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

Download our free pocket guides for cities all over the world that are packed with money-saving tips and more.

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Rio de Janeiro City Reviews

  • 90%



    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%


    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%


    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%


    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.

  • 80%


    Vibrant, loud city, a lot to offer

    Rio is definitely the loudest city I have visited in south America; always music and people aren't embarrassed to sing and dance in public. Despite bad press regarding safety, I felt safe during my 4 week stay over carnival. No one tried to rob me. Each time I was lost (which was a lot of the time), people would volunteer their support in directing you. Hard to find info on transport and activities, but always a lot happening, mostly spontaneous

    Insider Tip:Add an extra 20 minutes onto your expected travel time if catching the bus. Metro is better during peak hours, the roads are really busy around 5-7pm. spontaneous music, dancing or 'classes' on impanema beach after 5pm. Per kilo resturants are a great way to try local food. you have a buffet to choose from and pay by the weight. average Copacabana was 55Reals per kilo, Felini in Leblon is delicious but 72R per Kg. Pricier than other countries and cities in south America . haggle. It will rain , umbrella.

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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