Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro on a Budget

Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro on a Budget

Since you’re reading this post, it’s safe to say that you’re planning on visiting Rio de Janeiro — so you already know that Rio has tons of out-of-this-word beaches, great restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and beautiful culture. But when it comes to where to stay in Rio — that part may be a bit more difficult to figure out. This city is full of diverse neighborhoods with affordable options to choose from, depending on your interests and needs, and it can definitely be overwhelming narrowing down your options. 

That’s where I come in!

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If spending as much time as possible at the beach is calling your name, consider staying at Copacabana or Ipanema, Rio’s most famous beaches. For a more relaxing stay, maybe opt for Barra da Tijuca (also by the beach) instead. Or, if you can’t wait to experience Rio’s bustling nightlife, or you’re trying to keep things as low-budget as possible, Lapa could be your best choice. 

Let’s dive in more. All of these options are popular neighborhoods, and consider safety, affordability, and proximity to sightseeing and other touristy experiences in Rio. And before you go, don’t forget to check out this complete guide to visiting Rio de Janeiro for even more tips to make your trip the best it can be!

Disclosure: Some of the included links may be affiliate links, meaning that at no cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I trust and have used. Thanks for your support!

Barra da Tijuca

Ipanema

When people think of Rio, Ipanema is usually one of the first images to pop up. It’s an iconic beach spot, thanks to its view of the famous Two Brothers Mountains. For that reason, Ipanema is a great option for your Rio de Janeiro travels, especially if it’s your first visit, and it’s definitely one of the most popular neighborhoods for tourists to stay in. It’s also full of restaurants, bars, and shops, plus the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, a large lake great for biking or just walking around. You’ll have no problem filling your time here when you need a break from the beach. I spent five weeks here during one of my trips to Rio, and I personally loved staying here. 

Pros: Beautiful; close to amenities; tourist-friendly; easy access to the beach

Cons: Not as affordable as Copacabana and some other neighborhoods, touristy

Where to stay in Ipanema 

Located in a historic home, Ipanema Beach House is a cozy hostel with both private rooms and shared dorms available. With a pool, and an onsite bar and food available (for an additional cost), you have everything you need for a comfortable trip. And it doesn’t get much better than being steps from the beach! Learn more here.

Mango Tree Hostel Ipanema is another highly rated beachside option with a relaxing atmosphere, delicious breakfast (not included), and important amenities like air conditioning. Get more information here.

(By the way, you’ll want to check out my Rio de Janeiro packing guide before you go!)

Copacabana

Copacabana is another great option that’s popular for tourists and will ensure lots of quality beach time. While it’s right next to Ipanema and in my opinion won’t make a huge difference in your overall experience compared to there (I’ve stayed in both neighborhoods), I would say it’s marginally less safe and slightly lower cost than Ipanema. Still, it’s a super walkable area with lots of shops, nightlife, and restaurants. There tends to also be more music at the beachside bars in Copacabana compared to in Ipanema, if that sways you either way.

Pros: Beautiful; proximity to the beach; tourist-friendly; relatively affordable

Cons: Can be more crowded and filled with tourists; ~medium~ safety level compared to the other neighborhoods in this guide

(By the way, check out my solo travel safety guide with all my best tips before you head off!)

Where to stay in Copacabana 

Selina Copacabana is a beautiful hostel-hotel with a beach view. I stayed here during one of my trips to Rio — the space is really nice and comfortable, and it doesn’t get any better location-wise. Find out more here.

For a luxurious hotel stay that’s under $100 a night, Windsor Palace Copacabana is an amazing choice. Steps away from the beach, and with a rooftop pool, a highly-rated restaurant, and proximity to lots of other food choices and amenities, a stay here will definitely ensure you have an amazing time in Rio. Book here.

Leblon

Leblon is considered one of the fanciest neighborhoods in Rio. A downside is that of course, that means everything’s pricier here, from accommodation to restaurants. But with that said, it could still be a great option for enjoying a more luxurious experience. Plus, you can easily walk to other famous beach spots like Ipanema and Copacabana for more affordable dining options and nightlife. 

