Marvelous beaches, exotic looking hills and a lake.
Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon are just a few of the famous beaches
When to Travel?
All year long - Marvelous beaches, exotic looking hills and a lake.
Where is It?
Rio is basically divided into four areas: South, North , Downtown and West.
Rio is basically divided into four areas: South, North , Downtown and West. The South Area is the most famous part of the city. Marvelous beaches, exotic looking hills and a lake. Zona Sul (South area) is where most of the day tours and nightlife will take place, It’s safer than most of the neighborhoods but common sense should be exercised when approaching the slams on the slopes surrounding the area. Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon are located in the South Area (Zona Sul). The West side of town is mainly a upper class neighborhood resembling American suburbs with shopping centers, wide avenues and condominiums. Barra da Tijuca is located on the west side of town. Downtown Rio can be interesting for the tourist because of its colonial architecture, churches, museums and other cultural buildings. The Santa Tereza neighborrhood is located minutes from the downtown area. The North Area doesn’t appeal much to the average tourist. There are sites such as the Maracana Stadium, Tijuca Forest and the samba schools rehearsals that definitely make the trip to this side of town worth it.
What to do and Where to go
Besides seating on the beach, if you dig doing a little bit of everything, here are a few suggestions of things that will relax you and enrich your Brazil – Rent a bike and ride from Copacabana to Leblon or Leme. Stop and enjoy some coconut water on the many coconut stands along the way. Catch the sunset at Ipanema. If you are more athletic perhaps you want to ride all the way to Gloria and stop over at the Sugar Loaf. Once there, take the cable car to the top for breath taking views of the city. At The Gloria Marina you can catch a two hour sunset cruise on a sail boat around Guanabara Bay. Don’t leave Rio without making all the way to the highest point in the city, Corcovado where the statue of Christ the redeemer is located. Check out the view, take a lot of pictures but visit this site only on a clear day. One the way back from Corcovado stop by the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Look from the Tram stop and catch a trolley to Lapa, you will see many cute traditional Portuguese post-colonial style houses along the way. Get off at Largo do Guimaraes and enjoy typical Brazilian Food dishes at very affordable prices. Watch a soccer game at Maracana Stadium. Check at your hotel if there is a soccer game going on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday or even a Thursday night. This will be an unmatched experience, watching the fans can sometimes be more interesting than the game itself. Another fun activity is to ride a bike around the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Rent a bike and a lock for it, take your time, stop along the coconut stands for more coconut water. If you circle the Lake look for the Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens) signs lock your bike and walk around for a while. Off course you don’t have to do that on a bike but if you do so it’s going to be better on a cloudy day since the sun can get very hot in Rio.
Where to stay and at the beach
The first thing you need to remember is always to stay on the South Area. It’s not only the most beautiful and safe part of town but most of the your activities during the day and night as well will take place around Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon. Avoid driving in Rio, getting around the city is easy and inexpensive. A Cab fare from Copacabana to Ipanema will run less than six dollars. Another way to get around is the subway, your best bet to travel downtown from the South area. and vice versa. There are also Vans that cover the beaches for a little over one dollar , they have a sign with their destination on the front but don’t forget that you must have some language skills to tell the driver where you want to get out. Public buses are not your best bet in Rio. Try not to walk around with jewelry such as expensive watches, rings, necklace, bracelets etc… Don’t try to be a hero. Make sure to carry change, don’t just assume that everybody will break a Fifty. Cops in Brazil will take action before they will have a discussion with you. So you will be better off if you do as you are told and don’t argue.
Copacabana beach on a hot day At the beach
There are lot of activities at the beach in Rio. You can play Volleyball, Soccer or Frescobol, the non -competitive paddle ball game. Body Surf, jog, drink beer, walk, butt-watch or even get a massage. Whatever you do, do not make eye contact with street vendors they can become your worst nightmare. Make sure someone you know is watching your stuff if you decide to take a walk or go for a swim specially if you carry a camera, large amounts of money or other valuables. A little more hidden beach is the Joatinga on the west side. A cab will cost about ten dollars each way. On the way back from Joatinga you may want to check Praia do Pepe (Pepe Beach) on Barra da Tijuca. There are a lot good restaurants for a late lunch. We can’t really forget Copacabana Beach, the place for social diversity in Rio, walk up and down the sidewalks and watch, you never know what you are going to see. You can also get a massage right on the beach in Copacabana. It you like diving or snorkeling a boat tour of Rio’s coast can be a real great idea. The islands you see from Ipanema Beach , the Cagarras Islands are a great spot for that . You can also go across the bay to Niteroi and check out many other islands like the Paqueta Island.
What to bring
When coming to Rio you must bring summer clothes. Bermudas, a couple pair of pants, t-shirts, maybe one long sleeve t-shirt, a pair of sandals or tennis shoes, a pair of social shoes, a light rain jacket, sunglasses, digital camera, sun screen and money. Leave your laptop at home!
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From $450 / Person
Loved everything about my trip, the beaches, the culture, the people. A must see tour in Brazil, definitely recommend booking this tour.