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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Located on the South Atlantic coast, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil. It is known for its beaches, spectacular landscape, Christ the Redeemer and Carnival . A vacation in Rio de Janeiro is not complete without soaking up the sun, dancing and experiencing the night life.

But aside from those, Rio also offers plenty of other things for the visitors. Let’s take a look at the top things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

Sunbathing on Ipanema Beach

Plan to spend a day on the famous Ipanema Beach. The entire stretch of beach from Leblon all the way to Leme is divided into sections, marked by lifeguard posts (“postos”). Posto 9 is the cool, crowded beach where everyone wants to be. Take a walk along the various areas and decide where you fit best.

Please remember that the tropical sun is powerful, so plan to sunbath in the morning or afternoon. And don’t forget the sun screen either.

Diving or surfing at Azeda Beach

This is a laid back beach in the beach town of Buzios. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Rio, this is the place to be. Soak up the sun, snorkel or surf.

A walk in the Neighborhood of Santa Teresa

This is where the local artists (and ex-pats) prefer to stay. This area is totally different than the beach scene. You can see the historical houses, check out the handicrafts, enjoy a coffee or hit the bars.

Or you can head to the Artisan Market on Sunday to shop for souvenirs and soak up the atmosphere.

Learn to samba at the Sambodromo

Yes, it’s cliché but practices for the Carnival start in August (every weekend) so you can catch a glimpse at what samba is all about. Also, Sambodromo is home to various music concerts. Of course, if you happen to be here for the Carnival, don’t miss at least one of the colorful shows.

Get some workout done: cycle

Rent a bike and cycle as there are 74 km of cycling paths in Rio. The path around the Lagoa offers lovely views of the city. The path in Tijuca Forest is excellent for those with a lot of experience on two wheels.

Take a walk in the Botanical Gardens

There are seven path starting at the main gate , which take you to various areas within the Gardens. Even if it rains, the tree tops offer protection. Head to the Gardens in the morning and allow plenty of time to enjoy the nature.

Play volleyball in Copacabana

Beach volleyball is a Brazilian innovation and what best place to try your hand at it than in Brazil? The beaches in Copacabana are most famous for this sport, but you can find people paying on Ipanema, too.

You can also watch locals play “futivolley”, which is basically a mix of football and volleyball (they play volleyball using a football ball which they hit with the foot, rather than the hand).

See the city from above: Corcovado

Take the cogwheel train up on Cosme Velho to get to Corcovado. Don’t forget the camera and try to get here at sunset. The giant statue of Christ the Redeemer is on top on Corcovado.

A hike in Tijuca National Park

This is the world’s largest urban forest. Some of the trails have the attractions marked – such as Taunay Waterfall – but try not to push your luck as it’s quite easy to get lost.

Watch a football (soccer) match on Maracana Stadium

The stadium was built in 1950 for the World Cup and is one of the most famous stadiums in the world. Matches are typically played on Sundays. Or, if you are not into watching matches, you can tour the stadium (on non-game days).

Photo credits: Ipanema Beach , Azeda Beach , Santa Teresa Neighborhood , Sambodromo , Botanical Gardens , Volleyball , Corcovado , Tijuca National Park