By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For many Brazilians Carnival is a time to flee the city, making the most of the public holidays and steering clear of the festivities that happen on the streets. For others and many foreigners it is the moment to descend on places like Rio de Janeiro and Salvador and join the party. Given that Carnival falls early this year, February 5th – 9th, and at the height of summer, people are on the move and demand for short-term rentals is high.
“We prefer to have the Carnival as late as possible, because it extends the high season,” explains Sven dos Santos of Rio-based rental company, Agênica Heidelberg.
“During the summer and especially during the Brazilian summer holidays, which begin before Christmas and finish in the middle of February, we usually have a very high demand. The same applies for the Carnival. It is not good for the market if both events are falling into the same period, like this year.”
AlugueTemporada, a rental website that is part of the HomeAway group, has surveyed twenty popular seaside destinations in the country to establish which are the most expensive and which are the most affordable over the Carnival period.
Taking three neighborhoods in Rio, some in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Santa Caterina states, as well as six in the north east, the site worked out the average price of a three or four bedroom house or apartment per day. The calculations were based on the price advertised online for the period. Many of the properties surveyed included extras such as a washing machine or sports equipment.
As is often the case, Leblon in Rio came out as the most expensive location surveyed to stay over the Carnival period. Real estate in the small, upmarket neighborhood in Zona Sul (South Zone) is the most expensive in South America and to rent there during holiday costs an average of R$1,259 per day. The most expensive property surveyed in the area cost R$2,100 per day, while the cheapest researched was R$643.
Properties in Copacabana and Ipanema were not much cheaper, with the average price of a place per day listing at R$1,216 and R$1,145 respectively. The two sought-after neighborhoods are not only iconic tourist destinations but will be at the heart of much of the Carnival action and therefore popular choices for visitors.
“We are in the middle of the high season and the rental market situation in Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon is great. Our occupancy rate for January is in 92 percent and the month is not over yet,” says Dos Santos. “Besides customers from the ‘traditional’ origins like Brazil, Europe and North American, we have a conspicuous number of bookings from South American clients, mostly from Argentina, this year.”
For those hoping for some peace and quiet close to Rio, the coastal towns of Arraial do Cabo, Búzios and Cabo Frio offer an escape but prices for rental homes in the area remain high. In Búzios, a well-known destination for the rich and famous, real-estate rentals over Carnival range from R$750 to R$1,500 per day, with an average price of R$1,113. Arraial do Cabo and Cabo Frio are more affordable options, with average daily prices coming in closer to R$800 per day.
However, the Northeast of Brazil offers the most budget-friendly options. The average price of a short-term property rental in Natal, in Rio Grande do Norte, is R$770 per day. Fortaleza, in Ceará, registers an average of R$636, with some places costing as little as R$250 per day. In Paraíba, João Pessoa is the cheapest destination for tourists of the places surveyed. Its daily average is only R$579.