Botafogo and Flamengo may lack the fame of Ipanema and Copacabana, but these neighboring middle class area are home to lively nightlife, some fabulous restaurants. and are within easy reach of Rio's famous beaches thanks to their metro stations. Sugar Loaf mountain is close by, and there's a huge mall.
See & Do
Botafogo and Flamengo both have their own strips of sand, and both of which are ideal for sunbathing with a view of Sugar Loaf, although the water is too dirty for swimming. Nearby, Praia Vermelha is a pleasant, family-friendly beach right at the foot of Sugar Loaf, and generally overlooked by tourists.
Sitting right between Flamengo and Botafogo is Porcao Rio's - AKA, culinary nirvana for carnivores. Arguably the best churrascaria (grilled meat restaurant) chain in the city, Porcao Rio's stands out from the other branches thanks to its stunning view of Sugar Loaf. For just under R$100, diners can feast on as much meat and seafood as they can manage, and it's all top quality stuff.
Some of Rio de Janeiro's most interesting nightlife can be found in Botafogo and Flamengo. A continuous strip of pavement bars and cafes, popular with students, leads from one neighborhood to the next, while clubs such as Casa da Matriz play an eclectic mix that goes beyond the usual samba or western pop.
Botafogo and Flamengo are great bets for budget travelers, as hotels here generally cost a good deal less than in Ipanema, Copacabana or Leblon. Hotels such as Novo Mundo in Flamengo are good for families and business travelers, and there's a lively hostel scene in Botafogo - El Misti Hostel being our pick of the bunch.
There's plenty of opportunity for some serious retail therapy at Shopping Rio Sul - one of the largest malls in the city. As well as being home to everything from chic boutiques to high street chain stores, the mall here has some surprisingly good eating options in its food court, and coffee addicts will even find one of South America's very few Starbucks here.