Best Spots for Serious Shopping Sprees in Rio's Upmarket Leblon Neighborhood

Cariocas have got looking good down to a fine art, and nowhere do the locals come more polished and perfect than those bronzed beauties strolling the sands and sidewalks of Leblon. This is arguably the city´s most affluent neighborhood, and those who live here spend a good proportion of their healthy incomes on clothes, beauty treatments and the health foods that help them keep those beach bodies in perfect condition for sporting teeny tiny beachwear. Anyone hoping to look as chic as the locals on the sands should pay a visit to bikini stores Lenny and BumBum, both of which have franchises in Leblon, while fun and flirty fashions guys and gals can be found at Farm. For some serious spending, head to Shopping Leblon, where you´ll find a whole host of designer boutiques under one roof. Shopping Leblon also has some genuinely appealing dining options, so shoppers will have ample opportunity to refuel during a spending spree.

Self-caterers can pick up tasty goodies for home cooking at Zona Sul supermarket, there are yummy organic veggie goodies at Vegetariano Social Clube, and even Leblon´s bars and beaches offer opportunities to pick up gifts such as caipirinha-making kits, caps and shot glasses.


Whether you're a staunch vegetarian, a health-food enthusiast or even a carnivore who has tucked into one steak too many, this cosy corner restaurant and healthfood store in Leblon is just the ticket. Healthfood and organic eating is a growing sector of Rio's dining scene, but this Leblon favorite was one of the first to open, and is still unarguably one of the best. It´s also a great place to up items for self-catering - from gluten-free goodies to organic wines and cachacas. At lunch, diners can load their plates high at a wholefood buffet including soups, salads, beans, rice, soya dishes and a range of healthy pies and pastries for a set price, while a-la-carte options are available in the evening. The vegan version of 'feijaoda', the usually-meaty national dish, made here with smoked tofu, is legendary.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Vegetariano Social Clube´s small store is packed with organic, wholesome goodies that work as take-home gifts or self-catering ingredients.

Lucy's expert tip: Check out the range of artesan, organic cachacas - they are much less hangover-inducing than their mass-produced counterparts.

Read more about Vegetariano Social Clube →

There are no prizes for guessing that this chain of upscale supermarkets is to be found largely in Rio's Zona Sul (South Zone) - after all, the name is a bit of a giveaway. Should you be making your base in Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon or Botafogo, chances are you'll find yourself here on quite a few occasions, and it's easily the best supermarket in Rio for sourcing deli treats and imported goodies. It's far from being the cheapest in town, but queues are shorter than elsewhere and quality is high - look out for the in-house pizzerias in larger branches, whose thin-based creations are raved about by local pizza fans.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: There are several branches of this upmarket chain in Leblon, all with a wide range of deli goods, wines, fruit and vegetables.

Lucy's expert tip: Be careful when it comes to pricing - seemingly low 'offers' in yellow are usually restricted to those carrying Zona Sul loyalty cards.

Read more about Supermercado Zona Sul →

Funky Havaianas are synonymous with beach life in Rio de Janeiro. Famous the world over, the comfy, colorful rubber flip flops are worn by locals from cradle to grave. The sheer range of colors, styles and sizes - will have style conscious shoppers watering at the mouth. Luckily for those who struggle to control their shopping impulses, prices are more than accessible - starting at around R$15 for basic models, and rising to around R$35 for the season's latest styles. At these prices, it's well worth picking up a few pairs for folks back home - as well as couple for yourself, of course.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: No fashion conscious visitor to Rio will want to leave without a few pairs of Havaianas.

Lucy's expert tip: There are two Havaianas stores in Leblon - at Avenida Afrânio de Melo Franco, 290 and Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva, 320.

Read more about Havaianas Store →

Academia da Cachaca
Photo courtesy of Daniel Bonatto/Flickr

Brazil's famously potent national drink, cachaca, is celebrated in all its myriad forms at this lively little bar that has become a Leblon nightlife institution. The national firewater may have a reputation for being as harsh on the palate as it is on the head the following day, but Academia da Cachaca proves that the best cachacas are genuinely delicious tipples. There are some 80 versions on offer here, including barrel-aged and artisan versions, which can be enjoyed by themselves or mixed into dangerously tasty cocktails. There's a small shop here, selling bottles of cachaca as well as caipirinha-making kits.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: This is the best spot in the city to sample Brazil's national spirit at its best.

Lucy's expert tip: This is a great place to pick up boozy presents for folks back home.

