Rio De Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival and Samba. Three to four days in the city will allow you to visit the prominent landmarks of Rio De Janeiro. However, if you have an extra 2 days spare, be sure to take a trip to Paraty to appreciate the ancient Portugese architectures.

The local currency is Brazilian Real (1 USD- 3.76 BRL).

Its easy to talk to people in English, although knowing few Portuguese words would be of a great help.

Hello – Olá

Where? – Onde?

When? – Quando?

Please – Por Favor

Thank You – Obrigado

Yes – Sim

No – Não

Bye – Adeus

See You Soon – Até logo / Até a vista

Here’s what to see, do, and discover in the guide to Rio De Janeiro!

City Guide Rio De Janeiro

A Guide To Rio De Janeiro:

Before Arriving:

Many nationalities would need to pre arrange a visa. Its advisable to check with the local consulate for an up to date information.

Upon Arrival:

Rio De Janeiro, has two airports. All long haul flights arrive into Galeao International Airport (GIG) and domestic and short haul flights usually land in Santos Dumont Airport (SDU).

Once in Rio De Janeiro, you will have 3 options to get to the downtown- Bus, pre-paid taxi, regular taxi (metered).


REAL, an air-conditioned bus service operates every 30 minutes from 0530-2200 and runs between both airports and stops at Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana Ipanema, and Leblon, enroute to Alvorada terminal near Barra Shopping in Barra da Tijuca. The journey lasts for 60 mins. depending on the traffic and a one-way ticket would cost R$ 6.50. There is plenty of luggage space. This is the best option if you’re on a budget.

Prepaid Taxi:

This is an option where you pay more for not being over charged by the driver. Prepaid taxi companies charge almost the double the price of the  regular metered yellow cabs. As you clear the customs check in the Rio De Janeiro International Airport, you would find many employees of prepaid taxi companies offering the service. A trip to Copa-Cabana, Ipanema, Leblon would cost around $R99.

Metered Taxi:

You would find these yellow taxis parked at the curb just outside the Airport. In most occasion the driver would set a fixed charge of R$55, although you can insist them to use the meter. Its advisable to present the driver the address of the hostel or the map to get there printed in a piece of paper before getting into the cab to avoid any confusions.

City Guide Rio De Janeiro

Getting Around:

The easiest way to get around is by metro; in Centro and the Zona Sul it covers almost every major area of interest. There are only two lines: Line 1 goes north from downtown, it’s useful for going to the Maracanã and the Quinta da Boa Vista, Line 2 begins at the Central Station and goes south, covering most of Centro, then swinging thorough Glória, Catete, Flamengo, and Botafogo before ducking through the mountain to its final destination in Ipanema. A single ticket would cost R$2.80. You may also opt to buy a magnetic card and recharge for the minimum value of R$10 which would get deducted every time you swipe through.

Where To Stay:

The best places to stay in the city are Ipanema, Copacabana or Leblon. These places are centrally located and are filled with hostels and hotels.

Backpackways recommends The Light House Hostel in Ipanema for its location, service and safety.

If you are willing to explore the other side of the city or want to witness the most famous Rio carnaval, backpackways recommends the other side hostel. Located right next to the Sambodromo.

What To See:

Are you a beach bum? You will surely be spoiled for choice by the two iconic beaches Copacabana and Ipanema.

Interested in natural settings? Get to the most famous landmark, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer perched on the top of the Corcovado mountain or visit the sugar loaf mountain with its cable car.

Sports is more of your style? Check out one of the world’s largest football stadium, Maracanã Stadium.

Check out the 10 things to do in Rio De Janeiro.

City Guide Rio De Janeiro

What and Where To Eat And Drink:

Try the traditional morning meal of pao de queijo (cheese bread) or pao na chapa (grilled bread) with a coffee or a juice. Ask for a “pingado” its a coffee with a little bit of milk or “média” for a cup with half coffee and half milk.

Walk into one of the Brazilian Steak Houses in Copacabana or Ipanema.

Head to Lapa to experience the night life.

Rio Night

Get Out:

A 6 hours bus ride would get you to the sleepy little picturesque town – Paraty. Paraty is a laid back town to the south between Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo, known for its cobbled streets and ancient Portugese Architecture.

Backpackways recommends Casa Blanca Hostel in Paraty for its close proximity to many attractions and friendly service.

City Guide Rio De Janeiro


   ****************** THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED *******************

Win A Rio De Janeiro Maps And Walks App:

This city guide app includes a detailed, fully functional city map and several carefully selected self-guided city walks for Rio de Janeiro. What’s more? This app works offline!! You can use it anytime anywhere on your device.

This is a must have for all travelers!

Walking Tours Included In Rio De Janeiro Maps And Walks Are:

  • Lapa Walk (6 Sights)
  • Bohemian Centre Walking Tour (7 Sights)
  • Rio Famous Museum Walks (7 Sights)
  • Rio’s Remarkable Places Of Worship Tour (7 Sights)
  • Rio’s Landmark Walking Tour (8 Sights)
  • Rio De Janeiro Classic Architecture Walk (8 Sights)
  • Rio De Janeiro Beach Walk (5 Sights)
  • Rio De Janeiro Nightlife Tour (7 Sights)
  • Jewellery And Accessory Walk (7 Sights)
  • Antique And Home Stores (7 Sights)
  • Gift Shops, Centro (6 Sights)
  • Souvenir Shopping (9 Sights)
  • Rua do Lavradio Antiques (10 Sights)

The App also includes Discovery Walks:

  • Ipanema Shopping And Leisure
  • Santa Teresa Walk
  • Urca Walk
  • Lavradio Street Area Antiques
  • Downtown Shopping
  • Cosme Velho Walk
  • Catete Walk

Some Features Of The App Includes:

  • Touring route clearly displayed on map
  • Precise turn-by-turn walking directions from one sight to the next
  • FindMe feature displays your exact location, while an auto tracking feature displays your movement on map, so you always know if you are moving in the right direction

This App would serve you as a guide to all corners of the city. Something, that you can’t afford to miss.


Do You Want To Win A Rio de Janeiro Map and Walks, Full Version App?

  1. Share the post on your Facebook wall.
  2. Subscribe to the free backpackways weekly newsletter by entering your email address on the bottom of the page.
  3. Share your experience if you have been to Rio or the things you wish to do in Rio De Janeiro, as a comment below.
  4. Tell us your experience on exploring a city using an app. in partnership with would reward the first 20 people with a Rio De Janeiro city app.

*The app can be downloaded only on iOS (Apple) devices and works perfectly fine on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. 

Note: Enter the giveaway until the 9th of November , but feel free to share your thoughts anytime, anyway!                                 

16 Apps Left







14 comments on “Rio De Janeiro City Guide

  1. After going through the Rio review and plan I have got enlightment only from the information is precise, it’s become my all in one place for travel information and more. Am sure I will be making plans to visit the Rio de Janeiro with my wife and son and if we win the app our stay would be more action packed.

    On my first trip to Sri Lanka, Colombo I used the city maps offline app and it came in very handy.

    • Thank you Victor, for sharing your thoughts.Its great to read your nice opinion. Do check your email in a short-while, will send you the Gift Voucher code. Cheers and keep exploring.

    • Hi Justine, thank you. Check your e-mail in a bit, will have the Gift Voucher number to get the app downloaded. I am sure you are going to have a great time in Brazil.

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