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Talita e Felipe

Talita e Felipe

Tips about Rio

We've put together a little guide so you can plan your trip to Rio

Where to stay


We recommend staying in Leblon (1st option) or Ipanema (2nd option). Another good option is Barra da Tijuca - specifically in an area called Jardim Oceânico, where you can walk to many bars, restaurants, the beach and the subway.


The nicest area in Rio is called Zona Sul (South Zone), which comprises the neighborhoods of São Conrado, Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana, Gavea, Jardim Botânico, Lagoa, Botafogo, Urca and Flamengo. It is well served by the Metro, buses, taxis and uber. It is also the most expensive area, but that’s where you want to be.


The Barra da Tijuca neighborhood is also pretty nice, but everything is far and public transportation is not great. The exception is Jardim Oceânico, which resembles more Zona Sul and is served by a Metro station.


When booking a place try to stay close to one of the stations, the Metro is relatively cheap, clean and reliable most of the time - also a good option to avoid traffic during peak hours.

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Things to do 


  • Beach :
    • Barra da Tijuca
    • Ipanema
    • Leblon
    • Prainha and Grumari (those are pretty far, you’d have to drive there, but it’s less crowded and really beautiful). If you go there you can check out some great seafood restaurants close by, like : Point Grumari, Bira or Cafe Marambaia (Great to see the sunset)
    • Joatinga (get there early if going on a sunny weekend)


  • Traditional places
    • Christ the Redeemer (or Cristo Redentor, in portuguese) - The view is amazing , and you can buy the ticket with transportation - Check here and here (in english)
    • Sugar Loaf ( Pão de Açúcar) - Breathtaking views, after visiting you can have a beer, or caipirinha and see the sunset at the traditional Bar Urca
    • Botanical Garden and/or Parque Lage - very nice for pictures, and fresh air
    • Vista Chinesa - kind of a dangerous spot, but has an incredible view
    • Santa Tereza - artistic neighborhood , with great restaurants and views, like Aprazivel and Bar do Mineiro - I saw this on AirBnb and think it could be a nicer experience with a guide


  • Hikes (there are some great hikes in Rio, but recommended go with a local or a guide for safety. We know a couple of guides, let us know)
    • Pedra da Gávea - this is hard and long but the view is soooo amazing
    • Pedra Bonita - short hike , you can see where people go for Hang Gliding, and usually you can see
    • Pedra do Telégrafo (famous spot for a cool picture)
    • Horto
    • Cristo Redentor (if you’re up to the challenge there’s a 3 hour hike that takes you up to the Christ statue, but it’s really steep and exhausting. Do it with a guide)


  • Restaurants We Recommend:
    • Visit one of many juice houses, you can find them anywhere. Have juices or Açaí with granola ( most famous : Bibi, Balada Mix )
    • Gurume ( Sea food and japanese food, very good and good price)
    • Churrascarias, Like Mocellin, Barra Grill, Fogo de Chão, Cruzeiro do Sul
    • Typical food you might wanna try: Feijoada, Moqueca



In Rio the best options are not in the traditional nightclubs. There are recurring parties that take place in different venues venues every time, you usually have to buy beforehand to secure the best price. We have friends who can fix you up, let us know.


Aside from that the bars in Leblon are fun places and stay open till very late (way after 2am). The best options vary based on the weekday.


Lapa, a neighborhood in the downtown area, is also popular among tourists. There is live music everywhere. On weekends it gets crowded and dirty, but I’d say it’s worth a trip. Be very careful with pickpockets.


Botafogo in the south zone is another great option for bars. If you happen to be there on a Friday check the bar “O Plebeu”, they usually have live samba.

Local trips


This is not super detailed, so just google those places and let us know if you need further info.


Ilha Grande: That’s an island off the coast of Rio, to get there it’s a 2 hour drive by car (maybe 3 by bus). Then you have to get a ferry or boat, depending on where you choose to stay.

Abraão - The main village, has small hotels and Airbnb options to stay. Easy access by ferry

Lopes Mendes - Hike from Abraao or get there by boat

Aventureiro - In the other side of Ilha Grande, great surfing spot. More secluded, only camping options available (no need to book beforehand)


Buzios: Also 2-3 hours away, it’s a very popular weekend destination especially for young people. It is a small, laid back village with several beach options, good restaurants and busy nightlife.


