From Chic Swimwear to Samba Records - the Best Shopping in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's weakened economy means 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 quick heads up - shopping in some Rio stores can be confusing - it's often necessary to take your goods to one desk to register them, before being given a price ticket, which is then taken to a second desk for payment and to pick up the items. 

Santa Teresa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


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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



For a shopping experience with a difference, it's well worth making the bus or cab ride out to the North Zone neighborhood of Sao Cristovao, and the famous 'Feira Nordestina' (Northeastern Fair). This vast part-covered market honors all things...  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 Ipanema (pronounced 'boomboom' and an inoffensive slang...  Read More

Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


This is one of the best places in Rio to shop for keepsakes and gifts for friends and family back home - and you can do it all from the comfort of a beachfront bar. Vendors stroll along the beachfront, selling all manner of goods from replica...  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



A little off Santa Teresa's main eating, drinking and shopping strip, this quirky outdoor art studio is well worth seeking out. At Atelier Chamego Bonzolandia (or just Bonzolandia), local artist Getulio Damado and his son Victor upcycle trash...  Read More

Ipanema Hippie Fair
Photo courtesy of Janice Waltzer/Flickr


Held every Sunday for well over six decades, Ipanema's 'Feira Hippie' is a real Rio institution. 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...  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 each month (and every Saturday in the weeks before Christmas). Browse for everything from antiques and folk art to handmade fashions and...  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.