The streets of Centro are a bargain hunter~s delight — Photo courtesy of Luiz Fernando/Sonia Maria
While this is not the place to come for super-sophisticated clothing, Saara is a wonderland of cheap garments and accessories that are fun to wear even if they won't stand the test of time. The standard Carioca uniform - teeny denim shorts and clingy vests for the girls, board shorts and tees for the guys, can be found here in abundance, along with all manner of costume jewellery and accessories. There is also a store dedicated to the ultimate Brazilian footwear - the simple but enduringly hip Havaiana flip flop, and style-conscious visitors would be well advised to buy a few pairs to take back home.
You can find everything from flip flops to wedding dresses in Saara's busy streets — Photo courtesy of Roberto Tostes
Saara (pronounced 'Sahara') was named for the Arab immigrants who opened stores and warehouses here in decades past, and there is still a Middle Eastern influence to be felt in this part of Rio. There are several restaurants and snack bars selling such tasty snacks as falafel and esfiiha - folded pastries typically filled with spiced meat or ricotta cheese, spinach and mint.
One word of advice - the packed lanes and crush of bodies make Saara a popular spot for pickpockets and petty thieves, so leave valuables at home and carry backpacks on the front of your body.