With its 6 million person population that blends together elements from the cultures of South America, Europe, Portugal and Africa – and a reputation for being one of the liveliest and most exciting cities south of the Equator – Rio de Janeiro conjures many thrilling images for those who pause to consider it. As a port of call, Rio de Janeiro has a splendid number of things to recommend itself, from laid-back beaches to a stunning topography to its raucous annual party, Carnival. It’s not surprising that this effortlessly cosmopolitan city is routinely listed among the top travel destinations in the world, and if you are lucky enough to stop here you must get out and see it for yourself.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
From the impressive Cristo Redentor that overlooks this vibrant metropolis to the majestic Sugar Loaf Mountains, Rio de Janeiro is blessed with one of the most memorable and breathtaking layouts in the world. Whether you choose to check out the scene at this city’s world-famous beaches, or if you opt instead to spend a quiet hour or two exploring its botanical garden and eating at a comida a kilo restaurant, you are sure to have a wonderful visit to this gorgeous part of Brazil.
If you’ve never been to Rio de Janeiro before, then it is imperative that you get out there and hit at least a few of its most famous sights. Including a couple of the following attractions during your visit would make for an excellent introduction to this awe-inspiring city:
Whether you choose to hit the tourist mecca of Copacabana – where throngs of visitors routinely crowd the beach – or the more laissez faire environs of Ipanema, you are sure to find the beaches of Rio to live up to all of your wildest expectations. In addition to these two most well-known beaches, there are literally dozens of others within close proximity of Rio proper.
Corcovado and Cristo Redentor
Even people who know very little about Rio de Janeiro are aware of its well known Cristo Redentor – or Christ the Redeemer – statue. Towering over the city atop Mt. Corcovado, the Cristo Redentor is believed to be the largest art deco statue on the planet. You can take a train up to get a closer look at this 130-foot-high, 98-foot-wide marvel, which is perched at the top of the 2,300 foot high mountain. Breathtaking views of the city are also included.
Like so many major cities, Rio boasts its own botanical garden. Interestingly enough, the Jardim Botanico was originally built back during the 1800s, making it incredibly historic as well. Plant life from Brazil, as well as from all over the world, can be found here; keep your eyes peeled for playful monkeys that swing from branch to branch on nearby trees.
The Sugar Loaf Mountains
Next to the Cristo Redentor, Rio’s Sugar Loaf Mountains are its best-known landmarks. Take the aerial tram up to the top near the end of the day to witness a truly stunning sunset. It is one really special way to enjoy this one-of-a-kind city and is sure to become a cherished memory.
Rio’s two most famous beach areas – Ipanema and Copacabana – are also its two best shopping areas, especially for tourists. In Ipanema, you can choose from a broad assortment of designer stored and trendy boutiques that sell the latest in fashion, jewelry and more. In Copacabana’s more relaxed surroundings, it’s easy to find unique handicrafts and other goods.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
Thanks to the beach culture of Rio de Janeiro, bikinis are actually one of the best souvenirs to bring back to the ship. Women can pick up high quality – and very attractive – bikinis in shops all over town; men can pick one up for the special woman in their lives, too.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
All-you-can-eat dining is huge in Rio de Janeiro; locally, it is known as comida a kilo or rodizio. By stopping in at such an establishment, you can sample a great deal of popular local dishes. One that you shouldn’t miss is feijoada, which might be Rio’s most-famous dish. It is made out of pork and black beans and can be found all over the city. Be sure to try it out when you are in Rio de Janeiro.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
Summer is generally agreed to be the best time to visit Rio; anytime from December to March, then, is the prime time to go. Keep in mind that crowds are also densest at that time of year. If you’d prefer sparser crowds, May through October are generally months that enjoy nice weather.
Where You’re Docked
All of the major cruise ships dock over at Rio’s commercial port, Pier Maua. The logistics of getting from the port over to many of the city’s hot spots are simple enough.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
Lots of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Rio de Janeiro. A few of the most popular cruise lines that stop in Rio de Janeiro are The Yachts of Seabourn, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. However, there are many other options available in terms of ships, dates, days in port and at sea when it comes to Rio de Janeiro.