments in Rio de Janeiro

Another interesting option to stay in Rio de Janeiro are the tourist apartments.Besides the advantages of staying in an apartment, they are an interesting option when in the area where you want to stay there are no hotels that fit your budget or needs.

– Apartments in Rio de Janeiro

The best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro

The best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro, and where you can find the best hotels, is the area of the mythical Copacabana beach This is not only one of the most famous beaches in the world, but also the name of the neighborhood that hosts it.The beach, about 3 kilometers long and shaped like a half moon, is distinguished by its chiringitos de la playa (beach bars), the cobblestone of the promenade, the quality of its sand and its sculptural bathers.

But Copacabana is not only its beach. The Copacabana neighborhood is a safe neighborhood that houses some of the best hotels, like the legendary Hotel Copacabana Palace, numerous restaurants, shops and nightclubs to satisfy the leisure of tourists.The Avenida Atlántica is where you can find the most luxurious hotels that offer rooms with a view of the sea. The Avenida also has a large number of restaurants with terraces. The main shopping streets are Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and Rua Barata Ribeiro.

If you are interested in knowing where to stay in Rio de Janeiro , you may also be interested in knowing where to stay in Sao Paolo, where to stay in Salvador de Bahia and where to stay in Buenos Aires

Copacabana, the best area to stay in Rio

Although the capital is Brasilia, the truth is that the city of Rio de Janeiro is the heart of the country.Founded with the name of San Sebastian do Rio de Janeiro, but popularly called only Rio, is the city with more tourism in the country.the city of Rio de Janeiro is divided into 33 Administrative Regions, which cover the 160 neighborhoods of the municipality.Copacabana, the region V, is one of the most recommended to visit and stay.

Copacabana is undoubtedly the most representative beach and its homonymous neighborhood is the most populated in Rio, whether by day or by night there is always activity on this coastal avenue, parallel to the sand where you can play soccer, volleyball or futevoley, a variant that combines the two sports.

The area consists of 109 streets, where you can find many restaurants, cinemas, banks, synagogues, shops and theaters.Among the points of tourist interest we find the Historical Museum of the Army and the Fort of Copacabana, the urban and landscape complex of the Atlântica Avenue, the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel, the Guarujá and Guahy buildings and the house of Villiot.also stand out many hotels like the Pestana Rio Atlantica, JW Marriott, California Othon Clasic, Orla Copacabana, Astoria Palace and the Rio Internacional.

It is perfectly located and connected to public transport.many of the buses pass through here and the metro line 1 has 3 stops: Cantagalo, Siqueira Campos and Cardeal Arco Verde.

Despite its popularity and the real estate speculation it suffered in the 1960s, it has inhabitants from different social classes, so it does not have the elegant atmosphere of Ipanema.

Hotels in Copacabana

Other areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema

Located in region IV, in Lagoa, it is a luxurious neighborhood, more refined than the famous Copacabana, but also with one of the best beaches, Ipanema.It was founded in 1894, but became famous years later for the music «Garota de Ipanema» composed by Vinicius de Moraes and Tom Jobim, parents of the bossa nova.It is very cosmopolitan and entertaining, but has a more refined atmosphere than Copacabana, with the most expensive properties in Latin America only on Vieira Souto Avenue in Ipanema, and a cleaner beach with better infrastructure.

Ipanema, which means «dangerous waters, river without fish», is one of the world’s gay tourism centers and according to «Discovery Travel & Living», it’s the second best and sexiest beach in the world.

Hotels in Ipanema

Downtown

As it happens in most of the big cities, the downtown area is where the business activity is concentrated, as well as a good part of the museums and historical buildings from the empire and republic times.It is advisable to visit the area between Cinelândia and Candelária, passing through Largo da Carioca.

The central area is not exactly in the centre, but in the west, but it has this name because it was from where the city originated.Here you can find a good part of the history of the city, for example, the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Municipal Theatre, an impressive building inspired by the architecture of the Paris Opera House, which currently houses the symphony orchestra, a choir and a ballet company.

On the Praça Quinze, the 15th of November Square, is the former royal residence of the 19th century, the Paço Imperial, which is now a cultural centre with a cinema, exhibition hall and café.From the square you can walk to Travessa do Comércio, a street with colonial buildings and a lot of atmosphere with its bars, restaurants and terraces.

If you stay in the centre you cannot miss the Confiteria Colombo, which opened its doors in 1894 and became famous for the meetings between politicians, journalists, poets and artists.Its art nouveau decoration gives it a very sophisticated and pleasant atmosphere.

Hotels in the Centre

If you have found our recommendation on where to sleep in Rio useful don’t miss our recommendation on the best areas to stay in other outstanding destinations in South America.

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