From the COPACABANA FORT, we will head to the CORCOVADO MOUNTAIN, by car, driving pass the TIJUCA NATIONAL PARK, considered the world's largest urban forest inside a city's limits and visit the CHRIST REDEEMER STATUE, from where we will enjoy one of the most beautiful and breathtaking views of the city.Back on the way, as we drive down, we will halt by an unmissible stop at DONA MARTA's view point.
This beautiful beach was made famous through a popular song: The Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema) by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. Ipanema Beach also has a very good location, near Copacabana Beach, but it is very distinct from its neighbor. The Ipanema beach features world-class restaurants, shops, and cafes and is one of the most expensive places to live in Rio.
Christ the Redeemer
The list of things to see and do are unending. The must sees definitely are- the Sugar Loaf mountain, the statue of Christ, all the beaches, the Tijuca forest, a samba show, a football match. Inspite of 5 days in the city, we still missed out on some of the places.The beaches:If you’re a beach person like me you’ll love the sand and waves that line the coasts of Rio. Our first day in the city, we walked straight down to Ipanema beach, and all the tiredness from 24 hours of flying disappeared. We jumped right into the 10 foot high waves and were tossed around. Right by the beach front there are jogging and cycling tracks, and cycles for rent at 5 reals an hour. We rented cycles from one beach and deposited them off at the other.Must see beaches are Ipanema, Copacabana, Leblon. Copacabana was way too crowded, so we spent all our beach time at Ipanema Football match:You cannot go to South America and not go for a football match. So on the Sunday we were there, we went for a match. Our hotel organized it for us with a pick up and drop back. The match we went for was between 2 local teams, and the stands were not very crowded. But that didn’t matter. The energy and passion of the fans and obvious talent of the players was incredible. Getting around:Rio was pretty simple to get around. We used cabs and buses for distances, and walked to the closer places. Straight out of the airport we found a cab that used the meter with a driver who spoke English. He was pretty helpful and gave us some advice on what we could do and costs for activities like samba shows and football matches. Safety:We’ve heard enough scary stories about Rio and decided to stay in a bustling area which was alive all night. The rules are, don’t carry too much money, stay away from lonely lanes, don’t be over flashy, and leave your passport in your hotel room. Try to carry your camera in a regular bag rather than a case so that you don’t attract too much attention.Language:As the only Portuguese speaking country in the continent, there is a strong language barrier, but people are generally helpful. The receptionists in our hotel spoke English and gave us daily instructions, making things quite easyTO STAY:Most people who know about Rio recommended Copacabana. But the one’s who have visited recommended Ipanema. When we went there, we knew why. We stayed at the Mar Ipanema, 2 lanes away from the beach in Ipanema’s main street. Ipanema is a beautiful preppy locality with bustling street life, bars, restaurants and stores all through the main street. The beach 2 lanes away is perfect- not too crowded. Copacabana on the other hand is very crowded. While it is worth visiting, with its number of bars and restaurants, it is not as nice to stay.TO EAT:You have to be a meat eater in Brazil. Rio being so cosmopolitan has a number of food options, but we didn’t see vegetarian food anywhere. Our most interesting meal was at a Brazilian churrascaria- where we were given a map of a cow and asked to select the part we liked most. We started our meal with the leg and ended with the stomach. If you have a small appetite, you should skip lunch and save space for this meal. You can imagine how full we were when the following day we skipped both meals and had only sushi for dinner.TO SPEND:Rio, and in fact Brazil is far more expensive than the rest of South America. Expect to spend at least 350 USD a day (including stay). If you choose one of the fancier 5 stars you could land up spending about 700 USD a night, so choose your hotel well.This trip was originally published on nutterbug.
After "blessed by the Christ", our tour continues towards downtown area. We'll then walk through the SANTA TERESA street car station. And then we'll ride the trolley over the old acqueduct known as ARCOS DA LAPA (Lapa arches), up to SANTA TERESA NEIGHBORHOOD to visit its colonial architecture and pretty workshops and handcrafts stores.I will ensure that we would never get back downtown without tasting the typical flavor of Rio, trying the unique and exquisite famous brazilian "black beans stew" turn overs with cold beer and chilled "caipirinhas" at a very local bar, where we can feel and experience the "soul" of Rio. OUTTA THIS WORLD!!On the way back down, we walk along Santa Teresa's colonial streets to the old bohemian district of LAPA, also visiting the famous "tiles covered staircase" by JORGE SELARÓN, the chilean artist who lives in Rio.Ending up our full day tour, we will head to another famous and unmissible highlight in Rio: THE SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN, with its european design, glass diamond shaped cable cars, on a ride up to 326mts high. Luckily, we can check the sunset from there, over the mountains, behind the Christ statue skyline and also see the city lit up, changing completely but as well impressive and beautifuly, the scene of our city.Day 2 - FULL DAY TOUR SCHEDULEWe'll start our visit at the beautiful and panoramic city across the bay, over the bridge, of Niteroi where we can have a beautiful view of the city of Rio from the Contemporary Art Museum designed by the famous brazilian architect OSCAR NIEMEYER. After visiting NITEROI, we'll head to the world's largest urban atlantic rain forest park, the tijuca national park, to take wonderful pictures by the park's waterfall. We'll drive down the park's mountain to "barra da tijuca", the newest borrough in Rio, where the "wild beaches of the west" are located. After trying the famous brazilian barbecue, you'll visit the sugar loaf mountain by cable car, and be there to stare one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.Here's how things work down here: Certified tour guides have free entrance in ALL touristic attractions, museums and theathers, so, don't worry about going to all places and because of that overwhelm your budget with the guide's tickets. (LOL!). The price mentioned above is for 1-2 people. For bigger groups, please contact me via the trip enquiry form.
