With all the buzz about the soccer World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, travelers are expressing increasing interest in the “marvelous city.”
What most people have little knowledge of is how to rent an apartment. Uninformed visitors usually wind up staying at an ultra expensive hotel among other foreigners. The fortunate, armed with information gleaned from sources familiar with the Rio travel scene, rent a nicely furnished apartment for a lot less than a hotel. Perhaps more importantly, these people get to interact with the friendly, middle-class locals that inhabit the buildings lining the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
The most popular tourist zones are Ipanema, Copacabana and Centro. You will want to lodge in either Ipanema or Copacabana for safety reasons. Centro, or downtown, may be too hectic for those new to Brazil.
Ipanema is the glitzy, upper-class beach where the tan, fit and young enjoy, well, being tan, fit and young! Tourists will not want to miss a visit to the famous “Girl From Ipanema” Restaurant where singer Carlos Jobim sat each day in awe as the most beautiful girl in the world, as the song goes, walked by on her way home from the beach.
Copacabana presents a more middle-class environment. A little grimier than Ipanema, this suburb is where locals, tourists, and ex-pats converge in an intense, eclectic environment. It is highly recommended that you spend time sitting at one of the beachside restaurants sipping a cool drink while enjoying the vista of the mountains overlooking the city.
Last, but not least, is Centro, which means “Downtown,” in Portuguese. Centro is the business, financial and governmental section of the city. During the day, crowds throng the area. The mass of people can be daunting for travelers. The Botanical Gardens is an excellent place to stop and gather your bearings. Also, be sure to visit the colonial churches built by the Portuguese King John when he lived in Rio. These churches often have walls lined with real gold, which speaks to the wealth and splendor this city has to offer.
Steps to Renting a Temporary Rio Apartment
1. Locate apartment renters.
Begin searching online for reputable rental agencies. Many brokers have been involved in the business for decades. Most of these individuals maintain a website. A few list their prices; many do not post prices on the website because of fluctuations during high and low seasons.
2. Contact the renter.
You can either call or email the rental agent. Let them know when you plan to arrive in the city and the length of your stay. Also, be sure to mention any special concerns. Does the apartment have A/C, for example? Are utilities included in the price? If not, what are the average utility rates? Is wireless internet available?
3. Choose an apartment.
Usually the agent will send an email with an assortment of available apartments in your price range. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
4. Discuss payment.
Most renters accept online Paypal payments. You may need to send a small portion of the rent as a down payment. When you arrive in Rio de Janeiro and check in, you will then pay the remainder. Just take cash, tucked securely in your luggage with you. Once in Rio de Janeiro, you can change the dollars into Brazilian currency at a cambio, or exchange center.
5. Check in.
The company will usually send a driver to the airport to greet you. When you walk out of the gate, just look for someone holding a sign with your name. Riding from the airport in this manner is the safest and most convenient way. Frequent travelers may opt for a local taxi instead. If on a budget, you can also catch the Real Onibus for only a few dollars; however, those new to Brazil might find this process daunting. Once at the apartment, accept the keys, look the place over and pay the remaining balance of the rent, if any.
6. Go to the beach and relax!
Some well known rental companies:
Also, try AirBnb to locate private renters sometimes at substantial savings. Most of these renters speak English. https://www.airbnb.com/