Best Areas to Stay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Americas, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro  /   /  By bestdistricts

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro – A guide to the carnival city

Rio de Janeiro is a cosmopolitan city located in southeastern Brazil. It is one of the main economic, cultural and financial centers of the country.

This city is famous worldwide for the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, where samba schools fill the streets of Rio with color and joy, at the largest carnival in the world.

Rio de Janeiro stands out in the same way for its well-known cultural icons and beaches, including Copacabana, Ipanema, Botafogo, Leblon, and Recreio dos Bandeirantes.
 

Sports are also very important for the inhabitants and visitors of Rio de Janeiro. The one with the most followers is football, with four great teams: Flamengo, Vasco de Gama, Fluminense, and Botafogo.

Rio de Janeiro has a tropical oceanic climate, the hottest season is in December and January, while the coldest in June and July.

The cuisine of Rio de Janeiro is a mixture of African, Indian, Portuguese, Italian and French culture. Traditional dishes are Feiojada and grilled churrasco.

Rio de Janeiro can be reached by the Galeão International Airport, located about 20 minutes from the City Center, or by Carlos Dumont Airport from other cities in Brazil.

Transportation in Rio de Janeiro includes a metro system, taxis, mobile applications, and many bus stops, making getting around the city, not a complicated task.

In this guide, we recommend Copacabana as the best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro, for being the liveliest neighborhood, with the greatest variety of hotels in the city(See accommodation in Copacabana). On the other hand, Ipanema is a good place to stay in Rio de Janeiro to know the most sophisticated facet of the city (See hotels in Ipanema).

Here’s a guide with the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1. Our favorite area: Copacabana

Copacabana is located south of the city and is a famous moon-shaped beach.

The so-called “Princesinha do Mar” (princess of the sea) is considered the heart of Brazil, ideal for beach lovers.

This area is home to a large number of restaurants, cinemas, theaters and other leisure options, many aimed at a Bohemian audience.

Among the architectural relics to see in Copacabana are the Fort, with its Army Museum and the Imperial Palace of the 18th century.

Copacabana is very family-friendly during the day, as there are children running and playing on the beach. While, at night, the clubs that are in its surroundings are filled with young people looking to have fun.

In addition, Copacabana connects with the rest of Rio by metro and bus, making it easy to move to other areas.

Definitely, Copacabana is the best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro to enjoy the sea and resort-type hotels.

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Copacabana

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Copacabana

Accommodation in Copacabana - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Copacabana – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Best area for sightseeing
  • Copacabana beach
  • Great public transport connections
  • Accommodation of all kinds
  • Good area for nightlife
  • Great food

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Windsor California Hotel

Ideally located on the beach promenade of Copacabana Beach, the Windsor California hotel offers comfortable accommodation with contemporary furniture and ocean views.

from US$94
Budget

Hotel Canada

Grande Hotel Canada offers 3-star accommodation in a safe area on Copacabana Beach, just 250 meters from the sea and 550 meters from Siqueira Campos metro station.

from US$59
Luxury

JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro

Located on Copacabana’s waterfront, the JW Marriott Hotel offers a safe environment and a private strip of beach across the street.

from US$399
 

 

 

2. Ipanema

Ipanema is located south of Rio de Janeiro and is an elegant and modern area, with beaches where you can practice water sports.

Ipanema is also one of the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro for shopping, thanks to its many shops and boutiques.

Posto 9, in the Rua Farme de Amoedo, is an important spot in this area due to the bars and restaurants it houses.

Ipanema also has several spaces for art and history such as the Imperial Palace and the National Historical Museum, with collections of historical pieces.

The Posto 10 area includes beaches with very little waves, safe for children, and ideal for family trips.

Similarly, Ipanema is one of the most LGBT-friendly areas of Rio, especially in Posto 8 and Rua Farme de Amoedo, which is considered the gayest street in Brazil.

