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Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro

Exploring Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is the ultimate Latin American destination for sun-worshippers and those looking for fun. It has it all: incredible beaches and weather, vibe and culture, carnivals and nightlife, great food and drink, big city sights, and stunning natural highlights. It presides over a stunning bay on the Atlantic coast, with the dazzling beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, among others, drawing crowds. In among these major draws are striking granite peaks, one of which houses the world famous icon of the Christ the Redeemer statue.

While the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are top draws for their sunbathing, swimming, surfing, volleyball, and eating, there are numerous worthwhile side attractions. There are great museums and theatres in town, beautiful parks and gardens, and even some trekking. However, the best fun is had at the beaches, which also have the best hotels, including the Sofitel Rio de Janeiro at Copacabana and cheaper alternatives at Flamengo Beach.

Sights nearby

Rio de Janeiro has plenty to check out besides its brilliant beaches. It is cultured and has loads of palaces, churches, and galleries. Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf, and other top sights can all be toured from the city’s hotels.

Christ the Redeemer
Easily the main landmark in this beautiful city, this venerated statue can be seen from all over, perched as it is atop the high Corcovado Mountain. It is about equidistant from Copacabana and the city centre, residing within the lush Tijuca Forest National Park, and can be accessed on foot via a semi-tough path or by the narrow gauge Corcovado Rack Railway. Trains are frequent and the views are stunning.

Rio Water Planet
This is a fun attraction and day out for those who are here with kids. Located in the Barra district, it comes with the typical fast slides and more sedate watery rides, like a lazy river, and an array of well-set paddling pools. It also has artificial beaches, waterfalls, a circus, and a go-karting track, and is open for most of the season.

Metropolitan Cathedral
Situated in the Centro area is one of the city’s main manmade landmarks, the Catedral Metropolitana. Though only hailing from the 1970s, this striking structure that graces the downtown skyline it is an important ecclesiastical house and an especially pretty image when lit up at night. Around 20,000 people can be seated here for Mass and it is home to fine murals and sculptures.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Eating out in Rio de Janeiro is a blast, with a huge number of seafood eateries and grilled-meat restaurants, along with tasty kiosks along the main beaches. Many of the big hotels have good eating, such as the centrally located Arena Copacabana Hotel. Bars and clubs are just as numerous as restaurants, with the latter often quite raucous and opening until late. Shopping is also a pastime, with Avenida Nossa Senhora de in Copacabana the best spot for souvenirs.

Public transport

Galeao International Airport is the main gateway to Rio, with shuttles and taxis bringing visitors to their hotel. Getting around the city is best done by metro. The metro system has a couple of lines which cover the important areas; Line 1 takes in the city and the main beaches, like Copacabana and Ipanema. It is quick, timely, safe, and cheap, and buying tickets and getting information is straightforward. Alternatively, buses can be used to access all of the beaches and many other areas. They are cheap, with discounted passes available. Stick with licensed cabs or the cable car for accessing Sugarloaf Mountain.

Rio de Janeiro travel guides

Rio de Janeiro Travel Guides