Pros: Considered to be one of the safest areas, beautiful

Cons: One of the priciest areas

Where to stay in Leblon 

Leblon The best of Brazil is a cute beachfront bed-and-breakfast in a great location, righted highly for its amenities, location, and staff. Public transportation, restaurants, and of course, the beach, are all steps away. Find out more.

Leblon Design Hotel is another great option in the luxurious Leblon neighborhood. This spot is also within walking distance of the beach, offers breakfast, has private bathrooms, air conditioning, and other amenities. Get more information.

Leblon

Tijuca

If panoramic views of Rio, hidden waterfalls, and hiking is calling your name, you may consider staying in Tijuca. There are a number of different trails and viewing points you could explore in the nearby Tijuca Forest — I’ve visited a number of times, but still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Apart from its close proximity to the world’s largest urban forest (seriously, Tijuca Forest is over 15 square miles) Tijuca is a less-touristy neighborhood with lots of restaurants and other amenities close by. An added bonus of being farther from the touristy areas is that it will also be more affordable.

Its closest beaches are Flamengo and Botafogo, which aren’t considered as clean and beautiful as the beaches further south like Ipanema and Copacabana. But with that said, I’ve stayed in Tijuca, and had no problem Ubering to other neighborhoods and sightseeing destinations around Rio, it just may take 30 minutes or so (or sometimes longer, with traffic). Ubering is very affordable in Rio compared to the United States, but there’s also public transportation that is very accessible. 

Pros: Close proximity to Tijuca Forest, a.k.a. lots of great hiking opportunities; less touristy and more affordable than the South Zone (where the famous beaches are located)

Cons: It can take 30 minutes to an hour to get to the beach, and is considered to be not as safe.

Where to stay in Tijuca 

The highly-rated and affordable Hostel Estação Maracanã is located right near Maracanã Stadium, a famous soccer stadium, along with food options, subway stations, and other amenities. Get more information here.

Casinha Tropical is a cozy homestay in Tijuca with a picnic and garden area, spa and wellness options, and yoga classes. Bathrooms are shared and breakfast is available for $3, according to Booking.com. Find out more here.

Lapa

Lapa is the party destination in Rio. It’s full of super affordable bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, and at night, streets are filled with party goers and street vendors selling snacks, drinks, and other knick-knacks. It’s also where the Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa) are, a famous historic aqueduct, as well as Escadaria Selarón, a gorgeous mosaic of tile-lined steps that lead up to the neighboring Santa Teresa neighborhood.

Pros: Affordable; close proximity to a number of sightseeing destinations; hub for nightlife (depending on your interests — this could definitely be a con if you’re not into this)

Cons: Gets very crowded and loud at night; not considered as safe

Where to stay in Lapa 

Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro, a gorgeous hostel-hotel, will always have a special place in my heart, since this is where I stayed my first time in Rio! It was clean, safe, had a great breakfast available, and made it super easy to arrange tours and other sightseeing activities. I couldn’t speak more highly of my time there! Get more information here.

Hotel Monte Alegre is another solid option that has a pool, a bar, free breakfast, and is located right in the heart of Lapa. Get more info here.

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is an artsy, bohemian neighborhood right behind Lapa. It’s full of amazing music, art, and food (check out this Rio de Janeiro food guide for more on that!), making it one of the best places to soak in Brazilian culture during your visit. It’s also not far from the Flamengo beach, and is also close to Downtown Rio, where there are a number of tourist destinations like the Museum of Tomorrow. The one downside is that it can be a bit hard to get in and out of Santa Teresa. You either have to walk up and down lots of steps to get into this neighborhood, or alternatively, you can take a tram or an Uber. 

Even if you end up not staying here, it’s worth it to take the tram up to Santa Teresa for a day or afternoon — it’s a super scenic and enjoyable ride. 

Pros: Home to great food, music and culture; less touristy

Cons: Can be difficult to get in and out of this neighborhood; a little farther from the nicest beaches

Where to stay in Santa Teresa

Casa da Gente is a highly rated accommodation in a great location in Santa Teresa. Breakfast is included, and reviews rave about the host and her team. Get more information here.

