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5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro!

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5 Ways To Maximize Your Time in Rio de Janeiro! |
Paragliding with Rio Tandem!

If you read my last post on Rio, you know that the obsession is real. I ended up staying in this magnetic city for 3 weeks and found myself reminiscing on my top five experiences that absolutely perfected my trip.

And while it’s unrealistic to think that your travel experiences will be identical to mine, I can at least give you some pointers on ways to maximize your time when you come here.

Rio de Janeiro has so much to offer, but only some get to experience it to its fullest. Click To Tweet

Whether you’re visiting for two days or two weeks, if you can fit in these five experiences, you’ll be in for a treat!

#1 – Go Paragliding

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |
Actually pissing my pants in terror, but whatever!

Rio from the streets is cute, but Rio from above beats all! I had a blast soaring over São Conrado Beach with Rio Tandem.

They also have hang gliding available, but if you’re slightly afraid of heights like me, paragliding is definitely the less sh*t-inducing option 😉

My pilot was hilarious, professional, and made sure to squeeze in one scary turn before we landed, haha. Rio Tandem also has really cool 360 cams that the pilot takes some really cool photos on while airborne.

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |
You get some fun 360 photos that can basically be zoomed in and out of any angle — so cool!

You’ll jump off Pedra Bonita, in the middle of Tijuca National Park, from 517 meters high, and the views are simply incredible.

Your flight also comes with photos and HD film of the trip, and you’re welcome to bring your own GoPro type cameras as well.

If there’s one thing you do in Rio, make sure it’s this! Affordable, and not to mention, the São Conrado Beach is much more quiet and relaxed than Copacabana if you’re looking to have a chilled afternoon on the beach!

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |

Huge thanks to Daniel for having me!

#2 – Hike Morro Dois Irmãos (not in a dress, LOL)

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Translated to “Two Brothers Hill”, this is one of the most scenic hikes I’ve ever done. If you’re a hiker who doesn’t like to stop for photos on the way up, you can do it in 45 minutes.

But if you’re someone like me who needs frequent breaks due to being laughably out of shape for photos, then factor in about an hour and a half for each way.

I recommend doing this hike as early as possible to try and get some alone time at the top. Some parts of the path are slippery and maybe muddy depending on the weather, and there are parts where you’ll need to let people pass on their way down because it’s narrow.

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |

I went with two friends, Samantha and Sebastian, and we admired the views along the way, as you get to see the whole carioca south area.

Not to mention, halfway up, you’ll see a sobering reminder of the socioeconomic divide between those living below and above the poverty line, separated by a mere line of trees.

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |

Bring ALL the water possible, and if you feel like getting that Instagrammable shot, then do as I did and pack a quick change of clothes that you can throw on top of your sweaty ones, and the photos will be so worth it.

To get to the trail, you need to get to Favela Vidigal (walk up the Avenida Niemeyer) and then you can either catch a mototaxi to the trail for 10 reais or a communal bus. We took a bus, as we were three people, but the mototaxis definitely looked like they’d be quite an adventure!

The streets are very windy to get to the trail, so keep that in mind when choosing your mode of transportation.

Overall, I think your best photos of Rio might come from this hike!

#3 – Go Sailing

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |
Trying to do the whole casual not-so-candid posing. Ha

And of course, if you’re going to see Rio by sky, then you need to see it by sea too. Rio Sailing offers a few areas to sail around, but I think you’ll get the best views and shots if you choose the Sugar Loaf and Copacabana Beach Tour.

Starting at the world-renowned Copacabana Beach, you’ll pass by three important historial forts: Fortaleza de Santa Cruz, Forte da Lage and Forte de Sao Joao.

Then after an hour or so, you’ll get to the beautiful Red Beach where you can stop to swim, snorkel, and chill. #NoNetflix

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |
Watching the sunset from the sea is breathtaking!

Returning, you’ll pass by MAC, the flying saucer-shaped Contemporary Art Museum designed by Oscar Niemeyer at Niteroi City, and from there you’ll watch the sunset and see a glistening Christ the Redeemer in the distance.

