Aside from the upcoming annual Carnival and Summer Olympics in 2016, there are heaps of interesting reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro, and this includes exploring its UNESCO World Heritage towns, intimate beaches, admiring its panoramic views, and being in awe of the imposing majesty of the Cristo Redentor that has a marvelous view of the entire city. Listed in this Rio travel guide are the numerous attractions and key reasons to visit the second biggest city in Brazil.
1. Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar)
One of the interesting things to do in Rio de Janeiro is to climb the top of the Pao de Acucar during sunset. You can get a unique view of the city with very beautiful scenery. The mountain is accessible by public transport but there is also an option to take a shuttle service that drops you at the exact entrance to Sugar Loaf. The best part, you can hire a helicopter ride right to the top.
2. Cristo Redentor (Statue of Christ the Redeemer)
Perhaps the single most beautiful monument ever visited, not so much for the statue but for the entire context surrounding it. The Christ who, with his huge arm embraces and welcomes you in what Brazilians call the “Cidade Meravilhosa” is something special, but the landscape that opens up before your eyes is even more amazing and difficult to describe in words. Some places at least once in their life need to be seen and experienced; the Christ the Redeemer is certainly one of those.
3. Theatro Municipal Do Rio De Janeiro
The architecture is simply outstanding and designed in the purest colonial Portuguese style. This monument illuminates the center of Rio. The tour can only be visited with a guide (in Portuguese and English). It is much better to attend a performance. It features opera, ballet, symphony and soloist concerts. The theater hall has excellent acoustics and luxurious amenities. Almost all the big name artists in the world performed here. In the basement there is a good restaurant.
4. Pedra da Gavea
This is one of the highest points and one of the best tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro. It takes two and a half hours to reach the top of the mountain. The ride is nice, quite steep, but without major difficulty. The peak is located in the part of Sao Conrado and Barra da Tijuca. It is reachable only by experienced climbers, and offers a pleasant view of Rio de Janeiro. The park is frequented by practitioners of Paragliding and hang gliding.
5. Morro da Urca
One of the most exciting things to do in Rio de Janeiro is to climb the hill just above the halfway point that overlooks the Morro da Urca; it is here where you can see all the beauty of Rio de Janeiro. You can have a snack in one of the cafeterias and maybe even do a little shopping. At the end of the day, you can see the setting sun illuminate the statue of Christ on the opposite Corcovado Mountain. After 7:00 PM, the trail is closed and you can descend via cable car.
6. Arpoador Beach
It is a great place for surfing and an ideal place for relaxation with some nice bars to have a cold beer in the late afternoon. At 5:00 PM you can enjoy one of the best sunsets in Rio de Janeiro while overlooking the beaches of Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon. The beach is one of the most sought after venue by surfers because of its significant waves and blue waters.
7. Pedra Bonita
For those going by car, there is a small queue to climb to the parking lot. The path can also be done on foot. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top. From there, you can see the West, much of the South Zone, the Tijuca Forest, and the Pedra da Gávea. If you feel adventurous while on the island, you can try the incredible and unforgettable experience of flying a hang glider! It offers breathtaking views of the ocean, forest, mountains, and leave you with one of the most vivid impressions of Brazil while soaring over the incredible scenery. At the foot of the mountain, there are companies that provides services for hang-gliding. The cost of the flight includes videos and photos.
8. Copacabana Beach
Copacabana is located at the entrance to Guanabara Bay and passes through the Ipanema channel connecting the ocean with the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The long promenade and sand is filled with local Brazilian guys playing football along with vacationers. At night, the entire beach atmosphere becomes lively and filled with enthusiastic crowds, partying, swaying their hips on a Samba tune making this beach one of the best reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro.
The city is very beautiful and romantic, and this is quite perceptible, just walk through it and see the amount of couples that circulate when the weather is warm. It’s a good place to study and learn a bit of national history and a chance to enjoy different types of bars and restaurants.
10. Centro Cultural Banco Do Brasil
This is one of the most important cultural centers of Rio de Janeiro. It has an extensive program of cultural shows; free exhibitions from national and international artists like the works of Salvador Dalí, and highlighted plays at popular prices.
11. Tijuca National Park
You can spend a beautiful half-day tour at the Tijuca National park to admire old trees in the forest, waterfalls and breathtaking views. Lunch at the quaint restaurant (Esquilos) is included. Along the winding road that leads to the park, you can stop to admire the Chinese view, a construction of Asian fashion built in honor of Chinese workers who have helped build the road that starts from the city to this corner of paradise.
12. Prainha Beach
Most travel books classify Prainha as one of the top sites to see in the city. It is located at the westernmost part of Rio de Janeiro and is an extension of the beach of Barra da Tijuca. It’s a decent ride and there is nothing for the average beach goer that makes it worth all those extra miles. But if you are a surfer, then this beach is a must.
13. Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico)
The garden has a wealth of interesting wildlife and nice plants. From 40 meters high royal palm trees and cannon ball trees to beautiful flower collections, you must take your time to appreciate every corner of this park. The toucans and the free running monkeys are also a show in themselves. This huge zoological and horticultural attraction is indeed one of the great reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro.
14. Sao Bento Monastery
Located at the summit of a hill in the city center, the Sao Bento has a panoramic view of Guanabara Bay. Inside it has a rich baroque decoration and gilded wood siding. This church is intact and acquires a beautiful old gold hue. It is highly recommended if you enjoy the sacred art.
15. Grumari Beach
This idyllic beach is surrounded by nature, away from the buildings and the chaos of the city. It is a very good spot for relaxation and water sports activities. The beach is far from the city center and South Central Zone. The sea has small waves and the sand is pristine white and clean.
16. Real Gabinete Portugues Da Leitura
The Real Gabinete is a gorgeous library with a huge collection of old books. It is a library of old books taken from centuries ago. It is a single room but it is worth a visit. You can take pictures as long as no flash is used. Admission is free.
17. Maracana Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho
The stadium is huge and you can see everything at a glance. The recent site of the just concluded World Cup 2014 can accommodate a seating capacity of 80,000. Take a tour of the football museum; it is small but very interesting. All football fans should definitely visit.
18. Instituto Moreira Salles
The building and garden are beautiful and highlights the vegetation of Burle Marx (a well known botanist and landscape artist in Brazil) the glory, the rooms, and scheduling of exhibitions are curated with great professionalism.
19. Ipanema Beach
The beach is the meeting of two high-class neighborhoods Ipanema and Leblon that is full of excellent local reputation and relatively high prices. This international reputation of the Ipanema gained popularity since 1960, thanks to one of the most well-known songs of the Bossa nova to the world “Girl From Ipanema”. It’s a beautiful beach, fine white sand, and with many stalls where you can stop to take a Caipirinha or a coconut. Head out in the streets where the lavish cafes serve baked cheese rolls along with great coffee and drinks. Sway your hips to the samba beat in the local pubs to make that Brazil holidays the best vacation to remember.
20. Carnivals Of Rio
Rio is the city of carnivals and partys. Annual carnival for 2015 will start on 13th of Feb and end on the 18th Feb. If you wish to enjoy this festival, then you should book your hotel and flights well in advance.
This Rio travel guide aims to keep you aware of what to expect when visiting this marvelous city in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro constantly awed travelers by its characteristic excellence and sights. The generosity and warmth of its people, the “cariocas” (Rio born locals), is something that you can’t find anyplace else on the planet. No other city has such beautiful sunny shore, interesting culture, and natural sights. Go over the places listed in this Rio travel guide and plan your next vacation. Take your family or friends and have a wonderful time discovering the sights, sounds, and things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
Source: Ultimate Places