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My journey to Rio was imagined to be my first cease on a 2-week itinerary that additionally included Ilha Grande, Sao Paulo and Iguassu Falls.
However then Rio de Janeiro sucked me in and I by no means left. I spent the whole two weeks exploring town, laying on the seashore, consuming caipirinhas and making new buddies.
Partially I stayed as a result of I used to be visiting Brazil throughout the nation’s winter months and Rio was one of many warmest locations to be, however I additionally stayed as a result of there’s a lot to see and do there.
The town has a surprising mountainous panorama that jogs my memory slightly little bit of Cape City in South Africa. Count on sandy seashores, tropical rainforests, dramatic mountains and breathtaking vistas galore. It’s additionally a really vibrant place with a enjoyable, occasion spirit – Brazilians love their samba, their seashore volleyball and their soccer!
In fact, for those who go to Rio de Janeiro in February you’ll additionally get to expertise one of many greatest and most colourful festivals on the earth – Carnival.
For those who’re searching for inspiration, right here’s an inventory of one of the best issues to do in Rio de Janeiro.
Issues to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
Christ the Redeemer will be seen from throughout Rio de Janeiro and is an iconic image recognizable to folks all around the world. Measuring 30 meters tall with an arm span of 28 meters, the statue seems to be retaining a watchful eye over town of Rio from atop the Corcovado mountain.
The statue is fabricated from bolstered concrete clad in a mosaic of hundreds of triangular soapstone tiles and weighs a complete of 635 tonnes. Vacationers flock right here to have their photograph taken with the statue and admire the views throughout town. At night time Christ the Redeemer is lit up and the mountain it stands on blends into the darkish night time sky, making it seem just like the statue is hovering over town.
Santa Teresa is a bohemian neighborhood the place artists, writers and musicians turned crumbling nineteenth century mansions into workshops and studios.
Positioned on the highest of Santa Teresa hill close to the middle of Rio, Santa Teresa was as soon as residence to wealthy industrialists and elites who constructed their mansions right here throughout the espresso business heyday.
Whereas Santa Teresa is not an higher class neighborhood, it’s positively a trendy one. Immediately you possibly can wander across the charming slender streets and discover the galleries.
Selaron Steps (Escadaria Selarón)
The Escadaria Selarón is a colourful flight of stairs created by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón as a tribute to the Brazilian folks. The steps will be discovered within the neighborhood of Lapa and are an iconic image of Rio de Janeiro.
In 1990 Selarón started renovating the set of steps in entrance of his home and it quickly was a serious inventive undertaking. Immediately there are 250 steps measuring 125 meters lengthy they usually’re coated in over 2000 tiles which have been collected from over 60 nations around the globe.
Sadly Jorge Selarón was discovered useless on the steps in 2013 – the precise circumstances surrounding his loss of life are nonetheless unknown.
The view from Sugarloaf mountain is likely one of the greatest views I’ve ever seen wherever on the earth. Rising 396 meters (1,299 ft) above the harbor, the mountain will get its identify from its form, because it resembles a tough block of loaf sugar.
You’ll be able to take two cable vehicles proper as much as the highest for panoramic views over town, seashores, mountains and ocean.
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens (Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro)
The Botanical Gardens are actually beautiful and positively price visiting if you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of town. The park covers 140 hectares, with hundreds of species of natural world in addition to views of Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer). You may also spot monkeys and varied varieties of unique birds pottering across the park.
Not removed from the Botanical Gardens lies Parque Lage, a good looking mansion on the foot of Corcovado.
The mansion was as soon as the residence of industrialist Enrique Lage and his spouse, singer Gabriela Bezanzoni, till the land finally turned a public park within the Nineteen Sixties.
The setting is admittedly beautiful and Parque Lage is especially in style with vacationers as a result of it was featured within the music video for Snoop Dogg’s 2003 single “Stunning”.
Sadly the within was coated in scaffolding once we visited (marriage ceremony!) however we sat down and had a very nice lunch within the restaurant.
Eat at a Churrascaria
Mmmm…meat. Brazilian delicacies consists of loads of pink meat and it’s essential to pay a go to to a churrascaria at the least as soon as.
I went to Carretao twice whereas I used to be staying in Copacabana. For those who’ve by no means been to a churrascaria earlier than, principally you possibly can go as much as the salad bar to fill your plate with salad, then waiters come round with varied cuts of meat on skewers and carve them at your desk.
