Tourism Information and advice on some of the best tours, trips, hikes, and little known jewels around the city are laid bare to visitors of the city. CARPE RIO! brings detailed and specialized tips on how to best enjoy the diverse landscapes - mountains, beaches, parks, and more. From the perfect photo opportunity, to the best way to spend a rainy day in Rio, as well as classes and excursions.
Famous landmarks as much as minor and virtually unknown treasures are discovered and presented. Detailed information on how to reach any part of Rio, or where to find the best guides, is offered throughout the Portal.
WOLD PATRIMONY AND HERITAGE SITE
World famous for its beaches, carnival, and the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro is a city rich of history, culture, traditions, and nature that go well beyond what is commonly known. Gorgeous shores, monolithic mountains, waterfalls, untouched urban forests, islands, and even lakes can all be found within Rio's city borders.
Military forts, beautiful churches, museums, historical buildings, and cultural centers scattered across neighborhoods deeply different from one another, tell the story of a city as rich in soul as it is in beauty, and provide a fascinating addition to Rio's spectacular nature.
Named by UNESCO world patrimony and heritage site in 2012, the institution awarded the title to Rio de Janeiro in recognition of the exceptional way the city's natural settings merge with the urban landscape, and in recognition of its diverse and exceptional beauty.
Further to highlighting several local landmarks such as the Christ statue, Copacabana beach, the botanical gardens, the Tijuca Forest, and the military forts, UNESCO also recognized the ongoing artistic inspiration that Rio de Janeiro provided to musicians, landscapers, and artists through the years.
The most famous landmarks in Rio are the statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the Sugar Loaf - iconic symbols of Rio de Janeiro for nearly a century. Yet, the city features many other attractions that, while not as famous, can be just as unforgettable.
World icon of Rio de Janeiro, the 30 meter high Christ statue stands on the Corcovado Mountain, in the Tijuca Forest National Park. Visitors can reach the statue through panoramic elevators and visit the chapel established at the base of the monument.
Across from the statue, Right on the opening of Guanabara Bay, and rising nearly 400 meters high, the Sugar Loaf mountain is one of the signature visions of Rio de Janeiro. This wonderful rocky formation gives all visitors the opportunity for some magnificent views and experiences. Hikers can explore its monolithic heights and visitors can travel via cable car right to the top of the mountain, for one of the most incredible views in the continent, including aerial views of the city of Niterói, Christ the Redeemer and Copacabana beach - another major landmark in the city.
One of the most visited beaches in the world, Copacabana beach is home to a wide offer of restaurants, bars, shops, fashion boutiques, theaters, galleries and shows - with the main attraction here being the clear blue ocean and all the activities it allows, such as aquatic and beach sports, jogging, biking, or simply relaxing on the fine sands and enjoying the views.
Nearby, Ipanema is the center of Rio's deluxe universe - loved by poets, musicians and millions of visitors, this neighborhood is home to one of the very best urban beaches in the world and the place for some of the most renowned and glamorous shops, boutiques and galleries in the country. It's a wonderful place to enjoy the views, such as the Morro Dois Irmãos mountain, the turquoise waters and the beautiful beach goers.
Located in one of the most accessible and touristy areas of Rio, The Morro Dois Irmãos mountain is not often visited but offers a great view of the districts of Ipanema and Leblon while, directly across from it, the Cagarras islands make for a great half-day tour and offer a unique view of the city. This archipelago, located just a few kilometers from Ipanema beach, is a great place to visit in the search of a close encounter with nature and Brazil's biodiversity. As a wildlife refuge, many species of marine animals, from the water or the air, can be seen here.
Today, Over 1.6 million people visit Rio annually, and while tourism in Rio de Janeiro has thrived for over a hundred years, what attracted visitors to the city evolved dramatically. Originally, the Sugar Loaf was not accessible via cable-car, the Christ statue did not exist on Corcovado mountain, and the beaches were seen as dangerous and only used for therapeutic baths. Things sure have changed - yet, still many wonderful places remain virtually unexplored by today's visitors.
