My aunt and uncle flew out to see me, and of course they wanted to meet in Rio de Janeiro. They only had 3 full days before they went on to Chile.So if you, like them, only have a few days, how do you see the whole of Rio? Here’s how:
- Walk along Copacabana beach, have a caipi/coconut water, buy your ticket to go up Corcovado to see Christ from the RioTur kiosk at posto 8 (always buy this in advance to avoid disappointment), admire Copa, and soak in the fact that you’re at one of the most famous beaches in the world.
- Head into town by metro or uber. We went to Gloria church (a beautiful tiled church, with an amazing view of Rio), walk to Lapa (quick view of the Escaderia de Sellarón, then take the tram across the aqueduct. Alternatively you walk up the steps and get the tram down for free), wander through Santa Teresa (if you have the energy go to the Parque das Ruinas, except on Monday when it’s closed, for an old building, a cafe and an amazing view over Guanabara Bay).
- Collapse for dinner, (maybe in Santa Teresa, the restaurants and bars look great!)
- Go out for drinks with your friends at a beach side bar in Copa, or to the famous Lapa and don’t worry about your bank account until later.
- Go into town to the old Boulevard Olímpico, start at the top with the Museu do Amanhã (normally you have to buy tickets online, but we got there at 10am and had no problems getting in), admire the insane building, go inside if you have time, it’s super interesting!
- Wander down to the Praça XV, notice the difference between the old and the new along the Boulevard (they did it all up for the Olympics, and the Olympic torch was in the cool, turning statue halfway down near the naval museum).
- At Praça XV you could either go to one of the museums nearby, or do as we did and take the ferry across to Niteroi to go and see the spaceship-like Museu de Arte Contemporânea. The art inside isn’t really worth paying to see (in my opinion), but it’s only 10 reais full price. The other destination from Praça XV is the Ilha de Paqueta, which is about an hour ferry into the bay, if you’re only there for 3 days, it probably isn’t worth doing, but if you need to escape the noise of Rio, it’s perfect.
- Go to the little train station at the bottom of Corcovado, and go on the little train up the steep slope of Corcovado to see Christ the Redeemer, and the city of Rio spread out in front of you, and when the sky is clear the sunset is worth staying for too.
- Head to the Sugarloaf before the crowds hit, appreciate the best view Rio has to offer, have something to eat or drink (the pizza is so good) and try to spot the monkeys that live up there.
- Go to the Lagoa for lunch and a wander around.
- Go to a beach. Any beach. Maybe Praia Vermelha at the bottom of the Sugarloaf, or Copa again, or Ipanema, or Leblon. You could even get the bus, or taxi, through the Parque Nacional de Tijuca and end up at Barra. Alternatively go paragliding and see Rio from a whole new angle before collapsing on a beach. Lie there and take in the fact that you just saw Rio de Janeiro, the Cidade Maravilhosa, in 3 days.