Formerly the Brazilian capital, Rio is the home of Carnival, the world famous beaches and gorgeous people. What some people are less aware of is the abundance of natural wonders and picturesque landscape. Get those cameras ready, as my list of things to do in Rio De Janeiro will keep you pretty busy!
1) Rio Carnival
The biggest party in the world, the carnival goes on for four days, with approximately 1,000 blocos (street bands to me and you), percussion groups, dancers and singers all put on a parade even the pope would be proud of. If you are new to the city, you can actually arrange party tours during Carnival, where you will have someone guide you around, which will help you to party the night away while avoiding some of the more dangerous areas or people. There is even a VIP option if you feel like treating yourself.
2) Visit The Beach
You couldn’t visit Rio without spending a decent amount of time on the sandy beaches, soaking in the sun and checking out some of the hottest people in the world! With a huge passion for football, you could join in a cheeky game, or have a go at a watersport, or simply brown the skin a little bit. The number one spot is Copacabana, often the scene they use to illustrate the relaxed lifestyle some have in Brazil. You also might want to check out Ipanema, Arpoador and Botafogo beach.
3) Go Hang Gliding
I have an extreme fear of heights, but if you have a bit more courage than me then I would recommend considering the hang gliding options available. You will have someone attached to you doing all the directing and keeping you calm, while you just look out at the stunning views. You can even request pictures to be taken from a selfie stick on the glider, but make sure you check this is included beforehand. The pictures will be your profile shot on Facebook for years to come!
4) Christ The Redeemer
In a highly religious country, the image of Christ will follow you where ever you go. The statue of Christ on top of the Corcovado Peak is easily the most well known one in the world, standing atop a 710 metre peak, looking out over Rio. This also offers you a chance to hike up a hill and escape the busy city life for a bit, although the area will be filled with tourists, so be prepared for the snap happy fingers.
5) Sugarloaf Mountain
As you relax on Guanabara Bay, you have a brilliant view of Sugarloaf mountain. If you properly want to explore the mountain, take the bondinho (cable car) from the base of Babilonia hill. These cable cars run on a regular basis and are reasonably priced.
6) Visit A Market
No trip is complete for me personally until I have raided a market, found a bargain and tried a local delicacy. Running mainly on the Sunday, you should try both Gloria and Uruguaiana, where you will find plenty of spices, crafts and jewellery, food for lunch and a present for someone back home. Both markets are quite different to each other, so if you didn’t enjoy one, don’t rule out visiting the other, as they are great fun.
7) The Favela’s
This is a difficult one, as these can be incredibly dangerous, not to mention a bit disrespectful to be exploring people’s homes to see how poor they are. But it is an eye opening experience and will show you the other side to the city, the real Rio De Janeiro. Approximately 70,000 of the poorest people in the whole city live in this area, however there are opportunities to even stay in these for a period of time, to get a feel for what it is like, as well as getting to know others in the area. Just be cautious with these, as there is a huge risk involved.
8) The Maracana Stadium
You might remember this stadium in recent times as it was the host to the 2014 World Cup Final. Built at the end of the 1940’s, in preparation for Brazil to host the world cup in 1950, the stadium has seen some truly memorable games and is seen as a sporting Mecca for true football fans.
9) Parque Nacional and Floresta da Tijuca
One of the key things that intrigues me about South America is the tropical rain forest, however it is easy to get side tracked in Rio by the beach and party lifestyle. I would therefore recommend splitting your week up by checking out the national park, filled with giant waterfalls, brilliant walking trails and some great birds to look out for.
10) Lapa By Bike
There is plenty to see in this area, from markets and antique stores, to bars where you can samba or go to dance classes, or just enjoy the general atmosphere. They now have a number of bike rental stands in the area, meaning you can explore the whole area within a few hours, helping you to keep to a tight schedule, while also squeezing in some exercise to make up for the drinks you will be having that evening.