Top Ten Things To Do In Rio de Janeiro

Note: Please also refer to my previous post, “Top Ten Attractions In Rio”

My “Top Ten Attractions” of Rio referred to the attractions that Rio de Janeiro is known for, by some, considered the must sees. This list is my opinion of the top ten things to do in Rio to make your time there unique, to set your Rio vacation apart from another and includes activities that really lend to Rio’s topography, demographic and geographical location.

1) City Tour with Neyla – Neyla comes highly recommended on the Trip Advisor forums for Rio (, as do many other guides. I did not have a chance to contact her but will next time. Contact the guide directly to negotiate prices.

Booking Info: Neyla at &

She can also be found on Viator (activity, transfers etc booking system worldwide).

2) Kite-boarding/surfing in Barra di Tijuca – “Kite surfing in Rio is one of the newest additions to the wide range of adventure sports available in the city. Rio de Janeiro is one of the places in the world where it really has established itself, access to long beaches, good weather and consistent wind conditions are all reasons for that. The best conditions for beginners are in Araurama.”

 Booking Info:  K08 Surf Club –

Maxim Rio –

Best Kiteboarding Rio –

 3) Hang-gliding at Tijuca Forest – Please read my post  “Reeling Over Rio – Part 2” for an account of my experience.

 Booking Info: Alex voo Dupho ( or (21) 7845-7400.

4) Helicopter Ride Over Rio – “Helisight offers 8 wonderful tours, lasting from 6 to 60 minutes. Due to the privileged location of their helipads in post-card settings, within moments of take-off new visions of known sights are revealed.

As they fly around the Christ statue you can see details impossible to discern from a distance: the painstaking workmanship of the Redeemer statue itself and its perfect balance and coherence with the mass of the mountain on which it sits. Further afield, you overfly Tijuca National Park, the lungs of the city, towards the vastness of Barra da Tijuca and the beauty of the mountains and peaks.”

Booking/Ticket Info: Helisight:

Helisul: Located in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Florianópolis, Curitiba and Iguacu Falls.

5) The Favela Painting Project – The favela painting project isn’t an attraction that many even know about and official tours aren’t in fact even given. But, this is something that I think is so unique and astounding that people should be able to visit.

Favela Painting Project:

“Haas&Hahn is the working title of artistic duo Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn. They started working together in 2005, when they filmed a documentary about hip hop in the favelas of Rio and São Paolo for MTV. Inspired by this visit, they embarked on a journey to bring outrageous works of art to unexpected places, starting with painting enormous murals in the slums of Brazil together with the local youth.”

Booking/Visit Info: After doing some research it seems that guests at Casa 579 ( have been able to arrange tours/a visit through it’s owner Teresa.

When you are planning your trip I’d search for “Favela Painting Project” in the Trip Advisor Rio de Janeiro forum and see what you find.

If that fails to turn up any booking info I’d contact Teresa as mentioned above. Casa 579 seems to be a pretty unique place to stay where guests can also get involved with volunteering in Rio. It may also be a fantastic option for accommodations, I am definitely interested in trying it out next time.

Finally, or simultaneously, I’d contact the Favela Painting Project. I personally, did not have any luck contacting them directly. They have a visitor’s book online where you can leave a message and I found an email to use to contact them but no one returned my email.

6) Dining & Shopping in Impanema/Copacabana – Stroll along streets lined with interesting boutiques in Ipanema, and Copacabana – both perfect for window-shopping or even serious shopping. And beautiful, modern restaurants and bars spill out into the streets. A definite must towards the end of the day, shop and dine while all the beach goers head home.

In Ipanema the main shopping artery is Rua Visconde de Piraja, and Garcia D’Avila is the street to visit if you’re looking for jewelry – even if only to dream a little.

In Copacabana the main streets are Av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana and Rua Barata Ribeiro but almost all the cross-streets have great little boutiques as well.

Happy shopping!

7) Spend Time in Leblon – Leblon is known for being a very cosmopolitan  and affluent neighborhood, with a fantastic nightlife because of its bars, restaurants, nightclubs. It also has a great beach and is a favourite destination/neighbourhood of

  • Visit Leblon Beach and the streets of Rainha Guilhermina and General Artigas.
  • There are some great restaurants on Dias Ferreira Street (close to General Artigas). Zona Sul supermarket has incredible pizza for a great price.
  • San Martin Avenue, also near General Artigas has great bars/pubs to have a beer after the beach. Veloso, Devassa, are some examples.
  • Enjoy an incredible breakfast at Talho Capixaba, on Ataulfo de Paiva Avenue. A great place start your day!

8) Arcos da Lapa (Lapa’s Arches) & Lapa (Entertainment District – Bars/Clubs)

“One of Rio de Janeiro’s oldest surviving colonial landmarks, the Arcos da Lapa, also known as the Carioca Aqueduct, stretches 800 feet long. A double row of 42 graceful arches, the Arcos da Lapa was once responsible for carrying water from the Rio Carioca to the 16 spout fountain in Largo da Carioca. It was from this fountain that Rio’s citizens drew their water. It is said that the original composition of the monument was a mixture of whale oil, limestone, granite, sand and bricks, the 18th century predecessor of concrete. According to most sources, this composition has never been altered.”

9) Learn to Samba. Visit a Samba School.

Samba is the exciting is a Brazilian dance that is recognized as a symbol of Brazil and of Carnaval. It is orginates from the Bahia province in the north and its roots come from the West African slave trade and African religious traditions. It also has become a symbol of the Brazilian national identity. Why not learn?

Booking/Visit Info: A dance school called Carlinhos de Jesus I recommended and they are part of the Carnival samba parade. Contact them for group or private classes:

Jaime Aroxa is also recommended and offers private classes from his dance scool. It is centrally located in Botafogo.

10) Go to a soccer game (Flamengo). Ronaldhino plays for Flamengo and “Flamengo was a founding member of the Clube dos 13 (Club of the 13) group of Brazil’s leading football clubs. They are the current Carioca champions (champions of Rio)

Booking/Visit Info:




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