What to Buy in Rio de Janeiro (and What NOT to Buy)

Rio de Janeiro is an EXPENSIVE city to live in, and can also be an expensive city to visit.

With a few tips, you can create your packing list accordingly – and plan to buy a few awesome souvenirs in Rio as well!

Definitely remember to pack any chargers and converters, because they’ll cost almost double here what they would cost at home. Same goes for toiletries and sunscreen – stock up before arriving!

But there are a few GREAT deals that you might not know until you get here.

What to Buy in Rio de Janeiro

(also what souvenirs to buy in Rio de Janeiro)

What to buy in rio de janeiro Cangas and Havaianas

Buy a Bikini in Rio.

The Brazilian bikini is cheaper and smaller than you’ll find back home. Women of all shapes and size (and men too!) embrace their bodies and show off their curves with teeny tiny triangle bottoms that can be purchased for a fraction of the cost at home along almost any beach, and in many shops.

The positive body image will hopefully come for free!

Buy some Havaianas in Rio.

In the US, Havaianas can run up to 30USD or more. Not so in Rio, where they’re sold for around 30BR ($10)! Stock up on the comfy, durable, and patently Brazilian flip flops while you’re here – Havaianas stores are everywhere.

Buy a Canga (or three!) in Rio.

The ubiquitous Brazilian multitasker, the canga outdoes itself in usefulness. Whether used as a quick-drying towel, beach blanket, coverup, shawl, or twisted into a dress, you won’t regret purchasing a cheap and colorful canga both for use in Brazil and to bring home as a souvenir.

Cangas roll up super small, are very lightweight, and their uses are endless.

You can barely walk ten meters without running into another vendor selling them, so don’t worry about finding one. Whats a typical Rio canga price? Around 20 reais (7USD). You can find nicer, more expensive cangas, but you can also find cheaper, lower quality ones (or haggle on the price).

Vendor selling cangas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazileven on a grey and cloudy day, canga sales go on!

Buy Coffee in Rio.

Brazilian coffee is strong, cheap, and awesome. After all, Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. It’s super easy to find an inexpensive and locally grown brand that you love enough to take some home. Organic and sustainable options are also increasingly available.

Buy Handmade Souvenirs in Rio.

Across from Copacabana Beach at night and on weekends, in Ipanema on Sundays at the Hippie Feira, and along random streets you’ll find artisans hawking their wears. Rio has a number of talented craftspeople – the handmade wood carvings and paintings are especially noteworthy and of great prices.


What to Rent in Rio de Janeiro

There’s a few Rio beach essentials that are better to rent than to deal with the hassle of bringing them, or the cost of buying them in Rio, including:

Beach Umbrella

Every beach will have more than a few vendors selling beach umbrellas. Even if you’re a total sun worshipper, the rays of Rio are intense and you may need an escape, especially on the unshaded beach. For a few dollars, you can rent an umbrella, and an attendant will dig a hole and properly “install” it so that it is sturdy and doesn’t get blown over in the wind.

Beach Chair

Just like the aforementioned umbrella, vendors rent out chairs by the day, and are super cheap. Save yourself the annoyance of carrying it back and forth, and contribute to a hard working vendor’s salary.

 Rio de Janeiro is Expensive

What NOT to Buy in Rio de Janeiro

Home goods


Electronics – cameras, computers, phones and the associated accessories

Any Apple products

Chargers and converters

Toiletries – including sunscreen (I am OBSESSED with this reef-safe, all-natural version!)

Necessary Details: Rio de Janeiro

What Else to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Check out my full guide to Rio de Janeiro here, which includes the best suggestions for hiking (including my favorite Morro do Leme hike), where to eat, weekend getaways from the city (including Buzios), and the best beaches.
You can read every article I’ve ever written about Rio de Janeiro (and there’s a lot: I lived there for almost two years!) here.
Viator offers a bunch of different Rio de Janeiro tour options, including for visiting Christ the Redeemer, and provides excellent customer service and refunds if anything goes wrong — much more than local operators would do.
Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro
If you have around $100 per night to spend, you can’t get a better value than Rio 180 hotel — each room is a suite and has its own private hot tub along with incredible views!
For a wider range of pricing options, check here
How to Arrive to Rio de Janeiro 
You can take the bus into Rio de Janeiro from many destinations within Brazil, but most people choose to fly. While Copa Airlines isn’t my favorite carrier, they do usually offer the cheapest flights. To check the latest low prices on airfare to Brazil, try Skyscanner , or if you have some date and/or destination flexibility and want to score the absolute lowest prices, try Kiwi.com.
Visa information for Brazil and Visa Renewal in Rio de Janeiro
I’ve written an extensive post (along with Q&A about the topic in the comments) here


What are your suggestions for what to buy in Rio de Janeiro?

Wondering where to stay in Rio? Agoda has the top options, at the best prices, and you earn credit with every purchase towards future free stays!


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Anonymous
    July 16, 2017 / 6:47 am

    Thanks for the great information

    • Steph
      July 17, 2017 / 8:52 am

      Glad I could help, CML!

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