I'm going to Rio! Looking for suggestions on things to do and see.

Mrs. H and I are going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next month. I am looking for any Doper suggestions for stuff to do. We’ll be there for a week and probably want to take a day (or two day) trip outdside of the city.


I love Rio, there is much to see and do. There are the usual tourist sights such as Sugar Loaf, and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Corcovado. One of the things I enjoyed visiting is the Palacio do Catete. It was one of the Presidential palaces when Rio was the Capital. It was built by a nobleman back in the days of the Empire. There is also the imperial palace in Laranjeiras which is worth seeing.

If you have to do any souvenir shopping, wait until Sunday and go to the Feira Hippy. It is a big Arts & Crafts fair and has some interesting stuff to see. Your wife might enjoy the shopping in the city.

For a day trip, I would recommend a day trip to Petropolis. It is not too far from Rio and has the summer palace of the Emperor. The weather is much cooler than the city itself and is in the mountains. There is also Teresopolis, where many people from Rio like to spend weekends to get away from the heat and noise of the city.

I can give more advice depending on what you are interested in doing. I would recommend biting the bullet and taking a day tour of the city and getting the major sites out of the way. Then you can relax and enjoy the city. If you are a meat eater, go to the Porcao. This is an all you can eat meat restaurant in Rio. It is very good.

Thanks. Great advice so far.

Do you think that Petropolis will be too cold in the end of May? That does seem like the most interesting day trip from Rio.

What do you think about going to Sao Paolo? Are there any must sees there or should we just stick to Rio and not bother packing up and moving?

We definitely want to try all of the various food that there is to offer. We want to hear some music but would prefer a true local place, not a touristy place. Mostly we just want to hang out and soak up the city.


Petropolis shouldn’t be too cold in May. At the most it will be ten degrees less than the city.

I haven’t spent much time in Sao Paulo, so I’m not too familiar with it. I don’t recall there being too much to do there as a tourist , but I could easily be mistaken. It is rather far from Rio. If you could take a flight it might be worth it otherwise I would save it for another trip.

What area are you going to be staying in? Most of the hotels are in Copacabana or Ipanema. Those are the best areas for tourists as there are more police there. Those areas have a lot to offer in terms of restaurants and things to do. If you want to soak in the atmosphere, Ipanema is less touristy but still very nice. The best place to see the locals is to go to the beach. If the weather is nice, the beach will be full. I prefer Ipanema beach to Copacabana. It is within walking distance from most hotels.

BTW I’m sure you already know this but avoid public transportation. It is kind of dangerous and it is difficult to ascertain the routes. Tax rides in Rio are pretty cheap.

the live sex shows in rio are pretty good, but they gouge you on the alcohol :wink:

no, really! actually there are lots of shows and clubs to go to, but pretty much everything is tourist-oriented. i was there for 2 weeks in the early 80’s and didn’t care too much for it. very “touristy” in the daytime and plain dangerous at night. plus, im not much of a beach person. the next time i was there was for the formula one race. that was an experiance. the feakin’ brazilians almost rioted when Piquet (sp?) and Senna DNF’ed.

the thing about rio i found most interesting was the proximity of abject poverty to obscene wealth. driving down the road, you pass a $12m mansion, and on the flanks of the hills that it sits on are shanty-towns with no sanitation! weird!

sao paulo is pretty far out of the way, but it has some real cool shit. great museams and brewerys to tour. i went to the bhrama brewery and also got to see (briefly) the airplane museam and metropolitan museam.

stay off the streets at night! :smiley:

Rio has gotten a lot safer at night. I’ve been going there regularly since I was a small child and the city has gotten much safer in the last few years. You can walk in Copacabana and Ipanema at night. As long as you use some common sense, you’ll be alright.

That being said, don’t go out with too much money or all your credit cards. Don’t wear your expensive watch. I bought a cheap digital that I usually wear while I’m there. Avoid gold jewelry. If you follow these simple rules you are far less likely to get robbed.

I’ve been to Rio several times-if you are careful, it is quite safe. I would urge you to visit the Jardim Botanico (Botanical gardens)-it is very nice. Also, the Tijuca Forest-hire a guide who can take you to the waterfalls and show you around-you should spend a whole day. Also, if you are adventurous, go to one of the weekend street fairs (around the old port area-they look grubby, but are a lot of fun. Learn a little portuguese, and tip well-this will get you good service. As for the beach-I’d advise just sunning and girl-watching for Copacaban-Ipanema is better for swimming. If you are a male, pick up a few bikini swimsuits for your girlfriends-although they had better be brave to wear them! (The current style is a few square inches of material). You might also take the free tour at the H. Stern jewelry store-you don’t have to buy anything, and the tour guides are gorgeous yopung girls. As for safety-don’t go walking alone at night, and DO NOT EVER go the the favelas (slums) at night-you will most likely be robbed or worse. I’d also recommned taking a side trip to BUZIOS (about 3 hours by car north of Rio), or Angre Dos Rais (about 2 hours south). And-if you go to the beach-use LOTS of sunblock-you can get a nasty sunburn very easily-and don’t eat slads, raw fish, or those shrimp on the skewers 9peddled on the beach)-stick to bottled drinks without ice!


Good suggestions, I’d completely forgotten about the jardim botanico. The best of the weekend street fairs is the feira hippie which is in the Praca General Osorio.

As for tipping, I found that 10% is considered generous. Avoid the favelas in general. There are some tours that you can take to the favelas but those go in broad daylight and they have armed guards. The police don’t like to go into the favelas.