Rio de Janeiro is a not-to-be-missed destination full of adventure and natural beauty. With plenty of fascinating attractions, from sandy beaches to sky views of famous landmarks, there’s something for all types of travelers. With just one day to explore, here are a few options to help you make the most of your stay.
Morning: Rio de Janeiro City Sights
Start out by getting a lay of the land, choosing among several sightseeing options. Combine a tour of Corcovado, where the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) overlooks Guanabara Bay, with an aerial cable car ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. Or take a helicopter flight above it all for an exciting alternative. See city landmarks on a walking tour of downtown; climb Selarón’s Staircase in the Santa Teresa neighborhood; or get an overview of beaches and attractions aboard a hop-on hop-off bus. Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the Tijuca Forest or the Botanical Garden.
Afternoon: Unbeatable Bay Views
Get your camera ready for spectacular views around Guanabara Bay, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Board a bay cruise for a panoramic tour of Rio’s harbor with its andy-white beaches and towering granite monoliths. Glide past the neighborhoods of Copacabana, Botafogo, and Flamengo, and learn about the Niteroi Bridge. Alternatively, a walking tour through Rio’s largest favela, Rocinha, offers a different perspective on the city and its inhabitants. Local residents shed light on the unique challenges of this hillside community.
Night: Dancing and Drinking in Rio
The city’s world-famous Carnival offers a chance to see a spectacular parade, plus dancing and drumming on city streets, but if you visit during another time of the year, you can still experience Brazilian dance and music. You’ll be treated to a dazzling display of costumes and capoeira, with the option to feast on barbecue. If spinning on the dance floor is more your style, gain VIP access to nightclubs like Rio Scenarium during a nightlife tour that lets you skip the line in places like Leblon.