Rio Vacation Rentals: Basic Rules
Simple guide on how to rent vacation apartments in Rio. This article explains basic rules, best neighborhoods, do´s and don´ts, payment options, reservations procedures, included amenities and price averages.
We all know that vacation rentals in Rio have proven to be a winning proposition for local and international tourists who seek for fun, quality, security and privacy in Rio de Janeiro. The major reason apart from fair prices is that hotels do not allow guests or private invitees in their facilities while in beach rentals you are able to live the spontaneous life of a native Brazilian. But do you know what the basic rules are when renting a vacation rental in Brazil? If you don't, read this article in order to familiarize with the local guidelines. If you have a rough idea, a review is always beneficial. This is why we I decided to write a simple checklist on the most important issues so that you can research in advance your stay and avoid unnecessary problems.
The first thing you need to know when renting a vacation apartment in Rio is that it's a legal well established business within the tourist industry in Brazil. Many Brazilians and even foreigners buy apartments in Rio exactly for this purpose. Investors commonly buy used apartments and renovate them to offer the best comfort as beach rentals. Let's now discuss the main points you should be note when selecting an apartment.
Prices: prices in vacation rentals in Rio can vary significantly. Generally the more luxurious, the more expensive are the apartment prices. Beachfront apartments also carry a premium in their prices. Another rule is obvious, the greater number of rooms, the pricier it gets. Prices are normally charged by number of nights. That is, if an apartment costs US$ 100.00 p/day, 10 nights will be US$ 1000.00. Discounts can be considered above 30 days rentals. Prices per day can decrease for longer periods, since a longer stay will be booked. How much per day? Usually fair vacation rentals can be found starting at US$ 90,00 a day. Two bedrooms apartments in Ipanema or Leblon, all beach neighborhoods can vary from US$ 150 to US$ 300 a night, on average. If the apartments are located in high floors, if they have private pools and/ or hydro massage bath tubs, prices can rise significantly.
Locations/ Neighborhoods: Like any other major city in the world, prices vary by per different neighborhoods and zones. Most expensive vacation rentals are all found on the South Zone (called "Zona Sul" in Portuguese), specifically in the following neighborhoods: Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Copacabana, Flamengo and Botafogo. Barra da Tijuca, once a separate beach neighborhood, also offers some very luxurious flats and residence services, but you need to have a car to drive around since public transportation is limited there. Ipanema, Lagoa and Flamengo have been considered the safest neighborhoods, since prostitution is heavily combated in those areas. Copacabana has a large selection of vacation rentals, and can sometimes turn into a good cost/benefit relation. Need some one liner neighborhood highlights? Here they are. Ipanema is famous for its fashion shops, trendy restaurants, and gorgeous beach. Ipanema can also be considered as the essence of the hype Carioca. Leblon is the utmost global neighborhood in Rio, with an upscale shopping mall, many 5 star restaurants and cozy bookstores. Lagoa has a very nice park, tranquil night kiosks around the lagoon and some fine restaurants like Mr.Lam and Bar Lagoa, founded in 1936. Copacabana has a wide apartment selection, ample public transport and Rio´s most eclectic environment. Flamengo is a very traditional neighborhood hosting the world´s largest in-city park, called Flamengo Park. Famous art-déco buildings like the Biarritz and Tabor Loreto are one of the neighborhood's assets photographed by many architecture admirers. Barra da Tijuca area has a visual scenery very similar to Miami, with large avenues, modern malls and exclusive beach front flats including Sheraton Barra Suites.
Rental Agencies: The most popular way to find a rental agency is through the web. Rio offers several rental agencies, some of which have been providing this type of service for more than 25 years. The great majority of vacation rentals in Rio are serious in their business, delivering what they claim. Most of them display a list of vacation rentals they own or represent, either by neighborhoods or by number of rooms. They present up to 10 pictures of the rentals and a small description of the amenities and apartment surroundings, so you can familiarize with the region. When you are choosing the apartment, first try to identify yourself with the neighborhood you are staying in, as well as your budget. This will save you time and help in the selection process. Once you know what where you want to stay and how much you can afford, browse through the apartments list and see if there is anything you like. Once you see something you like, send an e-mail to the company stating which apartment you have in mind, and a second or third option, case that apartment is taken. (Many rentals offer an on-line bookings calendar view, which may save you time as well.). To find a list of rentals agencies in Rio, type in Google "Vacation Apartment Rio" and check the results. You will find more than 10 agencies only in page 1 of your search.
Payment Methods: Most Rental agencies in Rio take Pay-Pal, money wires, credit cards and cash. A reservation deposit is necessary to secure your apartment reservation. Companies have different reservation deposits policies. These deposits can vary from 30% up to 50% of the total stay amount. After the agency acknowledges the initial payment, the balance due is normally paid on entrance and key delivery of the vacation apartment. Most companies however do not return reservation deposit for Carnival and New Years holidays, due to great demand. Check the cancellation policy in company's website or via e-mail.
Rental Amenities: Vacation rentals in Rio also vary a lot in terms of their included amenities. Most of them offer by default a complete kitchen, cable TV, Internet access, air conditioner in the rooms and linens/towels. This would be the minimum acceptable. One level above, rentals can provide CD/DVD player, clothing washing machine, coffee machine, and safe. Luxury apartments in Rio and residence service flats additionally can offer hot-tubs, private pools, and even gourmet kitchen utensils
Do´s and Don'ts: Another fundamental tip when selecting an apartment is to be attentive in the reservation process. Once you have decided for the rentals agency and the apartment in mind make sure you have all your questions and concerns promptly answered. It is the agency's obligation to make sure you feel comfortable with your choice. Your rentals contacts should be courteous and receptive. Don't hesitate in finding another agency if they are rude, since that attitude may follow through your stay, and you definitely don't want that in your vacations. If you have any friend in Rio de Janeiro, ask him/her to visit the apartment. This procedure is pretty common. Another tip would be to try to plan ahead. As soon as you have your travel dates secured, start your "apartment hunting". Be sure to ask for a contract as well, and read all of the buildings do´s and don'ts.
Rio rentals for tourists and vacationers are numerous but even so, Brazil is famous for having the most exotic beaches in the world and thousands flock here every year. So it's wise to remember that the best vacation apartments in Rio get filled up very quickly especially in during New Years holidays and Carnival, so make sure you book well in advance.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andre Skowronski is the managing partner of Belavista-Rio Rentals, a vacation rentals agency based in Rio de Janeiro. Andre works directly with tourists to find their dream apartments in Rio. Please visit http://www.belavista-rio.com and find a full list of apartments in the best neighborhoods of Rio such as Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon, Flamengo, Lagoa and Barra da Tijuca.