Rio de Janeiro really is a dream destination. From lush dense forests, bright sandy beaches, to being the home of 6.32 million people. As Brazil's second largest city, it really does have something for everyone to enjoy. Below is a list I have compiled together of some amazing things to do while spending a few days in Rio de Janeiro!
Pão de Açucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, is a massive rock formation that resembles a traditional refined loaf of sugar. It's famous for its cable car and panoramic views of the city.
Christ the Redeemer
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World is located in Brazil's Tijuca National Forest on top of Mount Corcovado. People from all around the world travel to come see this historical monument.
The safest way to see the Favela's of Rio is through a guided walking tour. From my understanding after talking to others at the hostel I stayed at, not every tour is created equal. Some guides may share different information so take everything you hear with a grain of salt.
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to just wander and see what I can discover. When I went to Rio, I stayed in Lapa. It is a vibrant area covered in street art, traditional bars, and fun places to dance.
From Lapa you can take a walk about 10-15 minutes to enter the bustling Business District. Here you will find endless shops and beautifully designed buildings. The end of the main road leads to the waterfront and a science museum, known as Museum of Tomorrow.
This is an iconic stairway within Lapa District that features a mosaic of hand-painted tiles. There's tons of little souvenir stands and shops around. It gets extremely busy midday so if you want to get a good photo without lots of people standing in your way, try to come in the morning or right before sunset.
Mirante Dona Marta
This is a beautiful lookout point in Tijuca National Forest. From here, you get panoramic views across the city and from the other side you can spot Christ the Redeemer on top of the mountain. I went with a group of people from my hostel at sunrise and we had the whole place to ourselves.
Getting there: We took an Uber from our hostel in Lapa District.
Copacabana and Ipanema beach
If you are looking to relax, opt for a beach day at one of Rio's famous beaches. You will be surrounded by stunning views and ocean waves. While the beaches are beautiful, you are in a city with over 6 million people, so they can get crowded and sometimes feel dirty. Like many beaches, be careful with your belongings if you are traveling alone. You don't want to take a dip in the water and come back to find your bag is gone.