7 Day Itinerary in Rio de Janeiro

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Natives of Rio de Janeiro are known as cariocas. Cariocas are known all around Brazil as fun loving people who like the good life and taking it easy. Here is a 7-day itinerary to best take advantage of your stay in Rio de Janeiro.


On Monday you should take advantage of visiting one of the more crowded landmarks of Rio de Janeiro, the Christ The Redeemer statue. You can expect this sight to be crowded every single day but you have a higher probability of it not being that crowded on a Monday morning as most local go to work. Parking around the Christ the Redeemer statue is always a hassle, so it's best to take the bus or a taxi or get a ride from a local friend. If you do take a car, pay close attention to the nearby signs to avoid any fines due to illegal parking. Wear a hat and sunblock, carry plenty of water and wear comfortable shoes. While the trolley ride is quite entertaining, keep in mind that it is very, very slow and breakdowns are common. After visiting the statue, enjoy a cold dessert from the many ice cream shops on the street at the bottom of the hill. Then, head to downtown for the pizza place right in front of Copacabana beach.


This is another great day to visit another major landmark, the Sugarloaf Mountain. Visiting the mountain on a Tuesday will allow you to skip the heavy crowds of the weekends. One important reminder--while visiting the mountain, make sure to visit the information office for the schedule of upcoming live events on the stage at the top of the first peak. The live events are usually concerts from popular local bands in a very intimate atmosphere. The top of the mountain provides great photo opportunities so make sure to bring your camera.


On Wednesday, take the day off and spend it at Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. These beaches are great for sunbathing and people watching. If you're visiting Rio de Janeiro with friends, this a great way to spend a whole day. Make sure to wear sunblock and keep hydrated. A good way to cool off when it gets too hot is the several public showers that sprinkle water mist onto you. If you need to buy lunch or a snack there are several kiosks along the main sidewalk that sell all kinds of cold (and hot) snacks and drinks. Get adventurous and try a truly Brazilian drink like an Antartica guarana flavored soft drink or a cold mate. If you see somebody with a soccer ball or a beach soccer match is about to start, feel free to ask politely if you can join in.


Head to downtown to experience the typical day in a life of carioca. You can start the day off by taking a breakfast at a small place and ordering smoothies made with real fruit (forget about frozen or concentrates, nothing beats the real thing). From there you can visit the many museums around the area. At the top of your list should be the Museum of Modern Art, located at Avenida Infante Dom Henrique #85. This museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from noon until 6 p.m., Saturday and Sundays from noon until 7 p.m.; and is closed on Mondays. There are discounts for students (even foreign ones, so bring your identification card) and the ticket counter closes 30 minutes before closing time.


Today is a day to relax in the morning and afternoon because at night you will be heading out to party. There are several options at downtown. One popular way to get the night started is to have a drink and dinner in the Lapla neighborhood where you will find plenty of cheap eateries and bars. Around the Lapla neighborhood there are several venues with live music. It is important to point out that the true carioca nightlife doesn't start until around 11:00 p.m. so that is why you should be well rested. Popular clubs for the younger crowd are the Casa da Matriz (located at Rua Henrique de Novais #107 in the Botafogo neighborhood) and Six (located at Rua das Marrecas #38 in the Lapla neighborhood). The same common sense rules apply while in Rio de Janeiro as in any other city in the world--don't drink and drive, beware of friendly strangers and don't go out by yourself.

Saturday and Sunday

Head to the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood to experience the newest side of Rio de Janeiro and its mega malls (Barra Shopping, Rio Design Center, Barra World Shopping, Downtown, Citta America, among others). You can literally spend the whole weekend in these malls, so that's why we're suggesting to leave the whole weekend for this. Barra Mall is probably the largest mega mall in South America and it is a favorite of the ladies. There are plenty of large movie complexes if you get tired of walking around and would like to sit back and relax with a nice film.

If the shopping scene is not your thing, then on Sunday head again to the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches because the main avenue by the sidewalk is closed to vehicular traffic. This means that there are hundreds of sports enthusiasts enjoying the great weather on their bicycles, skateboards and roller blades. There are also many sand sculptors that work all day on amazing creations.

January 11, 2010 new by damiandavilarojas

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