Olympic Games, Practical Rio, RIO 2016

Accommodation guide for the RIO 2016 Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics will take place between 5th and 21st of August for the former and 7th and 18th of September for the latter, in tens of venues spread around 4 regions of Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic park itself with its various stadiums is being built in Barra, in the west part of Rio, and there will be 3 other centers for different Olympic sports in Deodoro (northwest Rio) Maracanã (north zone of Rio) and Copacabana, which includes the Lagoon (Lagoa) and the Guanabara Bay (Baia de Guanabara).

The complete list of sports and venues in each area can be found on the official site of the RIO 2016 event.


Rio de Janeiro’s best areas for accommodation

If you are coming to Rio de Janeiro for sightseeing and enjoying its beautiful beaches, you will probably want to stay in what is called Zona Sul – the South part of the city – which includes Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, Botafogo, Flamengo, Gloria, Jardim Botanico and Lagoa.

You can add to the list the bohemian Santa Tereza, although the transport to and fro is not always so easy. You will mainly depend on cabs or some walking to the metro/ bus stations.

If the reason for your visit is the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics event and you want to be close to the individual event venues, you will find plenty of accommodation options in the areas of Copacabana, Lagoa or Barra. A great deal of new hotels have been built in the past years in Barra/ Recreio to welcome the Olympic delegations, but also spectators.

If you plan on being close to the venues situated in Deodoro or Maracana, you will find that the accommodation offer is not so generous as for the other venue regions. It is probably best to stay in any of the neighborhoods in Zona Sul and take the public transport or the event special buses which will be available for the spectators. The official site of Rio 2016 offers more information here on the public transport option that will link the venues. The information about the options provided by the organizers will be available soon.

Accommodation options

First and most sought after type of accommodation is, obviously, a hotel. Plenty of new hotels have been built recently in the vicinity of the Barra Olympic Park, but a great deal is also reserved for the Olympic delegations. Start your trip preparations in time and start looking for the best option. Check Booking.com or Tripadvisor.com to see the offer, ratings, etc. Also, please consider that the prices will be higher during the Olympics event.

Hostels are also an option, with an increasing number especially in the best areas of the city. That is if you are not bothered by sharing a bunk-bed room with up to 11 people. If you are a creature of habit and comfort, this option might not be for you.

Pousadas are the Brazilian version of Bed & Breakfast. Usually small, coquette, with a few rooms, a pousada is a good alternative if you want to have a more personal insider’s view of Rio de Janeiro and the Brazilian people. There are a couple of hundreds of pousadas in the city, but you don’t have a guaranteed lower price than in a hotel.

Rent an apartment through Airbnb – click here to get a $20 off on your first rental. The offer ranges from studios, one room to even 5 rooms apartments, but beware of the increased prices during the event. However, it can be a good option if you are travelling with friends and want also to self-cater your meals.

Top tips

  • The center of Rio de Janeiro is not the best place to stay, even if the offer you get may sound very good. The area is mostly a business center, quite shady off work hours, with hotels that range between 1 and 2 starts, rarely 3.
  • You might find a great deal in one of the favelas surrounding the event venues, Rocinha and Vigidal – which are featured as being part of Zona Sul. Although pacified, they are build on hills in a lean-on kind of structure, with steep curbed streets and chaotic traffic. Finding transport could be difficult from and to your accommodation, the best option probably being a moto taxi.
  • You might want to avoid motels. In Brazil, a motel concept is different than in other parts of the world. It is usually a rent-per-hour sex hotel.
  • Prices will be a lot higher than the same period of time in any other year.