There were two hostels in Rio de Janeiro in 1997, today there are more than 150. The weakening of the Brazilian Real in the early 2000’s made Brazil viable as a destination for people travelling on a budget, social atmosphere and lower prices made the number of hostels grow. Even if Rio de Janeiro is not so cheap anymore, the rumour of this fantastic place is out and the hostels are here to stay.
Why Stay in One of the Hostels in Rio?
The big advantage with a hostel is the fact that you will meet a lot of people. Many of these will become your friends as you discover Rio together. The services offered to the guest are often affordable and tuned for the independent traveller, less touristy and more local you could say. The comfort and quiet of the hotel is for many compensated by this.
This is already described in my Accommodation In Rio section. In general: It’s how close you are to a good beach that matters in Rio. Property prices are several times higher in Ipanema than in Catete; hence the prices in the hostels there are higher. If you’re on a tight budget it may be a good idea to look for a less attractive location.
This is also explained on the above mentioned accommodation page. There is usually a correlation between price and quality: The quality of the matresses, how often they clean, location, breakfast content and services are all factors that influence the price. The popular hostels in Rio are more likely to offer all that well and therefor they charge a higher price.
Types of Hostels
There are a few types of Rio de Janeiro hostels that I recognize:
– There are the big ones that are run more like classic youth hostels.
– You have smaller hostels and homestays with a more quiet outline. The party is outside the hostel. More preferred by a slightly older crowd. Very social. Two excellent examples are Casa da Harmonia (which I´m actually involved in) and The Lighthouse. Both are located in a charming little alley in Ipanema. The location is excellent and the atmosphere very homely.
– There are bigger more expensive hostels with a bar but a more mellow atmosphere. Their focus is on good service and slightly older more independent travellers. A good example is The Mango Tree. A hostel located just one block from the beach in Ipanema. Super location.
– Last the bigger cheaper hostels with maybe a crowded bar and a party profile. They are more popular with younger people. A very good example is Discovery Hostel located in Glória, super friendly and very well run.