Flamengo and Botafogo
Located between Centro and the Zona Sul, Flamengo and Botafogo are well served by buses and Metrô. Both bairros possess a faded grandeur coupled with a lively neighborhood atmosphere that makes them appealing—and significantly more affordable—untouristy alternatives to the Zona Sul beach scene.
One of Rio’s most popular hostels is Albergue de Juventude Chave do Rio (Rua General Dionísio 63, Botafogo, tel. 21/2286-0303, www.riohostel.com.br, R$30–40 pp). Located in an attractively renovated old house, its dormitory rooms are outfitted with bright blue bunks that can sleep up to 70 backpackers. The surrounding area has a great selection of bars and nightlife options.
When the Hotel Regina (Rua Ferreira Viana 29, Flamengo, tel. 21/3289-9999, www.hotelregina.com.br, R$154 d) opened in the mid-1920s, around the corner from the Palácio do Catete, it quickly became the hotel of choice for government diplomats and ministers. Although a few architectural remnants allude to its history, the Regina is hardly as grand as it once was. However, its small rooms are bright and comfortable, and it is well located on a quiet street half a block from the Parque de Flamengo.
Hotel Flórida (Rua Ferreira Viana 81, Flamengo, tel. 21/2195-6800, www.windsorhoteis.com.br, R$250–310 d) is a tried-and-true Flamengo favorite, owned by the Windsor hotel chain. Rooms are sizable and discreetly decorated. The most attractive ones overlook the gardens of the Palácio do Catete. Free Internet service, a rooftop pool, and the option of breakfast in bed are welcome extras.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition