With the yearly carnivals in Olinda, Recife, Salvador and most popularly, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil didn’t fail to make a name in the field of merrymaking and festive tourism magnets. Aside from this, Brazil offers a timeless cultural offering in Bahia and Pernambuco as well as a city tapestry that is full of life in Sao Paulo.
But it is expensive, so here’s one way to cut costs: Don’t go during Carnival, New Year’s or during other big events (say, the Confederations Cup soccer tournament in June), when hotel prices soar… You can also save by staying outside the well-to-do neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon or the tourist epicenter of Copacabana. Consider neighborhoods like Glória, Flamengo and Botafogo. Avoid Barra da Tijuca (too far and too bland) and downtown (too dicey)… Apartment rentals can also be great deals, but think beyond Airbnb.com. Search online instead for “rio apartments” and you’ll find a ton of local agencies. I use Vinicio Flats, but that’s just habit; there are lots of good ones. Finally, the site camaecafe.com.br offers good deals for home-stay-like B&Bs in Santa Teresa, a gorgeous Bohemian neighborhood up in the hills above the center of the city. (Cama e Café means “bed-and-breakfast.”)