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10 Things You Need To Know About Rio de Janeiro

The best beaches in Rio de Janeiro, where you can enjoy the best views and more.

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Fact Sheet

What's in our video about Rio de Janeiroprint

1. It’s overlooked by a very famous man
Overlooking Rio de Janeiro from all angles is Christ the Redeemer in English, a statue of Jesus Christ that stands 130ft tall. Located on top of a mountain called Corcovado, it is one of the world’s most famous statues. There are three ways to get to the statue:
  • Walk: Only for energetic people as it’s a tough walk. But be warned – the path isn’t well marked so make sure to have a guide/local with you.
  • Taxi: For the lazy people! Obviously, the most expensive way.
  • Funicular (tram): This is how most people get to the statue. The journey takes between 30-40 minutes.
  • 2. There are mountains actually in the city centre
    Rio’s landscape is extremely unique as dotted throughout the city centre are a host of mountains. The most famous of these are the Two Brothers overlooking Leblon and Ipanema, the Sugar Loaf which looms over Guanabara Bay, and Corcavado which is home to Christ the Redeemer. Both the Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer are the famous lookouts, but in our opinion, the Sugar Loaf is the better of the two as it isn’t as crowded and the view is better.
    3. You’ll find some very famous beaches here
    Rio is where you will find two of the world’s most famous beaches. The most noteworthy of the two is Copacabana, which is one of the most famous beaches in the world. And while no trip is complete without checking it out, you may prefer the other of the two beaches which is Ipanema, as here it isn’t as hectic and the waters are cleaner. And when you’re in Ipanema make sure to called into Garota de Ipanema on the corner of Vinicius de Morais and Prudente de Morais as it is where the famous song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ was written.
    4. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle...
    There are two great places to get away from the craziness of Rio de Janeiro:
  • Botanic Gardens: Covering over 130 hectares, they’re extremely peaceful and home to over 6,000 types of plants and trees.
  • Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas: A stroll around this lake which borders many neighbourhoods is a great way to relax for a couple of hours.
  • 5. Make sure to do some exploring
    Make sure to check out some of Rio’s different neighbourhoods:
  • Botafogo: This neighbourhood near the Sugar Loaf is a great place to visit to admire the yachts on Guanabara Bay.
  • Downtown Rio: Here you’ll find a mix of old and new architecture and some of the city’s museums.
  • Ipanema: Even though it’s famous for its beach, it has some lovely tree-lined streets a few blocks back.
  • Santa Teresa: This is an extremely historical neighbourhood with colourful houses. It’s also where you can find the famous tram ‘bonde’ which goes there from Downtown Rio. It’s also where you can find ‘Escadaria Selaron’, the famous steps which recently featured in the video ‘Beautiful’ by Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams.
  • 6. It isn’t as dangerous as you might think it is
    Rio has a reputation for being a dangerous city, and there’s a reason for this – unfortunately petty crime does exist and you might feel a little bit more nervous walking the streets here than in other cities. But it wouldn’t have got the Olympic Games if it was that dangerous – it is definitely a lot safer than it has been in recent years, particularly in touristy areas like Copacabana and Ipanema. So have your wits about you when walking the streets and try not to look too much like a tourist – do this and your stay in Rio should pass incident free.
    7. It has its very own rainforest
    Located right in the middle of Rio de Janeiro is Tijuca Forest which is the largest urban rainforest in the world. Here you can go on hiking trails, admire waterfalls and much more.
    8. The best way to see the city is from the sky
    While Rio looks breathtaking from the ground, it looks even better from the sky. And the best way to get an aerial view of the city, is by going hang gliding. And to book a hang gliding ‘flight’ in Rio, visit our tours in Rio de Janeiro page.
    9. If you like meat you should dine in a ‘churrascaria’
    Located all over Rio de Janeiro are restaurants known as ‘churrascarias’. These are grill houses where waiters circle the room carrying all different types of meat, then approach your and ask you if you want any. A great one to try is Carretao on Rua Visconde de Pirajá in Ipanema which is really good value.
    10.You have to catch a football game in the ‘Maracana’
    The Maracana is Brazil’s most famous football stadium. Four teams play here regularly - Botafogo, Flamengo, Vasco da Gama and Fluminense . Games are played almost all year round so if you’re in town when there’s a game on make sure to go to it.
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