Arraial do Cabo: Crystal clear waters, excellent for diving


Paraty: Small town with well preserved historical landmarks. Also good beach options (like Praia do Sono)

Petropolis: Another historic town in the state, also known as the Imperial City as that’s where the emperor used to chill back in the day. It’s up in the mountains so usually cold that time of the year, people from Rio like to go there to wear scarves and eat fondue.

Not so local trips 


Also not super detailed, but worth googling and reach out if you need more info


  • Bonito - Lots of Nature, rivers and really beautiful. You can rappel into a cave and dive into pristine water. Access is not so easy, 3-4 hour flight from Rio (connecting) + 4 hour drive.


  • Northeast of Brazil - you can find beautiful beaches here,is even hard to pick one to talk about. Direct flights to major cities, usually 2-3 hours. Some options are :
    • Jericoacoara
    • Fernando de Noronha
    • Porto de Galinhas
    • Morro de São Paulo
    • Maragogi (the Brazilian caribbean)
    • Caraiva (hippie village by the beach. No roads, limited infrastructure)
    • Chapada Diamantina


  • South of Brazil - that’s the most developed region in Brazil, it’s beautiful but also a little cold this time of the year
    • Foz do Iguaçu (on the border with Argentina and Paraguay) - massive waterfalls. 1h30 flight (nonstop)
    • Gramado
    • Florianopolis


  • North of Brazil - you’ll go there if you want to see the Amazon. Since it’s huge you can do it from a lot of cities.
    • Manaus - largest city in the Amazon by far. Plenty of tour options from here, here are some tips:
      • Spend the day in a floating restaurant - Abaré
      • Boat trip through the river, which includes diving in with the dolphins, hold sloths, watch the meeting of waters (rivers Rio Negro and Solimões), fish Pirarucu. It’s best to hire a boat for your own party, as opposed to joining other groups.
      • Presidente Figueiredo - 2h drive away from Manaus, lots of waterfalls. Ideal to go with a car since the falls are far apart. Iracema and Santuário are the most famous waterfalls.
      • MUSA - Museum of the forest. You can climb a 10-story high tree and see the sunset from there.
      • Restaurants:
        • Tambaqui de banda - order costela de tambaqui (Tambaqui ribs)
        • Banzeiro - order pirarucu amazônico (Amazon Pirarucu fish)
        • Amazônico - order caldeirada de tambaqui (Tambaqui fish stew)
        • Waku sese - order pirarucu à casaca
    • Cristalino EcoLodge - probably the best rated ecolodge in the country
    • Macchu Picchu (that’s in Peru and not too far from the Brazilian border, but I’d recommend flying there). Only consider if you have plenty of time, Talita and I did Amazon and Cusco in the same trip - 10 days ideally.

Stay safe


As you’re probably aware, Rio has a big crime problem. Avoid wandering around if you don’t really know where you are (even during the day), and if someone robs you be calm and do not react. Even if you think you can take them over, there’s usually an accomplice watching from a distance and ready to act. Police might or might not be helpful after you’ve been robbed, don’t rely too much on them.


Avoid pulling your cell phone if you are out on the street, that’s an easy target. Also avoid any kind of jewelry, especially around the neck (they’ll pull it off quickly and hurt you). A lot of people in Rio carry backup cell phones and wallets in case they get robbed. Consider wearing those internal fanny packs.


You don’t have to be super stressed the whole time about it, but just be aware of your surroundings, know where you’re going and you’ll be fine. Rio is now going under a security federal intervention, so the army is out on the streets (which means it’s safer than usual) - but still not a reason to relax.


Learn Portuguese


Speaking portuguese is not absolutely necessary for your trip, but could be useful to get around. Also, people tend to be a little nicer when you make an effort to speak their language. If you're interested in taking portuguese lessons, you can try Cambly. Using this link will give you 30min of free classes:




Select one of these tutors, who are fluent in portuguese:


Antonio M
Andrew AP
David Alexander
Ivan Cie
Franck L
Fernanda Nickel



Vaccination - Yellow Fever


You should get a Yellow Fever vaccine if you haven’t already done so - there’s an outbreak going on in some areas of Brazil, including the Rio de Janeiro state.




Take the vaccine at least 10 days before the trip so you can get immune on time.



Don’t forget to check if you need to apply for a tourist visa beforehand. American, canadian, japanese and australian citizens can now apply for an electronic visa (as of Nov 2017):


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