The lights, the blocos, the dancers, the costumes; why wouldn’t you want to travel to Rio de Janeiro during Carnival?
This year, the infamous festival takes place in early February but if you want to be sure to take in ALL the spectacle of Brazil’s (and the world’s) biggest Carnival, you better look into where to stay for Rio Carnival now.
Here are the BEST areas in Rio to stay and an approximation of just how much you will have to visit during Rio Carnival:
Part of the desirable Zona Sul of Rio, Leblon is classified as an upmarket travel destination and the perfect location for any tourist to stay no matter what time of the year.
With pretty cafes, classic architecture and one of the best beaches in the city, Leblon is a safe bet when it comes to Rio accommodation. This area is also well serviced by public transport and the metro (which run 24-hours during Rio Carnival).
However, staying here comes with a hefty price tag so you might consider choosing areas close by to cut down on costs.
Average price of double room during Carnival, 5 nights (per Booking.com Oct 2017): €730/ $862
Ah, Copacobana. We all know the song but is it actually the place to be in Rio?
Many travelers report that Copacabana has declined as the perfect Rio destination due to high levels of tourism. It might not be as glamorous as Leblon, but it is still a great location for travelers and will not set you back as much in price as others areas of Rio.
If you decide to stay in the west of the area, you could even be within walking distance of Leblon’s pretty streets and beach (thought Copacabana’s own beach is not to be sniffed at).
Average price of double room during Carnival, 5 nights (per Booking.com Oct 2017): €600/ $709
Completing the Zona Sul in Rio, the ideal area to stay for easy access to blocos during carnival, is Ipanema which sits slightly further out just south of Leblon.
Though it is slightly further from the heart of Rio, it is certainly the second most popular beach after Copacobana but is generally known to be more upmarket, similar to Leblon. You can also have no doubts that this area will be teeming with parties and activities during Rio Carnival.
Average price of double room during Carnival, 5 nights (per Booking.com Oct 2017): €690/ $815
In central Rio and closer to downtown, which houses many of the main sights and museums of Rio, is Lapa. Lapa has a contentious reputation for being quite dangerous, but if you stick to the main areas it has the same level of risk as any other part of this metropolitan city.
This area is bustling with clubs, live Samba and you can get a great rate for a hotel. Lapa is also one of the closest places to stay to the Sambadrome where the infamous Rio Carnival parade takes place!
Average price of double room during Carnival, 5 nights (per Booking.com Oct 2017): €284/ $335
Nestled in the hills above Lapa, Santa Theresa offers a quieter experience of Rio while still being close enough to all the action of Carnival.
Serviced by good public transport, this area is more residential, less touristy and is awash with plenty of quaint bars and restaurants for a more authentic experience of Rio.
Average price of double room during Carnival, 5 nights (per Booking.com Oct 2017): €438/ $517.72
Still think the price is a bit hefty for Rio Carnival? Here are are some other options for a more budget-savvy traveler:
- Couchsurfing: Make an account on Couchsurfing and link up with a local during Carnival. This person will give you a place to stay and even be able to give you the best advice on where to go during the festival. Hosts and visitors alike have to pay to become verified and it is a great way to meet new people and cut costs for backpackers or thrifty travelers.
- AirBnb: While many associate AirBnb with luxury travel you may get lucky during such a big festival like Rio. Residents may decide to put their apartments up to make some cash during the Carnival so you might just get a bargain.
- Trustroots: This site is new to the game but is dedicated to connecting travelers all over the globe and prides itself on being a not-for-profit organisation. So unlike Couchsurfing, it is completely free to use and requires no verification or fee to get started.
Have I missed anywhere? Where would you stay in Rio? Comment below or contact me now!