If there’s one thing Brazil is not, it’s boring. This most colorful of nations—the same one that gifted the world with Carnival, Caipirinhas and Gisele—also is home to thousands of pousadas that accent its penchant for personality.
The Portuguese word for “inn,” a pousada in Brazil offers a more intimate experience than your traditional hotel, as they typically boast no more than 20 rooms (often fewer than 10) and are independently run, usually by families. Pousadas range from humble to luxurious, from beachside to jungle-shaded, from cosmopolitan to au natural, with most offering the type of personalized service, local character and fun decor that tickle the curiosity of intrepid travelers. Owners go out of their way to make guests feel like a local, not a tourist, and include breakfast in the stay. Plus, most are a budget traveler’s dream, costing less than $100 per night. That’s major bang for the buck when stacked against the hotels.
Here are seven pousadas in Rio de Janeiro, all bookable on Orbitz, that have us doing the samba to South America.
The views of Sugar Loaf, the Bay of Guanabara and Rio from this adults-only pousada will wow you. Nestled in the Bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa, the Art Deco-style home is a quiet retreat from the buzz of the big city. Three spacious suites, all recently renovated, include private bathrooms—but no TVs or telephones. (Don’t fret, there is Wi-Fi.) You’ll also have access to a panoramic pool, open 365 days a year, and a rooftop sun terrace.
Recent guests have compared a stay here to “crashing at a rich friend’s house.” Located inside Tijuca Forest, the natural tropical park of the Rio, TuAkAzA boasts six individually decorated suites within a private residence cradled by nature. The property features two pools, a private waterfall, a full-service spa and mind-blowing views—it’s not uncommon to spot monkeys and toucans from the balconies.
The location of this pousada is a favorite for water enthusiasts: It hugs a gigantic natural lagoon protected by breakwater, making it great for stand-up paddle-boarding, canoeing and more. A Brazilian home-away-from-home in Barra da Tijuca (which has a Miami-esque vibe), its 22 air-conditioned suites are decorated with eclectic vintage decor, nine offering balconies. There’s also an outdoor pool and 24-hour front desk.
If you want a cozy pousada in Copacabana, home to one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the world, then this is it. This three-room pousada is cheerful, but relatively no frills, with ceiling fans in the rooms and free Wi-Fi. But you should be spending your time out on the beach anyway—and there are bicycle rentals onsite to help in your exploration.
This charming pousada features 12 bright and airy rooms, each individually decorated and bearing a name of a species of plant found in the property’s garden. Take your breakfast on the outdoor terrace, which has incredible views of the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Another fabulous way to start your day: Take advantage of onsite yoga classes on Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Renovated in 2016, this pousada is situated in a quiet residential area near the airport—ideal for a final day or two before departing Brazil. It features 14 air-conditioned suites, a 24-hour front desk, outdoor pool and—as the name suggestions—an onsite spa and garden.
Within a refurbished 120-year-old colonial home in the Santa Teresa hills, this pousada offers 13 air-conditioned rooms. They’re individually decorated in a fusion of modern design with traditional Brazilian style. The home is set in tropical woodlands overlooking downtown Rio, a boho-chic haven away from the touristy zones.
TIP: Orbitz.com now offers even more offbeat and unexpected accommodations. Here’s how to find them on site:
1. Select your destination and travel dates
2. On the results page, check out the “Filter Properties By” column to the left of the resulting hotel selections.
3. You can sort by “Property Type” and “Vacation Rentals” to uncover cool options such as villas, houseboats, tentalows, castles and more.