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 are bookable with Culture Trip today.
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.
Over by trendy Ipanema Beach, there’s another party hostel. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.