The Best Hostels and Cheap Hotels to Book for Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Yoo2 combines breathtaking Rio views with the social vibe of a hostel
Yoo2 combines breathtaking Rio views with the social vibe of a hostel | Courtesy of Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro / Booking.com
Culture Trip Travel Team

The streets of Rio, vibrant enough on a normal day, are transformed into a cavalcade of feathers, sequins, face paint and jewels during Carnival. But be warned, this is a busy time in the former capital of Brazil. Beds fill up fast, so try to make your reservation as early as possible – all of the following hostels and cheap hotels in Brazil are bookable with Culture Trip today.

1. El Misti House Copacabana

Hostel

Family room at El Misti House Copacabana
Courtesy of El Misti House Copacabana / Expedia

The backpacker party vibe at El Misti makes it the perfect place to get into the Carnival spirit. Just a few blocks from Copacabana Beach, the hostel bar and common area is a great place for cocktails and getting to know other guests. Dorms are basic and some have triple-tiered bunks.

2. Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema

Hostel, Hotel

Outdoor bar area at Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema
Courtesy of Che Lagarto Hostel Ipanema/ Expedia
Over by trendy Ipanema Beach, there’s another party hostel in Rio de Janeiro. Che Lagarto is all about the location, especially for the Carnival, with Ipanema and neighboring Leblon being key block party sites (blocos). The hostel has comfy private double rooms and small dorms with bunks for six or ten people, one of which is women-only. When you’re ready to get the night started, Che Lagarto has its own bar, located on the beach.

3. Mango Tree Hostel

Hostel

Also in Ipanema is the Mango Tree Hostel, which enjoys a beach-adjacent location. The vibe here is much more laid-back and sophisticated, with clean, warmly decorated dorms for a maximum of six people, and ample locker space. Hammocks dot the common areas, offering a neat juxtaposition to the intensity of the Carnival outside. Staff can help you rent surfboards, too.

4. Olinda Rio Hotel

Hotel

Lobby area at Olinda Rio Hotel
Courtesy of Olinda Rio Hotel / Booking.com

You can get a room overlooking Copacabana Beach at the Olinda Rio, a perfectly located hotel for anyone looking to get in the thick of the Carnival action. The sea-view rooms, complete with balconies, have been modernized with simple, unpretentious furnishings, but the Italian marble floors and crystal chandeliers in the lobby are a nod to the hotel’s late-1940s origins.

5. Discovery Hostel

Hostel

Lounge area at Discovery Hostel
Courtesy of Discovery Hostel / Booking.com

Are you looking to experience the Rio Carnival with fellow backpackers? The social ethos of Discovery Hostel should help you do just that, given that it was founded by three travelers who met on the road and bonded over their love for the area. The hostel is located away from the main party blocos, but its proximity to Glória Metro station means you’ll be well connected to the main Carnival sites of Copacabana and the Sambadrome.

6. Chill on the Beach Hostel

Hostel, Hotel

If you’re keeping a tight rein over your budget, but still want to stay at the heart of the Rio Carnival action, Chill on the Beach Hostel is a spartan yet perfectly serviceable option in Copacabana. Set three blocks back from the beach, this cheery green building contains dorms with triple-tier bunk beds and a handful of private rooms, should you want an escape between bouts of intense revelry.

7. Gaia Hostel & Bar

Hostel

Family room at Gaia Hostel and Bar
Courtesy of Gaia Hostel and Bar / Booking.com

Making excellent use of a historic building’s high ceilings and large, airy interior spaces is the self-styled “comfort hostel” Gaia. Part of that comfort is in not being too close to the main Carnival blocos, but close enough to Botafogo station (five minutes on foot) to reach Ipanema and the historic Centro neighborhood with ease. Dorms sleep up to eight and have modern air conditioning units, while the ensuite private rooms are in a quieter part of the building.

8. Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro

Boutique Hotel, Budget Hotel

Outdoor pool area overlooking the mountain in Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro
Courtesy of Yoo2 Rio de Janeiro / Booking.com

If you’re keen to meet fellow travelers without forgoing modern comforts, the Yoo2 Rio is an excellent option. Located in front of the underrated Botafogo Beach, rooms in this high-rise hotel are all privates, with impressive city or sea views, and a monochrome, palm-print ceiling. There’s a pool, a gym and a rooftop bar, offering you an alternative look at Carnival frivolity.

Visiting Rio with a loved one? Try the most romantic honeymoon destinations in the area. If you’re bringing the whole family, then don’t miss the best family-friendly hotels in the Brazilian capital. And if you’re heading further afield, see the best hotels in Brazil and the best resorts in Brazil now – all of these and more are bookable on Culture Trip.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Sarah Brown.

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