Take a trip to Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro evokes, in the first place, sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, Cariocas with dreamy bodies or the caipirinha that flows freely. Certainly, Copacabana beach is a name that embodies paradise. But this unique city offers much more than just postcard images. If lounging in the sun or playing beach volleyball doesn’t suit your travel style, take a trip to the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Get caught up in the hippie spirit that still reigns there and enjoy the view of the colonial houses.
Are you an inveterate night owl? The Lapa neighborhood with its bars and restaurants is exactly what you need.
Tour guides in Rio de Janeiro
Five ideas for guided tours in Rio de Janeiro
Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf)
If you want to see Rio at your feet, you have to climb Sugarloaf. This 396 m high peak is one of the visual symbols of the city. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of all of Rio: downtown, Copacabana, the Corcovado with Christ the Redeemer on top and in the distance you can see the sailboats of Botafogo.
Do you like to take beautiful pictures? Don’t miss this climb. It is done in two stages. Take the Bondinho cable car which first takes you to Morro da Urca located at a height of about 220 m. There you will find a restaurant, stores and you can take a helicopter tour. Continue with the 2nd cable car to the top of the Sugar Loaf. Admire the landscape while sipping a fresh fruit juice. Do you prefer a more athletic climb? Many companies offer climbing tours accompanied by a Rio local guide.
The beaches of Ipanema and Le Blon
The beach of Ipanema is located in the south of Rio de Janeiro, in the neighborhood of the same name. It extends over 2.6 km. It is the most beautiful beach in the country, after Copacabana. Ipanema is the cradle of Bossa Nova, a rhythm created by the famous Joao Gilberto. The beach is animated day and night. Take a trip to Posto 9, a place frequented by intellectuals and Rio’s golden youth. One kilometer away is Posto 10, where beach volleyball and soccer fans gather. Swimming is still dangerous in Ipanema. Prefer shopping or sports activities. Don’t miss the tasting of guaraviton, an ice cream made with açai, a typical fruit of this part of the Amazon.
Leblon beach is 2 km long. It is located in the south of Ipanema, at the foot of the mount of the Two Brothers. It borders the chic and trendy district of Leblon. Quieter than its sister, it is full of luxury stores, restaurants, posh bars and nightclubs. It’s the den of made in Brasil. Come to the Academy da Cachaça in Leblon to taste the national drink of Brazil. This alcohol is made from sugar cane. It is the main ingredient in the preparation of the Caipirinha.
The district of Santa Teresa is located in the heights of Rio. It expresses all the bohemian and rebel spirit of the Cariocas. This charming place has kept the soul of the Saudade. It offers breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro. You will find colonial style houses with colorful walls. Some are quite dilapidated, others have been completely renovated.
But you have to deserve this moment out of time. To get to Santa Teresa, you have to walk up the steep cobbled streets. For the less courageous, there are motorcycle cabs and buses. Since the Bonde, the old yellow tramway, has been retired despite the protests of the inhabitants, there is no other means of transportation to Santa Teresa. Here, the hippie spirit is still present. You only have to stop in one of the typical bars of the area to notice it. You can sip the mahna coffee or taste the feijoada, a Brazilian specialty made of meat and black beans. The historical center of the district is surrounded by 17 favelas. These neighborhoods still keep an endearing charm like the Projeto Morrinho, a tiny favela transformed into an artistic and social project.
The Floresta da Tijuca
The Tijuca Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Rio de Janeiro itself, a few minutes drive from downtown. It covers 3200 hectares. It is the largest urban forest in the world. The Vista Chinesa, a Chinese pagoda built in the 20th century, offers a panoramic view of the city. From there, you can see the Sugar Loaf or the Christ the Redeemer. Take a walk on the many paths and trails through the park. For the more athletic, come with your bikes. For the others, take the opportunity to observe the lizards, coatis, savannah foxes or falcons that inhabit the forest.
The Lapa district
Located at the foot of the Santa Teresa hill, the Lapa district is famous for its 42 white arches aqueduct. Looking for a lively place at night? Come here for a drink to the sound of samba or to see a concert. There is something for every budget and taste. From Thursday night to Sunday afternoon, it’s party time in Lapa, home of Rio’s bohemian life. Are you more of a day-tripper? The spectacle of the colonial houses will delight you. Come and admire the Selarón Staircase, a magnificent work by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. Its 215 steps are decorated with more than a thousand tiles in the colors of the Brazilian flag.