Rio is one of the most amazing cities in the world, and we hope that you have more than 24 hours to take in everything it has to offer. From the food to the beaches, Rio has something for everyone, and here’s how we think you should make the most out of a full day in Rio de Janeiro.
Head to an oasis in the city, the Botanical Gardens, for 8am, right when it opens, to enjoy a savoury breakfast and to take in a great view of Corcovado Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue. The Botanical Garden has a huge variety of species of plants and after breakfast, spend some time walking around to get an idea of its impressive beauty. There is a great itinerary starting from the Café Botânica and an excellent snapshot of the Imperial Palm trees alley. Ask for the gardens map at the entrance, which has a green line for you to follow, that will allow you to cover the main attractions. Don’t miss the Japanese garden, Orchids green house, the old gunpowder factory and Dom João Statue, who designed the gardens and planted himself the Imperial Palms.
As the morning turns into lunchtime, a great option is BiBi Lanches on Rua Jardim Botânico, 632. In order to easily get there, leave the Garden through the exit on Rua Pacheco Leão, 100. Turn right towards Rua Jardim Botânico and then left when you get there. Two blocks down you’ll see the place on the left. You must try their acai, even if you’ve tried it elsewhere before. We like ours with banana (order “acaí com banana”, you can say something like “assa-ee con banana”). They also have a great selection of salads that you can make yourself by picking the ingredients from a list.
Rio is such an outdoors city! We think your next stop should be the lagoon area, which you can get to from any crossing street on Rua Jardim Botânico. There is a running and bike path around it that is enticing for either a walk or a bike ride, and there are few places around where you can rent a bike. If your party is big, try those four seats ones for a different experience! Going counter-clockwise you will pass by the outdoor restaurant area at the Parque dos Patins. On Friday and Saturday nights it gets quite busy, and the restaurants also have live music.
As the afternoon fades away, head to Arpoador Beach (the very left side of Ipanema Beach) to go on the rock to enjoy the sunset from there. Cariocas (local people from Rio) love to watch the sunset from Arpoador Rock. They whistle and applause when the sun finally sets in the ocean (in the summer time) or behind the mountains (in the winter time). Another great place for the sunset is from Sugarloaf Mountain. Since it is the furthest east spot in Rio, the whole city gets outlined by the mountain range when the sun hides behind it.
For dinner, try one of the Zona Sul Markets. Believe it or not, they have one of the best pizzas in town. As you might guess, the ingredients are incredibly fresh and tasty. You can find the market on the following addresses:
– 504 Rua Visconde de Pirajá – Ipanema
– 49 Rua Prudente de Morais – Ipanema
– 290 Rua Dias Ferreira – Leblon
After dinner, and with your batteries recharged, head to the Lapa area to experience a local Samba club. The best options (from Tuesday to Saturday) are Rio Scenarium, Carioca da Gema and Lapa 40°. The best way to get in and out of Lapa is by taxi.
We know you’ll fall in love with Rio, just like so many people around the world have!