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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil attracts a lot of tourists each year for a lot of different reasons. With the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic games, Rio de Janeiro is likely only going to grow in tourism popularity. But, in South America’s third largest city, how will you find things to do in Rio de Janeiro? Here are some travel tips for some of the tourist things to do in Rio.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro by Eduardo Pelosi, on Flickr

Brazilian beaches in Rio de Janeiro

With almost 80 kilometers of beach along the southern coast, Rio de Janeiro has plenty of beaches worth visiting. The most famous, however, is Copacabana. With three kilometers of pristine, white sand, Copacabana is the place to see and be seen in Rio. It’s never hard to find sand (or sun) in Rio.

The other famous beach in Rio de Janeiro is Ipanema. This stretch of sand has a little less of the glitz and glamour of Copacabana, with the same amount of interesting people. Long known for its alternative culture, Ipanema is the place of inspiration for the international hit song “The Girl from Ipanema.”

What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Mike Vondran, Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil January 3 2009.

Tijuca Rainforest National Park

Plan a day trip to the Tijuca Rainforest located within Rio’s city limits when the sun and sand get to be too much. Tijuca Rainforest is the world’s largest urban forest and can be a welcome break from the consumer culture in Rio de Janeiro. After visiting boulevards full of shopping centers it helps to get some fresh air in nature. It helps that the Tijuca National Park is free! Consider renting a bicycle to enjoy the many cycle paths that run through the forest.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Floresta de Tijuca by rbrands, on Flickr

Christ the Redeemer

Well, a visit to Rio just wouldn’t be the same without a photo of the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. The Art Deco sculpture was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007 and continues to attract attention and visitors from around the world. Poland recently unveiled a similarly massive sculpture of Jesus Christ to rival Rio’s.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer by Barkaw, on Flickr

Sugarloaf Mountain

So you hiked Corcovado Mountain to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, you’ve cycled through the rainforest and you relaxed on the beach? What’s next for your visit to Rio but some rock climbing! Sugarloaf’s monolithic formation of granite and quartz makes it a prime location for rock-climbing. Though if you’re not up for the challenge, there are plenty of ways to watch from a distance—including a cable car up to the top.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Sugarloaf Mountain by idnas71, on Flickr

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Alex says:

Drinking caipirinhas in Rio would be on top of my list of things to do :) Would love to see the Corcovado too though…

Jade says:

Beautiful photos! (I especially love that first one with the lights twinkling in the distance.) I’ve always dreamed of going to Rio, with a stop by Iguassu Falls as well. Rio seems to be the perfect balance between city and nature life.

Jason says:

And Iguazu Falls are incredible! Visit them from the Argentina side, much better than the Brazil side.

Chandra says:

I’m visiting Iguazu in late December and have already booked a place to stay on the Argentinian side only – glad to hear that I made a good call. My flight arrives into and leaves from the Brasilian side though – easy crossing?

Jason says:

Yes, we did the same thing. Just be sure you have already purchased your Brazil visa if you are coming from the States. You will also have to pay a little to cross the border.

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