Rio de Janeiro Things to Do Tips by MartaBotelho
Rio de Janeiro Things to Do: 1,134 reviews and 1,752 photos
This colonial style neigbourhood has been called many times before as "Little Lisbon". It is constructed on a hill between Catete, Lapa and Corcovado. The streets are very narrow and riding in one of it's Bondinhos (trams) feels like you are in a rollercoaster. The houses are very beautiful here. They make weird angles with the streets and have their own suspended gardens. The sidewalks are beautified by cobblestone patterns in black and white. Just beware of the trams! In some places the sidewalks are so narrow that you have to go inside buildings to give room for the Bondinho passing by. Every month they have the artistic event where everyone exhibits their arts and crafts.
It is not a bad neighbourhood but there are a few drug-adicts walking around. So go in a group and don't talk with weird strangers. As for the rest of Santa Teresa people, they are very nice and they love telling stories about the buildings and other legends. Take a moment to hear them, they are very funny and they'll offer you good things to remember!
Address: Santa Teresa
Directions: Take the Bondinho in Carioca Station at downtown. One way ticket: R$ 0,60
These archs were constructed in the colonial era to serve the city with water. Later on the tracks for the trams were laid on the top, and now the "Bondinhos" conect the typical Santa Teresa neighbourhood with the Carioca Station located downtown. It consists of 42 double arch painted in white. The Lapa neighbourhood used to be the best place in town to go out at night. Now days the tradition is lost. It is still a fun place to go if you have a good brazilian friend to take you there. The "Bondinho" travels over the archs and then through Santa Teresa neighbourhood. The streets are very narrow and the buildings very pictoresque. It is known as a very artistic area of Rio with arts stores and cultural events. The people of the Favelas ride this tram aswell but there's nothing to be afraid of if you just take the right and normal percautions.
They work from 6 am to 11 pm and the one way ride costs R$ 0,60.
Directions: To catch the Bondinho go to Estacao da Carioca on Largo da Carioca (there's a metro station here as well)
This lovely botanical garden was created by Roberto Burle Marx. He was born in São Paulo and later went to Germany to study Fine Arts. On his visit to Berlin's Botanical Garden he got in touch with Brazilian flora. He came back to Brazil and bought a piece of land in Guaratiba, Rio de Janeiro, where he started collecting flowers, plants and trees from all over the world. He was a painter, architect, botanical and a landscape designer. He made a lot of landscape work in Brazil and the place where he gave more of his time was his own botanical garden. He design his work studio with big stone archs that he got in a demolition work. The modern interior has perfect light and you can see some of his work. His main house used to be a farm house where he made his own changes. The colossal entrance door was from a demolished church. Inside there's his art collection. There are plenty of little pools and japanese look-a-like gardens. His own theater house is one of the pearls of brasilian architecture and landscaping design. There are also greenhouses where the plants are grown until they reach a perfect size to be re-planted on the ouside. Burle Marx contributed immensly for cience and nature conservation with his botanical garden and rare plants.
The visits here are always guided. You should call the number and set a date with them. Take water with you because they have none there. Take also some food just in case you get hungry. Use long pants and pour a lot of insect repelet on you! The bugs there are counted by millions and they are thirsty for new blood! When I went there I forgot it and came out like a total monster! Take also a hat if it is a sunny day. You are going to walk a lot and you'll need all the protection you can get.
Oh! Try to look for the "Ananaseiro". It's a plant that gives Ananas (pineapple) and they only have one in the entire collection. It's located on the little garden on the back of his house.
Address: Estrada da Barra de Guaratiba, 2019
Directions: Guaratiba sits on a hill right after Barra da Tijuca. You can catch the 387-Marambaia Bus in Downtown that has it's final stop at Guaratiba.
Phone: (55-21) 2410-1412
If you are going to see the Christ you can stop by this little cobblestone square with colourful buildings. It ows it's name to the royal family's doctor that used to live here on a farm. The seven houses are colonial style and the beauty of the surroundings is astonishing! The river Carioca is right on the side and the typical "Mata Atlantica" has trees with hundreds of years. Sometimes cultural events take place in this bucolic stage. The light here during sunny morning days is just perfect to take pictures.
Address: Rua Cosme Velho, 822
Directions: On the way to Corcovado
Candelaria church is located right in the middle of downtown. It's turned into the ocean and around the building the traffic passes by in a hurry for work. It was constructed in the XVIII century, and it has a typical cross shape design. Marble covers all of the interior together with mural paintings about it's history. Outside the bronze doors with amazing sculpture work are surrounded by beautiful figures of stone. It's considered one of the most beautiful churches of Rio and it is cathedral size.
Address: Praca Pio X
Directions: Downtown waterfront right at the beggining of Presidente Vargas Avenue
Phone: (55-21) 2233-2324
Arpoador consists on a piece of rock that grows into the ocean. It makes the divions between Copacabana and Ipanema beach. It has it's own little beach usually crowded! The surf here is great! Especially on Ipanema side. Just beware of the riptides and the rocks.
Arpoador has a priviledge view of Ipanema and Copacabana. You can see as far as Pedra da Gavea and Pao de Acucar. A lot of people go there just to sit and watch the ocean. Some go painting, others go reading and there are even those that go play the guitar seeking for inspiration. It is a beloved place for me. The last I visited before I left. At the time I was living in a rented apartment in Ipanema and I would go a lot to the beach and to this piece of rock just to wathc the ocean and feel the winds. Do not miss a trip to this place! It beautiful and it is for free!
There are plenty of "camelos", restaurants and juice stands.
