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My journey to Rio was speculated to be my first cease on a 2-week itinerary that additionally included Ilha Grande, Sao Paulo and Iguassu Falls.
But then Rio de Janeiro sucked me in and I by no means left. I spent the whole two weeks exploring town, laying on the seaside, ingesting caipirinhas and making new mates.
In half I stayed as a result of I used to be visiting Brazil in the course of 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 metropolis has a surprising mountainous panorama that jogs my memory a bit of little bit of Cape Town in South Africa. Expect sandy seashores, tropical rainforests, dramatic mountains and breathtaking vistas galore. It’s additionally a really vibrant place with a enjoyable, social gathering spirit – Brazilians love their samba, their seaside volleyball and their soccer!
Of course, for those who go to Rio de Janeiro in February you’ll additionally get to expertise one of many greatest and most colourful festivals in the world – Carnival.
If you’re in search of inspiration, right here’s a listing of the most effective issues to do in Rio de Janeiro.
Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)
Christ the Redeemer might be seen from throughout Rio de Janeiro and is an iconic image recognizable to individuals all around the world. Measuring 30 meters tall with an arm span of 28 meters, the statue seems to be holding a watchful eye over town of Rio from atop the Corcovado mountain.
The statue is product of strengthened concrete clad in a mosaic of hundreds of triangular soapstone tiles and weighs a complete of 635 tonnes. Tourists flock right here to have their picture 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.
Located on the highest of Santa Teresa hill close to the middle of Rio, Santa Teresa was as soon as house to wealthy industrialists and elites who constructed their mansions right here in the course of the espresso business heyday.
While Santa Teresa is now not an higher class neighborhood, it’s undoubtedly a trendy one. Today you’ll be able to 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 individuals. The steps might be discovered in 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 creative challenge. Today there are 250 steps measuring 125 meters lengthy they usually’re coated in over 2000 tiles which were collected from over 60 international locations around the globe.
Sadly Jorge Selarón was discovered lifeless on the steps in 2013 – the precise circumstances surrounding his demise are nonetheless unknown.
The view from Sugarloaf mountain is without doubt one of the finest views I’ve ever seen anyplace in the world. Rising 396 meters (1,299 ft) above the harbor, the mountain will get its title from its form, because it resembles a tough block of loaf sugar.
You can 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 attractive and undoubtedly 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 spot monkeys and varied forms of unique birds pottering across the park.
Not removed from the Botanical Gardens lies Parque Lage, a stupendous 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 in the Sixties.
The setting is admittedly beautiful and Parque Lage is especially in style with vacationers as a result of it was featured in the music video for Snoop Dogg’s 2003 single “Beautiful”.
Sadly the within was coated in scaffolding after we visited (marriage ceremony!) however we sat down and had a very nice lunch in the restaurant.
Eat at a Churrascaria
Mmmm…meat. Brazilian delicacies consists of a number of purple 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. If you’ve by no means been to a churrascaria earlier than, principally you’ll be able to 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 a bit of badge that signifies ‘yes’ or ‘no’ relying on which method 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 let you know to go to Ipanema Beach or Leblon Beach as they’re thought-about a bit safer, however my private favourite remains to be the well-known Copacabana Beach.
On the weekend Copacabana is nice for individuals 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 a number of distributors who come round promoting sarongs, lemonade, coconuts and empanadas. I spent many a day chilling on the seaside, ingesting a caipirinha or two and chilling on the seaside until sundown.
Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)
Ipanema Beach is south west of Copacabana Beach, on the opposite aspect of the headland and Forte de Copacabana.
This 2 mile stretch of sand was made well-known by the music “The Girl from Ipanema,” and is without doubt one of the predominant metropolis seashores in Rio. Alongside the seaside you’ll uncover the prosperous neighborhood of Ipanema, which is crammed with eating places, boutiques and luxurious residence buildings.
Rio Scenarium is a very excellent spot to go for an evening out to expertise the music tradition of Brazil. Spread throughout three flooring adorned with antiques, Rio Scenarium provides reside music and samba dancing all night time lengthy.
You can 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 best way out. There’s often a protracted line outdoors, but it surely goes down rapidly and you should purchase refreshments whilst you wait.
Museum of Tomorrow
This unbelievable science museum is situated subsequent to the waterfront at Pier Maua and was designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava. It’s a putting, futuristic wanting constructing, devoted to addressing the way forward for the planet.
