What you find when you go shopping in centro is in general products of lower quality. It’s perfect for cheap clothes, fishing gear, key rings and so on. The exception is electronics, it’s pretty pricey here since many of the products are imported (the import tax to Brazil is really high), the best deals and selections are here.
Shopping in Centro – Uruguaiana Station
At the metro station Uruguaiana you have a flee market full of everything imaginable, a lot of the products are illegal (like pirate cd’s and all sorts of copies of other items). You can also find adapters, flashlights, mp3 players, toys, surf shorts. From there you have three parallel streets (Rua Alfândega, Rua Buenos Aires and Rua Sr. dos Passos) full of little stores selling cheap clothes, perfumes, tobacco, spices, paint, you name it. This area is all called Saara (Sahara in English) from the association of merchants in the area. Along the street Rua Uruguaiana towards the metro station Carioca you have several shoe stores.
The Saara area is especially useful for those who want to buy Havaianas, the famous flip flops from Brazil. Here you can find several stores who sell, mostly older but beautiful models, for a cheap price. It is almost a cultural experience to walk around here, see the cariocas try to find the best deal and notice a greater mixture of the different social classes than you will ever find in the South Zone.
A five minutes walk from Uruguaina station, you will get to the area of Largo da Carioca. This is another place where you can find some places to shop. The products of interest around here are mainly musical instruments and computers. If you have any problems with you phone during your trip, you can find some stores here that can help you out and repair it. Along Rua da Carioca going towards Praça Tiradentes you have several stores selling musical instruments. For computers go to Shopping Avenida Central at Avenida Rio Branco 151 where you have a whole mall full of stores with computers and their accessories.