Read more about Academia da Cachaca →

Stylist-turned-swimwear queen Lenny Niemeyer is the woman credited with re-inventing the Brazilian bikini, making it less - 'dental floss' and more about beautiful cuts and curve-enhancing designs. Niemeyer launched her Lenny brand with an Ipanema store in the early 1990s, and today the chain has 18 branches in Brazil while the brand is stocked by the chicest of swimwear stores in Europe and the USA. Head here for super-stylish bikinis, one-pieces and beachwear, including some beautiful sarongs that work equally well as skirts, dresses and beach towels. The small Leblon store can be found next to the neighborhood´s cinema on Rua Carlos Gois.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Stylish locals flock to the Leblon branch of this super-chic swimwear store.

Lucy's expert tip: The bikinis here are expensive, but the cuts are beautiful and the quality is high.

Read more about Lenny →

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, while board shorts and tees in bright colours are staples in the menswear section. Formal wear has little place in the social lives of most young cariocas, and this store is a great place to pick up versatile fashion items that can be transformed from daytime to nighttime as fast as you can change from flip flops to heels or smart trainers.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: The Leblon branch of this trendy chain is easily found on Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva, the neighborhood´s main shopping strip.

Lucy's expert tip: Fashion conscious types who want to blend into Rio's style scene should make Farm their first port of call.

Read more about Farm →

In a neighborhood where many bars are formal and a little stuffy, Jobi is a breath of fresh air. The early-opening, late-closing Leblon institution is a fine example of the Rio boteco - botecos being informal bars serving food and good company to a relaxed crowd. The bar even has its own little gift shop, selling caps, tees and bottles of cachaca all emblazoned with the Jobi logo. Locals and out-of-towners alike flock here for perfectly-kept draught beers, well-mixed cocktails and an extensive range of bar snacks that includes moreish versions of local staples such as bolinhos de bacalhau(fried cod and potato balls). The bar opens late and closes early, so you???re sure to be able to fit in a visit - whether it be for an early morning coffee, early evening food and drinks, or an end-of-the-night cocktail.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Jobi´s gift store is a great place to pick up keepsakes like tees and caps to remind you of fun, caipirinha-fuelled nights out.

Lucy's expert tip: Try to make your purchases before you begin sipping those caipirinhas, or you might find yourself making some rash spending decisions...

Read more about Jobi →

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 displaying ample amounts of buttock flesh on the beach) sells sey one-pieces and some more modest bikinis. Thankfully for visitors not blessed with year-round scorching temperatures, the dental floss bikini is no longer considered chic beachwear, and BumBum bikinis, while revealing, enhance curves and aim to flatter the rear. As a mark of how much Brazilian beach fashion has changed in recent years, the store now has a wide range of sexy one-pieces.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Visit the BumBum store at Shopping Leblon if you want to look chic on the beach.

Lucy's expert tip: Leave the skimpiest models to the locals if you don--t want to feel ultra-self conscious on the beach.

Read more about BumBum Ipanema →

At Ipanema´s farthest point from Copacabana, a small canal marks the division between Praia do Ipanema and Praia do Leblon. Vendors stroll the sands sellling bikinis, sarongs and sunglasses, making this a great place for laidback shooping. Flanked by the towering Dois Irmaos (two brothers) mountains and with waters that are slightly calmer than elsewhere on this stretch of sand, Leblon beach is a popular spot with the wealthy families that live in this most exclusive of neighborhoods It is also popular with locals living in the favela that cling to the mountainside, however, and the very different social groups create an interesting beach scene. the simple bars along the beachfront are a good place for a caipirinha and a spot of people-watching at any time of the day or night.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Shopping while sunbathing - what could be better? Pick up everything from beachwear to caipirinha-making kits from the comfort of your beach chair.

Lucy's expert tip: Don´t be afraid to haggle - if the price is steep, try to get the vendor to better it.

Read more about Praia do Leblon →

Shopping Leblon
Photo courtesy of Rio Tour/Flickr

if you're in the mood for a splurge or in need of some serious retail therapy, this shopping center located in upscale Leblon is just the ticket. From itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis in body conscious cuts to handcrafted homeware and stylish jewery, Shopping Leblon is filled with fashionable, upwardly mobile shoppers browsing the tempting, if pricey, wares on offer. There are lots of good places to eat and drink too, with opportunities to sip an iced coffee or dine on sushi and fine wine, depending on your mood. If the budget is tight, the prices may make you wince, but it´s stil a fun spot for some window shopping.

Recommended for Leblon's Best Shopping because: Shopping Leblon is the go-to shopping center for designer threads and chic beachwear.

Lucy's expert tip: Double check prices - many stores offer payments in up to 12 installments, and that seemingly-low price may well be just a fraction of the total cost.

Read more about Shopping Leblon →


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.