< Rio de Janeiro Accommodation: Beyond Hotels, Hostels and Rental Apartments

Rio de Janeiro Accommodation

Finding your Rio de Janeiro accommodation can be very easy - and hard at the same time.

A quick search on the most popular accommodation booking websites delivers you

  • 200+ hotels,
  • 60+ hostels,
  • 140+ vacation home rentals,
  • 11+ motels...
and these are only the ones that are registered on the major reservation sites!

Add the hundreds of others and you get a staggering choice of places to stay in Rio.

The number of accommodation options will continue to grow as Rio de Janeiro is preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer olympics in 2016.

If you plan to visit Rio during these world class sport events or the annual Rio Carnival and New Year's Eve Party (Reveillon) it is absolutely necessary to book your accommodation well - several weeks or even months - in advance.

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Popular Areas to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

Do you want to stay near the beach, in a party zone or at a stylish bohemian neighbourhood? Choose your accommodation according your preferences.

Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana and Leme

These are the most popular, tourist-friendly beach areas with the highest concentration of accommodation options.

Apart from hotels there is also a wide selection of hostels, rental apartments, restaurants, bars and shopping centers.

Ipanema and Leblon are safer and more upmarket than Copacabana and Leme so prices are higher too.

Barra da Tijuca

Located some 15 kms west of Zona Sul (South Zone), Barra da Tijuca (also nick-named as "New Miami") is the newest and most modern residential district of Rio de Janeiro.

Residential towers, guarded luxury compounds, golf clubs, shopping centers, restaurants and bars cater for the rich and famous Brazilians who live here. "New Miami"

You can find a few hotels in Barra da Tijuca but this is not the place to look for cheap hostels.


Lagoa is an upper-middle class residential area near the lake called Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, which is, together with the nearby Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico) a popular recreational area.


Although the beach areas have their fair share of bars and nightclubs, Lapa is the place where you want to be on a Friday night. Live bands playing samba, bossa-nova and anything you can dance to in bars and clubs... perfect place for party animals but might be too noisy for the average tourist to have his accommodation here. This area is also less safe than the ones mentioned above.

Santa Teresa

Some people refer to it as "Rio's Montmarte", Santa Teresa is the artistic, bohemian neighborhood sitting on a hill above Lapa. Old and refurbished mansions, art galleries, exhibitions and fairs create a very special atmosphere here. The area offers many hostel-type accommodation as well apartments to rent. Safety is not the best since Santa Teresa is surrounded by favelas (slums, shanty towns).

Hostels in Rio de Janeiro

Hostels in Rio de Janeiro offer the same experience as hostels around the world: budget accommodation and great opportunities to meet fellow travellers, make friends whom you can share your travel stories, taxi costs and meals.

HostelWorld, the leading worldwide hostel-booking site has more than 60 Rio de Janeiro hostels listed as well as some B&Bs, apartments and a few hotels too.

Apart from accommodation options, you can also book sightseeing tours and buy travel insurance on their website.

HostelBookers - No Booking Fees! Lowest Price Guarantee!

HostelBookers icon, on the other hand, prides itself on being the only independent hostel booking site that has No Booking Fees and their Lowest Price Guarantee ensures that there are no hidden costs for the customer. Their listing is somewhat shorter but they claim that their prices are 8% cheaper than HostelWorld's.

Love Motels

The list of Rio de Janeiro accommodation would not be complete without Brazil's exuberant motels.

The word "Motel" in Brazil means "love hotel", exclusively. These are the hotels where couples can rent a room for a few hours, half a day and also for a whole night.

The love motels in Rio de Janeiro are mostly used by local Brazilians but tourist couples can also spend a romantic night at one of these extravagant hotels.

Rio de Janeiro Apartments

If you plan to stay in Rio longer or come with a larger group of family or friends, renting an apartment might be more economical than staying at a hotel. Vacation home rentals in Rio de Janeiro are plenty in all popular neighborhoods like Copacabana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa, Leblon and Barra da Tijuca,

Rio de Janeiro Accommodation - for FREE!

The cost of lodging is a major part of any traveler's budget so you might be pleased to find out the various ways to save this money.

Hospitality exchange programs like CouchSurfing and Hospitality Club put you in contact with hundreds of Cariocas who are willing to share their home with you and show you around Rio.

How about staying free in a Rio resident's home while he or she is staying in yours? In order to find each other, you both need to register your properties with one of the home exchange programs for a small yearly fee.

If you don't have a home to trade in, you can take on a house sitting assignment and look after someone's house and pets for a few weeks or even months while they are on holiday.

You see, there is Rio de Janeiro accommodation for all budgets: from backpackers to jet setters. You will find your place to stay too!

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