Located on the southeast coast of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is a city blessed with a spectacular geography that merges white-sand beaches with rain forest-covered mountains. Outdoor enthusiasts will revel in the opportunities to connect with nature, but there are also plenty of attractions for culture buffs. As a former capital of Brazil, Rio is rich with history and modern culture, ensuring an enjoyable trip regardless of whether you prefer state parks or samba.
Ipanema Beach (upper) and Sugarloaf Mountain (source: internet)
Catch the sunrise on either the upscale Ipanema Beach on the southeastern coast or the nearby playful Copacabana Beach. Before sunset, make your way to Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar). Take a cable-car ride to the top for a remarkable view including beaches, forests and other landmarks.
Make time for a trip to Corcovado, home of the statue Christ the Redeemer, known locally as Cristo Redentor. Beat the crowds by arriving early as this free “New Seven Wonders of the World” attraction is on every traveler’s itinerary. You’ll understand why when you see the impressive views surrounding this statue, which was erected in 1931.
Corcovado is in the Tijuca National Park, the perfect place to connect with nature. Conservationists replanted much of the park in the late 1800s after substantial deforestation. This destination is now a lush home to more than 100 native animal species, making it the largest urban forest in the world. Amenities along the trails include restaurants and restrooms.
Soccer fans won’t want to miss a match at the famous Maracanã Stadium. If you can’t catch a game, stop at the sports museum inside the stadium to see memorabilia, photographs and uniforms of Brazil’s greatest football players.
Enjoy Rio’s vibrant nightlife as you listen to local music and watch samba dancers. While bar hopping, be cautious when traveling on foot. Leave valuables in your hotel room and either avoid crowds or travel within a small group including locals. The city is easy to navigate by bus during the day, but it’s best to avoid using this form of transport at night.