Shopping in Rio de Janeiro can be a rewarding experience for tourists on the hunt for bargains, whether they're seeking cheap souvenirs or designer goods. While it isn't considered a major shopping destination, there are numerous shopping centres, boutiques, street stalls and markets offering a wide selection of mementos.
Rio's main shopping destinations are concentrated in areas like Rio Sul in the city centre. There are also numerous shopping districts near the beaches, including Avenida Nossa Senhora and Rua Barata Ribeiro in Copacabana, Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva in Leblon, and Rua Visconde de Pirajá in Ipanema.
Religious antiques, soapstone carvings, leather goods and gemstone jewellery are Rio's most popular souvenirs, offered by various shops throughout the city. You can also find local gemstones carved into shapes like toucans, jaguars, and other wild figures that make good gifts, alongside tacky options like plastic replicas of Christ the Redeemer.
Good-quality beachwear and Brazilian soccer jerseys are also popular, though you'll need to choose between cheap imitations at market stalls and more expensive official merchandise. Rio is the birthplace of Havaianas (flip flops), so they're available in any number of brands, styles, and colours. One of the best things to buy in Rio de Janeiro though, is music, particularly Brazil's distinctive local music. Modern Sound on Barata Ribeiro has an impressive collection, or for a good selection of jazz music and books, head to the artsy Livraria da Travessa.
The gift shop at the Museu do Índio has a selection of pots, woven baskets, and wooden artefacts made by indigenous tribes. Another unique souvenir is the cachaça, or sugar cane brandy, brewed at Petisco da Vila. Try a bottle after watching the production process right in the brewery.
Good-quality local arts and crafts can be found at outdoor weekend markets, the best of which include the Hippie Fair, the Babilônia Hype Fair, and the enormous Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão, which has more than 700 stalls. For flowers and food, including fruit, vegetables and cheeses, Praca General Osorio in Ipanema and Rua Domingos Ferreira in Copacabana are also worth a visit.
Most items are reasonably priced, as long as you stay away from the obvious tourist traps around the major hotels. Bartering is acceptable though, and you can usually earn yourself up to a 10 percent discount in shops if you pay cash, though most shops and even some markets will accept major credit cards. Shops tend to stay open Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm, and shopping centres stay open daily from 10am to 10pm. Sales tax is 18 percent, and there is no tax refund scheme for departing tourists in Brazil.
Become our Rio De Janeiro Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Rio De Janeiro travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Rio De Janeiro or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.