Rio’s Hippie Fair

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.

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  • Raul (ilivetotravel in Twitter)
    May 23, 2012

    That’s is a whole lotta color in that market! Sounds like a must-see even for those of us not inclined to go shopping.

    • Leah Travels
      May 23, 2012

      Yeah, it’s really a good place to people watch as well. The drunk artist alone was worth the visit.

  • Francesca
    May 23, 2012

    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!

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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!

  • Andi
    May 23, 2012

    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!!!

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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!

  • John
    May 23, 2012

    Great job capturing the atmosphere of the fare in photos – i’m amazed at the variety of merchandise being sold there.

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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….

  • OOOOooo!! I love this place. I’ve been to it quite a few times. It’s so much fun stocking up on beaded necklaces and harem pants! Last time I visited with my aunt she even spotted Hugh Jackman! 😀

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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.

  • Kristin VanderHey Shaw via Facebook
    May 23, 2012

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

  • Kristin Shaw
    May 23, 2012

    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.

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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. 😉

  • Pola
    May 24, 2012

    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. 😉

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      Thanks for ruining the surprise, Pola! I was going to debut those shorts in Prague in November. Damn it!

  • Thanks, Kristin. By the way, I responded to your comment on the post. Let me know if your friend can’t help you with the bracelet.

  • Raf Kiss
    May 24, 2012

    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 🙂

    • Leah Travels
      May 24, 2012

      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.

  • Coolmons Blog
    May 25, 2012

    Beautiful Jewelry, wish i was there to do some shopping.

    • Leah Travels
      May 25, 2012

      Me too! When I go back to Brazil, I’m going to buy my weight in jewelry. Stupid move on my part not to the first time.

  • Ayngelina
    May 28, 2012

    This place could be dangerous, I’d end up spending too much money here.

    • Leah Travels
      May 28, 2012

      It’s certainly a danger, Ayngelina. Although, there are some bargains to be had as well. It’s definitely worth checking out.


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