People from all over the world are attracted and enchanted by the unique blend of beaches, mountains, parks, culture and lifestyle, all of which have provided inspiration for many forms of art, literature, poetry and music.
Museums, galleries and theatres are surrounded by an exceptionally dramatic landscape where nature meets urban metropolis and the striking ingenuity of favelas. The array of hostels and apartments make visits as comfortable and fun, while a variety of transportation options allow visitors many easy ways of discovering and experiencing the city.
From atop Rio's mountains one can take in magnificent views of the surrounding cityscape and capture its textural interplay - between mountains and sea, forest and city, high-rise glamour and sprawling favelas - in a way that it is hard to visualize from the ground.
Sugar Loaf, Corcovado and Dois Irmãos are amongst the most celebrated of these slopes, while Pedra de Gávea offers a somewhat more strenuous excursion with equally arresting views.
The Tijuca National Park is one of the largest urban forests in the world, located very close to the heart of Rio. Rich of rocky hills and small mountains, it offers exhilarating hikes along steep crevices and hidden trails, allowing pauses to enjoy a waterfall or to marvel at the exotic fauna, jungle vines, jutting rock formations and endemic wildlife. From its mountainous peaks visitors can see the great breadth and vastness of the forest, and take in commanding panoramas of the city below.
Rio has an exceptional abundance of great green expanses, including city parks, forests and state parks. Along the coast between Botafogo and Centro is a lush green expanse called "Parque do Flamengo," or Flamengo Park. Large, exotic trees line the path where people can be found running, exercising, skating, bicycling, walking or just relaxing.
For towering trees and exotic species, the "Jardim Botânico," or Botanical Garden, is the ideal location. Created in 1808 by the royal family predominantly for the cultivation of therapeutic and medical plants, the garden and greenhouses now play host to an impressively varied selection of plants - Oriental spices, such as vanilla and cinnamon, vegetables from Portugal and Guiana, and plants, trees and cacti from all over the globe.
The "Parque Natural Municipal de Marapendi," or Marapendi Municipal Park, accessible via the Western Zone of Rio, provides visitors with an array of activities, including hiking, picnicking and frolicking in the playgrounds. The "Lagoa de Marapendi," or Marapendi Lagoon, situated in the district of Barra da Tijuca is rich in scenic views, clear waters and an array of birds and wildlife. Visitors can also enjoy a scenic boat trip along the lake.
The most famous lagoon in the city is the "Logoa Rodrigo de Freitas," also known as the "heart of Rio de Janeiro." This placid lake is a great place to enjoy the views of the city, as well to exercise and practice all kinds of aquatic and land sports. From rowing, to biking, trekking, jogging or practicing yoga and sun bathing, the path surrounding the lagoon offers many options to relax and work out, enjoying the usually fresh and bright days in Rio.
As a precious reminder of the rich history, culture, and evolution of Rio de Janeiro, a number of military forts enrich the shores and the skyline of the city, as well as dozens of churches and monuments scattered throughout dozens of districts.
The iconic and truly unique Cathedral de São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro is a very modern and breathtaking building home to the faith of the Carioca people and the thousands of visitors who find in its magical design, the secret rewards of art and sunlight. Famous for its conical shape and the painted glass art in its windows which go from the floor to the ceiling forming a cross, this gem of the architecture is located in the financial center of the city, where it opened its doors to the world in the 70's. With standing room for 20,000 people, it can be easily coined as one of the largest temples in South America.
Not far, between the beaches of Copacabana and Arpoador stands the Copacabana Fort, bravely facing the Atlantic Ocean. Built in 1914, this armed bunker guarded Rio's shores until deactivated for coastal defense in 1987, but visitors can still admire the strength of its walls and the Krupp cannons that defended it. Nowadays it is used as the Museum of Army History and it gives visitors beautiful sightings of the beaches and the whole bay, as its location was strategically picked to oversee the area with 360° vision.
