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City Guide Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Visiting Rio de Janeiro

Brazil and South America’s most famous city is best known as the world’s biggest party city. Once a year it comes to a standstill and the carnival takes over. And no matter where you are in the city you can see the Corcovado (Statue of Christ).

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Rio de Janeiro Podcasts

Rio de Janeiro - Home of the 'favela'

Marcelo Armstrong, founder of 'Favela Tour', Rio de Janeiro's original favela tour, speaks to Hostelworld.com's Colm Hanratty to explain what a 'favela' is, why he decided to start the tour, and that there are many positive aspects to them and not just negative ones.

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Rio de Janeiro Videos

How to save money in Rio de Janeiro

If your funds are low when in Rio de Janeiro, and you want to save money by doing free things and more, watch our video presented by our editor Colm Hanratty.

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Hostelworld Pocket Guides

Hostelworld Pocket Guides

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Rio de Janeiro City Reviews

  • 80%

    Anonymous

    My take on Botafogo

    Bustling city, I didn't go to all of Rio. I was able to get around easily since there were so many buses and a subway stops right there. There are many restaurants and places to chill, especially if you are overcome by the heat. I quite enjoyed just walking around and becoming familiar with my surroundings, I highly recommend just walking around. I didn't feel like I was in any danger but if I was out at night, I was still on guard. I'd love to visit again. Rio is expensive!

    Insider Tip:*Cross at the crosswalks *Be able to communicate in Portuguese *Learn how to use the Itau card in advance. *Buses routes are more predictable if you have nav on your phone *Make sure the cabbie turns on the meter before going anywhere and make sure he/she isn't drunk. * There are many free and less populated places to go like free museums and not a tourist trap.

  • 90%

    Anonymous

    Rio!!!

    Everybody must visit this city in their lifetime!! Beautiful place....better NOT at Carnaval!! Lovely beaches, great sights to see, good public transport, good range of restaurants for all budgets. Despite all negative reports in guidebooks, as long as you're sensible, it's safe!

  • 40%

    Anonymous

    I don't rate it highly

    I'm used to nicer beaches so I didn't think much of Rio's, and it didn't feel very safe anywhere. I think of it like a tourist trap. I wish we went to some of Brazil's other beach towns.

    Insider Tip:Buses can really waste your time. Consider taxis.

  • 80%

    bcnucksgirl87502

    Rio is a city for all types of travellers

    Rio was a great city. It is a large city so of course traffic and lots of people are expected. Its not too bad in pricing depending on what area you are in. I enjoyed Copacabana and Ipanema a lot.

    Insider Tip:Lapa is a bit sketchy at night, was not what I expected. Copacabana beach is fun but its crowded and dirty. Ipanema beach is cleaner but also quite crowded. I would recommend Red Beach (don't remember Portugese translation, sorry) it is at the base of Sugar Loaf. Very quiet and you can actually swim without worrying about the waves. Use caution wherever you are in Rio of course. I would recommend everyone visit at least once! Do sugar loaf for sunset, sooo beautiful!!!

  • 80%

    Anonymous

    A beautiful city with too much to do

    I went to Rio for five days hoping to experience Carnaval and explore the city itself. Each experience was worth over five days on its own. Rio can be grimy in parts, but it has so much character. The people are friendly, the beaches are fantastic, and the music amazing. And although its expensive city, I was surprised at how much less than I imagined it cost to enjoy myself during Carnaval than it would have in the US.

    Insider Tip:Feb/March is very hot and humid. Prepare for this. Give yourself enough time to do everything you want to do in RDJ and expect to add a few more items to your list once you get there. I would say one activity per day is enough not to exhaust yourself.

Brazil: Itinerary

While Asia has for years been the most popular continent on the planet for backpacking, over the last decade South America has fast been speeding up every traveller’s ‘to-do list’. And in particular, due to its size, cities and diversity, Brazil has climbed to the top of everybody’s South America list. While it isn’t the capital, Rio de Janeiro is where most people begin their journey.

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