The shows and reveals deal with topics reminiscent of local weather change and present the principle ways in which mankind is affecting the planet. The museum additionally examines the developments which might be occurring right here on Earth and potential ensuing eventualities.
Go to a Football Game at Maracana Stadium
Brazil is a soccer-loving nation so it’s undoubtedly price testing a soccer sport whilst you’re there.
You can watch video games from the three strongest groups in Rio – Flamengo, Botafogo and Fluminense and expertise the fun and keenness of the sport.
Even for those who’re not an enormous soccer fan it’s nonetheless price taking in the electrical ambiance. The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro is without doubt one of the greatest stadiums in the world.
Visit Santa Marta Favela
The hostels marketed favela ‘tours’ and ‘favela parties’ however I wasn’t positive how you can really feel about it. Yes I used to be curious to see what life is like in a favela, however on the similar time the entire ‘slum tourism’ factor feels a bit bizarre.
I had spoken to some backpackers who had been to one of many favela ‘parties’, but it surely 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 social gathering in any respect.
But then my good friend Caitlin and I made some Brazilian mates and considered one of them – Victor – mentioned he would present us round a favela since he is aware of individuals there.
We went to Santa Marta favela, which is extremely colourful and has a statue of Michael Jackson on the high as a result of he filmed the music video “They Don’t Care About Us” there.
The view from above is unbelievable however to get there we needed to climb up many, many stairs because the decrease cable automotive was damaged. Kids had been enjoying soccer and saying hi there to us and there was a bit of memento store the place you would purchase crafts with pictures drawn by the kids.
If you’re contemplating visiting a favela there’s an incredible article right here: Should you are feeling badly about taking a favela tour?
To sum up the factors made in the article, undoubtedly 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 allows you to work together with the locals and provides you an opportunity to be taught and perceive.
Lapa on a Friday Night
Rio de Janeiro is a celebration metropolis and the most effective place to go on the weekend is Lapa. Come night time time the neighborhood is remodeled into a celebration zone and there are distributors all over the place promoting snack meals and caipirinhas.
Most individuals have a tendency to satisfy up beneath the Arcos de Lapa and have a couple of drinks in the road, earlier than hopping from bar to bar. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the streets are closed for pedestrians and other people might be seen dancing on each avenue nook.
Brunch at Santa Satisfacao
I handed by Santa Satisfacao a number of instances whereas strolling round Copacabana and finally determined to cease by for brunch. It’s a cute cafe with outdoors tables serving cocktails, coffees, omelets, salads, carpaccio, pasta and sandwiches- an incredible spot to go together with mates or household on the weekend.
Wander Around Centro
The Centro “center” 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 National Park
This city nationwide park covers an space of 39.58 sq. kilometers (15.28 sq mi) and is understood for its biodiversity. Exploring the forest you’ll discover quite a few hikes, waterfalls, scenic viewpoints and monuments. Tons of animals reside right here, together with sloths, squirrels, bats, monkeys, porcupines and armadillos.
It is reputed to be one of many greatest city forests in the world, though there’s additionally a rainforest in Johannesburg, South Africa, that claims to be the largest.
Try Globos & Acai
There are some meals that you just 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 seaside. Acai is principally a frozen dessert with a darkish brown poo color; it’s made utilizing acai berry juice, ice, sugar and plenty of guarana syrup. I discovered it a bit too candy by my good friend Caitlin beloved the stuff! You may even add toppings like sliced bananas and granola.
Wear Swimwear Like the Locals
Brazilian girls put on itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikinis, whereas males put on speedo-style shorts. You received’t actually see board shorts in Copacabana. If you wish to match in with the locals on the seaside, head to the mall in Rio and purchase your self some Brazilian swimwear. Don’t be shy- there are butts on present all over the place, of all styles and sizes!
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. Expect a number of dancing, music and tents promoting meals and drinks reminiscent of caipirinhas and beer.
Pedra do Sal is situated at Conceição hill in the world of Saúde – full handle R. Argemiro Bulcão – Saúde, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-040, Brazil.
Just don’t present up if it rains as a result of then the social gathering will likely be canceled.
Museum of Modern Art
Located in Centro, the Museum of Modern Art comprises 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.