Pick Up Great Gifts at Rio's Top Spots for Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping in Rio de Janeiro can be a slightly bewildering experience, particularly for foreign visitors accustomed to making their festive shopping trips in sub-zero temperatures. Christmas falls at the height of Brazilian summer, which means that Christmas shopping in Rio de Janeiro takes place in searing tropical heat.

The scorching temperatures don't stop Rio retailers getting into the Christmas spirit, however, and malls such as the mammoth Barra Shopping are decked out in impressive Christmas displays, complete with snowy winter scenes and visiting Santas.

For those that can stand the blazing heat, and the cacophany of sales pitches from competing retailers, the downtown maze of shopping streets that is Saara is packed with opportunities to pick up everything from festive decorations to costume jewelery and clothing.

Any female beach goer is sure to love a beautiful Brazilian bikini (just be sure to check the sizing first), and the upmarket beachwear stores BumBum and Lenny have some of the best models on the market. 

For the ultimate Rio Christmas shopping experience, however, indulge your inner beach bum and just settle onto your sunlounger on Copacabana beach and let the vendors come to you. Swimwear, sunglasses, tees and even caipirinha-making kits are just some of the wares sold by Rio's beach entrepreneurs. 



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. In this wealthy, modern suburb to the west of the city center, sprawling shopping malls line the wide avenues. The...  Read More

Ipanema Hippie Fair
Photo courtesy of Janice Waltzer/Flickr


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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



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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

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

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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.