It’s not hard to find things to buy in Rio, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find much that’s distinctively Brazilian. Throughout the city are shops geared to tourists (most of which sell a similar line in semiprecious stones, mounted piranha fish and T-shirts), but the best shopping area is undoubtedly Ipanema, with a wealth of boutiques lining Rua Visconde de Pirajá and its side streets. Books and CDs make good purchases – sales assistants in music stores are usually delighted to offer recommendations and you’ll be able to listen before you buy. Of Rio’s markets, the so-called Hippie Market in Ipanema has nowadays become very touristy; much better is the Babilônia Feira Hype in Gávea, the Mercado das Pulgas at Largo dos Guimarães in Ipanema (second Sat of the month 2–8pm; handicrafts), or the Feira de Antiguidades at Praça Santos (Sun 9am–5pm; bric-a-brac). For arts, crafts and food from Brazil’s Northeast, there’s nowhere better than the Feira Nordestina in the Zona Norte.
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