The meat retains coming till you say no they usually provide you with slightly badge that signifies ‘sure’ or ‘no’ relying on which manner up you place it. Don’t make the error of filling up on all of the salad, rice and plantains. Meat is the precedence right here!
Many individuals will inform you to go to Ipanema Seaside or Leblon Seaside as they’re thought of a bit safer, however my private favourite continues to be the well-known Copacabana Seaside.
On the weekend Copacabana is nice for folks watching because it’s stuffed with locals who convey alongside their very own deck chairs and spend the day kicking a soccer about or absorbing the solar.
There are many distributors who come round promoting sarongs, lemonade, coconuts and empanadas. I spent many a day chilling on the seashore, consuming a caipirinha or two and chilling on the seashore until sundown.
Ipanema Seaside (Praia de Ipanema)
Ipanema Seaside is south west of Copacabana Seaside, on the opposite aspect of the headland and Forte de Copacabana.
This 2 mile stretch of sand was made well-known by the tune “The Lady from Ipanema,” and is likely one of the foremost metropolis seashores in Rio. Alongside the seashore you’ll uncover the prosperous neighborhood of Ipanema, which is stuffed with eating places, boutiques and luxurious residence buildings.
Rio Scenarium is a extremely good spot to go for an evening out to expertise the music tradition of Brazil. Unfold throughout three flooring adorned with antiques, Rio Scenarium affords stay music and samba dancing all night time lengthy.
You’ll be able to strut your stuff on the dance ground subsequent to the stage, or watch over the dancers from the balconies on the primary ground. The venue attracts a mix of foreigners and locals and like many bars in Brazil it operates a card system the place you pay in your drinks on the way in which out. There’s normally a protracted line exterior, however it goes down shortly and you should buy refreshments whilst you wait.
Museum of Tomorrow
This unimaginable science museum is situated subsequent to the waterfront at Pier Maua and was designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava. It’s a placing, futuristic trying constructing, devoted to addressing the way forward for the planet.
The shows and reveals deal with topics akin to local weather change and present the primary ways in which mankind is affecting the planet. The museum additionally examines the tendencies which might be occurring right here on Earth and potential ensuing situations.
Go to a Soccer Sport at Maracana Stadium
Brazil is a soccer-loving nation so it’s positively price testing a soccer recreation whilst you’re there.
You’ll be able to watch video games from the three strongest groups in Rio – Flamengo, Botafogo and Fluminense and expertise the fun and fervour of the sport.
Even for those who’re not an enormous soccer fan it’s nonetheless price taking within the electrical environment. The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro is likely one of the greatest stadiums on the earth.
Go to Santa Marta Favela
The hostels marketed favela ‘excursions’ and ‘favela events’ however I wasn’t certain the best way to really feel about it. Sure I used to be curious to see what life is like in a favela, however on the identical time the entire ‘slum tourism’ factor feels a bit bizarre.
I had spoken to some backpackers who had been to one of many favela ‘events’, however it wasn’t an actual party- only one designed for vacationers. You principally take a bus to a favela, hang around and drink with different backpackers, then take a bus back- not a correct native occasion in any respect.
However then my buddy Caitlin and I made some Brazilian buddies and one in all them – Victor – stated he would present us round a favela since he is aware of folks there.
We went to Santa Marta favela, which is extremely colourful and has a statue of Michael Jackson on the prime as a result of he filmed the music video “They Don’t Care About Us” there.
The view from above is unimaginable however to get there we needed to climb up many, many stairs because the decrease cable automotive was damaged. Children have been taking part in soccer and saying hiya to us and there was slightly memento store the place you could possibly purchase crafts with photographs drawn by the kids.
For those who’re contemplating visiting a favela there’s an important article right here: Do you have to really feel badly about taking a favela tour?
To sum up the factors made within the article, positively don’t go on excursions that simply deal with favelas or slums as a safari exhibit seen from inside a automobile. Go on a tour that permits you to work together with the locals and offers you an opportunity to be taught and perceive.
Lapa on a Friday Night time
Rio de Janeiro is a celebration metropolis and one of the best place to go on the weekend is Lapa. Come night time time the neighborhood is remodeled into a celebration zone and there are distributors in all places promoting snack meals and caipirinhas.