The tour is about 4 hours and soft drinks and snacks are included. This is a perfect way to spend a lazy day lounging around, taking in some sun, and getting some beautiful shots around the bay.

Thanks to Monica, her brother, Marcos, and Guilherme for a wonderful afternoon!

#4 – Stay at an AirBnb

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While I enjoyed hopping around several neighborhoods to experience different local vibes, I tried out a few hotels, hostels, and AirBnbs, and I have to say that my AirBnb was my favorite option.

I not only felt like I was getting hotel amenities, but I had the hospitality and surprise cooking by my hosts!

Rod’s AirBnb (listed HERE) is right in the heart of all the action in Copacabana and close to some of the best restaurants and cafes in town. Not to mention, HOLY WOW is his place gorgeous!

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! | 5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |

Rod is an expat from New York who’s been living in Rio for a handful of years and has fallen in love with the city (literally, he married a Carioca!) so he’s such a great person to chat with about the best things to do, see, and experience while in town.

His passion for his new home and all the things it’s taught him will both inspire and humble you. I’m so glad to have met and stayed with Rod and his husband Anderson and I know I’ll be back!

#5 – Visit the Maze Guesthouse for Jazz Night

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |
Admiring the view from the indoor open roof balcony at The Maze

One of the more hidden things to do in Rio, is to visit a guesthouse called The Maze, located in the heart of the Tavares Bastos community [or favela], run by the British artist Bob Nadkarni, who is loved and respected by the locals.

They hold regular live jazz shows which are free for locals, and a small fee for visitors, which has turned it into a cultural center with music shows, art exhibitions, and unique architecture that mirrors the work of Barcelona’s favorite Antoni Gaudí.

5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! | 5 of the Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro! |

Best part? This view of a soccer field where you might be lucky enough to catch a couple kids playing the world’s favorite sport.

While Rio is a city where there is never a shortage of activities, I hope these tips will help maximize your time in the city like it did for me, and if there’s anything you’d like to add to the list, drop them in the comments below!

Have you been to Rio? What was your favorite part?

5 Things to do in Rio |
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Facebook Comments

  • Maegan white

    o0o0o0 I LOVE this! The off-path beach, the views from hiking, your clothes, ALL.OF.IT! I also really want to try paragliding so now I REALLY will have to! What a great summary of Rio.

  • WanderingRedHead

    I went to Rio a few years ago for just 3 days. Feel like there’s so much I missed (I had rain so that’s my excuse…and spent half a day hungover). Definitely will go back and do these things. The hang gliding looks fun. You look good for someone pissing their pants in fear!

  • Eulandas

    Brazil has been on my wishlist since I was a child. It’s one of those places that I know I will never want to leave once I start exploring it. So I keep it on my list like a unicorn. Your photos and descriptions make we want to go like yesterday, plus paragliding? Yes please!!

  • Travel Textbook

    Oooh I cannot wait to visit Rio after reading this and seeing your photos! You’re such an inspiring blogger — these adventures really make me want to jump up and get travelling immediately.

  • Hi Gloria, Thanks for this list of things to do in Rio. I was looking or parrillas and Brazilian BBQs in this post or beach-bumming. But what you got on your list looks great as well. Paragliding has come up in a bunch of blog posts. It’d also be great to experience a futbol match Cheers, Marvin

  • Paragliding is the best thing I’ve ever tried! By the way, it can be unforgettable in any location in the world.

  • Hello, Awesome list of things to do in Rio. I like your Photos and information about activities. You will includes charges and some cheapest hotel for stay so people love to read that article.

  • Isadora Martinez

    Wow, three weeks is a great time to learn and enjoy very well the city, as I can see you did, right? Thank you for the tips of these amazing things to do in Rio (as well as the practical one, about not to hike wearing a dress).

    Another great one to enjoy better all the way until you get to the city is to get there by bus, like these, they are cheaper and allow you to see better all the beautiful landscapes on the road. 😉

  • tom cruse

    Amazing and nice, thanks for sharing 5 of the best things to do in Rio. Picture gallery is awesome, I like it. Your blog is very informative and helpful for me.