By Saira Ansari, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In our series of articles that listed apartments for rent in Rio within the R$3,500R$2,500 and R$1,500 price range, we covered the most sought after neighborhoods of Zona Sul (South Zone). We now look at another option, albeit one that is more popular for younger travelers, students and those on a budget: apartment sharing.

A view of the Lagoa, with Ipanema and parts of Leblon in the distance, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News
A view of the Lagoa, with Ipanema and parts of Leblon in the distance, photo by Mike Vondran/Flickr Creative Commons License.

While R$1,500 per month will barely rent a studio in some areas of the Cidade Maravilhosa, it does open up some nice roommate options.


This neighborhood remains among the most coveted and famous locales in Rio, and because of the relatively high level of tourists and semi-transient expatriates, it is easier on non-Portuguese speakers.

Example: This one-bedroom option is in very comfortable quarters and is furnished with a double-bed, closet and its own TV and wireless internet connection. It has its own exclusive bathroom, bed linen is included, and the room is serviced once a week by a maid. Access is also allowed to the washing machine, microwave and iron. At R$1,500 rent per month, utilities are included. The housemate is a 39 year-old woman who prefers that the renter be male.


Leblon shares all the high-end amenities of Ipanema, but with less tourists and more luxury shopping and dining. Unfortunately, along with that privilege comes the higher price tag, and sharing an apartment will be your best option in this price range.

Example: This one-bedroom option is three blocks from the beach. The room is spacious and has a double-bed, closet and wireless internet service. Communal facilities include sharing the lounge with cable TV, broadband internet, washing machine and kitchen. All utilities are included in the R$1,500 rent. The housemate is a thirty year-old woman who has no preferential criteria for a prospective renter.


Copacabana remains to be one of the most popular tourist destinations the year round, and rents have increased manifold over the past year. Even the smallest of studio apartments can be well beyond one’s budget, but the roommate option provides an easy and affordable opportunity.

Example: This one-bedroom option comes with its own television, DVD player and wireless internet connection. It has lots of closet and shelf space and has its own balcony. At R$1,250 per month, all utilities are included. Bed linen is provided, as well as access given to kitchen and washing machine. The housemate is a 42 year-old woman who has no preferential criteria for a prospective renter.


Flamengo is home to Brazil’s largest urban park, which runs alongside the Guanabara Bay and has three major museums situated within it. Due to its proximity to popular tourist attractions across the city, interest in real estate is rising.

Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News
Botafogo at night, photo by Marcus Guimares/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

Example: This one-bedroom option seems like a great deal at R$1,000 per month (R$300 for utilities separate). The thirty year-old male owner’s style is very modern and trendy. The house has hardwood floors and is equipped with all household appliances. The room has a phone jack, television, internet and air-conditioning. The best part is that the room has its own private bathroom. The building has a doorman service and is close to the metro station. The owner prefers that the renter be male.


The neighborhood of Botafogo is located between Copacabana and Flamengo, but it is relatively cut off from all sides by mountains. Recent additions like the Rio Sul shopping mall, many new restaurants and a bustling nightlife have lifted the spirit of the area.

Example: This one-bedroom option  is located near the Rio Sul Shopping center, making it quite close to the beaches of Copacabana and Leme. The room also has a view of Christ the Redeemer on top of Mount Corcovado. At R$1,500 per month, the room includes television, internet and, most importantly, a private bathroom.


  1. I am living in the EXACT 1,500 R$ room in Leblon that you described, with the 32 year old roomate. It is a great location, however extremely noisey as it is situated on the corner of Bartolomeu Mitre. The noise is almost nonstop 24 hrs a day. The apartment has 3 people sharing 1 bathroom. The building is old and there is constant reformation and things are constantly breaking. I am an American who has been living in Rio for 8 months.

    Leblon is the most expensive neighborhood in Rio, with the average gym costing about 330 R$ a month, an average night out on the town at 100 R$, and groceries for a few days at about 50-60 R$ from Zona Sul.

    However, it is hard to complain, 3 blocks from one of the best beaches in the world, relatively easy to get to, one can do almost everything in his/her day to day life on foot. You are in the center of the most happening city in the world.

    But before you go sensationalizing the 1,500 R$ “Roomate Option”, potential expatriates need to consider that what you will be paying over 800+ USD for (my rent this year was over 960 USD with the exchange rate down to 1.55 at certain points in 2011) is UNCOMPARABLE to what you would get for the same price in almost ANY city in the US or Europe. And also, finding an apartment with a decent room, and more importantly, decent roomates, available for 1,500 R$ in Leblon, is like finding a needle in a haystack. I have friends who are paying R$ 2000+ to share an apartment with slightly better amneities, and another friend who has rented her 2 bedroom apartment on Venancio das Flores (down the street in a quieter area) for 5500 R$.

    So if you are considering this option, go in with an open mind, and know you are paying for quality of LIFE, not necessarily quality of LIVING. And be prepared to spend an extra 1,500-2,500 R$ per month for the basics, food, nightlife, and transportation.

    P.S. I have gotten extremely lucky with my two current roomates, however, it is always a volatile situation sharing, especially amongst others who are not accustomed to it, and I have the horror stories to prove it!

  2. I dont think Rio is more expensive than the similar cities in Europe or the US. Just like all the cities in the world Rio has different districts. Leblon and Ipanema are the most exclusive – the equivalent of London’s Kensington, the 7th Arrondisement in Paris, Sandiego area for L.A. or Upper Westside for NYC. Rents in these areas (but not simply “near” them) would cost same or even more than in Rio´s Ipanema or Leblon. People should not judge about whole city by the prices in the Zona Sul. Rio also has many middle class neighborhoods outside the Zona Sul – the city center, Grajaú, Grande Tijuca, Ilha do Governador where rents are much more affordable and reflect much more the real situation in Rio than prices in the beach districts. Plus I know many locals and also some foreigners who live inside the pacified favelas of the Zona Sul. I have read about such people in “O Globo”. The rooms in Pavão cost 300 reais a month, 5 times less than you would be in the neighbouring Ipanema. Maybe Rio Times could write about these people too in some of their articles.


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