Rio de Janeiro
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Plan Your Trip to Rio de Janeiro: Best of Rio de Janeiro Tourism

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Rio de Janeiro, RJ

With its pretty beaches, dramatic mountains, and soundtrack of samba and bossa nova humming in the background, Rio de Janeiro casts a spell. Famed Ipanema Beach is still the place to stroll, sunbathe, and be seen. The largest Art Deco statue in the world, Christ the Redeemer, calls visitors to Corcovado Mountain. If that’s not enough, Rio is home to science and art museums, a buzzing food scene, a massive soccer stadium, incredible nightlife, and some 50 miles of beaches. If you're coming for Carnaval, Rio’s annual celebrations are full-on sensory overload with music, dance, floats, costumes, and food and drink all powering an around-the-clock party.

Travel Advice

Essential Rio de Janeiro

How to do Rio de Janeiro in 3 days

Mountaintop views, thumping nightlife, and family-friendly beaches
Read on

Beaches where you can escape the crowds (or join them)

As a Brazilian-American living in Brazil for the first time, I couldn’t have landed in a more exciting place than Rio de Janeiro. The city is the epitome of the “beautiful chaos” that Brazil is known for. Over the past three years, I’ve mastered the art of beach-going in Rio. Here’s where to go for a good time, and where to get away from the crowds.
Carla Vianna, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
  • Ipanema Beach
    19,173
    Head to Ipanema for a true taste of Rio’s beach culture. Vendors sell everything from steamed corn and empanadas to chilled coconuts and sweet tea. You’ll share the sand with locals and travelers alike, including groups of friends playing futevôlei, a volleyball-like sport using just your feet. The iconic scenery, which includes a pair of pointy peaks known as the Two Brothers at the far end of the beach, makes it a must-visit.
  • Praia do Arpoador
    16,026
    To the east of Ipanema, Arpoador is the surf and sunset spot. The water is often sprinkled with surfers, but there’s plenty of room for you to swim closer to the shore. The rock that juts out into the ocean is the best spot to watch the sunset in Rio. Grab a beer and settle in for the show as the sun dips behind the Two Brothers. Stick around for live samba music every Thursday.
  • Copacabana Beach
    25,330
    Ipanema and Arpoador are known for their big waves. It’s almost a rite of passage to trade stories about being pummeled by the surf. But if you’re looking for a calmer beach day, head over to Posto 6 in Copacabana. The southern section of the beach is protected by Fort Copacabana, so the water is almost always calm enough for paddleboarding and kayaking. If you’re up early, it’s the perfect spot to catch the sunrise.
  • Praia Vermelha
    1,158
    In the tranquil neighborhood of Urca, this small patch of sand couldn’t be more different from the expansive shores of Ipanema, Arpoador, and Copacabana. The beach looks up at Sugarloaf Mountain, a stunning backdrop that’s reflected in its emerald waters. At day’s end, head to nearby Mureta da Urca. Grab a spot on the seawall in front of Bar Urca, a longstanding institution serving fried snacks and ice-cold beer, as the sun goes down.
  • Praia Da Joatinga
    909
    I like to say that Joatinga Beach is Rio’s best-kept secret. While it’s open to the public, it can only be accessed through a condominium where the limited number of parking spots help curb the crowds. On weekends, Joatinga is always bustling. During the week, however, you might actually get the beach to yourself, especially if you arrive early. It’s bordered by tall cliffs that transport you far from the concrete jungle behind you.
  • Praia de Grumari
    3,604
    About an hour from the center of Rio, Grumari Beach feels a little more isolated. There’s little to no infrastructure here, although some rustic beach shacks serve fried snacks and fresh juices. Nestled within a nature preserve, the beach is surrounded by forested mountains. There’s limited parking, and if you don’t arrive early you probably won’t get a spot. Expect a healthy crowd on weekends, but nothing compared to Ipanema or Copacabana.
  • Perigoso Beach
    169
    A hour-long drive takes you to Perigoso, a protected beach about 40 miles from the center of Rio. With turquoise blue waters, it’s one of the prettiest stretches of sand within driving distance. Hike up Pedra da Tartaruga for views stretching back to the city, or continue on toward even more secluded beaches. The farther you get, the more empty the shores become. Pack water and snacks, since you won’t find vendors on these beaches.
  • Praia de Itacoatiara
    3,871
    The running joke is that the best thing about Niteroi—a city across the bay—is the view of Rio. But the coastal city does have its fair share of beautiful beaches. Known for its notoriously big waves, Itacoatiara is a hit among surfers. When the waves are too rough for swimming, take a dip in the natural pools nearby. Hike up the monolith at the far end of the beach to take in the entire coastline.

Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Rio de Janeiro

Alexandre P

In case you need help, Carioca's are nice, but make sure you are close to Zona Sul, where people are more friendly to tourists. Even if do not speak fluent English, they will help.

Gisele T

The dozens of juice bars in Rio are ideal for having an authentic açaí berry smoothie, or for trying other exotic fruit juices and traditional snacks. Buffet restaurants, where food is priced per kilo, are very popular among locals, especially for lunch.

kikinsg

If you are young, go to Lapa, and at every door, there will be music and dancing. Go to a candonblé or macumba ritual: go Downtown and see the old Rio de Janeiro with golden churches and beautiful neo-classic buildings like the Municipal for a beautiful concert.

joanadventure

Rio: The city of wonders and easy to get around.

Gisele T

The unique geography of Rio de Janeiro ensures that you'll enjoy a free picturesque backdrop — from gorgeous mountains and white-sand beaches to verdant rain forests and deep blue seas — at every step of your exploration.

kikinsg

Rio de Janeiro, called the "Marvellous City," charms everyone not only by its natural beauty but also by the friendliness of all Cariocas (born in Rio). Obviously, the main assets are the beaches, like the famous Copacabana beach and its beautiful sidewalks. But there are several beaches, all around our coast.

What is the best way to get there?

flying

The main airport that serves Rio de Janeiro is the Rio de Janeiro-Antonio Carlos Jobim/Galeão International Airport, known simply as Galeão International Airport.

bus

The Rodoviaria Rio Novo station is the main bus terminal in Rio de Janeiro and hosts the majority of long-distance buses.

driving

If arriving in Rio by car, you’ll likely come from the BR116, which is the highway that connects the city with Sao Paulo.

Do I need a visa?

If you’re visiting from Brazil overseas, see if you need a visa using this website.

When is the best time to visit?

December to March: Undoubtedly, the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro is between December and March, when the weather is optimum for exploring the city’s beaches. Additionally, the summer months deliver two of the city’s best celebrations: New Year’s Eve, when crowds cram onto Copacabana Beach for a 15-minute fireworks display, and the world-renowned Carnaval, during which the spirit of samba overtakes the city.

For more information on Rio de Janeiro’s weather and when to go, check out some tips here.

Get around

metro

Rio’s metro spans three air-conditioned lines. Line 1 goes from Ipanema-General Osório to Uruguai; Line 2 travels from Botafogo to Pavuna, passing Maracanã football stadium en route; Line 3 travels between Ipanema-General Osório and the eastern end of Barra da Tijuca at Jardim Oceânico. You can purchase a rechargeable card at any of the metro stations. Find out more here.

taxis and rideshare

Apps such as Uber and Cabify are the main rideshare operators in Rio. Most of the public cabs are metered and are readily available and therefore easy to hail from the street.

bus

Rio’s BRS (Bus Rapid System) overlaps the metro and covers popular city zones such as Ipanema, Leblon, Barra, and Copacabana.

On the ground

What is the timezone?

Brasilia Standard Time (GMT-3).

What are the voltage/plug types?

The standard voltage in Rio de Janeiro is 127V and the standard frequency is 60Hz. There are two associated plug types: type N, with two round pins and a grounding pin, and type C, with two round pins. For plug types, you can reference the international guide.

What is the currency?

Brazilian Real (BRL).

Are ATMs readily accessible?

Yes.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Yes.

How much do I tip?

Though tipping is not part of Brazilian culture, a 10% service charge is generally added to the bill in restaurants.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking

The federal legal age for buying and drinking alcohol is 18 years old.

Dress

In Brazil, casual dress is more formal than in other countries so if a restaurant or event specifies formal wear then ensure that you dress to impress.

Religion

Though generally modern and tolerant, Brazilians typically have strong Catholic beliefs. Try to avoid expressing atheist views in public.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rio de Janeiro


Some of the most popular restaurants in Rio de Janeiro include:

Rio de Janeiro is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Rio de Janeiro between June and August, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between December and February.