© Katie McCabe | Copacabana Beach |  Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

The Best Sights in Rio de Janiero

by Katie McCabe  |  @awelltraveledpair  |  June 22th, 2017

Rio de Janiero is the land of sun, fun, art, and culture. This well-rounded city is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, hippest art scenes, and tastiest cuisines. With a nickname that literally translates to 'Marvelous City", Rio leaves its visitors awe-inspired and dazzled. If you're planning a trip to Brazil's most tantalizing city, here is a list of the top sights not to miss.

Copacabana

What's a trip to Rio de Janeiro without a visit to the famous Copacabana? This vibrant area has everything you need --- beachside hotels, amazing restaurants, bustling bars, street vendors, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you're looking for a more relaxing stay, try Ipanema. It's quiet, trendy, and just as beautiful as Copacabana. It is, however, a tad more expensive. 

© Katie McCabe | Copacabana Beach | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Selaron Steps

Located in the Lapa neighborhood, the Selaron Steps were designed and created by Chilean born artist Jorge Selaron as a gift to the Brazilian people. Jorge spent over twenty years building these steps with over 2,000 tiles that he collected from around the world. Today, the steps are one of the most visited spots in all of Rio.

 

An Uber ride from Copacabana will take about thirty minutes and cost around $12 USD. 

© Katie McCabe | Selaron Steps | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Morro Dois Irmaos Hike

Do you want to experience one of the best views in all of Rio? Are you willing to sweat a little for it? Then I highly suggest the Morro Dois Irmaos hike. It's challenging, mainly because of the hot sun and the steepness, but overall is a moderate level hike.

 

How to get there: Take a taxi/Uber to the Vidigal favela entrance. Vidigal's entrance is located on Avenue Niemeyer. Once you pass the Sheraton Grand Rio Leblon Hotel on your left hand side, you'll see the favela entrance on your right hand side about half a mile up. From there, a motorbike taxi will drive you to the trailhead for 5 Brazilian Real/ $1.50 USD. The motorbike will drop you off at a football field. Cross the field and you'll see the beginning of the trail. The hike typically takes around ninety minutes round trip, and there is a local vendor at the halfway point selling water, snacks, and frozen acai. At the top, you'll see amazing views of Ipanema, Copacabana, Christ the Redeemer, and Sugarloaf Mountain. On the way back down, don't forget to take in some great views of the Vidigal favela. 

© Katie McCabe | Morros Dois Irmaos | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil
© Katie McCabe | Morros Dois Irmaos | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Mirante Dona Marta

This was one of our favorite spot in all of Rio. The lookout point boasts breathtaking views of Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, surrounding favelas, and beautiful beaches. The best part is there were barely any other tourists, we practically had the whole place to ourselves.

 

The best way to get there is by taxi or Uber. We hired an Uber, which took about twenty minutes from Copacabana, and cost around $10 USD. Be sure to ask the driver to wait for you at the top and then drive you back down. There aren't any taxis for hire at the top, and you'll end up having to walk. 

© Katie McCabe | Mirante Dona Marta | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil
© Katie McCabe | Mirante Dona Marta | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil
© Katie McCabe | Mirante Dona Marta | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil
© Katie McCabe | Mirante Dona Marta | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Jardim Botanico

Make sure to add a little R&R to your trip with a visit to the tranquil grounds of Rio's stunning botanical gardens. The gardens house over 8,000 different species of flora, 900 varieties of palm trees, and has over 140 species of birds. It is so peaceful and serene inside, you'll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of Rio. You can walk the grounds at your own pace, or opt for one of their guided tours. Ticket prices and operating hours vary, so check their website for the most up to date information. 

© Katie McCabe | Jardim Botanico | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Parque Lage

Parque Lage is a beautiful public park that sits at the foot of Corcovado mountain. Featured in Snoop Dogg's Beautiful music video, the park is now one of the most visited tourist attractions in Brazil. Inside the park, we ate lunch at the famous Plage Cafe, where we had a fantastic meal and spectacular views of Christ the Redeemer. 

© Katie McCabe | Park Lage | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Mil Frutas

Nothing beats the heat in Rio better than some cold and creamy ice cream from Mil Frutas. They have several locations spread across Rio, one just as good as the next. Their unique ice cream flavors will excite your taste buds and leave them wanting more. Made mostly from Amazonian fruits, flavors such as Bacuri and Jackfruit should not be missed! 

© Katie McCabe | Mil Frutas | Rio de Janeiro | Brazil

Additional Tips

Weather: The best months to visit Rio are April through October when temperatures are warm enough to hit the beaches, but not too hot. The months of November through March bring sweltering heat and large crowds, especially during Carnival, which runs for five days every February. 

Accommodations: The best areas to stay in Rio are definitely Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon. 

Money: The currency of Rio is Brazilian real. $1 USD is equal to 5.50 Brazilian real.

Safety: We felt very safe during our time in Rio. We stayed in the tourist areas, and we keep our valuables close to us at all times. Robberies and pickpocketing are common, so it is suggested not to walk around late at night, and to always be aware of your surroundings. Rio can be a very safe and enjoyable destination, using caution is key.