The stunning beauty of Rio de Janeiro—affectionately called “Rio” by many—is something that attractions millions of visitors throughout the world to the city every single year. Rio de Janeiro may be the second largest metropolitan in Brazil, but it has the most heart and appeal. A week in Rio will be one of adventure, romance, and memories made.
The Places You Must Go
Though there are numerous locations and attractions for you to see in Rio de Janeiro, these are the recommended must-see spots:
- Sugarloaf Mountain
Everyone who has gone to Rio talks about this mountain. It is always at the top of the must-see lists, too. Sugarloaf Mountain is a colossal peak of granite and quartz stones in the middle of Guanabara Bay. Take the 20-minute cable car ride up to the base, called Babilonia Hill then continue the hike from there.
- Lapa Neighborhood
Once Rio’s red light district, Lapa is now the epicenter of nightlife and vivid Brazilian culture. Whether you simply want to see architecture dating back to the 1800s or party it up at the samba and choro bars, Lapa has something for everyone. Be sure to try the national cocktail, caipirinha, which comes from sugarcane liquor and lime. Then try to climb the famous mosaic stairway, Escadaria Selaron.
- Jardim Botantico
Otherwise known as Rio’s botanical gardens. Built in the 1800s, the garden has since then grown to house over 8000 species of flora from around the world. The recommended area is the long pathway lined with mammoth palm trees. For those who love education, the Museu do Meio Ambiente, which focuses on nature preservation and various environments, is for you.
- Ipanema and Copacabana
These two beaches are famous around the world. The sights, the sounds, the soft sand, and the shopping make Ipanema a winner for those seeking luxury. Copacabana is where you can find Fort Copacabana, which now operates as a wartime museum. Plenty to see and do here—not just swimming!
- Tijuca National Park
Located within this broad expanse of green is Rio de Janeiro’s highest mountain, the Pico da Tijuca. At the top of the mountain, you will be gifted with breathtaking views of Guanabara Bay. The national park has a fascinating history, as well as attractions to be found amongst the leaves. Be sure to stop by for the Mayrink Chapel, which features hand-painted murals by the famous painter Candido Portinari, and the gorgeous Cascatinha Waterfall.
Locals will tell you to never rent a car, because the traffic is, one, crazy, and two, the price of the rental is outrageous. If you are on a budget, consider taking the public transportation.
The BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) in Rio de Janeiro is not only reliable, the roads have dedicated lanes for these buses. You should always try the subway system, which rarely gets behind schedule. The BRT also has express service to and from the international airport.
Rio de Janeiro is a city that is impossible to describe. The energy and personality is captivating. You will find yourself swept up by the passionate music, the delicious food, and the jaw-dropping beauty of the landscape. Wherever you go, Rio will never disappoint.