ipanema beach

Best Places to Visit

Check out a google map I created in Rio de Janeiro of all the places I love to visit!

Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer Statue)

Visiting the Cristo is a classic. It doesn’t matter if it is 8 am or 7 pm, the view will always be breathtaking. Go in the morning for the classic photo, but I sincerely encourage you to try to make a night visit. Just imagine seeing the whole city from above with its lights on. Also, avoid cloudy days, unless you want to experience a heavenly-ish atmosphere with clouds all around you and only the Christ Statue being visible to your eyes.

Considering that this attraction closes at 7 pm everyday, if you wish to visit it at night, you should go during winter.

How to get up there + prices:

  • Train – R$ 50/adult

6 – 12 y/o, elders over 60, and people with special needs pay half price

Children under 6 y/o don’t pay

  • Van – December to March and July + Holidays and Weekends = R$45 (almost US$ 20)

Any other day = R$ 37 (about US$ 15)

Children under 6 y/o don’t pay

  • The prices include return tickets (round-trip) and the entrance ticket for the statue area.

Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain)

Just like the Christ the Redeemer, you should pay a visit! I personally enjoy the Sugar Loaf more than the Cristo. But both are remarkable. Go there in the afternoon and stay around until the sunset. During winter, the sunset happens at around 5:30 pm. During summer, it happens between 7 and 8 pm.

You will catch two cable cars to reach the top of the mountain. Everything is included in the price.

For the more adventurous, you can hike to the top 🙂

Prices:

  • Adult – R$ 62 (about US$ 25)
  • Children under 6 y/o – free
  • People between 6 and 21 y/o, elders over 60, people with special needs, and students ** – R$ 31 (less than US$ 15)

** Including: masters, MBA, Ph.D. It is required to present your Student ID with photo.

Opens at 8 am and closes at 9 pm.

Arpoador

The Arpoador, a formation of rocks between the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, is a treasure to the Cariocas. The water around it is always crystal clear, which makes everything even more pleasant. It is possible to dive there.

Spend the whole day at the Arpoador and you won’t regret it! Whenever you get tired, just go for a stroll around Ipanema, eat some gelato, and then come back! The sunset there is specially beautiful!

And it is 100% free!

Jardim Botânico & Parque Lage

The Botanical Garden and the Lage Park cannot be missed! The beauty they encompass and the peaceful environment will completely make you fall in love over and over again. It doesn’t matter how many times you go there, you can’t get sick of it.

Besides everything a botanical garden can feature, it also has an environmental museum. The Parque Lage is actually a visual arts school that allows visitors.

They are located in the same street: Rua Jardim Botânico.

Prices:

  • Jardim Botânico: free for kids under 7, elders over 60, and Brazilian/Mercosul residents. Everyone else pays R$ 6 (less than US$ 3)
  • Parque Lage: the entrance is free, but if you wish to take a short art course (oficina de arte), the enrolment fee costs R$ 30. I suggest arriving early (opens at 8 am) and having breakfast there (about US$ 10).

Teatro Municipal & Confeitaria Colombo

The Municipal Theatre is an incredible architectural monument in downtown Rio. Try getting tickets to a ballet presentation or a play. In the same day, have something to eat at the Colombo bakery; the place is not only magical, but everything there is also delicious. Try the Sonho, a traditional doughnut; it translates literally to “Dream.”

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas

Anyone can have lots of fun at this big lagoon located in the heart of Rio. Visiting is for free; you only have to spend money if you wish to rent a bike or water equipments.

Hiking and Trekking, Loving Nature

Hike during the night and watch the city wake up from the top. If you are in Pedra da Gávea or Pedra Bonita, get a ride on a hang glide on your way down.

Best spots around the city:

Morro da Urca (Pão de Açúcar)

Pedra da Gávea

Pedra Bonita

Pico da Pedra Branca

Morro Dois Irmãos

Pico da Tijuca

Hidden Spots

Joatinga, Prainha, Grumari, and Perigoso Beach are amongst Rio’s jewels. The water is crystal clear, the waves are perfect, they are never packed and there are no urban noises to disturb you.

Facts and Tips:

  • If you are a student, don’t forget to bring your Student ID. In Rio, students and people under 21 pay half price in almost (95%) every cultural event (cinema, theatre, concerts, expositions, most sightseeing sites). And even if you are a foreigner or non-resident, you can usually get the same discounts.
  • If you are under 21 but you are not a student, you can still get 50% off in cultural events/locations. So bring a photo ID and a photocopy of your passport, and leave your original passport in the hotel.
  • I am not sure if this is a reliable fact, but from personal experience, I’ve noticed that the sunrise in Rio is usually pink/purple, while the sunset is yellow/orange. If you are interested in it, you might want to be awake and watch both.
  • If you have more time, visit nearby beach towns: Búzios, Paraty, Ilha Grande and Arraial do Cabo. Besides the relatively cold water, these places are naturally splendid and culturally rich. Totally worth a visit!

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