Probably the first thing people will want to know if they’re thinking about a trip to Rio to train BJJ is “Where will I stay? Like any major tourist destination, Rio has many options to visitors but each offer a different experience and suit specific needs.
The most common accommodation options available to you if you want to stay in Rio and train jiu-jitsu are:
- Staying with a friend
- Staying in the gym
The obvious choice when booking accommodation abroad is a hotel, but it’s not always the best option for someone looking to train BJJ while they’re in Rio. There are hotels to suit all budgets in Rio but be aware prices are generally higher than some other major cities, even for ‘budget’ hotels.
It’s great having a nice quiet room to go back to after a hard session, but the lack of facilities (no laundry / can’t dry your gi / no self-catering) means you’ll soon rack up costs. Laundromats are insanely expensive as they charge by weight and a smelly wet kimono can cost up to R$30 to wash!
You’ll also be forced to eat out a lot, which will increase your daily spending budget. On the brightside, hotels are located in the best spots throughout the city and are comfortable and safe. Maybe suited to those in Rio for a short time, or those travelling with family members.
Backpackers hostels are common and an inexpensive alternative to hotels, but as the old saying goes “you get what you pay for“. You’ll likely be sharing a room with many other people from around the world so keep this in mind if privacy is a concern. Hostels are generally safe but the likelihood of ‘losing’ something valuable is higher in such a busy, open environment. Unless you spring for a private room, hostels are not as quiet as a hotel as you’ll be at the mercy of people coming and going at all hours.
Hostels often offer budget food which meets the needs of money-conscious travellers, and they usually have self-catering facilities as well. They will mostly NOT have laundry facilities though, which makes washing dirty gis troublesome.
Renting a short-stay apartment is a popular choice but among the most expensive on this list. ‘Temporadas’ (temporary rentals) are common across the city and are listed online and in local papers. Apartments range from plain and simple places to sleep to luxurious penthouses.
Apartments can be a nice option as they will often come with things such as wifi, a fully-fitted kitchen and a washing machine. It’s nice to be able to throw your stuff down on the floor after a hard day’s training and put your feet up in front of the TV.
If you’re after an apartment expect to pay for the privilege of having your own place. Prices run on average higher than hotels so if you’re here for a longer period the cost can be considerable.
Staying with a friend
If you know someone in Rio, taking advantage of their hospitality can staying at their house can certainly save you a lot of money. You’ll also have the benefit of having a guide to the city and you’re more likely to get a ‘real’ Rio experience rather than the standard tourist fare.
But this option doesn’t come without it’s pitfalls. Cariocas are extremely friendly and hospitable but their generosity does have limits so don’t expect to move in with them for a few months rent-free!
Staying in the gym
This option only exists at a few jiu-jitsu gyms in Rio, and it’s not recommended. One guy we know wanted to train at a well-known fight gym and was told he could stay there for free. He arrived to find the gym has had no beds and everyone slept on the mats (which had cockroaches running around all night). They had no bedding and ‘forgot’ to tell him to bring his own. The only toilet in the gym was blocked, there was nowhere for him to keep his stuff, and nowhere to make food. He lasted two nights before moving out to a hostel.
For more tips and advice like this make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, it’s free and takes only a few seconds.