Rio was on top of my travel bucket list and in 2007 I checked that one of my list when I visited for the first time. I
had finished school so I took this opportunity to go and explore the city of my dreams. I grew up seeing Rio in
novelas so when I actually arrived it felt like I had stepped into the TV. My expectations were very high yet a cidade maravilhosa managed to exceed them and win my heart.
Fast forward 10 years later, I’ve visited Rio 5 times already. I was there for 6 months in 2007, then also went back for carnival, new years eve, my birthday in 2014 and 2015. The first time I visited was also the time I decided not to follow the news anymore because I almost didn’t go because I was too afraid. Rio de Janeiro was supposedly too dangerous and with all the shootings who knew what would happen? I glad I didn’t believe the media (and still don’t) and made it happen.
I love rio de janeiro so much and I can seriously say that I consider this city my second home. I want to show you why Rio is called the marvelous city and why you and anyone should visit my favorite city at least once in their lifetime. Once you get a taste of the carioca lifestyle it will leave you wanting much much more because one visit is simply not enough.
There are so many things you can do here but let me show you 5 great things you can do for free in the marvelous city:
1. Praia Vermelha
Praia vermelha is a hidden gem. When you go to Rio people will talk about Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon beach and forget to mention this quiet beach where locals go. It has an amazing view, it’s located right next to the sugar loaf and it’s the safest area in Rio as it’s located in a military neighborhood. I wouldn’t recommend swimming here though because the water can be quite dirty.
When you’re in Rio you can’t miss out on the sugar loaf. If you take the bondinho or cable car it will cost you around 17 dollars or 15 euro but did you know you can also go up for free? Yes you can! Next to Praia vermelha there’s a path called Pista Claudio Coutinho where you can go for a walk and a bit further down the path you can climb up to visit the Sugar Loaf. It’s quite an uphill battle so make sure you bring a bottle of water and good shoes because this climb is not for the weak.But once you get up there it will be so worth the effort because the view is simply precious. Or shall I say marvelous? And don’t worry about climbing down again as you can simply take the cable car for FREE after 6 or 7pm. Sounds good right?
2. Parque Lage
If I show you this place does it look familiar? It was featured in Snoop Dogg’s music video Beautiful and I remember when I first visited in 2007 this place wasn’t even mentioned in the Lonely planet! It’s called Parque Lage and is also know as the little Taj Majal. Art school during the week and small ‘cafetaria’ in the weekend, this place was built out of love. So it didn’t surprise me that this location is often booked for wedding receptions as not only is it a gorgeous place to host such a special occasion it also has an amazing view on the christ and is located in the middle of a lush green park right in the middle of the city.
One thing I enjoy doing when I’m in Rio is biking on a Sunday. The Lagoa is a great location to do so. In the weekends you’ll find families, couples and young ones who come here to walk, jog, skate or bike. I also love being at the lagoa at sunset as the sky colors in the most gorgeous shades and the view you get of the mountain is just so romantic
4. Go out in Lapa and sit on the selaron stairs
I’m sure you’ve seen this place come by on your instagram feed. It’s the famous selaron stairs where snoop dogg and every traveller stops to take a picture. Jorge Selaron dedicated his life to creating one of the most popular sights in Rio and his not even brazilian. He is from Chile but locals loved him as if he was one of their own. And who could blame them, when he was alive he would work on this stairs every day and add unique tiles. Unfortunately this artist past in 2013 but left us with a one of a kind masterpiece to remember him by.
The beautiful thing about Rio is that a lot of must- see things are totally free if you chose to. If you want to taste the couleur locale in the night scene without necessarily having a drink or paying to enter a club go to Lapa, the place to be every Friday and Saturday night. They also have parties on Thursday but friday and saturday are much more lively. This is also the only place where everybody seems to come together from all social classes, straight, gay or shemale and have a good time. Everywhere you walk you will see people having fun, smiling, dancing, having a drink and listen to good music on the streets. From samba, funk to reggae you’ll find everything here. And don’t forget to have a cocktail. They’re cheap and delicious and there’s so much more out there than the caipirinha most people know and love.
5. Arpoador and watch sunset
If you’re looking for another great romantic spot to watch the sunset go sit at the Aroador. I remember when I lived here I would enjoy going there on Sundays, starting my walk at Ipanema beach, sitting here to enjoy the sunset and then continue my walk to Copacabana and watch the night fall. You will find many other romantic souls here who come to admire the sunset as you’ll get a full view of ipanema beach and the dois irmaos mountains
So these were a few of my favorite spots in the city. Have you ever visited Rio de Janeiro and if so what did you love the most?
Beijinhos and Thanks for watching!