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