Day 1 - Head straight to the beach
Rio is synonymous with two things – the annual carnival and beaches. Unless you happen to arrive during the four days the carnival takes place (the next one is due to begin on February 21 through to the 24th 2004) the first thing you must do upon your first day in Rio is go to the beach.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Rio (and Brazil’s) most famous beach is Copacabana. In fact, it is safe to say that is arguably the world’s most famous beach! Stretching for 4.5 kilometres, all senses will constantly be tickled during your time on the beach. Off the golden sand and onto the pavement the activity continues into the evening.
The promenade which runs parallel the beach is known as Avenue Atlantico. An assortment of bars, cafés and nightclubs dot the promenade as well with others also found n the area. Brazilians are known for partying just as the Pope is known for his praying so you can rest assured you will be letting your hair down.
Day 2 - Corcovado and Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer)
No matter whereabouts in Rio you are, look around and you will the see the empowering Statue of Christ looking down upon you. The statue has a strange and profound effect on you when you arrive in the city and leaves you feeling warmly welcomed.
The Corcovado (Hunchback) is the mountain where the world famous Cristo Redentor, or 'Christ the Redeemer’ statue stands overlooking the city. The view from the top is breathtaking and no visit to Rio is complete without visiting the statue. You can get to the statue using either a taxi, but the best way to get there is by using a special train known as the cog train.
One of the best things about visiting the Statue of Christ is the view it boasts over the whole of Rio. Copacabana, the favelas (slums), Sugarloaf Mountain – they can all be seen from Corcovado.
The landmark statue can be found in Parque Nacional da Tijuca. Situated only 15 minutes from the golden sand of the beach and the busy city streets, it is the perfect place stray away to when you are getting sick of the streets. Along with visiting the famous statue, you can also enjoy peaceful picnics and even a spot of climbing.
Rio is all about giving it as much as possible when it comes to socialising. There is a host of areas around the city to do so in. One of them is Lapa. There is one particular segment of the district which covers approximately 4 blocks which is constantly buzzing with locals floating from bar to bar. If you want to do as the ‘Cariocas’ (what the locals are known as) this is the place to be.
Day 3 - Sugarloaf and samba
While it may be somewhat of a cliché, when you get to Rio you have to go and see the main attractions. The best thing about two of them is they command views over the rest of the city. After visiting Copacabana and the Statue of Christ, Rio’s next main landmark is Sugarloaf Mountain, otherwise known as Pão de Açúcar.
The out and out thrill of visiting the humpback mountain starts long before you get to its summit. Before you reach it you have to aboard a cable car, two of them in fact. The first brings you to Urca Hill, and then the second to the Sugarloaf. Once you reach the top you can simply stay there for hours soaking in the different vistas. There is a café there also if you fancy a snack or a coffee. If possible, stay up until sunset which is usually around 7-8pm.
Another of Rio’s unique qualities is its abundance of samba clubs. Rio is the dance’s birthplace after all! Whether you want to learn or simply watch the experts how it is done, don’t let three nights go in Rio without visiting one! The best selection of samba clubs can be found in either Lapa or Cinelândia.