Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most celebrated cities, and the best gifts to take home from the Cidade Maravilhosa ("Marvellous City") are those that capture its chic, colorful and playful nature.
Curve-hugging bikinis, colorful plastic flipflops and brightly colored local artworks all make great gifts to take home, and while souvenir shops abound across the city, there's a lot to be said for shopping as you sunbathe.
Should you be stuck for time, just relax in your bikini on Copacabana Beach and wait for vendors to come around, selling everything from bikinis and sarongs to caipirinha-making kits.
A miniature Christ statue tops Rio's gift list — Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson
Top of the list for anybody shopping for holiday gifts in Rio de Janeiro should be a replica Christ statue. This figure of Christ the Redeemer, arms outstretched to embrace the city and all its sins, is after all the most famous image of the city and officially one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World.
Replicas range from kitsch (or downright tacky, depending on your point of view) plastic affairs complete with flashing lights to some tastefully small models in porcelain or glass. The statues can be found at souvenir stores across the city – those at the foot of the statue itself being predictably expensive – and range in price from R$10 to upwards of R$500 for hand-hewn marble models.
Brazilian bikinis are famous the world over and, while you might not want to risk presenting a loved one with one of the legendary "dental floss" versions, there are some seriously chic and stylish swimwear options to be found here. Top-end brands include BumBum Ipanema and Lenny.
Also synonymous with Brazilian fashion are colorful Havaianas flip flops, the cradle-to-grave beach footwear of every Carioca (Rio native). Here they are sold with the tagline Todo mundo usa ("Everybody wears them"), and that's no exaggeration. To keep in step with trends, new lines are launched every few weeks, and they come in more colors and styles than one could dream of.
Hugely popular with fashionistas across the globe, they are the ideal gift. Plus, they're so lightweight and inexpensive to buy here (Prices start at around R$10 for basic models and around R$20 for the latest lines.) that you'll want to grab a few pairs for yourself, too.
There are several dedicated Havaianas stores in Rio, but they can be found at every corner of the city.
Arts and crafts in Rio tend to be colorful affairs and the price to quality ratio is usually good. Browse the artsy stores of Santa Teresa or the city's many street fairs for unique gifts.