Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a magical city that has endless possibilities. From hiking to jumping in the ocean, it’s really a spectacular place to visit if you ever have the chance. It’s filled with rich culture, beautiful beaches and people, great food, and hidden treasures. Since I’ve spent an extensive amount of time in Rio, from doing the touristy activities to living like a local, I have compiled a list of the top 10 most underrated things to do/see/eat when you’re visiting this Brazilian wonderland.
- Make ur way up to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer). Although this statue is super overrated and basically the staple of Rio and Brazil, it is definitely a must-see. From everywhere in the city, you can see Cristo, which makes it even more desirable to reach the top and see the entire city of Rio, and all of its beauty. Once you’re at the top, you are able to see a 360-degree view of the luscious forests and amazing coast.
- Uber to Prainha. If you’re car-less while visiting this city, use Uber to take you to this tiny beach called Prainha (literally translated to tiny beach). It’s secluded from civilization, beautiful and not touristy. It’s a great way to get out of the Copacabana/Ipanema tourism and get a glimpse of one of Rio’s gems.
- Eat podrão after clubbing. Podrão (directly translates to big rotten) is a slang word for drunk food and is usually consumed after a night out of clubbing. Another awesome thing about Rio is that you can party until the sun comes up! After spending your night dancing, usually there will be little food stands with different types of podrão – from hamburgers to hot dogs to shish kabobs. Options are endless and much needed.
- Dance all night at Palaphitas. This is one of my favorite dance clubs in Rio. It’s half outdoor, you can see Christo lit up at night, and it has a really awesome, waterfall-y theme that makes it different than any of the other clubs I have been to in Rio. It has ample seating, and I will leave the bathroom situation a surprise.
- Drink Caipirinhas. A caipirinha is a must-try Brazilian drink that is basically pure alcohol, lime and sugar. They’re really strong and a great side when you’re spending the day at the beach!
- Lay on the beach with a coconut water. Another amazing combo is beach and coconut waters. The coconuts are soaked in ice and cut open fresh every day. They give you an amazing burst of energy and can even help for your caipirinha hangover.
- Take an excursion to the crystal clear waters of Buzios, Cabo Frio and/or Arraial do Cabo. Just about 2-3 hours away from the craziness of the city, is the tranquil, see-through waters of these three peninsula cities. They have some of the most beautiful pollution-free beaches and an awesome, chill vibe. If you’re staying in Rio, you have to spend half of your trip traveling up to these cities – it is so worth it.
- CHURRASCO! Either in a locals home or on the street, churrasco means barbecue, and is another very popular food here in Brasil. Freshly grilled, flavorful meat, served with rice and beans or on sticks give you the true Brazilian experience.
- Explore Parque Lage – This being the base point for hiking to Cristo, it’s also an amazing jungle park with beautiful plants, monkeys, birds, and amazing architecture to explore! It’s a place you can get lost in and see the beauties of Rio!
- Find some mountains to climb – Rio is one of the most mountain-esque and beautiful cities that I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. You can literally run into a new hiking trail at every corner, and there are tons of rocks to climb for the sunset. Although I haven’t been to as many as I would’ve liked, I definitely recommend going up to Pedra Bonita. As you can see the Jesus statue, the ocean and the vast variety of neighborhoods.
COME TO RIO! ~anjo