Welcome to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second-largest city, and it’s easy to think of it as the capital of Brazil since so many of the country’s iconic landmarks are found here. Even if you’ve never been to Rio, many people know some of its famous sights, such as the Christ the Redeemer statue, Copacabana Beach, and the gigantic Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as the famous Rio de Janeiro Carnival.
Many people from around the world have visited Rio de Janeiro, so it is not particularly hard to find tons of travel guides offering you tips on what to do, while you’re here. As a worldwide local, you’ll want to experience the lesser-known aspects of this beautiful city and not just head to where all the other visitors do. Here is an inside look on how to experience Rio de Janeiro, as a worldwide local.
Worldwide Local Tip: Rio de Janeiro is divided into four zones, the center, south, east, and west. Most of the city’s landmarks are located in the southern and central zones which are, as you might have guessed, more urban and centralized. As many people know the favelas are dangerous areas, but you likely won’t be near any of them, just be aware that they are mostly located along the many mountain slopes of the city.
Start with a Day on the Rio de Janeiro Beach
A trip to Rio isn’t complete without a trip to the beach. Brazil is a hot country, but Rio de Janeiro weather is generally amazing. Rio without its beach culture is like bacon without eggs. It’s just something that’s so ingrained into the culture that every tourist and locals must experience. Copacabana is, without a doubt, the most popular beach in Rio de Janeiro. Now we’re not going to tell you not to go, but there are other great beaches in Rio de Janeiro that are more oriented to locals and are certainly worth your time. Ipanema is a popular beach that is more oriented to a younger crowd and is mostly visited by locals. Leblon is also very popular and Prainha is a little out of the way but is almost always devoid of other tourists. Abricó is Rio’s only nudist beach and is only accessible by car or taxi.
Worldwide Local Tip: Rio has a beach culture that even other Brazilians can easily misconstrue. With the exception of Abricó, nudity is not allowed on Rio’s beaches. Most women wear thongs (and this should go without saying) staring is considered very rude and inappropriate. Some men wear speedos, but that has largely gone out of fashion. Speedos with a square leg cut, are much more common these days. If you don’t want to stick out (and make yourself less likely to be robbed) wear what the locals do. There are many shops around the beaches that offer a wide variety of swimwear. Try to avoid bringing valuables to the beach.
Enjoy the Most Musical Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is a party city without a doubt. At any time of the day, you can find people dancing, singing, and having a fun time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. One of Brazil’s most famous cultural exports to the world is Samba dancing. If you want to blend in like a local, you better learn a few steps. The Perda so Sal area is one of Rio’s most fun nightlife spots, and the fact that this area used to be a main point for the slave trade, makes it also a cultural landmark. Every Monday, Samba bands join together to play music and sing while the locals dance, drink, mingle, and party. Sip on chilled caipirinhas and hang out with the locals.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re looking for something a little more modern, the Viaduto de Madureira is a party spot few tourists venture off to. Located in the north zone and set in a residential neighborhood, the Viaduto is host to Saturday night outdoor parties that don’t stop until the people leave. Starting at around 10 pm, DJs play a variety of Brazilian hip-hop and rap, and it’s one of the wildest parties in the city.
Explore Sugarloaf Mountain
Rio de Janeiro is a large bustling metropolis, and a worldwide local knows that sometimes getting out of the city is a good way to decompress a bit. There are a lot of spots around town for a hike in nature, for example, the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. There are also lesser-known spots around town, like Mirante Dona Marta that has a view that stretches out over Guanabara Bay and Pedra do Pontal, which is largely unexplored by tourists, due to its remote location in the south zone. The trek is a little far but the views over the ocean are incredible, especially if you visit during the sunset.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you’re really looking to get out of the city for a while, then the Ilha de Paqueta is the place for you. This small little island, is just a short boat trip away from Rio and is full of untamed wilderness, wildlife, small mom and pop shops, and the calmest beaches around. The island is also an auto-free zone adding to its charm; so if you want to get around, bike, walk, or hire a horse-drawn carriage.
Have an Unforgettable Time in Rio de Janeiro!
Rio de Janeiro is a worldwide local’s paradise with amazing beaches, beautiful scenic green landscapes, and some of the most fun nightlife you can have on the continent. The city is massive, with lots to experience just make sure you have enough time to see it all.