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 fashion finds. Set aside a good few hours to browse all the stalls and don't be afraid to bargain with sellers - you can often bag a bargain if you buy more than one item from the same stall. Take the time to stroll around this market and soak up the colorful ambience as musicians play live samba and skilled soccer players show off their ball control.
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 vintage accessories. The sound of live samba music fills the air, the streets throng with shoppers and sightseers, and the many pavement cafes and bars occupying converted colonial buildings do a brisk trade as groups of friends linger over a reviving coffee, refreshing beer or energy-replenishing meal. The market is a great place to pick up Chris gifts and keepsakes as well as vintage clothes, accessories and vinyl records. Local designers also sell their creations here - often at surprisingly accessible prices.
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 christ statues (scaled down, of course) to hats, t-shirts and sarongs. In the evenings, a market opens along Copacabana beachfront, selling everything from crotchet bikinis and hand-made dresses to plastic models of the Christ statue, replica Brazil soccer shirts and 'I've Been to Rio' tees. A stroll through the night market is a pleasant and relaxing way to shop in Rio.
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 from Brazil's arid northeast, including handicrafts and delicious food and drink. Live bands play the sultry, accordian-led forro music that is native to the northeast, and on weekends you can shop all night long as the fair opens at 10am on Friday and stays open until 10pm on Sunday, attracting drinkers and dancers from across the city. It's around 10-minutes cab ride from Centro and the cruise port.
There's no shortage of pharmacies and drugstores in Rio de Janeiro, and Pacheco is one of the best chains in the city. The Centro branch is conveniently located close to the cruise port and metro stations, and is a good place to pick up essentials such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and basic toiletries, too. Those whose hair reacts badly to Rio's humidity should check out the huge range of shampoos and hair products, many of which are aimed at keeping naturally curly hair in check with temperatures rise and humidity is high. Look for products containing keratin - this smoothing ingredient will help keep even the unruliest of tresses looking glossy.
A large shopping mall located around 10 minutes' cab ride from central Rio and the city's cruise port,Shopping Rio Sul is packed with affordable high street stores as well as some more upscale boutiques selling treats such as immaculately-cut swimwear and handcrafted jewelry. There's also a multi-screen cinema showing all the major releases, and the food courts offer some suprisingly appealing culinary options. Those who are pushed for time will find Shopping RioSul a great one-stop option, and the mall is within easy reach of the cruise port as well as Copacabana beach and Sugar Loaf mountain. Eat, drink and shop all in on spot.
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, artists' studios and some of the best restaurants in Rio, and the lofty location makes for some terrific views over the city. Start your visit to Santa Teresa at Largo do Guimaraes, the busy square at the start of the city, and follow the steep cobbled streets to discover vintage clothes stores, bustling drinking dens and some of the friendliest locals in the city.
Funky Havaianas flip flops 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 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. Perhaps give the specially-designed flip flop socks a miss, though.
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.
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 everything from full-on spangly samba outfits with feathered headdresses to animal fancy dress and glitter wigs, the stores of Saara sell the type of fast fashion that is ideal for anyone who wants to look like a local in a snap and without spending a fortune. Think teeny tiny denim shorts, flip flops and boob tubes for the girls, surf shorts and casual tees for the boys.