The beautiful and historically significant "Parque Lage" on the outskirts of the district of Jardim Botânico is a key historical landmark from the time of Brazilian colonization, and home to a beautiful garden. The palace on sight exhibits the sophisticated beauty of early 19th century architecture, side by side with contemporary art from the "Escola de Artes Visuais", the School of Visual Arts.
Rio de Janeiro has been acclaimed over the past decades for its contribution to the artistic world. This is partly due to government investment in galleries and exhibitions across the city. The "Museu de Arte do Rio," or Rio Art Museum, was inaugurated in 2013, and hosts delightful exhibitions and events throughout the year. The "Museu de Arte Moderna," or Museum of Modern Art, as well as the "Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil," or Bank of Brazil Cultural Center, also schedule internationally recognized exhibitions throughout the year.
Another aspect of Rio's cultural repertoire is its theatre, and the widespread appreciation of performing arts. The "Teatro Municipal," or Municipal Theatre', is one of the most striking buildings in the city. Built in the baroque style in 1909, it primarily exhibits classical concerts, operas and ballets, as well as some musical theatre.
Rio's nightlife is wholly unique and accepting - welcoming into its fold people of all tastes, backgrounds and orientations. It is filled with passion for life, happiness, vibrant music, a spectrum of colors, and glitter.
Renowned for the white arcs that mark the entrance to Rio's bohemian district, and home to the brightly tiled steps that ascend to the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, Lapa is like no other place in the world. Colorful stalls selling cocktails, beers and street food pepper the walkways, while the roads are lined with bars projecting vibrant, traditional music, such as Samba, Forró and Funk.
Stylish and sophisticated establishments can be found in the districts of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, while bars and squares pepper every neighborhood, abuzz with the happy music and chatter of Rio's residents.
As the affordable lodging industry has expanded in Rio, owners have worked tirelessly to make their establishments as charming and unique as possible. They tend to create an exciting ambience, enhanced by the communality of shared bars, living rooms and kitchens.
There are also a significant number of luxury accommodations available in the city. Some of the plushest hotels can be found in the fashionable districts of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, providing guests with gourmet cuisine, swimming pools, bars, saunas and massage services.
The landmark Copacabana Palace is at the top of South America's list of 5-star hotels, and it is definitely a must-see in Rio de Janeiro. It opened its doors to tourists from all over the world in 1923, and since then it has lodged some of the wealthiest and most famous visitors in the Carioca capital, such as Marilyn Monroe, Lady Diana and Luciano Pavarotti, to name a few.
For those visiting Rio on business, there are many stylish hotels in the emerging commercial and modern district of the city, Barra de Tijuca. There are also agreeable and inexpensive hotel options dotted around the centre of the city, and the districts that surround it, such as Catete, Flamengo, and Lapa.
Another pleasant option is apartment rental. With the arrival of several highly successful on-line enterprise, there has been an unprecedented surge in this kind of holidaying. Travelers are able to select their home away from home by renting out fully decorated and cozy rooms in apartments and houses.
Public transport round Rio de Janeiro makes any part of the city easily accessible. An authentic visit to Rio would not be complete without taking a ride on one of the fast-riding buses. Alternatively, the metro is quick and reliable and attends the most popular tourist districts in the city.
Renting a bike can be a very pleasant option, particularly on a sunny day. There are excellent bike paths all along the main stretches of beach in Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, Leme, Botafogo and Flamengo. Similarly, the paths that surround the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, are ideal for a delightful and picturesque bicycle ride.
Whether it's a quick, traffic-free ride across the city, or a sightseeing excursion that's in store, conventional taxis and moto-taxi rides are some of the most efficient and exhilarating ways to get around the city.
Yachts and helicopters also offer exciting ways to experience Rio's emerald waters and scenic islands and get beautiful and unique panoramic views of the cityscape. Rio boasts one of the most breath-taking and unique topographies of any city in the world – mountains, beaches, forests and high-rise buildings meld into one another in a mesmerizing fashion, offering visitors breathtaking views from just about any angle, and never better than from above.