South America Living

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Travel Guide

Rio de Janeiro – meaning the “River of January” – is the second largest city in Brazil (population 6 million) but tops as far as glam and excitement go. If you are looking for a party head to Rio´s Copacabana Beach (above all on New Years Eve for the out of this world fireworks display) or anywhere downtown to experience the club scene, especially during the month of October when the Rio Jazz Festival is in full swing.

  Interactive Map         Where To Eat         Where To Stay         Best Time to Visit

Downtown Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro will be the first South American city to host an Olympic Games – having won the 2016 bid. It will also welcome hoardes of visitors for the final match of the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Mark your calendar – in the next 4-6 years Rio is hands down the place to be.     Travel Destinations Around Rio de Janeiro

Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro

  • Hang glide… or just hold on and try not to close your eyes during a tandem ride! Hang gliding adventures offerred here: Air Adventures
  • Christ The Redeemer Statue on Morro de Corcovado (top of the Corcovado Mountain). See the big guy molded in white up close to get views of the surrounds below such as: Sugar Loaf, the Guanabara Bay, the Lagoon and the as breathtaking Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ride a cable car up to the top of Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) Mountain. Enjoy the vista while having a snack and drink at one of the snack bars.
  • Party. No, that’s not being glib… its a fact that Rio’s party-scene is touted the world-over as top notch, so why not get in on some of the action? Take a late-night stroll (this is South America… many clubs don’t even open until after 11 p.m.!) around Copacabana or Ipanema Beach. Leave your camera and any other valuables back in the hotel safe.
  • Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro

  • Experience the wildside of Brazil without risking your life… at Jardim Zoológico – Rio’s zoo! Nocturnal house, reptiles, mammals (elephants, monkeys, big cats…) in their imitated natural settings plus an aviary that is a highlight for many visitors. As you walk through the gardens various brightly-colored tropical winged creatures fly around you such as macaws and toucans. Located at Quinta da Boa Vista s/n (no number).
  • If you loved the aviary at the city zoo (see above listing) you will love scouting for over 140 species of birds that are found in the botanical gardens (Jadim Botanico in Portuguese)! Orchids, venus flytraps… more than 340 acres of tropical plants and trees plus a café, museum and bookstore. Official website here: Jadim Botanico.
  • Visit Museu da República at Rua do Catete #153. Housed inside the Catete Palace (where past presidents lived before Brasilia became the capital of Brazil) it contains artwork and not so pretty things such as the pajamas worn when former president Getulio Vargas committed suicide in 1954. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The official website is here:

And how about learn a few new dance moves? One of the best ways to experience and partake in the high-energy, uniqueness of Brazilian culture – other than partying in clubs… we know you’ve got that one down – is to watch or learn a native dance such as Samba.

Samba was developed originally in the slums (favelas) of Rio. Seen a parade in Rio or been there during Carnival? The participants shaking it up were most likely doing the Samba.

For more information including popular dances in other areas of the country such as capoira in Salvador de Bahia read: Traveling for Dance in Brazil – Learn Capoeira, Samba or Zouk .

Best Time to Visit Rio de Janeiro

The rainy season in Rio is from December to March. The high-season summer months of January and February can experience catastrophic floods and landslides due to the high levels of precipitation. The area receives approximately 109cm (42.9 inches) per year.

In April, 2010 due to the heaviest rainfall in 48 years Niteroi – in the greater Rio de Janeiro area – had a flash flood that killed over 153 people, with many more assumed buried under the rubble. During horrific catastophic times such as this – beaches can become polluted due to wastewater flowing from broken streets and free-flowing septic systems.

During winter (June, July & August) cold fronts originating in Antarctica cause frequent weather changes with the temperature ranging from 29 degrees C (84 F) to 19 degrees C (66 F) on average. The one thing you can usually count on in Rio is sunshine. Lots of it. The backdrop for a perfect South American city adventure.

Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

Name: Rio Othon Palace   Book Now
Address: Avenida Atlântica #3264
Website: At Copacabana beach with views of Sugar Loaf Mountain, 5-stars and the requisite rooftop pool. Three restaurants, upper-level Skybar has panoramic views of the city.

Name: Casa Mosquito   Book Now
Address: Rua Saint Roman #222
Website: Hillside location overlooking Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach with mountain views from private patio in every room, minibar, LCD T.V. and a spa.

Name: Rio Bohemia Hostel
Address: Rua evaristo da Veiga #147
Website: Only hostel in the party district of Lapa with an Irish Bar to boot (open to the public).

Where to Eat in Rio de Janeiro

Name: Antiquarius (Portuguese cuisine)
Address: Rua Aristides Espínola #19
Website: Exotic twists on traditional favorites such as codfish, açorda (broth seasoned with herbs and soaked with pieces of bread) and cataplana (seafood stew). Known for its culinary expertise.

Name: Porcão (steakhouse)
Address: Av. Infante Dom Henrique, S/N, Aterro do Flamengo
Website: What you would expect from one of the most popular steakhouses in town… big, thick and juicy to order how you like. Or how about a churrascaria de rodízio (all-you-can-eat buffet in Portuguese) with all the meat, fresh seafood (including sushi), veggies, salads etc. you could wish for?

Name: Cafeina
Address: Rua Barata Ribeiro #507
Website: Four locations in the city, this one in the Copacabana neighborhood. Open 8 a.m. for breakfast (waffles, omlettes, fresh baked bread, espresso) and until 11 p.m.

Interactive Map of Rio de Janeiro

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