University of Wisconsin–Madison

Shopping in Rio de Janeiro

By Laura Rodriguez

The streets of Rio are the perfect place to find anything and everything at a reasonable price. Walking to class every day, I have been able to observe various types of vendors in the streets. On the street of Catete, I have had the option of buying food, electronics, souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, used items and various types of handmade objects. These vendors are people I greatly admire because of their drive, commitment and work ethic when it comes to their jobs. The day begins very early for these street vendors and ends late at night too. By the time I am on my way to class at around 8:30am, most vendors are in the process of installing their establishment in the street and by the time I am back to the hotel which is usually 8:30pm or 9:00pm, most of them are packing up. My favorite type of vendors are those who sell their own creations. The creativity of the vendors who sell handmade products has left me in awe. In Catete, there are men who use palm tree leaves to make hats, decorative pots, ocean animals such as life-size turtles and plenty of other interesting things from those leaves. In addition, there are people making children stuffed animals with yarn, people selling their jewelry, paintings and pieces of wood with carved images engraved. On the street, you can find a little bit of everything, and better yet, you can bargain to get lower prices if you buy in large quantities. Street vendors are not the only people you can acquire reasonably priced items from as there are also designated areas where you can buy an even larger range of items such as SAARA and the Hippie market in Ipanema. Shopping is a whole new adventure when you shop in Rio de Janeiro!