Shopping in Brazil is an adventure in itself. If you don’t like to haggle over prices, don’t shop in Brazil! This is a true bargain hunter’s paradise! Finding the best places to shop and the items to look for are the challenge. Please find below this shopper’s best recommendations.
If musical instruments are of interest, then the place to go is Mercado Modelo. The quality varies greatly, but the discerning shopper can find unique, handcrafted musical instruments made not just for show, but for playing as well. Percussion instruments are the most popular by far and include traditional favorites like berimbas, abataques, bongos, timbaus, cuicas, congas and djembes. Master craftsmen create these beautiful instruments and while they are pricier than others, they are much less expensive than European or American instruments.
The Manaus Market is in the heart of the Amazon region and shopping for quality hammocks are the best bet. One can buy a less expensive version for use on a boat trip, but to bring home one of these local favorites it is important to look for the quality pieces. Hammocks are for sale all over, but local kiosks can have extraordinarily good quality products on display. On an average, the price is about $25 US for a great hammock to bring home as a reminder of your trip. They are strong, versatile, and generally made for two. Remember, this is Brazil!
The Great Mall at Barra is a must for quality Brazilian handicrafts and specialty items. The quality is much higher than the products offered by the street vendors. Located in Salvador da Bahia, this mall offers Brazilian jewels, clothes, and handicrafts galore.
In Niteroi it is a must to visit a quilt store. These establishments are clean, friendly and the clerks speak English. The best places are right near the ferry landing. The quilts are a blaze of color depicting Brazilian themes and portray their culture and diverse background in a pleasing manner. The quality of the cotton and fabrics is superb and the discerning shopper can find a treasure just around every corner.
In Rio De Janeiro try to avoid the throngs of tourist vendors and head for the local markets. Finding your favorite football ( soccer ) jersey is easy and bikinis are sold everywhere. If you buy one of these Brazilian thong bikinis you also may need to purchase an extra beach towel for a cover-up!
Finally, for the artist in your group, shopping in Parati is a must. Local artists display their paintings and sculptures on every corner and the charming atmosphere makes it easy to depart with a little US cash to remember the experience.
Brazil shopping is as much about the experience as it is about the purchase. Enjoy!