Rio De Janeiro, without a doubt it’s one of the most popular cities in all of South America. It’s not hard to see why. It’s big, beautiful and filled with tons of things to do! It ain’t the cheapest city in South America but there are many things you can do for free or very cheap! Here are the best things to do in Rio because I’m all about saving that cheddah.
A beautiful park that’s full of small trails lined with beautiful, dense trees. It felt like walking through a beautiful jungle while being 100m from the city streets. The best part of this park is the instagrammable beautiful café named Plage located in the middle of the park. If you feel like balling out you can order the brunch for around 80-100 reals ($28-$35 CDN), if you don’t want to spend that much you can always get a latte for 9 reals (3.25CDN). If you don’t want to spend anything at all, you don’t have to! You can just take some photos here and leave 🙂
After your photo shoot, walk through the park head over to the Botanical Gardens. It’s only a fifteen-minute walk away.
It’s big, beautiful and there are lots of places to get beautiful photos. The best part for me was walking through these super tall palm trees and the trail near the forest part of the garden. Make sure to wear bug repellent as there are nasty little bugs who bite and DRAW BLOOD! Those bites were sooo itchy and disgusting.
Cost: 15 reals ($5 CDN) and they only accept cash.
Morro Dois Irmaos: My favorite. (also the only one I did LOL) You start in the Favela do Vidigal, pay 5 reals for a moto taxi to drive you to the start of the hike. It was scary and fun. It takes about 1-2 hours to reach the top depending on your pace. At the top of the favela, there is a really nice bar called Bar da Laje with a stunning view which is a nice reward after the hike. Read about my experience doing this hike here
Pedra da Gavea: The highest spot in the city. It takes about 3-4 hours to reach the top and is considered a moderate level.
Pedra Bonita: Very easy hike and only takes about 40 minutes. It’s located just next to Pedra da Gavea.
Mirante Dona Marta: Can be reached by car and has the best view of Christ the Redeemer. After seeing the Christ the Redeemer, hire a taxi to take you there and back or you can walk but it’s a pretty long walk, one way it’s about 30 mins – 1 hour depending on your pace.
Morro da Urca: This is the hill right next to the famous Sugarloaf Mountain. It’s an easy trek, and should only take around 30mins to a max1 hour – I’m pretty sure we did it in less than 30 mins. From the top of Urca, you can get the cable car to reach the Sugarloaf and pay half-price! If you stay on Sugarloaf for sunset (which I highly recommend) you get the ride down from Urca for free so you don’t have to hike back down in the dark 🙂
Classics: Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon.
Joatinga: It’s a local beach located in a bay. It has really calm waves and is surrounded by beautiful palm trees, it’s my favorite.
Praia Vermelha (Red beach): Very relaxing, with stand-up paddles for rent and it’s just near the bottom of the Sugarloaf mountain.
Santa Teresa: A small village, very charming full of restaurants, cafe and bars. They have a very good Feijoada at Bar do Mineiro, this place gets really busy so don’t be surprised if you have to wait for a bit to get a table. It’s worth it though! You can spend the afternoon there, walk around, drink beer in the streets. You can get to Santa Teresa on a small train where you can take in the city center. There is also some nice viewpoints and the famous stairs of Rio called the Selaron Steps.
Forte de Copacabana: fortress between Copacabana and Ipanema with a nice view of the beach. Next to the fortress you can rent some stand-up paddles.
Christ the Redeemer – duh. Many people say they were underwhelmed by Christ the Redeemer and there was a ton of people there when we went, but the views are definitely worth it! There’s even a cafe up there where you can crack open a beer and relax. You can get here by taking the train, van or hiking up to the top!
Lapa for nightlife, bars and clubbing.
Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading: The coolest library I’ve ever been in! I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas: The lagoon is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing sea water to enter through a canal. It’s in the southern part of the city, it’s stunningly beautiful and surrounded by the mountains. It’s great for a day of relaxation and a picnic.
If you want to know more about Brazilian food and staying fit in Rio, read this post.
Hope this helps with your trip planning! Rio is such a beautiful city, rain or shine you’ll find something fun to do!
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