Rio de Janeiro often simply called Rio, is a vibrant, enchanting and mystical city in Brazil. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, its vibrant culture and iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture.
My advice is to always take private transfers and have a private guide organised to see the city sights. The guidance and information they provide is second to none and worth every penny. Often the guides can purchase tickets in advance to some of the attractions and because they are in the know, you can often avoid long queues – ideal if you travel in the warmer months.
Christ the Redeemer statue is located atop the Corcovado Mountain, this towering statue stands at 98 feet tall. It offers panoramic views of the city and has become an iconic symbol of Rio and its religious and cultural heritage.
Purchase tickets in advance or you could be disappointed and have to queue forever!
Sugarloaf Mountain, it is a must-see attraction in Rio. Rising 1,299 feet above the city, it offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The journey to the summit involves two cable car rides and the panoramic views when you get to the summit are quite mystical and spectacular at the same time – I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful scenic views I have seen in my Manet years of travelling.
Travel up mid late afternoon (depending on the time of year) stay a few hours, grab some refreshments and wait for the sunset!
Rio undoubtedly gives off a very lively and vibrant vibe. Copacabana and Ipanema are two of the most famous beachfront neighbourhoods in the city and anywhere you stay along these golden beaches is within easy reach, whether you chose to get around by foot, bus, metro or taxi. The views across the golden sands, turquoise waters, towering mountains and palm trees stunning.
My tip: if you can stretch the budget stay at the Copacabana Palace hotel – a glorious hotel with impeccable quality and service.
Go to some of the local beach bars, where the live entertainment is fabulous. The infectious samba rhythms, create an electric atmosphere that is truly unique and should not be missed – even if it’s just to people watch!
Rio is obviously known for its world-famous carnival. During carnival (February time) the city is electric and comes alive with music, dancing, elaborate parades, and vibrant costumes. It is a celebration of Brazilian culture, music, and joy that you won’t experience anywhere else in the world.
If you’re a fan of football (soccer), a visit to the Maracanã Stadium is also a must. It is one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world. If you get chance go to a game where you will appreciate the electric atmosphere and passionate fans, which make this an unforgettable experience.
Rio is also a city deeply rooted in arts and culture. The Santa Teresa neighbourhood showcases its bohemian side with its eclectic mix of art galleries, charming streets, and colonial architecture. Close to this area are the Rio Steps where the steps from top to bottom and side to side are awash with colourful tiles from all over the world. The Metropolitan Cathedral, opera house is remarkable sight for architecture enthusiasts.
There are plenty of parks in Rio, but the Botanical Gardens is a peaceful oasis featuring a vast collection of rare plants with over 6,000 species – well worth a visit –
and Tijuca National Park, just within the city limits, is a lush tropical rainforest home to exotic wildlife, beautiful waterfalls, and various hiking trails.
Make sure you allow an extra day to visit these, especially Tijuca if you are one that loves adventure…
Lastly, no visit to Rio would be complete without indulging in its delicious cuisine. From traditional Brazilian dishes like feijoada (a black bean and meat stew) to mouthwatering grilled churrasco (barbecue), you will be in for a treat. Even those that are not meat eaters a visit a churrasco restaurant offers plenty to choose from if you are vegetarian or vegan. The juices and local fruits are wonderful such as acai berries, fresh coconuts and you may not know that the fruit of the cashew nut is a must to try.
Rio was captivating. The people are incredibly diverse, warm friendly and keen to welcome visitors. Rio’s natural beauty, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture is all just mesmerising. It was truly an unforgettable experience that makes me want to return.
My Travel Hint’s & Tips:
Rio and other vibrant cities are exciting and you should take advantage of seeing and doing as much as you can. As a large metropolitan city, Rio also presents the typical challenges of urban society. While the government takes measures to ensure a safe environment, it is important to keep in mind that this responsibility also rests with you. We suggest that you: take only the cash that you need and that you keep it on you, do not wear jewellery, do not show off expensive looking cameras or phones, do not exchange money with people when on the streets. Most importantly, use common sense.
Credit Cards are welcomed in most shopping centres as well as in large stores, restaurants and bars, but in some places, you may need cash – I suggest getting some local currency from one of the ATM machines either at the airport or from many locations around the city. The currency in Brazil is the Real (R$).
We recommend drinking bottled mineral water and NOT tap water. Tipping. Restaurants, taxis, guides etc approx. 10% (Most restaurants include
10% on their bill so it is up to you if you leave an extra tip).
Yellow cabs are reliable and safe, but make sure the driver charges you by the meter. Other app services are available 99 and Uber. The city’s metro network covers a limited part of the city, but it is quick and safe. There are several stations in Copacabana and Ipanema.
The official language is Portuguese.
Spanish will often be understood if spoken slowly and some people will speak English.