From Bikinis to Antiques: Top Shopping Destinations in Rio de Janeiro

With Brazil's economy in freefall, Rio is once again an affordable destination for foreign visitors, and savvy shoppers can find great bargains on everything from miniature Christ statues to chic swimwear. Those looking to splurge will find plenty of opportunity to do so at upmarket boutiques, with Lenny and BumBum Ipanema standouts for those looking to make waves on the beach. 

The Feira do Rio Antigo - a Saturday antiques fair at Rua do Lavradio in Rio's historic center is a great place to browse for new and vintage clothes and accessories as well as antiques and collectibles. 

The shopping centers of the affluent Zona Sul (South Zone, home to touristic areas such as Leblon, Ipanema and Copacabana) are chockful of stylish, if pricey, boutiques, while those on a tighter budget would be wise to head downtown, where there are real bargains to be found if you know where to look - the vast indoor market at Uruguaiana, and the surrounding shopping streets known as the Saara, are a good place to come for throwaway fashion, beauty products and the like, but be warned that designer labels are almost always fakes.

A word to the wise -  pay close attention to the price tags when shopping in Rio. If a price looks too good to be true, check that it it isn't the price of just one of up to 12 'parcelas' or instalments. If there's a number and an X next to the price, it's a fraction of the total. 

Santa Teresa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

There's more to Rio de Janeiro than its beaches, and the artistic heart of the city can be found up in the jungle-clad hills of Santa Teresa. Here, pastel-colored colonial mansions have been converted into bucolic bars, friendly guest houses,...  Read More

If you want to look as hot as the locals on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, make a beeline for this chic swimwear store. As well as the barely-there bikinis that Brazil is famous for, BumBum (the name reflects the national predeliction for...  Read More

Bazar Centro do Saara
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Saara - the maze of downtown shopping streets that attracts bargain hunters like bees to a honeypot - should be the first port of call for anyone looking for colorful carnival costumes at bargain prices. Along with scores of stores selling...  Read More

Colorful bags with a distinctly carioca style are the hallmark of designer Gilson Martins, with his distinctive purses, beach bags and clutches often emblazoned with images of Rio landmarks or with the green, yellow and blue of the Brazilian...  Read More

Farm is the go to fashion store for the fashionable young things of Ipanema, and stocks colorful, fresh-looking fashions for both girls and boys about town. Fun, flirty dresses and floaty fabrics are hallmarks of Farm's ladies' wear section,...  Read More

Stylist-turned-swimwear queen Lenny Niemeyer is the woman credited with re-inventing the Brazilian bikini. The designer has made stylish Cariocas less interested in sporting the famous 'dental floss' and more concerned with beautiful cuts and...  Read More

Funky Havaianas are synonymous with beach life in Rio de Janeiro, and the sheer range of colors, styles and sizes - from tiny baby flip flops to adult male sizes - will have style conscious shoppers watering a the mouth. Luckily for those who...  Read More

The name 'hippie fair' may conjure up images of flowing kaftans and incense sticks, but this colorful market, held in Ipanema each Sunday for some 60-plus years, is in fact a great place to pick up everything from local arts and crafts to...  Read More

If you're in the mood for some serious retail therapy, it's time to jump on a bus or grab a cab and head for Barra da Tijuca, the wealthy, modern suburb to the west of the city that has been nicknamed 'the United States of Barra'. Here,...  Read More

Feira do Rio Antigo
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

The historic center of Lapa is the setting for a lively street market, held on the first Saturday of the month and offering a chance to buy everything from antiques and folk art to handmade fashions and vintage accessories. The sound of live...  Read More


Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.

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