Top 10 Things To Do In Rio

I spent a week in Rio, primarily on the beach, enjoying the sun and the surf. I loved every minute of it! I went ga-ga over the soft sand and blue waters … it seemed impossible for me to move from the beach and hop on a bus to explore the city. However, towards the end of the week, I finally bid adieu to the lounge chair and visited some attractions of the city.

Here are top ten things that I would recommend to do while you are in Rio ….
1. Beach hopping: Rio has dozens of beaches to choose from… the famous Copacabana along with the more upmarket Ipanema and Leblon will let you ogle at perfect bodies; Barra de Tijuca will let you enjoy a quieter beach with cleaner waters. It’s simply your choice on where you would want to spend the day. Most beaches will let you hire a beach chair and an umbrella to ensure that you are comfortable in the hot tropical sun.img_2864
2. Pottering around Lapa and Santa Tereza: Lapa is home to the colourful steps that are the creation of Seralon. There are tiles from all corners of the world. The steps make an excellent backdrop for photographs. Santa Tereza, near Lapa, is home to many cafes and bars that are housed in colonial buildings. The area is great for those who like to tap their feet and move to the samba beats at night.

At the Lapa Steps...

At the Lapa Steps…

3. Visiting Christ, the Redeemer: A trip to Rio would be incomplete without pictures at the Christ. This is the second largest statue of Christ in the world and offers stellar views of the sea and rock islands.img_2865
4. Enjoying views from the Sugarloaf mountain: With plenty of view points and an easy access via cable car, the Sugar Loaf is a must do for most tourists. Views from the sugar loaf are stunning and its offers great vantage point for sunset seekers.

View from Sugar Loaf (pic courtesy: Ryan Yuk)

View from Sugar Loaf (pic courtesy: Ryan Yuk)

5. Hand gliding over the city: If you enjoy a bird’s eye view and are comfortable feeling like one, hand glide over the beautiful city of Rio. Swoop above the forest and glide past the sugarloaf … watch the tiny boats and soak it all in. Few cities in the world can match the hand gliding experience and views that Rio offers!

Rio from up above

Rio from up above

6. Exploring the Tijuca National Park: Rio is home to the Tijuca National Park that will let you get a feel of the Amazonas. The trees are over 30 meters tall and make you feel like a little dwarf. Do remember to carry your binoculars if birds interest you.img_2872
7. Romancing the Sun at  Lago Rodrigo de Freitas: This calm lake near Ipanema is an ideal place to watch the locals exercise and get to get some exercise yourself. There are paddle boats and cycles available to let the entire family have a good time together. The lake is surrounded by many parks including the Parque Laje and the Botanical Garden that make excellent hiking and picnic spots. I witnessed the most beautiful and calm sunset, during my stay, by the lakeside.img_2870
8. Learning at the Museums: Centro area in Rio is home to many museums, including the newly constructed Museum of Tomorrow, which highlights the energy crisis that the world is facing currently. There is also the museum of modern art.img_2868
9. Knowing the locals – Favela tour: Ever wondered what goes on the little houses on the hill? Is it a peaceful area or does is have drug lords and mafia? A guided favela tour will give you an perspective into what happens in the favela right from meeting an ordinary family enjoying a football match to walking past the ‘danger zone’. Please do not wander off into favelas by yourself and peer into houses…join a tour to respect the privacy of the residents and ensure your safety.
10. Living the night life: Rio has a rocking night life… clubs swing into action post mid night and everyone enjoys a good caipirinha. And we all dance well after a few drinks, don’t we? img_2873Besides the club, parties at favelas, also called favela funk parties, are hubs of merriment as well, so long as you where to go. If funk isn’t your thing and you would rather twist and turn to the samba rhythms, join a samba school rehearsal (from August until the Carnival) or head to Lapa for a similar vibe.

Have you been to Rio? What else should we do when we visit this town next… we will soon be back in Rio!

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20 Responses

  1. I’ve always been intimidated by the thought of going to Rio–it seems big and crowded–but this has changed my mind. The tile mosaic stairs are beautiful and I’d love to check out Tijuca National Park . It seems like there is enough nature nearby to balance the city-ness. Thanks for showing another side of Rio!

  2. What I really like here is obviously the diversity – you have outstanding beaches (Rios beaches are officially some of the best in the world), big city life and even pure nature and jungle nearby. This is something that makes a place for me very interesting and your photos proof the beautiness of this place. BTW, just curious – is there still some “spirit” of the Olympic games visible or is it more or less all gone?

  3. The view from Sugarloaf Mountain looks amazing and the favelas sound intriguing too. Rio is on my bucket list although I must admit that I was a bit disheartened when I heard about the crime during the Olympics. Hope you didn’t experience any of that!

  4. Unfortunately when I visited Ipanema and Copacabana there weren’t so many perfect bodies about so I couldn’t ogle! Just my luck. I missed the museums in centro, I went there to a great disco, it’s still one of the best nights of my life! I’m glad you found the Caipirinhas, they are delicious, the Brazilian girls love them too!

  5. Interesting post. The Favela Tours sound interesting as it will give a glimpse into the life of locals in Rio. You got hooked with the colourful steps pictures, that is such a cool concept of bringing together tiles from different parts of the world. This is would be on my list of things to do along with the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountains and ofcourse cannot miss on the beautiful beaches of Rio ;).

  6. I loved Rio when I visited. I didn’t do everything you do but I did see lots. I went to a club one night in the favelas, full of locals and overlooking Impanema beach and watched the sunrise, was a great night 🙂

  7. Rio has been on my bucket list for years. I haven’t done too much research so it’s nice to see things on this list outside of the usual tourist traps. I don’t think I’d get the courage to hand glide over the city even though I bet the views are fantastic!

  8. What a great list to follow when visiting such a famous and iconic city like Rio! So many beautiful spots to enjoy for hikers like myself who love to explore and enjoy nature’s beauty. The closest I’ve got to Brazil so far has been Chile, so I can’t wait to go back to South America to visit – with Rio being very high on my priority list.

  9. Wow, I wouldn’t know which beach to visit, they all look amazing! Of course, Christ the Redeemer would have to be a stop in Rio. Love all of your photographs, thanks for sharing.

  10. We have seen those colorful steps of Lapa ‘n’ times on social media we would like to snap a pic too. And of course a visit to the Christ is unmissable when visiting Rio. There are so many wonderful things to do in Rio. Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. I have only been to Sau Paulo in Brazil, on my way to Chile last year. I would love one day to go back and explore other parts of the country, like Rio, which looks like a wonderful place full of things to do and see. The favela tour would be the top of my list, I love to learn about the culture of a place through its locals. The beach in Rio would also be a highlight, it looks so dreamy! 🙂

  12. Rio has been on my wishlist for so long and you have given me so many things to choose from when I finally go there. Tiles from all around the world sounds really interesting. Also the favela tour sounds like something I would be interested in.

  13. Riely

    There is so much variety of activities to enjoy in Rio. Christ the redeemer is of course a must! As well, I heard it’s in need of funds to keep up with maintenance. The beaches and Tijuca National Park would also be activities on my list of to dos. It seems like such a beautiful city.

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