3 Things to do in Rio de Janeiro 

 December 4, 2020

By  Wilson

Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city in Brazil and was the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

I wrote an entire blog post on the city itself because there’s just so much to do, and I have so many beautiful memories of Rio.

I could honestly spend a year just traveling all over Brazil and picking up a little Portuguese. The country is huge and from what I observed the people are very nice.

But for now, I’m going to take you on a ride through one of the most beautiful cities in not only Latin America but the whole world.

How I Got There

As usual whenever I travel, I either take a United flight or search for the cheapest flight on kayak.com. I wrote an article about how I stick to flying on United as much as possible to cash out big with my miles.

For this trip, I flew on United from San Francisco to Rio de Janeiro (with a connection in Houston). Win.

Here are my top 3 favorite things to do in Rio de Janeiro:

1. Copacabana Beach

I put this on my number 1 because… well, I was there for New Years Eve and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

New Years in Rio is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Like Fergie.

Starting around 5pm, the bars and restaurants around Copacabana started closing. Traffic was getting worse by the minute. People were gathering towards the beach for a highly anticipated fireworks show that ended up lasting 15 straight minutes.


New Years in Rio (Fireworks)

I was super paranoid about my belongings getting stolen, and often had both hands in my lone front pocket. Fortunately, everything went fine and took a video of a lifetime along side millions of other people:

However, if you close your eyes and randomly point to a day on the calendar, there’s a 364/365 chance you will not land on New Years. So I’ll switch gears and show a picture that I took of Copacabana Beach on a normal day.

Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach

Going to the beach is actually a huge part of the culture in Rio. What do you do after work? Go to the beach. What do we do on the weekends? Take our bathing suits with us and go to the beach.

I went during Christmas Break, which is the peak of summertime. Rio is HOT.

There are many other beaches available to the public such as Ipanema and Leblon in Rio, but Copacabana is without a doubt the most famous beach in arguably the whole country.

2. Cristo Redentor

“Don’t be cloudy. Don’t be cloudy.” -me, praying nervously as I was approaching the top.

Obviously nobody heard my prayers and it started being very cloudy when I finally arrived to Cristo Redentor. But thankfully it cleared up about 15 minutes after my arrival.

There are two very Instagram-able parts to this incredible landmark:

  • The statue itself
  • The view of the city.
Cristo Redentor

Cristo Redentor

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Told ya it was cloudy. If I had taken this picture 10 seconds earlier, I would have captured 100% Sugar Loaf Mountain. But instead, I captured 70% of it as shown in the picture above. Dammit, Wilson.

There’s a similar statue that I visited in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The difference is that the one in Rio is only about a million times more famous.

3. Morro Dois Irmãos

This is roughly translated: “Two Brothers Lookout”.

The best view of Rio in my opinion isn’t from Sugar Loaf nor from Cristo Redentor, but comes after a somewhat of a strenuous hike.

The hike itself took about 50-60 minutes to get to the top and a few water bottles… because it was HOT.

Morro Dois Irmãos

Morro Dois Irmãos

Morro Dois Irmãos

Morro Dois Irmãos

There were people selling coconut water, water, and gatorade on the way. It was completely worth it.

I ubered to Vidigal, and from there I arrived here (Google Maps location) where there was a soccer field and the sign that says Morro Dois Irmãos.

Honorable Mentions

If you’re been to Rio, you’re probably thinking… umm where is Sugar Loaf Mountain on ur top 3, Wil?

In my defense, that’s exactly why I wrote a blog post just on Rio. So please don’t take it personally, Sugar.

Morro Dois Irmãos

Morro Dois Irmãos

After my experience in Rio, all I can say about nightlife is this: you cannot experience nightlife in Rio without going to the Lapa district.

Dancing Samba

Dancing Samba

Dancing Samba was also an interesting Brazilian experience. It’s very different from Salsa – which I learned previously. I could barely keep up, but it was fun.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon for gorgeous views of the biggest lake in the city.

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon

Where I Stayed

I stayed in an Airbnb in Copacabana.

By the way, I wrote a separate article on How I Choose Where I Stay when I Travel.

If I Had More Time, I Would Have…

Stayed until the end of Carnaval. Seriously tho. This trip really help me understand the laid-back and party-centric culture of Brazil. I loved it.

A quick list to round out things I would have done: Mirante Dona, Centro (for the museums), and Vista Chinesa.

Closing Remarks

I don’t know how else to say it other than the fact that Rio de Janeiro was just so damn fun. I was sick for half of the time I was in the city, but I managed to pull off a memorable experience.

In general, Brazil is like that odd kid in high school who was very cool. One obvious reason is the language – Brazilians are Latinos, but they’re not Spanish-speakers. So they are kind of in their own category.

Brazil seriously make me want to learn Portuguese just so I can experience a year in the beautiful country. I know that’s a long shot, but regardless – I’m looking forward to the next time I’m in Brazil.

Final Grade: A


ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Hi, my name is Wilson, founder of WFH Nomad. I was born and raised in the US, and I boast engineering and business degrees from top programs in the US. I work a normal, WFH job for a great company in America. I am extremely passionate about traveling and my job in the Tech industry, and the best part of the WFH Nomad concept is that I can do both at the same time.

I have traveled to over 47 different countries in my lifetime and I look forward to continue this lifestyle for the foreseeable future. Thanks for visiting the website!

related posts:

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}