5 Things You Have To Try In Rio

March 02, 2018

There’s a fairly strong argument to be made that Rio de Janeiro is the most visually stunning city on the planet. Of course, it depends to some extent upon what you like in a city. But at least from a geographical standpoint there’s really no place like it. Situated by the sea with its own sprawling bay and world famous beaches, and with towering mountains and lush green landscapes as its borders, it paints a picture that would seem to have come out of the pages of a fantasy novel.

Rio isn’t just a pretty place, however. It’s also a very active one that’s used to catering to tourists flocking in from countries all around the globe. As a result, there’s a ton to do if you get the opportunity to visit. Let’s look at some of the highlights you should target.

Ride The Cables

One of the most striking of the aforementioned geographical structures surrounding Rio is Sugarloaf Mountain, a sort of domed cliff topped by a forest and rising over one end of the bay in Rio. Seeing the city from the vantage point of Sugarloaf Mountain is an awesome experience, but as it so happens, getting there is at least as thrilling. You do so by riding a cable car high above the ground – an journey that has received over 37 million visitors since first becoming an option in 1912. It’s actually two rides in one, first from Red Beach to Urca Hill, and then on to Sugarloaf. On the latter journey you’ll reach an altitude of about 530 meters before reaching the peak!

Party On Copacabana

Copacabana Beach has about as strong a reputation as any other beach in the world – not just for an appealing visual and a chance to relax in terrific weather, but also for promoting a party atmosphere that never really quiets down. This is the biggest beach in Rio and the one you tend to see the most of (whether on postcards or more recently during 2016 Summer Olympics coverage) – and it’s also the most active. That’s not to say you’re walking into a rave every time you set foot on Copacabana, but the area looks and feels festive as often as not, and taking part in the buzz is one of the best things you can do in Rio.

Try The Feijoada

Like most major cities around the world, Rio is home to some traditional flavors and dishes, and you aren’t really getting the most out of the experience unless you try a local meal. It’s not quite as renowned as, say, pizza in New York, or bread and chocolates in Paris, but the Feijoada is the prevailing dish of Rio – a mix of black beans and meat served with rice, flour, and slices of orange. It combines African and South American influence, and has become a staple dish not only in this city but all over Brazil. Naturally there are plenty of places to try it, and you’d do well to include at least one on your trip itinerary.

Try The Samba

Most every major city has a traditional dish or two – but not every city has a dance to go with it. In Rio (and really in Brazil as a whole), samba is a major highlight of the culture. There are clubs imitating the dance in cities across the world, and for that matter there’s even a video game online using it as a theme (not something you tend to see for styles of dance!). As that game puts it, samba helps you get into the carnival spirit, which isn’t about generic carnivals, but rather Brazil’s Carnival festival – perhaps the most iconic festival celebration in the world. Even if you don’t visit Rio during Carnival, a visit to a samba club can help you soak up the spirit.

Hike Tijuca National Park

Most people are at least loosely aware that there are rainforests in Brazil – but many probably don’t realize that there’s basically one in Rio. Tijuca National Park borders the city and is essentially a sprawling rainforest full of interesting wildlife, gigantic plants, rolling hills, and creeks and waterfalls. Hiking through the forest is a perfectly reasonable activity even if you’re staying in the city, and it gives you a real feel for the natural splendor of this country.

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