Stunning natural attractions, spontaneity that transforms everything into partying and welcoming, and emblematic monuments famous everywhere in the world. All this makes the city of Rio de Janeiro an incomparable and unforgettable destination.
With 450 years of history, Rio shelters fascinating treasures in its museums with splendid collections. More than being land of carnival and samba, it also has countless theatres, show houses, shopping and gastronomic centers open all year round.
But it is the combination of geographical characteristics – the sea, the mountain, the jungle – with human presence, which gives Rio de Janeiro the condition of a unique city. Different parts of the city are surrounded by extraordinary landscapes. It was the first city in the world to receive from UNESCO the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
On January 1, 1502 Portuguese navigators saw the “Guanabara Bay” and believing that it was a river, they gave it the name of Rio de Janeiro (“January River”). The municipality itself was founded in 1565 by Estácio de Sá.
Two hundred years later, in 1763 Rio de Janeiro became the capital of Brazil, a title it held until 1960, when Brasilia, the country’s current capital, was inaugurated.
The economy of the city was driven from the seventeenth century by the cycles of sugar cane, gold and coffee. The state of Rio de Janeiro, and later São Paulo, the second industrial center of Brazil, is among the first of tourism, besides being the main cultural and political center of the country.
European people, mainly Portuguese, mixed with African slaves and Brazilian Indians gave birth to a gentle, cheerful and beautiful people who make up the population of more than six million cariocas, as the inhabitants of the city are called.
Located in the middle of a landscape privileged by nature, between the sea and the mountains, the city of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful in the world, which gave it the title of “Cidade Maravilhosa”.
Budget – Kariok Hostel – Lovely hostel with a friendly staff centrally-located in the city center of Rio de Janeiro. This hostel features great common facilities.
Mid-range – Brazilodge All Suites Leblon – Comfortable hotel located close to the beach in a lovely neighbourhood featuring everything you need.
Splurge – Hotel Arpoador – Quality hotel located right next to Ipanema beach. Enjoy a delicious breakfast with an amazing view!
The best months to visit Rio de Janeiro are from May to November, during the dry season.
See Rio’s beautiful beaches: Copacabana’s beach is one of the most famous and touristic of the city, and even of the country. They call it the “Princesinha do Mar” (Princess of the Sea) and in it are concentrated all the icons you expected before coming: samba, capoeira, men practicing futevoley on the beach (volleyball with their feet, mixing the two sports).
Ipanema is one of the beaches preferred by the Cariocas. It has seen all its splendor and recognition from the song written by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Morais, “Garota de Ipanema”. The sea is more rough, which makes it ideal for surfing, especially in the area of the Stone of Arpoador. The sunsets over the Dois Irmaos hills, from Ipanema beach, is one of those things you have to see in Rio de Janeiro.
Climb to the Amazing Corcovado: One of the emblems of the city is located at 710 meters above sea level and is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also one of the new 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Christ the Redeemer embraces the city of Rio from the top of Corcovado Hill. From above you can enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the whole city.. To visit it, you can take a taxi or the Corcovado train and to which you have to go with time and patience, since there can be several hours of waiting. But it couldn’t be more worth waiting.
Pao de Acucar: Another thing you have to see in Rio de Janeiro is the emblematic Sugar Loaf, a “morro” that stands out about 400 meters above sea level. It is easily accessible through the “bondhino”, which was one of the first panoramic cable cars built all over the world. The Sugar Loaf has a great historical importance, given that at its feet was founded the city of San Sebastian de Rio de Janeiro in 1565. From above you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets in the city.
Visit Santa Teresa neighbourhood: Known as the “Montmartre Carioca”, it is located on the hillside of a hill and is full of mansions and stately homes, all from the early twentieth century. Today it is inhabited mainly by artists who seek to share their works with the general public. It can be climbed on the “bondinho” of Santa Teresa, a beautiful historical tram.
Enjoy the amazing nature around the city: Rio is surrounded with mountains, jungle, and beaches, offering an incredible set of activities. You can go to Paraty and enjoy some unforgettable hikes or canyoning. Around Rio you can also go scuba diving, surfing, and do all types of sea activities. Check out our tours above to enjoy an unforgettable experience.
Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.
Land – Brazil has a pretty developped bus network, so it is pretty easy to travel between big cities. A bus ride from Sao Paulo to Rio will take around 6 hours and cost from 100BRL ($27), from Belo Horizonte it should take around 7 hours and cost around 120BRL ($32)
Air – Rio has two airports, a domestic one and an international one. You can easily find flights from/to North America to Rio. If you’re already in Brazil, you will find also find plenty of airlines going to Rio from the country’s most important cities (Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte…). Please be aware that the international airport (Galeao) is located around 20 km (12 miles) from the city center, so you will need to take a taxi or public transportation to reach Rio.
The domestic airport (Santos Dumont) is located closer to the city center and you will enjoy a truly breathtaking view of Rio while landing.