Rio de Janeiro in 5 days

Are you planning to visit Rio de Janeiro, but don’t know how many days you should stay in the city and what should you experience during your stay? We have retailed you an itineray including some of the most interesting attractions of Rio de Janeiro. Of course all of them may not interest you, but our aim is to give you a complete example of all the possibilities.

View over Copacabana

View over Copacabana

DAY 1:

  • Head early in morning to the Corcovado train station (opens at 08.30 am) and get to the top where the world famous Christ statue is located. After having visited Corcovado head to the downtown of Rio de Janeiro and catch one of those old fashioned trams up to the artistic neighborhood of Santa Teresa. This picturesque uphill neighborhood is an ideal place to enjoy a delicious and traditional Brazilian meal. After your lunch enjoy the views from Parque das Ruinas and visit the museum of Characa do Ceu with images of Rio de Janeiro before it became a city of millions and millions of inhabitants. After having explored Santa Teresa, the next stop is one of the most traditional landmarks of Rio de Janeiro, the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain in the late afternoon has the advantage of both daylight and sunset, which is a spectacle itself!

DAY 2:

  • Botanical Garden

    Botanical Garden

    Start you day by having a walk in the Botanical Garden, which is a real oasis in the middle of such a huge city as Rio de Janeiro. After having enjoyed your lunch participate in one of the guided Favela tours. These tours are an excellent way to see the other face of Rio de Janeiro and especially to understand a little bit better the causes of social problems in the city. In the evening participate in a rehearsal of a samba school (available from August to February) and bring a piece of carnival feeling with you.

DAY 3:

  • Star your day with emotions and try hang gliding admiring the views from the top of Pedra da Gavea and landing to the beach of Praia do Pepino. If you are not into adventures, have a walk in the downtown of Rio de Janeiro visiting the museums, churches and monasteries, or just have a relax at one of the world famous beaches. After having enjoyed your lunch have a refreshing swim in the sea and get prepared to more emotions in soccer game at the world’s biggest stadium Maracanã. If you are not into soccer, enjoy shopping in the fashionable stores of Ipanema and have a walk in the shores of the lake Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. The restaurants of Parque dos Patins located in the edges the lake are also excellent places to enjoy your dinner with live music.

Pele, the legend

Pele, the legend

DAY 4:

  • Start a day with a visit to the National Park of Tijuca located within the city of Rio de Janeiro. You can choose either a sightseeing tour that takes you to the most interesting points by car or take a light hike up to the highest peak of Rio de Janeiro, the Tijuca Peak. After the tour enjoy your lunch at one of the many sea front restaurants in Copacabana and have leisure stroll inside of the Fort of Copacabana (situated at the end of it), which is also an excellent place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious desert at the famous coffee house Confeitaria Colombo.

DAY 5:

  • Take a day trip outside of Rio de Janeiro and get an idea of the beauty of this state. Tours (private or scheduled) to Búzios or to tropical island of Angra dos Reis are ideal options and a schooner cruise in the destination allows you to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters of these regions. Enjoy your last night in Rio de Janeiro at one of the samba clubs of Lapa, the most popular neighborhood of nightlife. Easygoing atmospheare, traditional live samba and delicious snacks/dinner are guaranteed, no matter which of the many bars you choose.
Angra dos Reis

Angra dos Reis

Obs. Activities such as Samba school rehearsals and Soccer games are not available everyday, so check the schedules and modify the plan according to them.

Rio de Janeiro, Part I: Where to stay and not to stay.

The Marvellous City of Rio de Janeiro

The Marvellous City of Rio de Janeiro

During the short existence of Brazil Diversitys blog we have noticed that many of our readers are looking for detailed information about travelling in Rio de Janeiro. Therefore we decided to come up with this topic as soon as possible, even if there are plenty of other attractive places to visit in Brazil and it’s hard to choose in between them. With no doubt Rio de Janeiro is a marvellous city and has some of the most beautiful views in the world. It’s also a city of  huge contrats and probably due to this travelling to Rio always brings up some questions such as the security. When I first stepped the ground of Rio de Janeiro, I do had to admit that there is something unique and very special in marvellous city. The beauty of the city and the life style of the Cariocas (=native Rio born) left me speechless and fullfilled all my expectations. And it’s was just a start for a long term relations with Rio de Janeiro. So let’s get started!

There are two airports in Rio de Janeiro,  the centrally located airport of Santos Dumont serves only domestic flights and about 25 kilometers from the city you will find the airport of Galeão, serving both international and domestic flights. The simplest way to get to your accommodation is to book an arranged transfer in before hand or take a taxi. The yellow taxis of Rio de Janeiro are everywhere and they are reasonably priced. As anywhere in the world the first time tourist arriving to the international airport has a danger to become cheated by the taxi drivers. All the taxis do have a taxi meter, but the driver may not speak your language, so if you are unable to communicate in portuguese we do recommend you to contract a taxi with fixed price. This is easy! Even before you step out from the airport’s international area you will find a number of ladies calling for you and offering taxi service. Take an advantage of this and book a taxi with fixed price to your destination. The price depends on the neighborhood you are going to.

