Rio de Janeiro

Brazil Rio de Janeiro

Brazil Rio de Janeiro

Brazil Rio de Janeiro was already a while on the top of our list to visit. And what an amazing time we had! Brazil Rio de Janeiro, most likely one of the most famous cities in the world. And for sure we were not disappointed!

The views of the city, when you are up at the Christ the Redeemer stature, the fibrant Copacabana are just a view examples of what Rio de Janeiro has to offer.

Read everything about our experiene in Rio de Janeiro. And don`t let the internet scare you about potential safety issues. 

Even though we were not lucky with the weather, we love the city Brazil Rio de Janeiro. As we had mostly cloudy days, we did not spent time on the beach. This gave us the opportunity to explore the city, and as it was off season we did not face waiting lines at the various spots. As in our opinion Brazil Rio de Janeiro is not the best place for a beach vacation in Brazil, it is worth considering going in local the autumn or winter.  And after  you have seen and experienced the city you take a flight up north and find yourself a wonderful beach. For example the beach in Fernando de Noronha Brazil, or Praia da Pipa.

Things to keep in mind

  • Ask a hotel card at the reception. Taxi drivers do not know the hotel as most of the time the pronunciation is very different in Portuguese.
  • Depending on how adventurous you are but avoiding organized visits and just go by taxi will save you quite some money. And besides that, you can make your own plan and take the time you need. We took for example a taxi for almost half a day which was about 20€. We also went just by ourselves to see a football match in the Maracana stadium. We did not face any issue with both of these trips. 
View of Rio de Janeiro

Accommodation. We staid at the the Marriott Copacabana. An upscale hotel directly on the Copacabana. Although some renovation was going on during our stay, it is a nice hotel and most likely the best location in Rio de Janeiro. THe Staff was really friendly and helpful, which made our stay enjoyable. We had access to the executive lounge which besides the nice food and drinks faces a wonderful view on the Copacabana. The hotel has a (small) swimming pool on the roof. You have to keep in mind that it is a city hotel so it is not a resort like swimmingpool. Most likely right on the Copacabana you will not find a hotel with a resort size swimming pool.

They also have their own part on the Copacabana beach. As the weather was not right for the beach, this was not in use during our stay. Some people like more Ipanema , but for us the Copacabana is the place to stay. In case this hotel is out of your budget, as it can be rather expensive during high season, keep in mind that taxis are everywhere in Brazil and are reliable and cheap. So a few blocks away from the Copacabana, will cost you just a few € to arrive on the beach.

The Copacabana on a cloudy and cold day

The Copacabana on a cloudy and cold day

Food and drinks. Like everywhere else in Brazil you will find the most tasty fresh fruits and drinks. We were positively surprised by the prices on the Copacabana. You can have for example a fresh chilled coconut for around 1€ right on the Copacabana. Also other drinks are quite cheap given that you are in one the most famous venues in the world. There are numerous restaurants all over the city, with all kind of kitchens and price ranges. No need to worry that you will not find a lovely place to sit and enjoy a cocktail or meal.

We went one evening to the Rio Scenarium. This is a combination of a restaurant and club. The place is divided in multiple areas with different kinds of music. In one of the areas there was playing a live band. The crowd is a good mix of tourists and locals. The entrance is for Brazilian standards quite steep, but drinks are cheap. The cover fee keeps out the people you don’t want to have inside, which is a good thing.

When you get hungry after dancing, you can order something to eat on the 2nd floor. In our opinion a good place for a night out. When we asked at the hotel, they scared us saying that it might be busy and you should expect to wait in line in order to get in. We were either lucky, or it is a fairytale. We could just walk in without having to wait a single minute.

Christ the Redeemer

Things not to miss. Most likely the Christ the Redeemer statue is one of most famous in the world. And indeed it is a true highlight. As we were offseason, and the weather being cloudy, there were no lines. This will most likely be different during the summer season. The train ride to the top is an experience by itself, and should be the 1st option above the mini vans.