Directions: Between Ipananema and Copacabana
The hill where this little church sits on (called "Outeiro") used to have at it's feet the ocean. Later on in the 20th century the ocean gave roon to land and men constructed a whole area of gardens and roads right in front of the hill. The church was constructed from 1714 to 1739 and it represents a mixture of Final Rococo and Neoclassical styles. It has a peculiar shape of an hexagon very diferent from the cross shaped churches of the time. On the inside there is plenty of wood workand the Portuguese tiles panels cover all the walls. The tiles were done in Portugal by Maestro Valentim de Almeida and it's supposed to be a representation of a book called "The Chants of all Chants" for the exeption of the tiles in the Sacristy. Those represente bucolic cenes of the time. The tiles were in a very degradating state and the Fellowship of the Church granted the permission to perform a restoration. It took us more than a year but when we go inside now and see it finished it gives us the most incredible feeling of all!! Working in that restoration gave me the opportunity to learn all about the church and the tile manufacturing art. Please do visit this church!! The view is splendid from there and the arquitectural, wood and tile work is magnificent!!
Address: Ladeira da Gloria
Directions: Praca da Gloria, Catete neigbourhood
Other Contact: email@example.com
Phone: (55-21) 2225-2869
There are few words available to describe fairly Ipanema's beauty! The beautiful beach that starts in Arpoador and goes as far as Morro Dois Irmaos (a twin rock of granite origin) has a mosaic sidewalk and a cicling lane. On weekends one lane of the avenue is closed to traffic and the people take the paved road for them selves. As usual beautiful people walk, run and cicle. It's such a healthy enviornment that you feel like beeing part of it as well. The beach is not as crouded as Copacabana because most of the hotels own lots of sand where they have a stand with food and drinks and chairs, towels and umbrellas. As for the rest is just like Copacabana. People playing soccer and volley, foot-volley and exercising on the open air gyms. There are stands and vendors everywhere and once again you can rent a chair and umbrella. Brazilians are very open people so don't be afraid if someone approaches you. In Ipanema usually it will be some guy or girl trying to hit on you. Sometimes they can be annoying but if you teld them to leave and that you are not interested they will not bother you anymore. These people are just looking to have fun and most just want to meet you. You'll be able to figure out their intentions right away and react as you think it's better. The best spot is right in front of Leblon. Families and couples go there and also singles. People are very nice there and they'll treat you just right. I've made very good friends there. One way of really enjoying this beach is to take a walk from Arpoador to Morro Dois Irmaos. It's quite a long one but it's so lovely that you'll be at the Morro before you know it! Take a while in Arpoador. It's a rock that goes right into the ocean and from there you can see as far as Pao de Acucar to the left and Pedra da Gavea to the right (when looking at the ocean).
The website bellow belongs to a hotel but it has very good informations about the area.
Address: Avenida Vieira Souto
Directions: It starts on Arpoador and ends on Morro Dois Irmaos
The famous beach and neigbourhood of Copacabana ows it's name also to the Indigenas. "Sacobenapa" meant "the road of the Socos" in Tupi-guarani. Copacabana extends it self for 4,15km with the Atlantic Avenue by it's side. The sidewalk (Calcadao) has Portuguese art mosaic work in black and white.
Brasilians are very fond of sports, so they'll walk and cicle on the Calcadao and cicling lane. You can also find open air gims and soccer and volleiball fields on the sand. They invented also a new kind of sport called Footvolley, a mix of soccer and volley.
If you are thristy or hungry there are plenty of vendors passing by and stands with beer, fresh juices, fruits and sandwiches. Reserve the cans and give them to the people that colect all the cans and sell them back to the recycle companies. You can also rent a chair and an umbrella in the stands. Usually it costs R$ 1,00 per item. When you go to the water never leave your sutff alone. Keep your backpack close to you and in an eyes range view. People will take it before you know it! Do it as Brazilians do: take a towel and your flip-flops, and the enough money for a drink or food. There are also vendors of arts and crafts. They are very nice but they'll try to scam you. Talk with them to induce them to lower the price, but remember that they earn less than R$200 per month.
A few months ago the police riding buggies was implemented on the beaches patrol. They get to places fast and quick, so if you have a problem just hollow. The lifeguard crew makes the rescues through the help of professional divers that jump in the water from a helicopter. Then a basket is sent down where they put the victim inside. It's a spectacle to see although for the wrong reasons. Don't swim after drinking and beware of underater currents. There are posts of the lifeguards and medical assistance every couple of hundred meters. They call them by numbers and some "Postos" are more famous than others. You can get a free fresh water shower on them when you leave the beach.
Address: Avenida Atlantica
Directions: It starts in Pra?a Almirante J?lio de Noronha in Leme and ends in Pra?a Coronel Eug?nio Franco, no Posto 6, Before Arpoador
The Botanical Garden was created in 1808 to give a show of the flora of the Eastern Indias by the King D. Joao VI. The first plants came from the Mauricias Islands and many more came afterwards.
It has various species of Bromelias, Orchids, Cactus, Medicinal and Carnivorous plants. You can also go to the Garden's Library and see the many diferent collections of dried fruits, photographs and rare exotic Brazilian plants.
It's a very safe place to walk around and the tour guides are very helpful. You can book a visit by calling the number and no costs will be added. In fact if you want to visit by yourself, you still have to call the Visit Center in order to ask for permission to do so.
Address: Rua do Jardim Botanico 920 and 1008
Directions: In front of Jockey Club
Open from Sunday to Monday from 8 am to 5 pm
Tickets: R$4,00 per person + R$4,00 for parking
Guided Visit: from 9am to 4pm. It should be booked calling the number bellow. Guides speak Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Phone: (21) 2294-9349
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