Most individuals have a tendency to fulfill up beneath the Arcos de Lapa and have a couple of drinks on the street, earlier than hopping from bar to bar. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the streets are closed for pedestrians and folks will be seen dancing on each avenue nook.
Brunch at Santa Satisfacao
I handed by Santa Satisfacao a number of occasions whereas strolling round Copacabana and finally determined to cease by for brunch. It’s a cute cafe with exterior tables serving cocktails, coffees, omelets, salads, carpaccio, pasta and sandwiches- an important spot to go along with buddies or household on the weekend.
Wander Round Centro
The Centro “heart” neighborhood is admittedly charming to stroll round, with colourful buildings and historic structure. It’s definitely price having a wander down the pedestrian alleyways and stopping for a beer and a pastel (deep-fried finger meals with varied fillings).
Tijuca Nationwide Park
This city nationwide park covers an space of 39.58 sq. kilometers (15.28 sq mi) and is thought for its biodiversity. Exploring the forest you’ll discover quite a few hikes, waterfalls, scenic viewpoints and monuments. Tons of animals stay right here, together with sloths, squirrels, bats, monkeys, porcupines and armadillos.
It’s reputed to be one of many greatest city forests on the earth, though there’s additionally a rainforest in Johannesburg, South Africa, that claims to be the largest.
Strive Globos & Acai
There are some meals that you simply actually ought to strive whilst you’re in Rio. One is Globos, that are principally donut-shaped rice cracker-type snacks. You’ll see guys strolling previous promoting them on the seashore.
Acai is principally a frozen dessert with a darkish brown/purple color; it’s made utilizing acai berry juice, ice, sugar and plenty of guarana syrup. I discovered it a bit too candy by my buddy Caitlin beloved the stuff! You’ll be able to even add toppings like sliced bananas and granola.
Put on Swimwear Just like the Locals
Brazilian ladies put on itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikinis, whereas males put on speedo-style shorts. You gained’t actually see board shorts in Copacabana. If you wish to slot in with the locals on the seashore, head to the mall in Rio and purchase your self some Brazilian swimwear. Don’t be shy- there are butts on present in all places, of all sizes and styles!
Pedra do Sal
Pedra do Sal (Salt Stone) is the birthplace of samba and is known for its samba avenue events. The Samba at Pedra do Sal takes place each Monday after 8pm and is free to attend. Count on numerous dancing, music and tents promoting meals and drinks akin to caipirinhas and beer.
Pedra do Sal is situated at Conceição hill within the space of Saúde – full deal with R. Argemiro Bulcão – Saúde, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-040, Brazil.
Simply don’t present up if it rains as a result of then the occasion might be canceled.
Museum of Fashionable Artwork
Positioned in Centro, the Museum of Fashionable Artwork accommodates over 15 thousand works, together with sculptures and work by internationally famend artists and notable Latin American artists.
The collections are housed inside a modernist concrete constructing that was designed by Affonso Eduardo Reidyn and accomplished in 1955.
Find out how to Get to Rio de Janeiro
Flights to Rio from the UK
Air France affords flights to Rio de Janeiro from the UK with a connection in Paris. I flew with Air France out of Manchester however it’s also possible to fly there from London. Count on the journey time to take round 14 to 17 hours.
KLM affords oblique flights from the UK to Rio through Amsterdam whereas TAP Air Portugal affords flights through Lisbon.
British Airways additionally affords continuous flights from London to Rio de Janeiro with the journey time taking roughly 11 hours 40 minutes.
I ran a fast search on Google Flights and costs differ from round £421 to £947 spherical journey.
Flights to Rio from the US
A number of US airways provide flights to Rio de Janeiro together with Delta, American, United and LATAM.
From New York, typical round-trip costs vary from $650 to about $1164.
From Los Angeles, typical round-trip costs vary from $663 to about $1289.
Miami is normally cheaper, costing round $486 to $886 for a return ticket.
Getting Round Rio
In Rio one of the simplest ways to get round is on foot or by taxi/Uber.
To cowl longer distances, positively take a taxi or Uber, however when you’re at your vacation spot you possibly can stroll round neighborhoods like Copacabana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa and Centro on foot throughout the daytime.
