Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bem Vindo Ao Rio!
With golden beaches lapped around lush mountains, a samba-fueled atmosphere, an incomparable natural landscape and a gritty city life – Rio de Janeiro makes the ideal vacation spot for everyone. Get ready to experience world-class art, revel in the joie de vivre of the locals, get to know the feisty culture and savor the white sandy beaches with their lively shores.
Welcome to the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city), a city that’s all about lounging by the beach, getting enamored by the sounds of seductive samba, and truly enjoying the slower pace of life. Whether you want to spend your entire vacation on the beach, or you want to enjoy some art and culture – Rio caters to all types of travelers.
Today – Now
PLANNING & BOOKING
The dreaded part of any vacation - planning! Every savvy traveler knows that it’s always better to plan and book early in advance to bag those irresistible bargains. Not only do you get to save up to 25% on flight and hotel prices, but you also get to never settle for second-best! Lower flight prices, room deals and early bird discounts are only some of the many benefits of booking your tickets, excursions and accommodation early on. We recommend planning and booking 3 to 6 months in advance – a surefire way to have a worry-free pre-holiday buzz when the time to travel is near!
Unforgettable Moments - Rio Highlights
Rio is all about the unforgettable highlights you’ll be seeing. The sweeping panoramic vistas from Christ the Redeemer, the sprawling Ipanema Beach, the feisty vibe of Copacabana, and the almost continuous joie de vivre all make it a favorite destination for so many travellers. The energy of Rio is contagious, it’s a sensory overload of joyous walks, shimmering lights, tanned locals and a carioca spirit unlike any other.
Day 1: Arrival + Beach
We recommend taking the earliest flight to Rio so you can fully make use of your first day. The Rio de Janeiro International Airport is the main airport in Rio de Janeiro and getting to the city center won’t be a hassle at all. The minute you land you’ll find hoards of companies that have a taxi service and the prices range from R$80 to R$120. You can choose whether you want to pay in cash or credit.
You can also choose the normal Aerocoop taxi but be careful with scams and always make sure the taxi actually has “Aerocoop” on the back. You can always try using the famous “Fresao” bus, but it usually taxis an hour or more depending on traffic.
Start your day by having a fresh coffee at Sofa Café located in Copacabana. Your first day is bound to be rife with jet lag, so it’s better to spend it all by the dreamy beaches of Rio. A stroll down Copacabana is enough to make you excited for the rest of your trip and instantly put you in vacation mode no matter how tired you are. The black and white promenade stretched for foul kilometers and is lashed with gorgeous golden sands, century-old buildings and hundreds of restaurants. This is where you’ll get to truly experience the energy of Copacabana. Check out the Copacabana Palace, and then walk over to the Copacabana Fort where you’ll find the Museum of the History of the Army located. You’ll be able to learn about the military history of Rio there.
After your stroll, settle at Ipanema, the world-famous beach of Rio de Janeiro and one of the top tourist attractions. The beach is surrounded by two mountains that create a stunning backdrop to the golden sands, the beach stalls and the colorful sun beds.
By sunset, we highly recommend going to Arpoador at the end of Ipanema. You’ll find hundreds of locals watching the ionic sunset from there. Don’t forget to clap when the sun sets behind the mountains!
End your first day by trying local wine at Canastra and then immersing yourself in the Rio atmosphere by visiting Renascença Clube where the night slowly turns into a crazy samba party!
You can’t visit Rio without going to the renowned Confeitaria Colombo and having breakfast there. The setting is simply grand – with high ceilings, gorgeous décor and great food.
After that, you’re going to be heading to Rio’s top attraction – Christ the Redeemer. You’ll ned to take a taxi up to Largo de Machado and then take a van that will take you up to Corcovado, and make sure to choose a clear day so you can enjoy the incredible views from up there. The iconic monument has long been a symbol of Rio, with spellbinding views and great photo ops. Make sure to go as early as possible so you can get to enjoy the monument in all of its majesty before the tourist groups come.
Rising up majestically from the Guanabara bay is the Sugarloaf mountain, with views of the mountainous coast, and islands below. What makes this mountain specifically popular is actually the journey up to there – a cable car system that has been taking people up there since the early 1900’s. The stunning scenery, the light reflecting on the hills and the golden hues of the sky reflected on the surroundings will be enough to make you want to spend your entire afternoon there.
If you want to wind down after, head over to Praia Vermelha, a nearby beach that’s much less crowded than the Ipanema.
After a long day, you’ll want nothing but a hearty meal and Fogo de Chao will have just that. Savor some traditional churrasco – a local Brazilian dish that’ll make you want to come back for more!
