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Best Spots For Shopping During a Cruise Stopover in Rio de Janeiro



Cruise ships calling at Rio de Janeiro will dock at the city's down town port zone, an area that is at the heart of a major urban regeneration project ahead of the 2016 Olympics.  While  the city's docks are very much 'up and coming', the area remains a little run down and seedy in some parts, and there are few interesting shopping options in the immediate vicinity of the cruise port.

Luckily, the central location means that many of Rio's most desirable destinations for shoppers are within relatively easy reach.  Very close by, the business district that is Centro is just a 10-minute walk or a few minutes' cab ride away, and offers the opporthe tunity for bagging bargain beachwear and accessories at Saara, where it is also possible to visit a whole store devoted entirely to fun, funky Havaianas flip flops, and to pick up low-cost cameras and phones.  The year-round tropial heat means that formal clothing in Rio rarely extends beyond smart jeans and shoes or trainers for guys and a dress with heels for the girls - all of which can be picked up at the RioSul Shopping - the closest mall to Rio de Janeiro Cruise port, this large mall lies some 15 minutes' cab ride away in Botafogo, and offers everything from the carioca take on evening wear to bikinis - BumBum offers some seriously sexy styles for those who want to cut a dash on the beach. 

For something a little more interesting, take a cab ride up the hill to nearby Santa Teresa, where the steep cobbled streets are lined with crafts stores and vintage clothing boutiques. 


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Ipanema Hippie Fair
Photo courtesy of Janice Waltzer/Flickr

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.

Read more about Ipanema Hippie Fair →


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 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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: A market with a difference, this off-the-beaten track market is worth the 10-minute cab ride.

Lucy's expert tip: Browse the market before making a purchase rather than snapping up the first thing that takes your fancy - there are lots of tempting things to choose from here.

Read more about Feira do Rio Antigo →


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 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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: Time-pressed cruise visitors can combine shopping with a visit to the beach thanks to Copacabanas many beach vendors.

Lucy's expert tip: If you're not interested in buying anything from a vendor, give them a quick 'no-no' finger wave and they'll get the message.

Read more about Copacabana Beach →


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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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: Sugar Loaf's gift stores are handy places for time-pressed travelers to pick up keepsakes.

Lucy's expert tip: Spice lovers will want to check out the bottles of colorful chili peppers available at several food stands and in varying sizes and heat strengths

Read more about Feira Nordestina de São Cristóvão →




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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: Pacheco is one of the biggest and best-stocked pharmacy chains in Rio.

Lucy's expert tip: Pick up a bottle of 'creme para pentear' if you plan to visit the beach - this leave-in conditionar can be slicked on after spending time in the water, leaving hair tangle-free.

Read more about Drogaria Pacheco →




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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: This smart mall stocks everything from bikinis and cameras to the carioca take on evening wear.

Lucy's expert tip: Head here after taking the cable car ride up to the top of Sugar Loaf - it's a pleasant 15-minute stroll from the famous mountain.

Read more about Shopping RioSul →


Santa Teresa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: A quick cab ride uphill from Rio's cruise port, historic Santa Teresa is the artistic heart of Rio.

Lucy's expert tip: Head to Santa Teresa on a sunny Sunday afternoon to catch craft fairs, street samba and a welcome change from the packed beaches of the Zona Sul.

Read more about Santa Teresa →




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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: Colorful, funky and durable, Havaianas have won fans among style savvy typs the world over.

Lucy's expert tip: The downtown branch of Havaianas Store is located at the heart of Saara - a maze of busy shopping streets in the heart of Centro, where many of Rio's best bargains can be found.

Read more about Havaianas Store →


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.

Read more about BumBum Ipanema →


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 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.

Recommended for Shopping near Cruise Port because: Here you can find everything from beachwear and sarongs to electrical goods and disposable cameras.

Lucy's expert tip: Be extra careful with your belongings in the crushed streets of the Saara, and wear backpacks on your front, never your back.

Read more about Bazar Centro do Saara →


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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.

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