Where to stay in Rio?
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Where to stay in Rio?

Ipanema by night with the view to dois irmaos
Most people want to stay centrally located whenever they are traveling to a big city. But what is central in Rio? Where is the best place to stay?  It really depends on what you wish to get out of your stay.  In this article The Beat of Rio presents a brief guide to help you choose in which neighborhood you should stay.

Zona Sul

Zona Sul in Rio de Janeiro
In this map you can see the part of the city which makes up region of “Zona Sul”, with Leblon and Ipanema on the left and Copacabana, Leme and Botafogo on the right.

Most tourists prefer to stay in one of the neighborhoods that belong to the southern region of the city, called Zona Sul.  This part includes neighborhoods such as Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Urca and Botafogo. Here you are close to the beach and to tourist attractions such as the Sugar Loaf  and you have  an endless row of options of restaurants, bars and cafés.  If you don’t intend to rent a car while in Rio, Zona Sul is the place to be as the metro connects most of that part of the city.

 The girl from Ipanema

praia ipanema
Ipanema beach on a sunday

Ipanema is the neighborhood where the Bossa Nova was born.   At what today is the Garota de Ipanema Restaurant the legendary Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes sat and wrote his unforgettable lyrics to the song  “The girl from Ipanema”.  Today the street carries the poets name and the restaurant where he sat, carries the the name of his song. Walk on the beach of Ipanema and you will feel the true spirit of the carioca.

Ipanema is Rio de Janeiro’s number one high end neighborhood  where the beachfront would be equivalent to Oxford Street in London.  Ipanema is by far a the most popular neighborhood for both tourists and business travelers when they come to Rio.

If you stay in Rio long enough you will discover that every  type of community has their own meeting spot at the beach. One example is the LGBT community who have a meeting point at the beach close to Rua Farme de Amoedo.  However the most popular meeting point is so called Posto 9 which marks the 9 km of the beach where the coolest kids in town gather up in the weekend.  Another central location is the park  Praça General Osorio where the popular Hippie fair takes place every sunday.  Ipanema is the place to see and be seen and take a deep dive into the Carioca spirit.

Click here to see hotel options in Ipanema.


Often referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in Rio de Janeiro and famously refered to by the legendary Brazilian poet and musician Tom Jobim (after whom the airport is named) as “the princess of the sea”.

Copacabana has one of the most famous and spectacular new years eve celebrations in the world.  The fireworks can last up to 15 minutes after midnight.  After the fireworks Brazilians would typically dip their feet into the ocean and jump over seven waves to welcome the new year. As a symbol of rebirth everyone wears withe on new years eve.  Some people throw flowers into the ocean to the Godess of sea Iemanja according to the afrobrazilian religion Candomble.  Click here to see hotel options in Copacabana.

Santa Teresa

Street Carnival in largo das neves in Santa Teresa
Street Carnival in Santa Teresa

The rustic and cultural neighborhood of Santa Teresa is located on the hill of Santa Teresa overlooking the city.  About 15 minutes from the beach “Santa” as cariocas call it  has a spectacular cultural life.  It is often called the Montmarte of Rio, because of the many art galleries and bohemian vibe.  In the last years investors have taken notice of the bairro and transformed it to a place with michelin star restaurants and hotels appearing in  Netflix productions such as Lilyhammer.

A family vacation in Barra da Tijuca

If you are traveling  with children and prefer  to just enjoy the beach  and a nice quiet condo, then Barra da Tijuca might be perfect spot for you and your family.

In this youtube video you can see Frank Sinatra singing “The girl from Ipanema” with Tom Jobim.

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