Christ the Redeemer, © sfmthd – Fotolia.com
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) – Visit the famous statue of Christ. Take the Corcovado Train (Trem do Corcovado), the oldest tourist ride in the country. The mountain is called Corcovado, which translates to the hunchback. At the top, the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer looks down over the city and so do you. The statue has become synonymous with Rio. You can reach the cog train station by taking the 580 Express Bus from the Largo do Machado metro station. Tour buses also drive up to Christ the Redeemer, but the train is by far the most popular option.
Sugarloaf Mountain Cable Car
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Sugarloaf
Sugarloaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar) – The Sugarloaf cable car is a major attraction when you visit Rio de Janeiro. Take the two stage gondola ride up the 390-foot granite mountain for views of Guanabara Bay, Botafogo Beach to the north and Copacabana to the south, with the city spread in between. Across the way, Christ the Redeemer faces directly toward Sugarloaf. Half Day Sugar Loaf Tours usually include downtown attractions as part an the excursion.
Copacabana Beach Crowds, © Celso Pupo – Fotolia.com
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Famous Beaches
Copacabana – the main beach in Rio. It was large enough to host more than a million fans for a Rolling Stones concert in 2006. This is the most popular beach for tourists. On weekday mornings, Atlantica Avenue on Copacabana switches from a two way avenue to one way, so that it’s easier to get to work downtown. It’s disorienting to see the vehicles driving against the directional arrows printed on the pavement. On Sunday half the street is opened to pedestrians and vehicles can only travel one way, away from downtown. With a 24 hour bike lane at the beach too, it takes concentration to cross the street to reach the beach at Copacabana.
Ipanema – It’s the next beach after Copacabana to the southwest. Take the Metro Rio running just back from the Copacabana beach and ride a few stops to the station at Praca General Osorio in Ipanema. Then visit the Church of Our Lady of Peace facing the square at Praca Nossa Senhora da Paz; Lake (Lagoa) Rodrigo de Freitas; and the new Peace Terrace. Post #9 on the beach is the most popular, but head toward Post 12 in Leblon to join the locals.
Hands Free, Sao Conrado Beach
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Santa Teresa Tram
At Cinelandia Metro station on Cinelandia Square, you will find the Municipal Theater, the National Library and the National Museum of Fine Arts. A short two block walk from the plaza leads to the Santa Teresa Tram (Bonde Santa Teresa). The tram line connects the city center with the residential inner-city neighborhood of Santa Teresa in the hills immediately southwest of downtown.
The Santa Teresa Tram is all that remains of what used to be the principal form of transportation in the city. From the starting point opposite the 20,000 seat Metropolitan Cathedral, cross the towering Carioca Aqueduct (aka Arcos da Lapa) to Santa Teresa. Then you have the option to take the ride all the way up the hill or stop to see the art collections at the Museu da Chacara do Ceu beside the Parque das Ruinas. On the way back down, get off at the Carmelitas Convent and then walk down the Selaron Steps.
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Tijuca
Tijuca National Park – 20 minutes from downtown and you’re in the original rainforests of Brazil. Hike to Pedra Bonita to for close up views of the granite mountain known as Pedra de Gavea. Alternately try a Rain Forest Jeep Tour that includes the Vista Chinesa (Chinese view) and the Monkey’s Waterfall. Take a hang glider trip back down to the city with Just Fly or Rio Adventures. They start at the Pedra Bonita ramp located in Tijuca National Park. The flight ends at Sao Conrado Beach, just west of Ipanema. The experience and the pilot were perfectly amazing.
Visit Rio de Janeiro – Hotel Recommendations