The views on the top are stunning, and just difficult to describe. You have to experience it. Don`t let yourself be scared of cloudy weather. Clouds move fast, just allow yourself more time on the top, but between the clouds you will have great views. There is also a restaurant where you can have a lunch or drink, waiting for the clouds to disappera. And most likely it is more pleasant, than standing in the burning sun.

Another place to visit is the Maracana stadium. We first thought about taking a tour. But we figured out that match tickets for the next day  match of Vasco da Gama were more or less the same price. For us it was an easy decision to go for the match instead of the tour.

You either have the option to go by an organized tour or take a taxi yourself. As prices for the tour were quite steep in our opinion ($100 by persson) and you will make many stops to pick up other tourists, we decided to take a taxi and to go by ourselves. This was absolutely no problem. Fans around us noticed that we were tourists, but even seemed to be kind of proud that we were visiting their favorite team.

Even if you are not a soccer fan, it is an amazing atmosphere, even with the stadium being only 10% filled. Just make sure that you buy tickets for the home section, and don`t try to be funny to cheer for the other team. It is free sitting, so you can chose where you will feel the most comfortable. For the more adventures between the hardcore fans, and otherwise a bit more on the side. Before the match we agreed to leave the stadium a bit before the final whistle, to avoid the crowds. We enjoyed it so much, and felt very comfortable that we were most likely the last ones leaving the stadium.

he stadium of the final of the worldcup 2014

he stadium of the final of the worldcup 2014

Safety is one of the 1st things which comes in your mind when travelling to Brazil Rio de Janeiro is safety. During our 3 nights in September 2015, we did not face any unsafe situation.

You should take into account the basic rules (don`t take more with you than necessary, use a taxi in the evening etc.), but offcourse you can be unlucky. However, some people have the idea that you don`t get out of Rio de Janeiro without being robbed. Based on our experience, we can tell this is not true. We made many pictures with a new IPhone, and it is still ours.

The favella`s need to be avoide, but that is common sense. If you still feel like going there, there are many organised tours. And in this case, it is strongly advised to go by an organised tour. 

We visited many places by ourselves, using a taxi. In our experience taxi drivers in Brazil Rio de Janeiro are maybe the most honest taxi drivers in the world. We had >30 taxi rides, and never had any problem with switching on the meter, a meter running to fast, or any detours. And the majority of the drivers are very friendly. They give you the feeling that they appreciate you as a tourist visiting their country. We are not sure that you would say for example the same about taxi drivers in Amsterdam.

In the meantime Uber is also widespread in Brazil. We also used Uber many times, withour any problem. 

Getting there We arrived by plane from Campinas on the Santa Dumont airport, which is a 15 minutes ride from the Copacabana. The price is 50 reals, which is a fixed price so no need to negotiate. On our departure we were flying from the Galeãos International airport. This is quite a bit further from the Copacabana. As you don`t know what to expect from the traffic, you need to plan some extra time for this. With normal traffic it is about 45 minutes by taxi, but could also be double the time.

Weather. It depends on what you plan to do in Rio, what will be the best season to visit. In our opinion, if you want to have a beach vacation Rio is not the best destination in Brazil. Off course you have the Copacabana but it will get very crowded and you have to watch your stuff continuously, which does not make it really relaxing. Therefore for our Brazil trip, September was a good time to visit Rio de Janeiro. It was an enjoyable temperature to go around and not too busy with tourists. And our time on the beach we planned anyway for other areas like Fernando de Noronha and Praia da Pipa.

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We love Brazil Rio de Janeiro, and did not face any safety issues. However, this is not a garantuee that nothing will happen to you. However, we believe with the normal common sense, you should be fine. 


The statue of Pele at the Maracana stadium

The statue of Pele in front of the Maracana stadium

Working out on the Copacabana

Working out on the Copacabana