Rio’s Hippie Fair
Leah Walker May 23, 2012

After a Saturday night of bloco parties and general Carnival craziness, I was happy to have a leisurely Sunday morning in Rio. A late breakfast at Gringo Cafe and some shopping was just what I needed. Besides, I had a huge Sunday night planned at the Sambadrome. My friend and hostess, Xochitl, suggested we visit the Hippie Fair.

On Sundays at the Praça General Osório in Ipanema, there are about 700 vendors selling all kinds of arts and crafts. Thousands of locals and visitors visit the market each week.


The Hippie Fair began in 1968 by a bunch of, you guessed it, hippies. It’s grown and evolved into a place to see some of Brazil’s most talented artisans.


A large selection of inexpensive, hand-crafted jewelery is showcased throughout the market. Beautiful Brazilian-made earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets are proudly displayed by their makers.



Brightly-colored beads, string, and gems are used to create and decorate the pieces. Hand-woven leather goods are adorned with shells and semi-precious stones.


From simple jewelry pieces to more detailed works of art, you’re sure to find something at the Hippie Fair for yourself or to take home as souvenirs for family and friends.


Semi-precious gem stones  can also be found at the Hippie Fair. You’ll find loose stones of medium quality. Common Brazilian stones such as, amethyst, blue topaz, quartz, and citrine are available. Keep in mind that if you are in the market for something extra special, you might want to visit H. Stern.


If you’re not particularly interested in jewelry (gasp!) there are other objects of desire, as well as the occasional Brazilian dressed as Carmen Miranda.


From colorful figurines to pewter to acrylic-covered trivets that mimic the famous Rio sidewalks, you’ll find a variety of items made by Brazilians.



Traditional Brazilian instruments used to create samba music are also available.  For pretty decent prices you’ll find instruments such as the caxixi, tambourines, and various kinds of drums. Throughout the day, melodious musical sounds are heard by musicians selling their wares.


Clothes and shoes are also a common sight at the Hippie Fair. Leather in Brazil? You betcha, especially when it comes in the form of short-shorts. A quintessentially Brazilian item, the Havaiana flip flops, are adorned by hand with beads and flowers. You can pick up your Rio souvenir t-shirt here, too.




The Hippie Fair is probably most famous for its number of talented artists in attendance. Don’t come here looking for monochromatic canvases. No, these paintings are as bright, colorful, and cheerful as the Brazilian people that create them.



Canvases are splashed with visions of beaches, Carnival scenes, favellas, and beautiful, curvaceous women. You can buy a canvas, a stretched canvas, or have one framed on the spot. I bought a small painting of the favellas that easily fit into my luggage.


While most of the paintings are already created, there are some artists painting on the spot. We watched the man in the photo below for a good ten minutes. It was fascinating to  watch him work and see the picture come to life. I also found it humorous that he was drinking beer the entire time and completely hammered.


Snack food items are also sold, including authentic Bahian cuisine found in one of the park’s corner. Women from the state of Bahia come each week dressed in traditional Brazilian/African attire selling their typical Bahian cuisine. Since we’d just come from breakfast, I didn’t try the food, but it looked and smelled delicious.


I could have stayed much longer than the hour I spent at the Hippie Fair. There was so much to see as well as an opportunity to interact with locals. In total, I left with four leather bracelets, a favella painting, and two sets of giant map colors made from tree branches. I’m not sure exactly how much I spent, but it was less than $40 USD. That’s not a bad price to pay for some souvenirs and a peek at a Rio tradition.

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Luxe Beat Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. What colors! I love it! I would spend a ton of money in that place, between the funky jewelry and the musical instruments. I try to pick up a small music-maker everywhere I go; the ones you pictured would fit perfectly in my collection!

    1. I never would have thought to collect musical instruments on my travels, but it’s a really cool idea. I did think about taking home some of them for my nieces, not because I particularly think they would like them, more to annoy my brother. They would drive him crazy with the noise. LOL!

  2. Amaaaaaazing! Do you know how many times I’ve gone to Rio and have wanted to go to this fair, but never quite found the time. Definitely going next time I’m in Rio!!!

    1. Yep, Andi, you need to go. There were so many things that I loved, but I wanted to see it all before I bought. By the time I’d gone through all the tents, I was tired and barely bought anything. I’d go back for sure!

    1. Thank, John. They had some larger items that I didn’t show like tables, chairs, and benches. Everything was hand-crafted and really neat. There was no way Continental was letting me take back the patio table I loved. Oh well….

    1. ANY place that Hugh Jackman hangs out at must be THE place to be. Sadly I didn’t see anyone famous, although I could have. It was during Carnival and Rio was humming with celebrity sightings. I bet you have some beautiful necklaces. I wish I’d bought some. They would be so perfect, especially right now with the start of summer.

  3. I have a friend traveling to Rio for a marathon next month and I sent this link to her. Sounds like fun!

  4. Leah, I am obsessed with the silver cuff bracelets in the lower left-hand corner of the photo above the one of the Carmen Miranda look-alike lady! If you go back to Rio, let me know and I’ll give you money.

    1. Yes, Kristin, that booth was amazing. They had all kinds of items adorned in that manner. The evening clutches made of metal with the stones were simply ridiculous. They were one-of-a-kind with a price reflecting that. Brazil is expensive on the whole, so for a piece like that, you can only imagine. If I saw them in a boutique the prices wouldn’t have surprised me, but at an outdoor market, I was a little shocked. I don’t have plans to go back to Rio anytime soon, but I do have friends there that can be bought. 😉

  5. Some of the jewelry looks so nice. 700 vendors?! Wow.
    Now tell us the truth – did you buy those shorts? I bet they’d go well with cowboy boots. 😉

  6. Very good post and nice pictures Leah. This post reminds me of the fact that I still have to go there… but it’s only on Sundays and that’s when I’m usually up to other kinds of mischief :)

    1. Thanks a lot. I know, Raf. You’re always of on some super-duper adventure. Take it easy one day and walk around the market. I think it’s open from 7 to 7. Surely you can fit that in.

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