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14 Awesome Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Last updated on January 4th, 2024 at 08:09 pm

14 Awesome Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Where else can you walk in an abandoned hotel in the heart of the jungle, safely visit the favela, get to know the local culture, and take part in a colorful carnival? 

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Only in Rio!


There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from Rio de Janeiro. Accommodation prices can take you around $10-12 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and for more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Brazil.



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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

1. Dig An Abandoned Hotel In The Middle Of The Jungle

Abandoned Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Image from The Culture Trip

There are a few places in the world where you can go hiking in the jungle and visit a 16-story abandoned hotel right in the middle. 

Climb carefully up the long stairs of the tourist hotel Gavea and enjoy the incredible, rare views from the top. 

The hotel is just one example of the unique architecture of Rio, demonstrating how man and nature blend seamlessly in this city. 

By the way, along with many attractions, the city of Rio is also famous for its nightlife that offers a wide range of pubs, bars, nightclubs, lounges, and live music events at night. By the way, discover the best nightlife in the city. 

2. Watch The Sunset At Arpoador 

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Watching the sunset from Mount Sugarloaf in almost every guide. However, watching the sunset from Arpoador is a more local and unique experience. Arpoador is located at the end of Ipanema beach, known as a popular surf destination with crystal clear waters. 

The best way to enjoy it is to first go there for a day’s sunbathing. Then head to Arpoador Rock late at night to watch the dazzling sunset over the ocean. Have a drink, and when the last slider of the sun falls over the horizon, join in with the grateful claps of the people gathered there. 

3. Check Out The Bar That Inspired Brazil’s Most Famous Song

The Garota de Ipanema bar in Ipanema is where Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes first saw 17-year-old Galo Pignhero, who unwittingly inspired their next song, “Girl from Ipanema.” 

It is now a popular restaurant serving typical Brazilian dishes and delicious piscinas (Brazilian steak loin).

4. Participate In The Carnival Parade

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Extravagant carnival parades broadcasted on television are open to the public. For a certain fee and a certain number of weeks (determined by the Samba school and highly variable), willing tourists can rehearse and practice to take part in the parades during the carnival, which includes fitting the costume you will receive at the end.

5. Dance At The Birthplace Of Samba

Pedra do Sal is an outdoor event that brings together the best Rio de jambists for an impromptu samba jam. It is held every Monday and Friday with animated music, live dancing, and an endless stream of powerful caipirinha.

6. Visit Untouched Beaches And Forest Trails In Rio’s West Zone


The region, which is barely explored by tourists, is the western zone of Rio. It is a pity as those who go there will discover pristine beaches, forest paths, and blossoming mangroves. 

Head to Barra de Guaratiba and row among the mangroves, spotting native wildlife, including capybirds, burrowing owls, and random snakes. 

You could also hike the TransCarioca, a 180-kilometer walk that starts in the western zone of Rio and ends in Urca at Sugarloaf Mountain. It is a relatively new hike that even locals are unaware of and provides a refreshing opportunity to get to know a part of Rio that few people have seen.

7. Take A Hike In Tijuca National Park

Even the most dedicated Rio fan needs to get out of the noise and chaos at times.

Go to Tijuca National Park and discover a variety of hiking trails, unspoiled, lush landscapes, and, of course, stunning views of the city!


8. Watch A Football Match At Brazil’s Most Significant Stadium

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For a glimpse into the real Brazilian passion, watch a football match between two Brazilian rival teams in Maracana, where the fans’ atmosphere at the stadium is truly electric.

9. Have A Picnic At Lagoa

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A picturesque lake in the southern part of Rio de Janeiro, Lagoa, is the ideal place to pull out a picnic mat and have a pleasant afternoon snacking and drinking in a peaceful natural environment. 

For a truly unique experience, go to any of Rio’s rich bakeries and bring a handful of pastries and sweets. Also, include a chilled bottle of Brazilian white wine, and you will have a pleasant day. Take a walk around Lagao to see a fabulous sunset.

10. Browse The Handicraft Stalls At Ipanema’s Sunday “Hippie Market.”

You don’t need to be a hippie to enjoy this Ipanema market, which takes place every Sunday at General Osorio’s Prasa Square. There is plenty of arts and crafts, and buyers with limited budgets can find great souvenirs, gifts, and bricks-a-bracks.  

11. Sample Exotic Produce At a Feira Livre

Many of the fruits and vegetables on offer in these open markets will be familiar. However, travelers are likely to be unaware of how to pronounce, let alone identify some of the most exotic fruits, such as Guarana, Açai, and Graviola. Almost everything can be turned into delicious juices.

12. Party Like A Local At The Feira de São Cristóvão

A large open-air market during the day, a bustling place to party at night – that’s where you can go to a real coffee party. It’s a bit close to the center, but it’s worth catching a taxi ride.

13. Walk Through The Jardim Botânico

This delightfully scented enclave on Rua Jardim Botanico, a lively avenue connecting the areas of Leblonne and Botafogo, covers 149 hectares (368 acres) and contains more than 7,000 species of tropical plants and trees and at least 140 species of birds. 

14. Discover Rio’s Modernist Architecture

Across the Gulf of Guanabara is the city of Niterói, where you will see the futuristic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, including the iconic Museu de Arte Contemporânea in the form of a flying saucer, as well as the curved curves of the Popular Theatre of Niterói. 


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There are numerous hotels and B&B that you can choose from Rio de Janeiro. Accommodation price can take you around $10-12 USD if you sleep in a dorm. For mid-budget accommodation starts at $40-60 USD and more than $100 USD you will find luxury accommodation in Brazil.


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To Sum Up

Rio de Janeiro is probably the most beautiful city in Brazil. It is surrounded by lovely beaches and hills. Many people go to Rio de Janeiro for its well-known beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana. There is also the most stunning view of Guanabara Bay and Rio de Janeiro that you can see from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. 

Overall, the city is a perfect vacation destination where you will have the most awesome things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

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Happy Travels!

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Ruben Arribas

Friday 21st of February 2020

Thanks Savarna! Glad to hear that you liked it and I already updated and added the abandoned hotel in the guide. Cheers :)