This is one of Rio’s most beautiful landmarks and probably one of my favorites. The Sugarloaf Mountain is comprised by two separate mountains. In order to visit, you must ride a cable car from the base to the top of the first mountain and then you need to ride another cable car to the top of the second mountain. Once you get to the second mountain, there is a relaxing small park with a trail around it. If you are lucky, you might encounter a couple of little monkeys and beautiful birds.
The whole visit should take you approximately 2,5 hrs. to complete. I would recommend combining that with a visit to the Red Beach at the bottom. This way you can fully experience the Sugarloaf from the bottom to the top.
I recommend starting in the morning by visiting the mountains first then coming back down for the Red Beach and the trail. I feel like you can enjoy more this way.
Christ the Redeemer – Corcovado
This is a must see in Rio!
You don’t need to be religious to enjoy this landmark. This place is fantastic and provides you with a 360 degree view of the city of Rio! You take a train up to the top and once you get there, you must walk flight of stairs to get to Christ’s base. There’s a chapel inside the monument but unfortunately a trip into the arms is not available to the public.
It can be very crowded during the day making it stressful to take a perfect picture with the Christ or to take pictures of the landscape below. I recommend going in the morning or late afternoon to avoid big crowds. Also, choose to go when the day is clear. You can’t see much when the day is cloudy.
This is one small spot in Rio that is worth seeing. At Escadaria Selaron, take time and see the different countries represented and artists honored on the staircase. It is usually a very busy place, so people are always around. Lapa, Escadaria Selaron and the Santa Teresa Tram station are walking distance from each other, so you can plan an afternoon to see all three.
R. Joaquim Silva, S/N – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20241-110, Brazil
Santa Teresa Tram
This tram goes through Santa Teresa and on top of Lapa Bridge into the other side. The tram is yellow, very vintage like and small. The ride is free so expect lots of tourists to be waiting at the station for a ride. Each tram can take up to 40-45 people.
You can plan to visit Lapa, Escadaria Selaron and walk up to the tram station for a ride. You can also do the reverse itinerary, leaving from Rua Lelio Gama which is very close to Metro Carioca Station.
Forte de Copacabana
Located a few blocks south from Copacabana Palace, Copacabana Fort is a former military base that provides you with a beautiful view of Copacabana. For about $2 you can walk around the grounds and visit their museum and café. Make sure to walk all the way to the end of the fort so you can enjoy the best views of Copacabana!
Feira de Sao Cristovao
Located outside of Rio City, in Sao Cristovao, this is an attraction for the ones who wish to see more of Rio. It is a great place to buy souvenirs for cheap and to experience some of the culture from the North of Brazil. This place is of a size of soccer stadium and is full of tents, where people sell all sorts of things. There are a couple of restaurants serving food from the Northern region and stages where people perform typical dances. It is very entertaining!
Rua Campo De Sao Cristovao | Sao Cristovao, Rio de Janeiro,State of Rio de Janeiro 20921-440, Brazil
Maracana is among the five biggest soccer stadiums in the world. Recently renovated for the World Cup, Maracana is able to host about 78,000 fans. We went to Maracana to watch a match between Fluminense and Gremio. The teams were from different states so the match was friendly and energetic. When the teams from the same state play against each other, the matches can become more heated. Either way, it will sure be a good time!
Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, s/n – Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20271-130, Brazil
This place is stunning! Jardim Botanico (Botanic Garden) hosts some of the most beautiful tropical flowers and plants worth seeing. Jardim Botanico is a place to unwind and breathe fresh air. However, it is a popular place and the line to buy tickets can get very long. If possible, try visiting the park on a weekday.
- Jardim Botânico, 1008 – Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22460-030, Brazil
This is the most popular beach in Rio, and possibly in the world! Like all other beaches in Brazil, Copacabana is a public beach and is open to its visitors 24/7. Obviously, the beach is very busy during the day with people exercising and bathing. When the sun goes down, the entertainment is moved to the edge of the beach where various tent bars open so people can get some food and drinks. In Copacabana beach you can get coconut water and alcohol anytime. Beautiful sand sculptures are displayed for the tourists by South American artists. It is free to take pictures but the artists expect contributions.
You can also rent a bike and ride up and down the famous wavy boardwalk of Copacabana.
Praia Vermelha (Red Beach) is located at the bottom of Sugarloaf Mountain. There you can enjoy a more intimate beach or a nice walk around the sugarloaf. At the trail you are able to see various birds flying around and little monkeys jumping from tree to tree.
References and Tips
When looking for a hotel, give preference to the ones located at the beach front so you would be closer to the main attractions. At Atlantica Avenue, there are several options that you can choose, ranging from two to five star hotels.
As with many big cities, it’s so important to be cautious and responsible. To prevent any bad experiences, take into consideration some helpful safety tips:
- Look like a local – when traveling in Rio, dress as basic as you can. Avoid flashy types of clothes, watches, jewelry and electronics in public. Look like a local.
- Watch the drinking – make sure that you are in a safe place with safe company before starting the heavy drinking. Illegal substances easily circulate in the nightlife scenario, so it is important to be cautious when it comes to alcohol.
- Pick up a map – before heading to Rio, make sure to learn about where you’ll stay and the surroundings from a map. Once you’re there, try to plan your routes before heading out of the hotel instead of utilizing a map in the middle of the city.
Currency and Money:
Right now it is a great time to visit Brazil as the exchange rate is approximately $1 to R$4.00 .When going to restaurants and paying for entrances at attractions, you can and should use your credit card. Most of the financial institutions in the U.S. do not usually charge you any fees for using your card abroad. Make sure to consult your credit card company before leaving home. When in Rio, bring your credit cards but also bring cash with you. You will need cash to buy a metro ticket or delicious coconut water at the beach!
Take advantages of tours when available. If you’d rather do each attraction on your own, I recommend using taxi cabs. The concierge from the hotel should be able to call a cab for you.
When going to farther places, you might want to take advantage of the metro system, too. Sometimes they can be quicker than cabs.