Five Days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Curated By

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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  • Rio de Janeiro

  • Brazil

  • Active Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Green Spaces

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

People playing volleyball on the beach.
Curator’s statement

This detailed five-day itinerary offers a comprehensive exploration of Rio de Janeiro's diverse attractions and experiences, from iconic landmarks and natural wonders to cultural encounters and culinary delights. As you bid farewell to the Marvelous City, you'll carry cherished memories of Rio's beauty, culture, and vibrant spirit with you, ensuring that your visit is truly unforgettable.

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Where to stay

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Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Rio de Janeiro

This Art Deco icon reigns supreme over its namesake beach, an unmatched destination for tapping into the spirit of Rio’s beach culture.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana

Luxurious Copacabana hotel with a stunning rooftop pool and unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

Fora Perks
  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Emiliano Rio

A luxurious haven where sophistication embraces the vibrant spirit of Rio de Janeiro.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Phelipe wearing glasses, a suit and a hat while smiling and standing outside in front of a city street.

Unlock perks by contacting Phelipe to book your trip.

Day 1: Arrival and Ipanema

Beautiful aerial view of Rio de Janeiro.

Morning: Upon arrival at Galeão International Airport or Santos Dumont Airport, you can opt for airport transfer services or taxis to reach your hotel in the Copacabana or Ipanema neighborhood.
Check in at your chosen accommodation and drop off your luggage.

Afternoon: Head to Ipanema Beach, famous for its iconic promenade and lively atmosphere. Consider renting a beach chair and umbrella for a comfortable beach day.
Take a dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, or try your hand at beach volleyball with locals.

Evening: As the sun sets, stroll along the iconic beach boardwalk. You'll find vendors selling coconut water, snacks, and traditional Brazilian souvenirs.
For dinner, savor the flavors of Brazilian cuisine at a beachfront kiosk. Try feijoada, a hearty black bean stew, or a delicious seafood dish.

Day 2: Christ the Redeemer and Santa Teresa

Christ the Redeemer statue

Morning: Start your day early to beat the crowds and make your way to Christ the Redeemer statue. You can take a taxi, book a tour, or use the cog train to reach the summit of Corcovado Mountain. Spend ample time admiring the breathtaking panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro from this iconic spot.

Afternoon: Head to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Explore the charming streets lined with historic mansions, art studios, and quaint shops.
Don't miss the Selarón Steps, a visually stunning mosaic staircase created by artist Jorge Selarón.

Evening: For dinner, choose from the neighborhood's eclectic dining options. Santa Teresa is known for its boutique restaurants and bars, each with its unique ambiance.

Day 3: Lapa, Downtown Rio and Sugarloaf Mountain

White cable car crossing on top of hills overlooking the city by the bay.

Morning: Begin your day by exploring the Lapa neighborhood, home to the iconic Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa). You can walk or take a short taxi ride. Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, known for its unique pyramid-shaped architecture.

Afternoon: Venture to downtown Rio to discover its cultural and historic treasures. The Municipal Theatre, with its opulent architecture, is a must-see.
Explore the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, a breathtaking library containing one of the largest collections of Portuguese literature outside of Portugal.

In the late afternoon, take the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) for awe-inspiring views of Rio and the surrounding coastline.

Evening: After descending from Sugarloaf Mountain, consider dining at one of the charming restaurants in Urca, a tranquil neighborhood at the base of the mountain, known for its seafood and Brazilian cuisine.

Day 4: Beaches of Ipanema and Leblon

People on the beach

Morning: Spend your morning at Ipanema Beach, famous for its picturesque views and vibrant beach culture. You can rent beach chairs, umbrellas and even surfboards.
Explore the iconic "Dois Irmãos" (Two Brothers) mountains at the western end of the beach for stunning photo opportunities.

Afternoon: Walk or take a short taxi ride to the upscale neighborhood of Leblon, known for its trendy boutiques and restaurants.
Visit the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas) for a relaxing paddleboat ride with views of Christ the Redeemer in the distance.

Evening: Experience a traditional Brazilian barbecue (churrascaria) for dinner in Ipanema. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast of grilled meats and a variety of side dishes.

Day 5: Tijuca Forest and Samba Night

Yellow and red black bird at Tijuca Forest.

Morning: Escape the bustling city and venture into Tijuca National Park. Hike through the lush Tijuca Forest to discover hidden waterfalls and immerse yourself in the rainforest's natural beauty.

Afternoon: After the hike, relax and rejuvenate at Parque Lage, a picturesque park with walking paths, art installations and a historic mansion.

Evening: Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythm of Rio de Janeiro's samba culture by attending a samba show. You can choose to visit a local samba school or a club in Lapa.
Dance the night away to the infectious beats of samba and don't forget to try a caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Rio Carnival: Choose the Perfect Hotel for the Festivities.

Phelipe wearing glasses, a suit and a hat while smiling and standing outside in front of a city street.

Travel Advisor

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Rio de Janeiro.