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a beautiful lagoon in the Lagoa south zone of Rio de Janeiro, surrounded by Ipanema, Leblon, Gávea, Jardim Botânico, Copacabana, Botafogo, and Humaitá. Here you will find a Christmas Tree built over a floating platform that moves around the lagoon every season
Belmond Copacabana Palace - Avenida Atlântica
I’ve stayed at countless luxury hotels over the years, but the Copacabana Palace Hotel stands out because the service was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. I was staying solo in a massive room, and yet this room was cleaned and serviced at least thrice daily. Nothing was overlooked. The hotel even smelled of luxury. Or maybe it was just lemongrass. Either way, divine. After a hard day at work (I was there as an account executive filming a TV commercial) followed by a hard night out partying with the locals on the eve of Carnival, my group enjoyed a luxurious midnight dip in the pool. This is the same pool that Brigitte Bardot, Rita Hayworth and a host of other rich and famous people have swam in over the years. The discreet staff handed us towels and one last nightcap before we called it a night.
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
The Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi with the sugar loaf mountain in the background is a scene of modern architecture meeting nature's marvels. Designed by the brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, it's an unmissible attraction in Niterói city. The museum and the Icarai beach, Niteroi, behind, make for the highlights of our day 2 of touring Rio.
Surprisingly the beach was really chilled out, like the quiet before the storm and the water is so cold its refreshing, and on Friday we already began our bloco hopping at a roman themed gathering with the catchiest songs. Saturday was a hazy mix of blocos all over town, culminating in a brass band at the end of the evening which topped it all off. Somehow we were still going on Sunday and danced all day at a small electro bloco outside a club entrance, which blew the roof for us once the trap started flowing out the speakers. We sadly had to leave to get over to the Sambadrome for the first evening of the special group. The efforts of the parade were mind blowing but it was sad to see a big chief getting beheaded when it clipped the press platform hanging overhead. The stadium looks fantastic from the inside but is pure chaos outside, it is as if it was plonked in the middle of nowhere without warning. We left in the early hours, got 2 hours sleep and jumped on a flight to Salvador.
Trem do Corcovado
Corcovado is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world. At 2230 feet, this hunchback mountain is crowned with the famous Christ Redeemer statue. By night, the 100 foot tall, 1,000 ton statue appears to float above the city like an angel, guarding Brazil's most famous and beloved city. The view from this perch surpasses the imagination, and many visitors are awed by the spectacle. Whether shrouded in mist, or spotlighted by the blazing sun, Corcovado is a spectacular site to visit and wonder at. Tours are available, and the tram to the top provides a casual but breathtaking experience. No trip to Rio would be complete without a trip to the top.
We will start at around 9am at the LEBLON VIEW POINT where you can taking beautiful pictures of the breathtaking sights of LEBLON & IPANEMA beaches. I call this start "Manu's welcome drink view point", because it's here that I usually take people to "get into the city's mood", as we sip a delicious sweet and chilled non-alcoholic famous Rio de Janeiro drink.Then, we'll drive along Rio's beach side to see the famous LEBLON, IPANEMA & COPACABANA beaches, also stopping at the historical and beautiful COPACABANA FORT, from where we can have the prettiest ground view of the SUGAR LOAF MOUNTAIN and COPACABANA BEACH. It will truly be your best memory of your Rio trip!
Tijuca is a neighborhood with the most buzz around the city. You'll get to shop in the sprawling arena of South America's biggest shopping mall in Barra da Tijuca, at the Bara Shopping, along with Rio Design Barra and many others. There are also numerous famous churrascaria and cafes and restaurants where we can stop for a quick bite of Brazilian delicacies! Other attractions include Taunay waterfall at the Tijuca National Park visitors center, along with the serenity of the old bridge from the 18th century, keeps the colonial and bucolic atmosphere at this beautiful place. The Barra da Tijuca and Recreio beaches are truly surfers paradise on the west zone of the city. And finally, we'll get to the Urca hill, in the second part of the trip is to ride up to the sugar loaf mountain. And after the sunset, hills give way to the rewarding view of the city lights.
Parque Nacional da Tijuca
Tijuca National Park is the largest urban forest in the world. Tijuca is home to 30 waterfalls, hundreds of plant species, and over 100 animal species. This is a spectacular tourist attraction, offering a look into the natural beauty that once was all of Rio. Tijuca Peak, the second tallest in Rio, offers spectacular views of the city below, and the natural wonders around Rio de Janeiro. Any visitor simply must see this attraction
As we walk along Santa Teresa's colonial streets, we'll head to the old bohemian district of LAPA. This visit will be incomplete without visiting the famous "tiles covered staircase" by JORGE SELARÓN, the chilean artist who lives in Rio. At the old district of LAPA, you'll enjoy the centennial buildings. The bucolic and picturesque LAPA district, with the street car riding over the arches of the old aqueduct, is hence also called ARCOS DA LAPA. In the Lapa district, we'll also get to visit the beautiful architecture and mosaics of 1909 at the Municipal Theatre, and Master Valentim Water Fountain, which has been preserved in the heart of this downtown area since 1789.