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Ipanema

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Ipanema

Accommodation in Ipanema - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Ipanema – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Best area for shopping
  • Gay-friendly
  • Bars and restaurants

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Everest Rio Hotel

Located in a prime location 1 block from Ipanema Beach, the Everest hotel has a rooftop pool with bar service and panoramic views of the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. WiFi and private parking are available.

from US$99
Budget

JM Guesthouse Ipanema

JM Guesthouse Ipanema is located in Rio de Janeiro, a 4-minute walk from Post 8 – Ipanema. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. The property is 600 meters from 7 – Arpoador, 11 minutes ‘walk from 9 – Ipanema and 14 minutes’ walk from Ipanema Beach.

from US$39
Luxury

Arena Ipanema Hotel

The Arena Ipanema Hotel is located in Rio de Janeiro, just 100 meters from the famous Ipanema Beach. The hotel has an outdoor pool and sun terrace, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or have a drink at the bar.

from US$124
 

 

 

3. Botafogo

Botafogo is close to both the City Center and the southern part of Rio de Janeiro.

It is considered the most beautiful neighborhood in Rio, with a mixture of bohemian and coastal atmospheres.

This neighborhood stars in many of Rio’s postcards that include Guanabara Bay and the image of the Sugarloaf Mountain in the background. Therefore, this is where the best views of Rio de Janeiro are found.

Among its streets, full of art and history are buildings, palaces, and museums, such as Casa Daros and Palacio Sao Clemente, among others.

Botafogo is well-connected by metro and has different bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops that make this one of the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro for young travelers.

The Shopping Center Do Rio Sul, Botafogo Praia Shopping and Rio Plaza Shopping are some of the shopping centers that are in this district, which makes it a good option for shopping lovers.

Botafogo has many types of hotels, at different costs and close to the beach, bars, restaurants and with a metro station nearby.
 

Best areas to stay in Río de Janeiro - Botafogo

Best areas to stay in Río de Janeiro – Botafogo

Accommodation in Botafogo- Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Botafogo – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Great views
  • Best area for shopping
  • Cheap hotels

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

O Veleiro Bed and Breakfast

O Veleiro Bed and Breakfast in Rio de Janeiro offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a shared TV lounge, a beautiful garden with trees and a poolside bar.

from US$64
Budget

Ace Suites Inn Rio

Ace Suites Inn Rio is located in Rio de Janeiro, in front of Botafogo Beach. It houses a bar and offers free Wi-Fi throughout.

from US$44
Luxury

Mercure RJ Botafogo Mourisco

Mercure Botafogo Mourisco is located in the Botafogo district of Rio de Janeiro, 6 km from the Christ the Redeemer statue and 2.3 km from Copacabana Beach. It offers a swimming pool, a bar and a fitness center.

from US$109
 

 

 

4. Leblon

Next to Ipanema is Leblon, an elegant neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro that houses, in addition to a beach, attractions such as bars, restaurants, shopping centers, and squares.

In Leblon, it is essential to climb the Mirante Do Leblon, a wooden gazebo on rocks from which you get beautiful views of the sea.

It is also a good idea to visit the Plaza Antero de Quental, with many trees, flowers, and playgrounds, as well as the Cliff Brothers park, from which you can see the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon.

From other points of Leblon, it is possible to see the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, the lagoon, and even São Conrado.

As in the main beaches of Rio de Janeiro, on the sand of Leblon, there are spaces to play volleyball, futevoley (a type of volleyball that uses the feet instead of the hands) and beach tennis.

Leblon is one of the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro for having hotels a few meters from one of the most famous and beautiful beaches of Rio.

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Leblon

Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Leblon

Accommodation in Leblon - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Leblon – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Beach access
  • Good food
  • Luxury-type hotels

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Leblon All Suites

    Leblon All Suites, located just 500 meters from Leblon Beach, offers a free daily breakfast. This property offers free Wi-Fi in all areas.

    from US$89
 

 

 

5. Rio de Janeiro City Center

Rio de Janeiro City Center or Downtown Rio is where several of the city’s most prominent buildings are concentrated, in spaces with tall, modern buildings, offices and many of the largest companies in Brazil.

Thus, the center houses most of Rio’s historical monuments, such as the Imperial Palace, the Municipal Theater, the Carioca Aqueduct, and the Candelaria Church.

Also, in the City Center are the main museums and cultural centers, such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Historical and the Cultural Center Bank of Brazil.