Your entire morning and afternoon will be dedicated to exploring the downtown of Rio and getting a taste of the vibrant culture of the city. But first, have breakfast at De Case de Tata – a breakfast joint that serves the best pastries, simple coffee and an extensive range of homemade food. You’ll find that people there usually like to spend a few hours there socializing and talking, so feel free to stall a bit and take your time with your coffee! Next, head over to the historical downtown where you can revel in the Portuguese architecture, art galleries and multiple museums.
Next, walk towards the Museum of Tomorrow located on the port, then enjoy the incredible mural by Eduardo Kobra. It’s the largest street art mural in the world and is a breathtaking example of graffiti. Make sure to check out Carmen Miranda’s house, the municipal Theatre and the City Council.
You can’t miss out on one of the most Instagrammable spots in all of Ario – the renowned colorful staircase of Escadaria Selaron. This staircase has over 200 tiles steps and acts as the perfect photo backdrop!
After having lunch at one of the many restaurants around downtown, take the bonde to Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a haven for all art lovers. The neighborhood is a mixture of bohemian art, boutiques, colorful architecture and a plethora of street art examples. The winding cobbled streets of Santa Teresa are brimming with all types of shops, so expect to stay there for at least a few hours.
After an exciting day roaming around the romantic neighborhood, have some feijoada at bar do Mineiro.
A trip to Rio is not complete without a visit to Bip Bip. This is Rio’s best place to listen to live roda de samba. At first, it might not look like much, but the vibe gets so lively you’ll find people from the bar spilling out into the streets. The bar has no waiters – you’re expected to get your cold beers from the fridge – but it’s where Rio’s energy comes to life.
Day 4: Day trip to Ilha Grande.
Ilha Grande is simply one of the most beautiful islands in all of Brazil. You’ll be transported from the hustle and bustle and energy of Rio to the calmness of crystal clear waters surrounded by rolling hills, golden sands and exotic birds. The tropical island is a car-free zone and is the perfect place to give yourself a break mid-vacation!
Morning – the journey:
You’ll need to take a bus from Rio that will take you to Mangaratiba (a 3 hour journey), then take a boat to the island (1 hour and 45 minutes.) We recommend taking the 5:00 am bus from Rio, so you can arrive on time for the boat to Ilha Grande.
Start your day by visiting Abraão, the central point of the island, and then start your walk from there. You’ll be going through lush rainforests, private beaches, and beautiful views all around.
After the beach, head over to Candido Mendes (or what remains of it), one of Brazil’s top former prisons.
Ilha Grande is a place you go to so you can indulge in all sorts of water activities. So whether you want to snorkel, dive, take boat trips or go kayaking – you’ll find it all there.
We recommend having fresh seafood at one of the best restaurants in Ilha Grande – Dom Mario.
Start your day by having breakfast at Café 18 de Forte, located by Copacabana. Enjoy a farmhouse breakfast while taking in the views of the beach promenade, and soaking up the beautiful views around.
Next, you’ll be doing the Dois Irmaos hike – one of Rio’s most famous hikes that will take you through Vigidal (one of the city’s most famous and safest favelas), and combines stunning views, and picturesque trails with the hike as well.
The ambiance of Vidigal is intoxicating. There is a very distinct art scene, great restaurants, and an incredible bar scene as well. Have lunch at Bar Lacubaco, a small restaurant that offers some of the best Brazilian food in Rio.
If you want to enjoy some live reggae, and party until the sunrise then Alto Vidigal is the place to go.
Start your day right by having some fresh juice and an açaí berry bowl at BIBI Sucos, then hit the museums of the Centro. Start off at Praca Maua, then slowly walk towards the different museums including Museu de Arte do Rio (which will take you on a journey through Rio’s history).
Spend your morning lazily strolling down Rua Primeiro de Marco until you reach Praca XV square. There you’ll find multiple restaurants you can have brunch or a quick lunch at.
After getting a gist of Rio’s history, it’s time to visit one of Rio’s most renowned and beloved attractions – Jardim Botânico. A huge park that is brimming with tropical plants, trees, and hundreds of photo ops.
Spend your evening exploring the Lapa district. The neighborhood is the place to be for an unforgettable night out. From dive bars to glitzy nightclubs, this place is the hub for anyone who’s interested in live music and dancing. A simple walk through the neighborhood will draw you in with its energy and vibe.
Day 7: Tchau Rio!
We recommend taking the latest flight out of Rio so you can try and enjoy this city a little bit more. If you do have time before your flight, head towards Copacabana for one final beach day before you go!