There is a regular street market located under the large highway overpass, which protects most of the vendors from the hot sun as well as the hard rain.
I cannot speak for the weekdays, but weekends are alive with lots of vendors and shoppers. There are lots of old antique items, old coins and various collectors treasures, clothes, food, etc. There are lots of people, so do mind your valuables and watch for pickpockets.
What to buy: There are lots of cheap antiques, old cameras, old books, old music records, clothes, etc. Some prices are written, but you can haggle for a better price if you have negotiation skills.
It´s a shopping mall on the outskirts of Rio but easily reachable on subway. Get on line 1 and change at Estacio station to line 2 and get off at Del Castilho station. The station has a pedestrian flyover that goes straight into the mall. The mall is big and has many stores, Brazilian and international brands which are cheaper than usual.
As it is in the north side (zona norte) don´t go looking too much gringo. The area outside the mall is just roads, there aren´t many people or buildings so it can be dangerous especially for foreingers but u don´t ever need to go outside the shopping mall or the subway.
You´ll also have a chance of seeing a part of Rio that usually tourists don´t see, from the train window u can see some parts of the city and commute as any ordinary carioca citizen.
What to buy: Cloths in general, sneakers, many restaurants/snacks options.
As you are likely aware, Wal-Mart has tons of stuff at pretty cheap prices. I rarely shop at Wal-Mart when I am at home, but sometimes it saves a ton of time and money having everything in one place. Anyway, there is a pretty nice Wal-Mart in Barra and we visited there when we were planning a big barbeque for the night. It was an easy way to get our party suppplies and beer quickly, as we really didn't have much time to prepare.
What to buy: They have tons of stuff there, just like any other Wal-Mart.
What to pay: less expensive
Rio Sul is a shopping mall that will take care of your every Brazilian fashion need. If I had a full day to spend there, I'd come out with a hundred bags, and almost all of them would be full of shoes. The clothes are great too. Europeans and Americans will go wild for the prices, which are about half what you'd pay for comparable goods at home. This is high-quality stuff, for the most part, all Brazilian-made and all fabulous.
This is an outdoor fleamarket every Sunday (during daylight) where tourists can buy all kinds of things.
What to buy: You can buyt t-shirts, jewelry, handicrafts, belt, purse, suitcase, local paintings, musical instruments,
What to pay: Yes, you can haggle with the vendors to negotiate a lower price.
i agree with alza, italy and spain is where it's at with brazil coming in at a third. but yeah, you can find stores all over ipanema and copa. just walk a block or two up from avenida atlantica and you will find stuff.
for bags I've bought some good and affordable ones in artisan fairs:
- Saens Pena square on Friday and Saturday mornings (metro station Saens Pena)
- Campo de Sao Bento on Sunday morning if you are visiting the city of Niteroi, on the other side of the bay
Rio De Janeiro has a surprising lack of tourist shops. Most of the typical gear you would like to buy for friends and family can be purchased at the beach in Cocacabana or Ipanema. Items include beach towes, swimsuits, soccer jerseys etc. Just about every thing you could want can be found on the beaches and for a great price. The best places for paintings or art work can be found across from the surfers at Ipanema on the boardwalk. Great stuff.
What to buy: Soccer Jerseys, T shirts, paintings, carvings, jewellery, hats , postcards etc etc
What to pay: T Shirts are around 10 reals, hats are around 8 reals and soccer jerseys are around 30 reals.
A small shop of women's feminine casual wear. Fun prints and styles. A style upgrade from some other stores in the area w/o being more expensive. There are seven locations in Rio. Two in Copacabana. The one I found was in Ipanema.
What to buy: Women's clothing
What to pay: R$40 - R55 more or less.
The shop is upstairs. The entrance is narrow, stairs only, and right from the street. You'll see headless mannequins outside w/ dresses on advertising the place upstairs. Go up the stairs and be prepared to stay awhile. It is a very sweetly decorated shop! With the walls of the room being exposed brick. The owners have great taste. Half the shop has selected vintage clothing while the other half has new clothing.
Note to self. Owners are Kylza Ribas, Vitima do Vintige, Maria Pose.
What to buy: Women's clothing.
What to pay: Depends on the item. Prices seem pretty affordable here. They're not bargain basement prices though. Neither are the items!
Brazilian sarongs are unique, beautiful and quite inexpensive. Sellers are everywhere on the beach and are hard to avoid, but these sarongs make an excellent gift to bring back home, or even to use on the beach: ladies wear them, men use them as a beach towel.
This is not a shop as we bought art work from street vendors. In front of Copacabana beach at night there were some painters selling their art work and on the weekend in a park at Ipanema, near the plaza, there were also many people selling art work.
What to buy: Art. We didn´t by the canvases framed. When we got them back home to Chile we had them professionally framed there.
What to pay: It depends on the size of the piece you are purchasing. We paid 40 Reais for a smaller piece and 120 Reais for a larger set of three paintings. You can barter with the painter.
Rio de Janeiro has numerous fine jewelry stores and one of Rio's top names is Amsterdam Sauer. The Ipanema location houses both the store and the gemstone museum. The store is famous for its huge offer of precious stones and jewelry.
In the on-site museum you can visit a recreation of a Brazilian gemstone mine, where everybody may realize, how difficult is to mine these beautiful stones. The so called imperial topaz, once favoured by the Russian Tzars is mined only in Brazil. It shows also a lot of rough stones and gems.
A very informative and well organized museum.
The museum is open weekdays 10am - 6pm and Saturday 9am - 2pm.
Phone: 021/2239-8045 for the museum only.
What to buy: The store sells a wide range of loose coloured stones or set in 18-carat gold, such as, aquamarines, red-orange and pink topaz, tourmalines in a rainbow of shades from green to purple., citrines, and Brazilian opals. but is particularly famous for its fascination with emeralds.
What to pay: Mining for gemstones is not easy and you should expect quite high price, however, it is worth a visit even if you are not looking to buy, what you don’t need and don’t want.
Prices are influenced by the quality and the shade of the stone. For example the imperial topaz start at US70/carat, the darker shades of pink and cherry-red the most expensive.
Sale months are March-April and August-September with reductions of up to 70%!!!
This store has handbags, artwork, wallets, jewelry, sports bags from famous Brazilian designer Gilson Matins. Hollywood types shop here and we spent 2 hours buying here. The staff of the store was great. The selection of "tourist (yet non touristy) itmes" were fantastic. If you want to buy someone an authentic Brazilian item, come here. Prices are reasonable. The leather for the handbags are top quality.
Make sure you ask for VAT to take the discount at the airport.
What to buy: Make up bags with Sugarloaf/Christ the Redeemer on them. Sports bags in the colors of the Brazilian flag, key chains... see photo. Wallets for $30 U.S. I get complimented all the time.
What to pay: Make up bags about $20-$40 U.S. Satchels $100 a piece. See website. It finally has an English version
Havaianas are absolutely great, always regret not buying more. First of all, they are everywhere, on the street corners, in small shops in larger stores, really everywhere (I stayed in Ipanema, but I'm sure they are just as widely available closer to Copacabana). There are some knock-offs (I bought a pair by mistake), but they cost the same and have the same style, but they don't have the name 'havaianas' on them... So they are easy to spot, I made a really stupid mistake, but hey I'm still wearing them and they're just as comfy. The price ranges from about $5 to $10 if I remember correctly (that was about a year ago). In South Africa they pretty much always cost about $25, so for me that was a very good price... Enjoy your trip!!!