Copacabana adn Sugar Loaf Mountain

Copacabana and Sugar Loaf Mountain

Now that you are in the city you will start circulating the in neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro. The most well know ones are without any doubt Copacabana and Ipanema. They both give a name not just for the beach, but for the surrounding neighborhood as well. This is also where most of the hotels are concentrated. If you are looking for a beach front hotel with seaview, but are not ready to pay astronomic prices your choice will most probably be located at Copacabana. At this world famous beach you will find a large number of hotels in all categories. Many of them are located right on the beach boulevard Avenida Atlantica, but less pricy hotels can be found few blocks from the seaside. Ipanema on the other hand is one of the fanciest neighborhoods of the city and the beach front has mostly residential buildings. Some highly priced hotels enjoy direct sea view, but also here you will find some larger number of options few blocks away from the beach boulevard.



Other interesting neighborhoods, when it comes to tourism are Leblon, an another fancy and most residential neightborhood located right next to Ipanema. Flamengo is a residential neighborhood for local middle class with large number of good quality budget hotels and easy access (10min) by metro to Copacabana Santa Teresa, the bohemian up hill neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro with smaller boutique hotels and an excellent alternative choice thanks to its’ relaxed small town kind of atmospheare. The center of Rio de Janeiro is called “Centro” and it’s basically home for many offices and financial operations of the town. The hotel’s located in the center will not bring any special interest for an ordinary tourist, unless you are travelling on business. It’s recommendable to vist Centro and it’s attractions from Monday till Friday during the day time, when the numerous restaurants and shops are open and you will find many Cariocas in the streets of Centro. At night time and during the weekends Centro remains empty and can turn out to be unsafe for a traveller.

Rio’s location at the Tropic of Capricorn on souther hemispheare means that the winter months June, July and August, temperatures are lower (20-25 degrees) and on the summer time an average temperature is over 30 degrees, occassionaly reaching 40 celcius. Rainfall is highest during the summer time, but usually it means thunderstorms at the end of the day. What would be a good time to stay at Rio then? Some people stop only for two days, other stay two weeks. We would recommend something in between. You will certainly always find something to do in Rio de Janeiro, but nearby in the state there are other interesting places worth of visit like Angra dos Reis, Ilha Grande, Búzios and Arraial do Cabo. All these are beach destinations, ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving with clearer waters than the capital itself. In the inland, you will find the mountainous areas with options for hiking, mountain biking, river rafting and horseback riding. We do recommend you to take a short escape out of the urban life of Rio and visit at least one of these beautiful areas located nearby. To get an idea take a look at our blog post about Ilha Grande.

One of the many favelas

One of the many favelas

Then the never ending question of safety. Is it really safe to walk in the streets of Rio de Janeiro? On my opinion it’s as safe as walking in any other large city. It’s good to remember that Rio de Janeiro has more than 6 million inhabitants and you should not be wandering around at any part of the city on your own. The favelas (=slums), mostly located up on the hills are not to be visited by yourself. If you want to see this part of Rio de Janeiro, take a tour. It’s an interesting way to find out how big part of the population lives and in addition to sightseeing the tour guide provides you lot of information concerning the social system of Brazil. Highly recommended! Also leave all you jewellery, extra money and other valuable articles at hotel any time going out. There is absolutely no need to carry them with you. At the night time take a taxi, like we mentioned earlier they are everywhere and they are cheap. If at any moment you end up in a dangerous situation, stay calm, hand over all your belongings and contact the Rio’s tourist police afterwards. As a general mnemonic a street with few people should be avoided.

Last but not least, now it’s time to enjoy Rio de Janeiro! Shortly we are going to publish an another blog post discussing about the attractions that Rio de Janeiro has to offer. In the meanwhile, have a walk on the beach and enjoy a glass of chilly caipiriha!

Check out our other blog posts related to Rio de Janeiro:

Our suggested itineraries including Rio de Janeiro

Sunset at Ipanema

Sunset at Ipanema

Brazil Diversity recommends:


  • Rio Guesthouse A small and stylish penthouse pousada right in the heart of Copacana.
  • Mama Ruisa – A mansion style pousada located up hill in the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
  • La SuiteYour hideaway design guesthouse in Rio. Choose this option if you want to enjoy the spectacular views without leaving your pousada and don’t mind taking a taxi when willing to discover the attractions of the town.
  • Astoria Palace – A reasonably priced new hotel right in front of the sea at Copacabana.
  • Sofitel Copacabana – Beach front hotel, located just a short step from Ipanema allowing you to enjoy easily the attractions of both world famous beaches.
  • Travelling with tight budget and looking for a hostel? Try out Bamboo Rio Hostel or Vila Carioca Hostel, both offering private rooms and dormotories.
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