Left your carnival accommodation arrangements until the last minute? Try not to panic – there are still some options out there. Granted, you may have to pay over the odds and you may not get your dream hotel room, but you won’t be sleeping on the streets.
Where to look for last minute accommodation for Rio Carnival depends to a large extent on your budget. Bear in mind that the price of even the most basic room or hostel dorm bed shoots up over the carnival period, and if you still have enough in the travel budget for a luxury stay than you may well still be in luck. Rio’s plushest hotels, including the legendary Copacabana Palace should still have some rooms available as part of their Carnival packages, although you’ll need to move quickly if you want to secure your place.
Mid-range travelers will find that some of the larger family hotels, such as Sol Ipanema still have some options available, while hotels in less touristy locations, such as those in Centro, Flamengo and Catete, fill up less quickly than those by the beaches of the Zona Sul. The Hotel Novo Mundo in Flamengo, and Guanabara Palace, in Centro are too good options to try.
Budget travelers should turn their attentions to the city’s vibrant hostel scene. Hostels do tend to book up a long way in advance, but cancellations usually mean there is some room at the inn somewhere in the city. A good bet for anyone hoping to make their base in Ipanema is to head for the cluster of backpacker spots that make up ‘Hostel Alley’ on Rua Barao da Torre. While established hostels such as Hostel Harmonia and Ipanema Wave Hostel may not have space, but staff may be able to point you in the direction of a vacancy. Again, the less touristy neighborhoods such as Botafogo, Flamengo and Centro tend to have more availability, as well as being less expensive. Check out hostel booking sites such as hostelworld or hostelmania to book your bed. Note that many hostels require a minimum seven night stay at this time of year, and be sure to double check prices as some sites use out of date currency converters that could make it look like your stay will be cheaper than it actually is. If in doubt, check the current exchange rate at www.xe.com/ucc
Another option is to look at renting an apartment – this can work out very good value for groups. For anyone who understands a little Portuguese, a good place to start your search is www.easyquarto.com.br, a site which lets you search rooms and apartments as well as placing your own ad. The Rio page of Craigslist is another good bet, although be prepared to pay a ‘gringo price’.
If at all possible, try to arrange your accommodation now rather than flying in on a wing and a prayer and hoping to find a bed when you get here. Leave it too late, and you may face a long, hot, frustrating search for somewhere to stay.
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