Where to stay in Rio? This was definitely one of the things at the top of my to-do list when we decided to take the leap down to South America!
While I love living the hotel life, having breakfast included and maids do all the cleaning – I also love being able to try different foods and cook in a kitchen, have more space to move around, and feel like I am at home when I am almost 10,000 kilometers away.
So, instead of opting for one of the beautiful hotels out of the numerous ones available along the Copacabana promenade or the Ipanema/Leblon promenade, we opted to rent an apartment for the week using Airbnb! This was the best decision we made and I have never regretted it!
First of all, we booked our trip during “winter” in Rio. Therefore, hotels are not at full capacity and you can easily find affordable options. However, if you are looking to do something like what I described above, Airbnb’s are also very affordable!
For 1 week, we paid about $450 CAD to stay in our own apartment that was guarded 24/7 by a security guard and gate. AKA the only way in/out was the security guard letting you in. We were also 2 minutes from Copacabana and about 8 or 10 from Ipanema. We were right at the corner in-between the two. We had metro access right beside us, and fresh fruit markets around the corner. This lead to everything being SUPER accessible and us being SUPER happy. The only thing we were a little concerned about was that we happened to be right next to a favela. It wasn’t large by any means, but we were cautious about going out late at night. The first few days we were definitely worried about going too late – but honestly, we had nothing to be worried about. People in Rio are THE FRIENDLIEST people there are. Also, there is a large police presence at nighttime. So if you are ever in need, they are literally seconds away.
Anyways, in Rio you will find a grocery store every few hundred meters that sell only FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES. I was literally so ecstatic. We would pay about 2-5 dollar CAD for the amount of fruit we would buy for 2 weeks back home. It was beautiful! And we got to try so many fun and different types of foods thanks to having our own kitchen to cook in! We even went to the farmers market and bought fresh fish to prepare for dinner – so yum! Next time though we want to get an apartment with a bigger sink! We had to wash dishes by hand using a tiny sink… the struggle was so real :P.
Overall, if you are deciding whether to stay in a hotel or Airbnb-like place, I urge you to check out the Airbnb’s available! Most apartments are guarded and therefore, you can sleep comfortably! As well, it allows you so much freedom to sleep in and not have to worry about being on time for breakfast. You get to leave the house whenever you want, and you get to delve more into the culture.
When we spent a day in Rio at the end of our trip, we stayed in a large hotel one block back from Copacabana beach ( The closer you are to the water, the more $$$ you will pay!) and this really solidified our belief in Airbnbs. We were SOOO happy that we had decided to stay in our apartment the first week of our trip! It let us really feel what it was like to live the beach life in Rio! We also had our own beach chairs provided – bonus (this is a must if you want to fit in!).
Another thing to consider when staying in Rio is WHICH NEIGHBOURHOOD?! I would definitely recommend staying closer to the beach. These areas have more tourists and are definitely the safer ones. I did research prior to booking our place and found that the Copacabana neighborhood, Ipanema and Leblon are the best. Leblon is a rich neighborhood with a lot of boutique hotels, but we think the beach is nicest there!
Honestly, all three neighborhoods are easily within walking distance. So I would stay wherever you find the most affordable accommodation that best suits your needs. Don’t worry about being far away from one beach to the other because it is really fun to grab some acai or another snack and walk along the promenade to your destination 🙂 Also – sunrise at Copacabana and SUNSETS THAT ARE UNBELIEVABLE at Ipanema/Leblon (must see on a day with some clouds in the sky!).
Anyways, are any of you heading to the BEAUTIFUL RIO for the upcoming Olympics?! I would love to hear your plans!
If I think of adding any other information about where to stay, I will do up a part 2 to this post! Other than that, stay tuned for a post about CENTRO RIO!!!
With Love, Meg