Rio de Janeiro is framed by majestic mountains of lush green that descend right down to its vibrant beaches. The unusual port of Rio de Janeiro opens up like a river mouth on the south Atlantic coast, where rock faces curl around the bay in a protective embrace. Washes of deep blues and greens are a feast for the eyes during the day. At night the glittering lights reflect off the water while an eternal samba beat thumps through the heart of the city.
- The Copacabana beach is a 4 km of pure energy on a stretch of sand that separates the city from the ocean, grab a caipirinha from a local vendor and watch the local kids show off their soccer skills or lay a towel down and soak up the Rio de Janeiro sunshine with some of the world’s most beautiful people.
- Located atop Corcovado mountain, Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) is a must-see. Take the cable train from Parque da Tijuca.
- Experience Samba like never before at Pedra do Sal in the Saúde neighbourhood.
- Reach the top of Pão de Açúcar at sunset for the best view of Rio around. The cable car there is an experience in itself.
- For the best photo-opportunity in town, head to Lapa and climb Selarón’s mosaic stairway.
- If you plan to visit for Carnaval, book well in advance. Accommodation fills up quickly and prices are also higher at this popular time of year.
- Buses are a common mode of transport, though if you want one to stop for you then you’ll have to wave it down. Yellow seats on buses are reserved for elderly, disabled or pregnant women - but tourists aren’t often aware of this!
- If you’re on a budget, try some delicious Brazilian street food or opt for a ‘por quilo’ vendor where you pay per kilo.
- Payments by card transactions are easy.