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Rio de Janeiro city guide

If you're looking for an exciting trip then you've come to the right place! Home to the famous Carnival and the big dude (aka Christ the Redeemer) Rio De Janeiro is a whole lot of fun. From white sand beaches to bustling local market spots, striking volcanic landscapes and vibrant street art; travel to Rio for an unforgettable adventure. 

What to do in Rio

  • Copacabana Beach
    "At the Copa, Copacabana..." you can soak up all the local vibes. Granted, this is a tourist hotspot, but it's one you should tick off the list. Copacabana Beach is a 4km stretch of sand, where the locals separate themselves out into sections - a football player section, gay and cross-dressers section, favela kids section etc. 
  • Corcovado
    The place you go to visit Christo Redentor (aka Christ the Redeemer), Corcovado is a mountain that towers high above the city - and one you can see for miles. Once you get to the top and take your obligatory photos of the big dude himself, you can also appreciate the impressive views of Rio.
  • Lapa
    You can't go to Rio without sampling the exciting nightlife - and Lapa is the place to do it. Take the time to bar hop around the area, and dance the night away!
  • Sugarloaf Mountain
    Sugarloaf Mountain is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sitting at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. You can take a cable car up to Urca Mountain & then further on to the top (Pão de Açúcar) for a 360 degree view of Rio. 
  • Parque Nacional Tijuca
    Outdoor adventure is what we're all about, and you'll get that when you visit this national park. Trek through the tropical jungle of Tijuca for an amazing day finding creeks, waterfalls, caves, picnic spots, and a good hike if that's what you're looking for (1012m to the top of Pico da Tijuca). Look out for iguanas and monkeys too!
  • Maracanã Football Stadium
    If you're into football (and even if you couldn't care less) it's worth visiting this football stadium, which is known for some of the most exciting games in the world! Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a game.

Travelling to Rio

Travel from Australia to Rio de Janeiro's Galeão International Airport in 17 hours 15 minutes - Rio's airport is located 20km north of the city so you'll need to organise your own transport. Check out our cheap flights from heaps of Australian cities.
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Rio Neighbourhood Guide

Santa Teresa
For a boho, artistic vibe, travellers head to the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Full of cobbled streets, winding laneways, colonial architecture, this area used to house Brazil's elite, but now it's home to musicians and artists. It's also the perfect place for foodies, as it's considered one of the top places to try local food. Budget or five star, it's got something for everyone!

 

Ipanema Rio
Ipanema
Famous for it's beach and beautiful people, Ipanema is known as one of the most affluent and exclusive neighbourhoods of Rio. Depending on the type of traveller you are (flashpacker, backpacker or serial spender) you might want to stay here a bit longer, and spend time enjoying fine dining and fancy bars, budget backpackers might just want to spend time on the beach and stay elsewhere.

 

Botafogo
The laid-back, less in-your-face neighbourhood of Rio, Botafogo is more about museums, cafes and art house cinemas. The area boasts great views of Sugarloaf Mountain, is considered a safe neighbourhood, and is centrally located - making it the perfect place to stay for tourists.

 

leblon rio
Leblon
Another more 'affluent' neighbourhood, is Leblon. If you want to visit designer boutiques and eat fancy food, then it's a great place to visit - but equally, if you just want a quiet beach and a safe area to walk around, then you've got that here too. It's cosmopolitan, family friendly and chilled out. 

 

Top things to do in Rio

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Carnival

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Christ the Redeemer

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Bus passes

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Adventure tours

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Experiences in Rio

Travel Brazil
Big Dude Tour
This five-hour tour covers Rio's top attractions including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. First stop, San Conrado beach to watch hang-gliders, drive through Tijuca National Park and arrive at the Big Dude. Head to the historic neighbourhood of San Teresa and then to the brightly-tiled Lapa Steps. Finish up at Sugar Loaf Mountain in time for sunset.
Travel Brazil
Volunteer Brazil
This varied and inspiring project is based around the neighbourhoods of Complexo del Alemao, one of Rio's largest favelas. Choose from taching children, work with local communities, help with sport tournaments and more. During your free time, soak up the sun on Copacabana beach, do a favela tour or why not a boat party.
Travel Brazil
Costa Verde Explorer
The perfect beach escape - departing from Rio head to the the paradise beach locations of Ilha Grande & Paraty. Spend time enjoying tropical scenery, snorkelling and chilling on stunning beaches. Explore Paraty's bustling markets and colonial architecture and on the last day take a schooner boat ride!
5 days from $538
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Our favourite Rio hotels and hostels

El Misti hostel rio
El Misti
Based in four of Rio's best locations: Copacabana, Botafogo and Leme, this is the ideal hostel for solo travellers. A great hostel for those who are on a budget but want to see the best locations - plus, rates include breakfast!
mango tree hostel rio
Mango Tree Hostel
This colourful hostel is located less than 200 metres from the vibrant Ipanema Beach. It's a smaller hostel, with only 18 rooms, and offers guests a shared lounge, terrace, garden and bike rental (price includes breakfast too!)
books hostel rio
Books Hostel
This is located in the arty neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, and only a six-minute walk from the beach. A small hostel with only 10 rooms, which offers up a more chilled out vibe. There's a bar, BBQ facilities, bike rental, a garden, and even a shirtless captain serving up caipirinhas!

Feeling inspired? Head to our blog to hear all the tips, tricks and first-hand experiences!

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When is Rio Carnival 2018?

The exhilarating and not-to-be-missed Rio Carnival takes place Friday 9 February 2018 and ends on Wednesday 14 February 2018. Book your travel and trips well in advance, as it's one of the busiest times of the year.

How do I keep safe in Rio?

Rio is well known for street crime, but as long as you keep your wits about you, you'll have a great time exploring - it's unsuspecting tourists that are targeted (so don't be one of those!). Some of our top tips would be to take licensed taxis as often as possible, stick to well lit streets, don't walk around after dark, keep your belongings close to you (on your front), don't walk around on your own, leave most of your valuables in your hostel/hotel in a safe (we know you'll want your camera with you - but try to lock everything else up), and visit favelas (slums) on a tour. It's all about being street smart, and not drawing attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewellery or clothes.