Casa Beleza is a super beautiful bed-and-breakfast in a 1930s mansion. This spot also includes a tropical garden, and a swimming pool, and is steps away from lots of restaurants, museums, and cultural centers. Book here.

Barra da Tijuca

Unrelated to the Tijuca neighborhood that we talked about earlier, Barra da Tijuca is a sprawling beach neighborhood in the west of Rio de Janeiro. 

This is where you can find the longest beach in Rio de Janeiro — and notably, one of the calmest. Unlike the crowded tourist meccas of Copacabana and Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca is beloved more by locals. If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing spot to recharge, staying here may be your best bet. It’s also super beautiful, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

Pros: Calmer; considered to be safer; clean beaches; beautful

Cons: Farther away from sightseeing in Rio

Where to stay in Barra da Tijuca 

Windsor Tower Hotel is a four-star hotel that has some rooms available for less than $100 a night. With a swimming pool, onsite restaurant, gym, and all just steps from the beach, this is a luxurious option for your stay in Rio. Find out more here.

ibis Rio de Janeiro Barra da Tijuca is another beachfront hotel with an onsite restaurant, and bar. Get more information.

Which neighborhood will you choose? I’d love to know. But also know that whichever neighborhood you decide to stay in, you’ll have an amazing time. Rio is my favorite place on Earth, and I know you’ll love it too.

Happy traveling,

Tess

P.S. For even more Brazil travel inspiration, check out this 3-week Brazil itinerary, which covers Rio, São Paulo, Iguazu Falls, Salvador, and Recife. 

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16 Comments

  1. Marilyn
    April 20, 2024 / 11:40 pm

    Beaches and waterfalls! These all look so inviting. Thanks for the tips!

    • Tess
      Author
      April 21, 2024 / 1:30 am

      They’re amazing in Rio!! thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  2. May 4, 2024 / 9:01 pm

    It is good to consider what you want to do before picking accommodations. So it was good to read this guide for Rio de Janeiro and understand each of the areas to stay. A safe and walkable area is always the top criteria for us. But I do understand that may come at a cost in some areas. The one area we can avoid is party central!

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:49 pm

      Totally agree about prioritizing safety and walkable areas! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  3. Sonia
    May 4, 2024 / 9:16 pm

    Barra da Tijuca looks like the best option for me. I haven’t had a chance to visit Rio yet, but hoping to get there.

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:49 pm

      I hope you get there at some point! Barra da Tijuca is so beautiful πŸ™‚

  4. May 5, 2024 / 12:13 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Rio! This is a great guide on where to stay. The beaches would be my preference! thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:49 pm

      Beaches are definitely always a good choice! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  5. May 5, 2024 / 4:41 am

    As I’ve never been to Rio before, I think staying in a ‘tourist area’ like Ipanema would be best for me. Plus I love being by a beach.

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:56 pm

      Ipanema is definitely one of my favorite areas in Rio. So a great choice!

  6. Anja
    May 5, 2024 / 10:43 am

    Thank you for this detailed post! I would love to visit South America and especially Brazil and Peru, but it is a long and expensive trip, so all these tips help in choosing good accommodation! Thank you for sharing!

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:58 pm

      Brazil and Peru are both amazing places, I know you’ll love them! And I definitely get that, finding an affordable place to stay is always important to me too! Thanks so much for reading!

  7. Melanie
    May 5, 2024 / 7:24 pm

    I would have to go full tourist and visit Copacabana and Ipanema, which both look like beautiful beaches, but now that I’ve heard about the waterfalls and hiking around Tijuca Forest I feel like that’s somewhere I’d really like to spend some quality time. Love those colourful stairs in the artsy neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Can’t wait to visit Rio someday!

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:58 pm

      When you make it to Rio, you’ll definitely have to visit them all! thanks so much for reading!

  8. Shaf
    May 7, 2024 / 2:55 pm

    i could definitely picture myself in Santa Teresa… sounds super vibey and right up my alley!

    • Tess
      Author
      May 7, 2024 / 4:59 pm

      Santa Teresa is so much fun!

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