Due to the increasingly strong economy of Brazil, Rio, as a destination is not eminently cheap, but it is still very suitable for budget travelers since it has exceptional conditions: great climate, stunning natural scenery and famous and vast beaches. With this free Rio de Janeiro travel guide, you will discover the city’s best places without spending a centavo.
1. Ipanema Beach is an elegant, fun and social place, in addition to beautiful views and a unique landscape like the nearby mountains of Dois Irmãos.
2. Stroll through Santa Teresa, the artistic quarter of the city distinguished by its colonial buildings of the eighteenth century. If you want you can take the bodinho (the last electric train that circulates in Brazil) for only 60 cents to cross the Arcos da Lapa, an ancient aqueduct of the city.
3. Visit Tijuca National Park, a paradise for adventurers in the heart of the city that includes trails, caves and waterfalls, as well as landmarks such as the hill of Corcovado or the Pedra da Gávea.
4. Copacabana Beach is the most famous beach in the world and it is located in the bohemian and richest neighborhood of the city. There is an incredible landscape: surf, white sand, blue sky and the Sugar Loaf Mountain at the background.
5. Climb the Arpoador Rock, which houses a small beach for surfing. From the top of the rock you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Ipanema, Lebron, the mountain of Dois Irmãos, Pedra da Gávea and even Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain.
6. Visit Escandaria Selaron where you’ll find some steps that are a true work of art in tribute to the Brazilian people. The colored tiles are continuously changed as donations from visitors.
7. Attend to major events: If possible, visit the city during one of its two annual festivals. At the Carnival you will enjoy parades, costumes, music and parties in every corner, beginning with the famous Sambadrome. During New Year’s Eve, the locals are dressed in white, gather at the beach with lighting candles to cast flowers into the ocean and other offerings to the sea goddess Yemaya.
8. Lagoa is one of the must-visit places in Rio. Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is surrounded by luxurious homes andit is an ideal place for walking, playing sports and practise various leisure activities. Every December, an floating Christmas tree is placed in the middle of the lagoon.
9. Lose yourself in the traditional markets and enjoy the colors and aromas of the delicious tropical fruits and Amazon flowers. Usually, there are markets every day in different parts of the city, which is known as feira livre. In the area of Copacabana, many markets are held during weekends.
10. The statue of Christ the Redeemer stands on the top of Corcovado Mountain, where you can get a great view of the city, bay and surrounding mountains. Thanks to the newly installed elevators and escalators, you can climb to the top of the mountain in a quick and easy way.
If you also want to save money at restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, it is neccesary to take into account several factors, including their location and the type of food served. If you like the typical food, the Bar do Arnaudo, serves delicious Brazilian food in huge portions. Carretão steakhouse is one of the best rodizio restaurants in the city. Besides the meat, also features a salad, sushi and grilled fish buffet. Amarelinho is one of those places where locals attend and it has a large outdoor terrace in the heart of the city. It serves simple but very tasty dishes.
Hotels in Rio de Janeiro, are reputed to be quite expensive, but they suit all budgets, from cheap hostels located in privileged areas such as Che Lagarto Copacabana or Ipanema Pousada Bonita Ipanema, to luxury hotels like the Windsor Excelsior Copacabana and accomodation at affordable rates located a few miles from the center of the city as Magic Palace Hotel, with excellent value for money.