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12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

February 17, 2017
12 Experiences Off The Tourist Path In Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro probably needs no introduction among travellers as the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana make it to the top of our Instagram feed quite frequently. So do the aerial views of the well-known Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer. While these are beautiful spots to visit, there is certainly much more to experience during a trip to Rio de Janeiro. Here are 12 things you could do to turn your tourist visit into an authentic local experience!

1. Exercise At The Beach

You can rent a bicycle to peddle along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches from one of the bike rental shops at Arpoador or Copacabana. Alternatively, you could join in one of the many morning sand workouts or volleyball classes given at the different beach points. These usually require a monthly subscription but the first class is always free. Otherwise, you can negotiate a price for one session with the instructor. Don’t forget to grab an acai with granola or a fresh fruit juice from the many juice bars on the street!

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

2. Take A Class At Sugar Loaf

There are plenty of rock climbing sites and schools in Rio to choose from. A popular location is Sugar Loaf or Morro da Urca. You can take an introduction course over a few days or just one class to experiment with rock climbing for the first time with Companhia de Escalada.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

3. Venture Into The Wild Beaches Of Grumari and Piranha

These beaches lie in the south of Rio about 45-60 minutes by car. If you do not have a rental car available, you can take a taxi and arrange a pick-up time to return back to town. Prainha Beach is smaller with stronger currents and Grumari Beach has a longer sand streak. They are both beautiful and wild.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

4. Grab A Few Beers Ar Barca Urca

Bar Urca (also known as Mureta de Urca) is nothing more than a bar and a restaurant serving traditional Brazilian food. However, its location in the privileged neighbourhood or Urca has turned the humble bar into one of the preferred after-work and afternoon spots. Order a bottle of Brazilian beer (Antartica Original is quite tasty) with some Bolinhos de Bacalhao (fish-cod croquettes) and go sit on the sea promenade wall.

5. A Walk Around Lagoa

The 8-kilometer circumference lagoon lies between the neighborhoods of Ipanema, Leblon and Jardin Botanico and boasts a beautiful front view of the Tijuca Forest and Christ the Redeemer. It is a nice place to go for a stroll or a run, especially at sunset.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

6. A Walk On Cláudio Coutinho Trail

Cláudio Coutinho is a beautiful trail at the foothill of Sugar Loaf in Urca neighborhoods is a popular choice for local runners and climbers. It is a short relaxing walk among green vegetation overlooking the see.

7. Samba In Lapa

Lapa neighborhood is in the centre of Rio. There are plenty of bars with live music playing Brazilian tunes and it is only a matter of seconds until your feet start moving at the contagious rhythm. Some of the streets come to life also! Just make sure not to dress flashy or carry very valuable objects with you to be safe. You can tell your taxi driver to drop you off at the Arches of Lapa and go on foot from there. A popular option among foreigners is Rio Scenarium to watch live music performances.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

8. Have Brunch At Parque Laje

Parque Laje lies in Jardin Botanico neighborhood at the foothills of Christ the Redeemer. It is a popular option among locals for a weekend’s breakfast.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

9. Enjoy A Good View Of Rio de Janeiro Across The Bay

Cross the bridge to the city of Niteroi for an amazing view of Rio de Janeiro from Niemeyer’s Museum of Contemporary Art. You can reach it by car, taxi, boat or a combination of buses from Rio.

10. Visit The Arty Santa Teresa Neighborhood & Its Many Viewpoints

The atmosphere on the weekend in Santa Teresa is young and hip. Go to Bar do Mineiro to try the famous Brazilian Feijoada and later get some cocktails with a view at Santa Teresa Hotel. An alternative treat is to lunch or dine at the high-end Aprazivel Restaurant.

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

 

11. Share Caipirinhas At Baixo Gavea

Baixo Gavea is a popular hangout area for locals to have drinks at night and mingle with others, especially on Thursdays. You will most likely end up standing up the entire night, so wear comfortable shoes.12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

12. Watch Sunset From Arpoador

Arpoador lies between Ipanema and Copacabana with probably the best view of Ipanema Beach. Grab a coconut-water at one of the beach promenade stalls and sit on the rocks to watch the surfers, the ocean and sunset. This beach is the birthplace of surfing in Brazil, so if you want to surf while you are in Rio this is a good place to go!

12 EXPERIENCES OFF THE TOURIST PATH IN RIO DE JANEIRO

Whether your visit to Rio de Janeiro consists of a few days or a week, I highly recommend going off the tourist circle a bit to experience the unique vibe of this city. You will only understand the relaxing, joyful and outgoing attitude of its citizens if you take your time to really feel Rio de Janeiro. And perhaps, this is the best souvenir of Rio to take back home with you.

Have you been to Rio or somewhere else in Brazil? Please share your experience in the comments section below!

By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Rachel Leret of ExploringBerry.com
Connect with Rachel  Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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4 Comments

  • Reply Sarah May 4, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the list! I actually lived in Brazil for 3 months a few years back and am hoping to take my hubs this summer. I lived several hours from Rio in a city called Lagoa Santa in the state of Minas Gerais. While I traveled to other parts of the country, it never worked out for me to get to Rio at the time, so I’m stoked to be going this time. You guys gave great suggestions, especially to get out of the normal touristy stuff. Thanks, again!

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls May 5, 2017 at 2:29 am

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting Sarah! Glad you enjoyed the post and will find it useful for your trip to Rio – have a great time! XO, Becky

  • Reply Jasmine Simmons August 11, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I am going to Brazil in December ❤️

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls August 12, 2017 at 4:05 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting Jasmine. Enjoy tour trip to Brazil, its an amazing country with so much to see and do. Thanks, Becky x

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