By Leo Byrne, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The holiday season is a busy time for Rio, it falls in the heart of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, with hot summer days and fun-filled nights. The city fills up with visitors from around the world looking to spend Christmas and New Years on the beach, and remains a top destination until after the renowned Carnival in February.

A day-time view from Ipanema overlooking the Lagoa during the holidays, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A day-time view from Ipanema overlooking the Lagoa during the holidays, with the world’s largest floating Christmas tree waiting to be lit up at night, photo by Alex Bensimon/Rio Exclusive.

The influx of tourists means that finding accommodation during the high season can be difficult. Many hotels, hostels and temporary apartments are booked early, and prices can spike sharply.

While the hotels and hostels offer a level of service many find comforting, short term apartment rentals remain the preference for those looking for more autonomy and sense of home. Rio Exclusive is a real estate agency that specializes in providing luxury rentals for visitors to the Cidade Maravilhosa and has won numerous Bloomberg property awards.

For those looking to celebrate the holidays in comfort, many of the most stylish apartments can be rented in the neighborhoods of Lagoa, Leblon and Ipanema. All three districts have the potential for fantastic views over the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

Starting in December the lake gains special prominence due to the lighting of a giant floating Christmas tree. The spectacular mechanical tree has moving lights that change the images which it displays.  The lighting ceremony also marks the beginning of the festive season in Rio and is accompanied by parties and live music.

The Lagoa-facing apartments “have slightly lower premiums” than those facing the nearby beach, Charles Morphett from Rio Exclusive told the Rio Times. However due to the tightness of supply during the holiday period, prices in all three neighborhoods are now nearly equal.

A penthouse view of Lagoa in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A penthouse view of Lagoa in Rio de Janeiro, photo by Rio Exclusive.

Within striking distance of many of Rio’s most popular tourist destinations, Lagoa is a prime location for those looking for a more relaxing holiday. The district is a short car or taxi ride from Ipanema and Leblon, and quieter than its bustling neighbors – most notably Copacabana during New Years.

Many properties in Ipanema and Leblon face the city’s best beaches, and are within walking distance of Rio’s most elegant shopping. “Ipanema is the most popular district and is in my opinion better than Copacabana,” Morphett continued. “Whereas most people back home haven’t heard of Leblon,” he added.

Although potentially pricey, “renting a penthouse is much better value for money [than a hotel],” Morphett continued. Most penthouses have the space for numerous guests, meaning that the costs can be shared. Additionally the apartments are packaged to include regular cleaning, services and even chefs.

For the traveler with tighter purse strings, there are numerous other estate agents which offer accommodation in lower price ranges. One bedroom studios are often available in Ipanema or Leblon for around R$350 a night, with discounts available for longer stays.

It is worth noting that prices increase as New Year’s Eve approaches, with many properties being available for a New Year package. Irrespective of price range it is wise to find accommodation sooner rather than later.

The global economic downturn has not stifled interest in Rio as a winter vacation destination. “We haven’t seen any decrease in demand over the holiday season,” Morphett added.


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