Ever since I watched Mimi Ikonn’s vlog of her trip to Rio de Janeiro, I dreamed of going there. It looked absolutely amazing. My dream came true last when my sister and I finally booked our trip!
Rio is one of the most unique cities I’ve been to and our trip was magical! I fell in love with the breathtaking ocean views, sunsets and wild nature. And seeing Christ the Redeemer is an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Below I share with you our recommendations for traveling in Rio, especially for travelers who are apprehensive of visiting this city as unfortunately it doesn’t have the best reputation in terms of safety.
Our 4 Day Itinerary in Rio
Day 1: Ipanema Beach and Copacabana Beach
We arrived in Rio in the morning, around 10 am. As we exited the secure area in Galeão International Airport, we were approached by multiple people offering their transportation services. However, we did our homework beforehand and decided to arrange our transportation to the hotel using one of the booths for radio taxis you will see as soon as you exit the customs area. The radio taxis are white, green or blue and tend to be more reliable than the standard yellow taxis. Although they are a bit more expensive we decided a stress-free drive was very important to us.
After arriving in our hotel, we cleaned up and decided to explore our area. We walked Ipanema Beach all the way to Copacabana Beach. The difference between these two beaches is quite drastic. Copacabana is filled with people and much more hip. I preferred the relaxed vibe of Ipanema more.
Our Hotel in Rio
We stayed at the Sofitel Hotel. It was absolutely stunning and in a great location – right across from Ipanema Beach. It offers breathtaking views and the staff was incredibly accommodating and helpful. I would stay there again.
Day 2 – Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain
We booked an all-day city tour that allowed us to see the two most famous attractions in the city – Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. If you are traveling alone, with a partner or friend, I would definitely recommend the option of booking a tour as you will get to experience a ton of attractions in one day in a stress-free way. We felt incredibly safe and our guide was awesome! She was informative, upbeat and warm.
Seeing the famous Christ the Redeemer statue up close was absolutely incredible. Sitting atop of Corcovado mountain and overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, it was a breathtaking sight to see. I felt incredibly grateful and blessed in the moment.
Tip: Try to visit Christ the Redeemer in the afternoon as in the morning you may encounter fog! We were lucky that the fog wasn’t very dense and we were still able to see all the views Corcovado mountain had to offer.
Day 3: Helictoper Ride over Rio and Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro
The highlight of our trip was a helicopter ride over Rio. We were so incredibly lucky that it was sunny all day. Our hotel arranged the transportation to the local airport and booked a 30 minute tour for us. We felt this was the best option as we knew the hotel’s recommendation would be reliable and safe.
The views from the helicopter were unbelievable. We flew over the ocean and hill tops and by Christ the Redeemer. I will never forget these views. It’s a day I will treasure forever.
After the Helicopter Tour Company dropped us off at the airport, we took a cab to Rio’s Botanical Garden – the Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. It was such a peaceful and beautiful place. The Gardens are stunning and show the diversity of the Brazilian tropical flora. They are also home to one of THE tallest palm trees in the world. The palm tree alley was breathtaking.
Day 4: Tijuca National Park Rainforest
On our fourth and final day, we booked an open-top Jeep tour through the Tijuca National Park rainforest. It was another beautiful place where we got to experience Brazil’s wild nature up close. During the tour, we spotted beautiful butterflies and monkeys and hiked a short trail to one of the waterfalls.
After the Jeep tour, we spent a couple of hours at the beach again. When I close my eyes, I still have the picture of kids playing soccer on the beach. That’s exactly how I pictured Rio before I had the chance to visit and it really was like that when we were there. It was a joy to see them being so excited and happy.
Tip: Make sure you try one of the acai bowls on the beach. My favorite flavor was maracuja acai bowl. So delicious!
Our ride to the airport in the evening was bittersweet. I’m always happy to be going home but I was very sad to go. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to visit Rio once again and have another positive and wonderful experience.
Safety Tips While Traveling in Rio
Unfortunately, Rio has a high crime rate. Below are some of the precautionary measures we took to feel safe and avoid a negative experience.
Carry your cash, credit cards and IDs in two places, out of sight.
We bought these little chain wallets that we clipped on to the inside of our pockets. Although that meant sometimes I would need to get into compromising positions to pull out extra cash, it gave me extra security knowing that my valuables are safely hidden.
DO NOT walk around by yourself.
We were in our hotel room by 8 pm every night. Although we didn’t experience the Brazilian nightlife, I still felt like we made the best of our trip and saw everything we wanted to see.
Leave your valuables at home.
I barely pulled out my iPhone in public and sometimes just left it in the hotel room. My camera was either always strapped around my body or in my purse. Just in case, make sure to keep an eye on these items frequently.
Let me know if you have any questions about visiting Rio in the comments below! It has been of my favorite trips to date and I highly recommend traveling to Brazil!