Rio is a huge city, bigger than New York or Los Angeles, and is comprised of many zones, districts and neighborhoods.
The most popular area of Rio de Janeiro (and the area most frequently visited by tourists) is the south zone, known locally as Zona Sul.
Zona Sul is where you’ll find the famous hotspots (and postcard beaches) of Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the famous Sugarloaf mountain. It’s also where the concentration of BJJ gyms in Rio is the highest.
This is where most visitors will end up, but depending on which neighborhood you stay in, you won’t always be closest to the gym best for you.
Traffic in Rio is heavy and commuting from one neighborhood to another can be time-consuming and tiresome. A simple bus journey of a couple of kilometers can take an hour or more, and so it makes sense to stay in the local area of the gym where you plan to train.
There is a saying that you can find a jiu-jitsu gym on almost every street corner in some parts of Rio, and while it’s an exaggeration many visitors are surprised by the sheer number of BJJ gyms in Rio. But not all gyms are great, and not all are good for visitors.
There are BJJ gyms all over Rio, with many being located in the west zone of Barra da Tijuca and Recreio, neighborhoods in the north zone and suburbs. Some of these are easily accessible via public transport, whereas others are far out of the way and can be difficult to travel to and would require some local knowledge to find. For these it is best to go with a guide.
Where Are The Best BJJ Gyms in Rio?
The following neighborhoods can lay claim to having the strongest teams and most famous BJJ gyms in Rio. We’ve listed the neighborhoods below and included the zone in abbreviations.
We recommend choosing a gym to train at and staying in a nearby area.
Zona Sul (ZS) – South Zone
Zona Oeste (ZO) – West Zone
Zona Norte (ZN) – North Zone
Escola de Jiu-Jitsu
X-Gym (Behring Jiu-Jitsu)
Team Nogueira (MMA/BJJ)