In its surroundings, colonial houses, restaurants, and bars are preserved, but caution should be taken at night, as it is not the safest area to stay in Rio de Janeiro.

It is an ideal neighborhood to eat, have a drink in the middle of the afternoon, go shopping or just wander through its picturesque streets.

A visit to the City Center is essential to understand the history of Rio de Janeiro and really appreciate the multicultural nature of Cariocas.

In addition, it is among the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro for its varied hotels and proximity to Santos Dumont Airport.
 

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Near the Carioca Aqueduct

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Near the Carioca Aqueduct

Accommodation in Downtown Rio de Janeiro - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Downtown Rio de Janeiro – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Historical attractions
  • Good area for business travelers
  • Near Santos Dumont Airport

Accommodation in this area

Top Choice

Vila Galé Rio de Janeiro

Vila Galé, equipped with an outdoor pool, is located in the center of Rio de Janeiro. The hotel has a wellness center and a restaurant bar. It offers free WiFi.

from US$69
Budget

Hotel Atlântico Business Centro

Hotel Atlântico Business is located in the center of Rio de Janeiro, 200 meters from the imposing municipal theater. It has an outdoor pool and rooftop terrace with splendid views.

from US$39
Luxury

Prodigy Hotel Santos Dumont

Prodigy Hotel Santos Dumont offers free WiFi throughout, is connected to Santos Dumont Airport and is located in Rio de Janeiro, 900 meters from Guanabara Bay.

from US$104
 

 

 

6. Recreio dos Bandeirantes

Recreio dos Bandeirantes is located in the western part of Rio and stands out for hosting large companies, shopping centers, countless bars, cafes, and restaurants.

It is a very visited place for having the Canto do Recreio beach, with about 2 kilometers long white sands and high waves, ideal for water sports such as surfing and bodysurfing.

Recreio dos Bandeirantes also has parks and environmental reserves such as Chico Mendes Park, Marapendi Park, and Prainha Municipal Park, as well as forests and squares, including Tim Maia Square.

Its tree-lined streets have bike paths for cycling and it is also one of the safest neighborhoods to stay in Rio de Janeiro, with a residential environment that, mixed with skyscrapers and other buildings, makes it stand out from other suburbs.

Recreio dos Bandeirantes has several food stalls on the seafront where you can have refreshing drinks and snacks.

This is one of the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro if you are looking for tranquility during your stay.

Recommended area to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Recreio dos Bandeirantes

Recommended area to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Recreio dos Bandeirantes

Accommodation in Recreio dos Bandeirantes - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Recreio dos Bandeirantes – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Safest area to stay in Rio de Janeiro
  • Beaches for surfing
  • Good bars

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Ramada by Wyndham Rio de Janeiro Recreio

    Ramada by Wyndham Rio de Janeiro Recreio is located in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes district of Rio de Janeiro, just 2 km from the beach. The establishment has a bar and restaurant. There is free WiFi in all areas.

    from US$49
 

 

 

7. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is a charming neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, considered the epicenter of intellectuality and art.

It is located on the top of a hill with many old buildings and is a tourist attraction for its views of the city, its many cultural spaces, restaurants, and bars.

One of the most popular spots in the neighborhood is the Largo de Guimarães square, surrounded by restaurants and craft shops, where some of the carnival celebrations are held.

Other icons in the area are the Convent of Santa Teresa with its Escadaria de Seleron, the main reference point of the neighborhood, as well as the Chácara do Céu Museum and the Parque das Ruinas Cultural Center.

In the Santa Teresa neighborhood, there are many accommodations for all types of budgets, from hostels and bed & breakfast to wonderful boutique hotels, all with stunning views of the city.

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro - Santa Teresa

Best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro – Santa Teresa

Accommodation in Santa Teresa - Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Accommodation in Santa Teresa – Click on the map to see all available accommodation in this area

Why we love this area for a stay in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Great views
  • Largo de Guimarães Square
  • Convent of Santa Teresa

Accommodation in this area

  • Top Choice
    Mama Shelter Rio De Janeiro

    Mama Shelter Rio, located in Santa Teresa, offers many terraces and a bar with live music. The property offers free Wi-Fi access throughout.

    from US$69
 

 

 

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