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Rio de Janeiro

City Guide

Multicultural, beautiful, tropical, colourful, warm and fun loving - Rio de Janeiro is this and so much more. The tropical beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema are great for sunbathing, water sports or even just people-watching, it's home to Christ the Redeemer, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the exciting Rio Carnival. Rio De Janeiro is not boring, that's for sure.

What to do in Rio

  • Copacabana Beach
    A tourist hotspot, but one you should tick off the list, Copacabana Beach is a 4km stretch of sand with groups staking out certain areas - football player section, gay and cross-dressers section, favela kids section etc. Just don't walk along there at night, and keep your wits about you.
  • Corcovado
    A mountain that towers high above the city, Corcovado is home to the most famous landmark of Rio - Christo Redentor (aka Christ the Redeemer), once at the top you can meet the big dude himself, and also get some epic views of the city.
  • Lapa
    No doubt when you picture Rio, you picture exciting nightlife - and you'd be bang on the money. The place to visit for a good night out is Lapa, where you can bar hop and dance the night away.
  • Sugarloaf Mountain
    Another impressive mountain, Sugarloaf (part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site) sits at the mouth of Guanabara Bay and reaches 396m. You can take a cable car up to Urca Mountain & then further on to the top (Pão de Açúcar) for a 360 degree view of Rio. Top tip: go for the sunset.
  • Parque Nacional Tijuca
    Walk the trails of the Tijuca for an amazing trek through tropical jungle, where you can find creeks, waterfalls, caves, picnic spots, and a good hike if that's what you're looking for (1012m to the top of Pico da Tijuca). You can find lots of wildlife here too - like iguanas and monkeys!
  • Maracanã Football Stadium
    It doesn't matter if you're in to football or not, this stadium is well known for exciting games (it's even said they're some of the most exciting in the world!) and it'd be an amazing experience just to witness the atmosphere! You can even take a tour before a game if you're up for it. 

Travelling to Rio

Rio De Janeiro's airport is located 20 km north of the city.  Buses operate from 5.30 am till 11.30 pm which costs around R$5 (approx £1.20) depending on your destination. The journey takes about 40 minutes. An airport shuttle bus stops at all major resorts and hotels. Taxis are available but tickets can be purchased from a booth in arrivals. The journey to the city takes about 20 minutes.
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Rio Neighbourhood Guide

Santa Teresa
For a boho, artistic vibe, travellers head to the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa. Full of cobbled streets, winding laneways, colonial architecture, this area used to house Brazil's elite, but now it's home to musicians and artists. It's also the perfect place for foodies, as it's considered one of the top places to try local food. Budget or five star, it's got something for everyone!

 

Ipanema Rio
Ipanema
Famous for it's beach and beautiful people, Ipanema is known as one of the most affluent and exclusive neighbourhoods of Rio. Depending on the type of traveller you are (flashpacker, backpacker or serial spender) you might want to stay here a bit longer, and spend time enjoying fine dining and fancy bars, budget backpackers might just want to spend time on the beach and stay elsewhere.

 

Botafogo
The laid-back, less in-your-face neighbourhood of Rio, Botafogo is more about museums, cafes and art house cinemas. The area boasts great views of Sugarloaf Mountain, is considered a safe neighbourhood, and is centrally located - making it the perfect place to stay for tourists.

 

Leblon
Another more 'affluent' neighbourhood, is Leblon. If you want to visit designer boutiques and eat fancy food, then it's a great place to visit - but equally, if you just want a quiet beach and a safe area to walk around, then you've got that here too. It's cosmopolitan, family friendly and chilled out. 

 

Top things to do in Rio

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Carnival

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Christ the Redeemer

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Bus passes

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Adventure tours

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Experiences in Rio

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Big Dude Tour
This five-hour tour covers Rio's top attractions including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. First stop, San Conrado beach to watch hang-gliders, drive through Tijuca National Park and arrive at the Big Dude. Head to the historic neighbourhood of San Teresa and then to the brightly-tiled Lapa Steps. Finish up at Sugar Loaf Mountain in time for sunset.
Full Day From £52
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Volunteer Brazil
This varied and inspiring project is based around the neighbourhoods of Complexo del Alemao, one of Rio's largest favelas. Choose from taching children, work with local communities, help with sport tournaments and more. During your free time, soak up the sun on Copacabana beach, do a favela tour or why not a boat party.
2 weeks+ from £634
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Costa Verde Explorer
The perfect beach escape - departing from Rio head to the the paradise beach locations of Ilha Grande & Paraty. Spend time enjoying tropical scenery, snorkelling and chilling on stunning beaches. Explore Paraty's bustling markets and colonial architecture and on the last day take a schooner boat ride!
5 Days From £307
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Rio Carnival 2018

The famous Rio Carnival begins on Friday 9th February and runs until Wednesday 14th February (a Valentines present perhaps?). Find out about our 3 and 6 night packages below.
Brazil Carnival Essential Experience - 3 nights
Your accommodation is located in Lapa, Rio’s colourful bohemian centre, where all of Carnival’s major events and parties take place. Receive a schedule of all the events so you can take advantage of the best parties in town. You'll be welcomed with the official first night of Carnival - the atmosphere will be electric! 
From £312
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Brazil Carnival Essential Experience - 6 nights
An extended version of the 3 night experience, so pop on your special carnival tee and practice your Samba at an included dance class or test your Portuguese with the handy phrase sheets. With these, you'll be ready to tackle the Sambadrome Parade with seating in sector 12 or 13 (upgrades available).
From £578
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Brazil Carnival Full Experience - 3 nights
Enjoy a welcome Caipirinha Cocktail as your carnival full experience awaits. Take advantage of the many inclusions, such as the sunset boat cruise with lunch and an hour long open bar, the Sunday Sambadrome Parade, with tickets, face painting and a classic Brazilian Churrasco BBQ dinner all part of your night. 
From £554
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rio carnival 2018
Brazil Carnival Full Experience - 2018
An extended version of the 3 night experience with a bit of time to explore the vibrant city of Rio. Included city tours take you to Christ Redeemer and Sugarloaf (entrance inc.) as well as a favela tour where you can try the famous acai bowl.
From £925
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When is Rio Carnival 2018?

Rio Carnival is an epic celebration that takes place Friday 9 February 2018 and ends on Wednesday 14 February 2018. Book flights, accommodation and activities well in advance, as it's one of the busiest times of the year. 

How do I keep safe in Rio?

Rio is well known for street crime, but as long as you keep your wits about you, you'll have a great time exploring - it's unsuspecting tourists that are targeted (so don't be one of those!). Some of our top tips would be to take licensed taxis as often as possible, stick to well lit streets, don't walk around after dark, keep your belongings close to you (on your front), don't walk around on your own, leave most of your valuables in your hostel/hotel in a safe (we know you'll want your camera with you - but try to lock everything else up), and visit favelas (slums) on a tour. It's all about being street smart, and not drawing attention to yourself by wearing fancy jewellery or clothes. 

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