At first glance, finding affordable accommodation in Rio de Janeiro can appear a near-impossible task. However, while the city boasts its fair share of budget-busting luxury hotels, Rio de Janeiro also has a lively hostel scene, and some very inviting and relatively affordable guest houses.
But even in these two tourist hotspots, it’s possible to find lodgings which won’t blow the travel fund through the roof.
Travelers on super-tight budgets who don’t want to compromise on location should make their way to Ipanema’s famous ‘hostel alley’, located just a couple of blocks back from the beach and close to all the bars, nightlife and shopping that this well-heeled neighborhood has to offer. On a leafy side alley set back from a busy street, here you will find some eight or nine cute little hostels sitting side by side.
Two highly recommended options here are Hostel Harmonia and Wave Hostel and, while Hostel Alley is not the place for anyone looking for vast party hostels with hot tubs and in-house discos, you’ll find a friendly welcome and get to meet travelers from all over the world. With dorm beds starting at around R$40, these are not the cheapest hostels in Rio, but the location is terrific.
Travelers loking for a little more privacy and who can afford to step the accommodation budget up one notch can find rooms for less than R$200 per night at the Hotel Vermont, well placed for shopping and lightlife, while beach lovers will find Arpoador Inn hard to beat in terms of location. Set right on the sands at Arpoador, a beautiful stretch of beach between Ipanema and Copacabana.
On the whole, accommodations in Copacabana are slightly more affordable than Ipanema, but is home to any number of over-priced tourist traps in slightly seedy locations, so always check reviews before you book. One of the best bets for travelers who can’t afford to splurge on accomodation is Ouro Verde, a cute and kooky hotel with some natty Art Deco touches, which sits right in front of the beach at Leme, the quietest part of Copacabana beach. Rooms here can be found for under R$200, and there’s a lively bar/nightclub next door which attracts a lively crowd of fashionable young things at weekends.
If you’re looking for accommodation that feels a little more personal than a hotel, the cobbled streets of Santa Teresa are the place to look. Here you’ll find scores of small guest houses to suit all budgets. Some, including Casa Aurea and Casa 579 (which has a pool and unbeatable 360 degree views) also offer dorm beds. Rates vary according to the time of year, but generally compare favorably with accommodation close to the beaches. Santa Teresa is also home to many excellent bars and restaurants, and its welcoming, friendly vibe makes it a hit with people looking for a longer-term stay in Rio.