At night time time nonetheless I’d keep away from strolling round an excessive amount of as soon as it’s darkish; take an Uber as an alternative. A number of locals informed me to not stroll across the Copacabana Seaside space after sundown as you’re susceptible to getting robbed.
Peculiar taxis will be flagged down in all places and are metered by town. I discovered that a lot of the taxi drivers didn’t actually converse a lot English so it’s greatest to jot down down the deal with of the place you’re staying or going. The Google Translate app can be an enormous assist in these conditions.
Your different choices are the metro (subway) and buses. The metro operates Monday by means of Saturday from 5am to midnight. On Sundays and holidays it runs from 7am to 11pm. It’s clear, air-conditioned and secure.
There are at present three metro strains, though surprisingly they’re known as Line 1, 2 and 4. The orange Line 1 begins from Normal Osório in Ipanema and goes northwards to Urugai. It’s helpful for attending to locations like Lapa, Centro, the Sambadrome and so on. The inexperienced line (Line 2) runs from Botafogo and goes to Pavuna, stopping at locations akin to Centro and Maracanã Stadium alongside the way in which. The yellow line (Line 4), begins at Normal Osório in Ipanema and runs south by means of Ipanema and Leblon, ending at Jardim Oceânico.
You should purchase single subway tickets or you may get a loadable pay as you go fare card from the kiosks on the subway station. In case your Visa or Mastercard credit score/debit card has the contactless image then you possibly can really simply faucet and go on the station, or you should use your telephone to pay if it has NFC know-how. For updated data on the metro go to https://www.metrorio.com.br/
Greatest Time to Go to Rio de Janeiro
Summer time in Rio de Janeiro is from December to March. That is one of the best time to go to Rio as a result of the climate is heat and you may hit the seashores. In fact, it’s additionally the most well-liked time to go to so flight costs and motels are normally costly presently, notably round Christmas in December.
Carnival takes place yearly simply earlier than Lent (Ash Wednesday), which is six and a half weeks earlier than Easter. The dates for Ash Wednesday differ every year however it’s normally round February/March, relying on when Easter is.
Being one of many greatest carnivals on the earth, Rio Carnival is a really enjoyable time to go to, however ensure you ebook your lodging and flights properly upfront.
If you wish to benefit from cheaper flights and lodging then contemplate visiting Rio in April-Might (after Easter) or October/November, simply earlier than summer time begins.
The quietest time to go to Rio is throughout the winter months of June to September. The climate in winter continues to be gentle and good for sightseeing however can get a bit chilly for the seashore.
Your FAQs About Rio de Janeiro, Answered
Sure, Rio de Janeiro is likely one of the most stunning cities on the earth. The surroundings is breathtaking with mountains, seashores and exquisite vistas in all places you go. It’s essential to completely go to Rio as soon as in your life. For me, Rio is up there with Cape City and New York as one in all my prime three cities to go to.
You want at the least 5 days in Rio de Janeiro however you could possibly simply spend every week to 10 days right here and never get bored. There are such a lot of issues to do and locations to find! However 5 days in Rio gives you sufficient time to calm down on the seashores and discover well-known sights akin to Sugarloaf Mountain, Selaron Steps and Christ the Redeemer.
Rio is thought for its fascinating panorama of mountains and seashores. The town can be identified for its landmarks akin to Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain.
Individuals in Rio converse Brazilian Portuguese. Some can converse English however for those who’ll positively need to be taught a couple of primary phrases in Portuguese and for those who’re struggling, use the Google Translate app to speak with folks. I discovered it actually useful when getting in taxis.
he most visited place in Rio de Janeiro is Christ the Redeemer. This well-known statue overlooks town and attracts round 2 million guests every year.
A Ultimate Phrase…
There are such a lot of superior issues to do in Rio de Janeiro so positively enable your self at the least 3-5 days there (ideally 5) so you possibly can cowl all of the seashores, views, hikes and colourful neighborhoods. Ensure you strive numerous Brazilian delicacies too, together with feijoada (bean stew), coxinha (fritters), rodizio, broccoli rice and açai.
Whereas Rio is superb, positively attempt to plan an extended journey so you possibly can discover different locations in Brazil too. The nation is large and takes up about 50% of South America so ideally you’d want at the least 3 weeks to get a correct style of the nation. I positively want to return and see extra!