5 must do activities in Rio
Guest post by Eldrid Yarte
Perhaps one of the best ways to describe Rio de Janeiro is fusion. This melting pot of a city is where the unusual and the opposites come and somehow form a unique mashup that you would never see anywhere else. From thick and lush jungles and the towering skyscrapers, old colonial architecture to modern and futurist buildings, to the people from all walks of life from all around the world. All come to form a city that thrives in diversity. Truly a City of Contrasts.
So you’ve booked online for Airbnb vacation rentals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but you haven’t the slightest idea what to do. Here are the 5 of the best adventures to try in Rio de Janeiro
SEE ONE OF THE NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Cristo Redentor or more popularly known as Christ the Redeemer is an iconic landmark that is almost always synonymous with Rio de Janeiro. This 30-meter Art Deco statue was built in 1931 through a collaboration of several artists and builders. It is found at the top of Corcovado Mountain overlooking the city and the Guanabara Bay. It holds a few notable titles including the world’s tallest Art Deco statue and the high honors of being one of the New 7 Wonders of The World along with The Great Wall of China and Chichen Itza in Mexico.
Today, the statue is one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in the world and has been a popular tourist attraction since it was built. The statue sees thousands of tourists from all around the world that come to marvel at it and the incredible views it has of the city. It’s easy to get to there too either via van transport, cog railway, or good old hiking.
Though Rio is sunny for the most part, the weather at the statue can be a bit of hit and miss. Since it is quite elevated and is surrounded by the Tijuca Forest, the weather can sometimes be foggy with almost no visibility. Be sure to check the weather before going.
HIKING IN TIJUCA FOREST
Speaking of the Tijuca Forest, did you know that this lush rainforest is just mere minutes away from the heart of downtown Rio? Its lush dense greenery is a stark contrast to the city’s urban jungle of concrete and metal. Because of this close proximity, Tijuca is a popular hiking destination seeing thousands of outdoor enthusiasts both locals and tourists alike.
This lush tropical rainforest is the result of a major reforestation project done to restore water supply for the city of Rio. Since then, there were other efforts done to the forest with the most recent one done in 1945. This transformed the forest into a protected national park it is today with various facilities to accommodate tourists and other visitors.
Aside from the Christ the Redeemer statue, there are other notable landmarks in the Tijuca Forest such as the Chinese View known locally as Vista Chinesa—a pavilion with a great view of the bay built as a tribute to the Chinese workers—and a multitude of waterfalls along the trail like the Cachoeira das Almas and the Taunay Waterfall. There is a number of trails in the forest that are easy and beginner-friendly as well as challenging ones too for more seasoned hikers.
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JOIN THE "GREATEST PARTY ON EARTH"
The Rio Carnival is one of the most spectacular events in the world. This annual celebration is known for its large eye-catching floats, dancers in vibrant and colorful costumes, and partying in the streets. A lot of it. Though carnival celebration is not unique to Rio, its iconic splash of colors and revelry make this a truly unique experience unseen anywhere. Visitors can see the grand parade at the Sambadrome or head to the different “blocos” within the city and party with the locals and other visitors. Be sure to prepare enough cash as ATMs will run dry as more people flock the city.
GO BEACH BUMMING AT THE BEACH
A trip to Rio de Janeiro will never be complete without a day—or several days if you like—at its beaches. Here are a few notable beaches to visit:
This iconic beach needs no further introduction. A 4-kilometer sloping beach filled with lively beach-goers and footvolley players during the day and party seeking tourists during the night. Locals and tourists alike flock to the beach especially during the New Year and Carnival celebrations. Welcoming them is the countless bars and kiosks that line the beach.
Another world-renowned beach that any visitor must visit. The beach itself is divided into several “postos” or posts with each having its own unique identity. From the sporty vibes of Posto 2 and its volleyball and football courts, to the chill and laid back atmosphere of Posto 12. Visiting all the postos is no quick task so take a few days to explore them.
Unlike the two mentioned above, this quaint little beach west of Rio is known for its amazing surf and relative obscurity. It isn’t as popular as the other beaches which make it perfect for people who like white sand beaches without the crowds. This surfing haven is located just an hour’s drive west of Rio perfect for short excursions away from the bustling city
CLIMBING SUGAR LOAF
Known as Pao de Acucar in Portuguese, Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most prominent things in the city of Rio. This towering monolith is over 300 meters high looming over the rest of the city and its neighboring beaches. The Panoramic view of the city and the sea at the top is simply priceless.
If you are staying in South or Downtown Rio, you can get to Sugarloaf Mountain by either taking a bus, booking an Uber, or taking a cab. At the base of the mountain, you can then either hike up to Morro da Urca, a smaller than Sugarloaf Mountain right beside it, and ride the cable car from there or take the cable car from the base up to the top. If you just want a leisurely visit plus a really great view, taking the cable car from the get-go is the way to go.
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7-Day Itinerary for Rio de Janeiro
MORE TO EXPLORE
A virtual tour in Rio de Janeiro visiting the main attractions and nature spots witih our tour guide narration. Created during the Covid-19 pandemic, this virtual tour made with Google Earth 3D images and photos it’s a good way to visit Rio from home and also helps to plan your future trip.
Rio de Janeiro has much more than Sugar Loaf, Christ Redeemer and Copacabana Beach. The city has dozens of other off-the-beaten-track attractions inside it’s limits. Get to know rainforests, secluded beaches, waterfalls, peaks with amazing views, caves and more… discover ‘the other side of Rio’ now.
Rio de Janeiro has a unique and fantastic landscape, mixing mountains, rainforests, beach, city, and lagoons. Hiking in Rio is probably the best way to see it from the top, discovering this magic ‘arrangement’ and enjoying the lush of the tropical rainforest.