Five Free Things to do in RioLaura Rendell-Dunn - Product & Marketing
Our Real Latin America Expert
Laura Rendell-Dunn - Product & Marketing
With her Brazilian mother and Anglo-Peruvian husband, trilingual Laura has an insight into Latin America of rare depth and passion, making her the ideal spokesperson for all the region has to offer.
Follow our tips to experience Rio like a local and for free.
Hangout at the beach
When not working out at the gym or feasting at a barbecue, Cariocas' (people from Rio de Janeiro) favourite pastime is hanging out at the beach. Whether it's playing a game of volleyball, surfing or just parading up and down the water's edge, live like a local by heading to one of the following beaches; Copacabana (great for people watching), Arpoador (great for families), Ipanema or Leblon (where the beautiful bodied show off their latest designer beach wear).
Climb a mountain
A visit to Rio is not complete without a trip to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Instead of taking the crowded cable-car, stroll along a beautiful shoreline pedestrian path, popular with walkers and joggers. This is followed by a weaving hike up a trail with awesome views of Guanabara Bay.
Feast in a food market
CADEG is an authentic indoor market selling everything from food to fire alarms. The highlight is the excellent yet unpretentious restaurants that adorn the aisles. Open daily, CADEG is located in Benfica - roughly a 45-minute drive from Copacabana and offers a real insight into how the Cariocas live and shop.
Take a rainforest trail
Located in the heart of Rio, the Tijuca rainforest is a national park and the world's largest urban rainforest. Explore numerous marked trails taking you to hidden waterfalls and impressive view points of golden beaches and the famous statue of Christ. The park is also home to an array of exotic plants including orchids and bromeliads as well as tropical birds such as parrots and toucans.
Go for an urban hike
Start at the Copacabana Palace hotel located at the far end of Copacabana beach, near Urca. Take a 45-minute stroll down the waved-pattern promenade that runs alongside Copacabana beach looking right for occasional glimpses of the statue of Christ until you reach the lifesavers lookout post no.6. Cross Avenida Atlântica (the main beach road) at Sá Ferreira street and continue one block to Nossa Sra. de Copacabana - a busy commercial avenue with some excellent music shops. For a 'light' snack head north to Toca do Siri bar on Raul Pompéia no.6 - their speciality is cuisine from the northeast. Return to Copacabana beach and head towards the fort. Enjoy a caipirinha at Café Colombo inside the fort and appreciate one of the best views of Rio with Sugar Loaf mountain as the back drop.
Take a look at some of our holidays to Brazil:
A tailor-made 10-day Value Brazil: The emerald coast holiday visits Rio, Paratí and Ilha Grande. This short holiday, with time spent on sun-drenched beaches but also beyond, begins in Rio on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, before heading down the coast to the historic colonial port of Paratí and thence you take a ferry to Ilha Grande, a vehicle-free, forest-cloaked island, once a backpacker’s secret but now studded with pretty barefoot pousadas.
An 11-day Trogon: Natural Brazil group tour to Brazil visits Rio, Paratí, Pantanal and the Iguazú Falls.
Last updated: 16 Jun 2017
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Real Latin America Experts
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.
Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant
Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.
Ben Line - Travel Consultant
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.