In preparation for all the excitement for the 2016 Olympics, we pulled together a quick list of 12 equipment you should do when visiting Rio.
1. Go Hiking in Tijuca Inhabitant Park
Tijuca Inhabitant Park is the leading urban forest in the world. With several trails totaling hundreds of miles, this is the perfect place for hikers who delight in checking out the city’s variety of plant life and fauna . This huge conservation area is also home to world-renowned tourist attractions with some of the best views of the city, such as Corcovado Mountain, Christ the Redeemer and Pedra da Gávea.
2. Flex Your Samba Skills in Lapa
Lapa, one of the most bohemian neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, is known for its lively social scene and cultural events. This standard district has many restaurants, bars and clubs, with an alfresco party vibe that result in the streets to life on the weekends. Feeling adventurous? Head to Lapa to delight in live Brazilian music and learn a few sexy samba and forró moves.
3. Delight in a Nice Picnic at the Botanical Garden
Made by the future King John VI of Portugal in 1808, the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden — recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve — is home to rare species of flowers and plants. A fantastic option for families with kids, this garden has picnic tables, a playground and plenty of space for family to run around and play. And don’t forget to look up; colorful parakeets and playful monkeys are usually hanging out in the treetops.
4. Hear Announcers Scream ‘GOAL!’ at Maracana Sports ground
Soccer fan or not, you don’t want miss out on watching a match at one of the sport’s most legendary stadiums in the world. The passion of Brazilian fans, the drums, the fireworks and the banners waving to the sound of the teams’ anthems make this a unique experience. Renovated in 2014, Maracana Sports ground hosted the 2014 World Cup’s final match and will host the 2016 Summer Olympics’ opening and finishing ceremonies.
5. Tour Rio’s Art Museums
Rio de Janeiro is home to many cultural institutions and museums that showcase collections from renowned Brazilian and international artists. The Art Museum of Rio, the Inhabitant Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art and the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum — which was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer — are a few must-sees. But also be sure to check out 2 more museums currently under construction: the Museum of Tomorrow, a science museum scheduled to open at the end of 2015, and the Museum of Image and Sound, which will have a new home in Copacabana that will open in the commencement of 2016.
6. Surf 24/7 on Incredible Beaches
Hit the waves at one of the city’s best beaches, such as Prainha Beach, which is a 45-minute drive from downtown and is known as one of Rio de Janeiro’s best surf spots. Located between Ipanema and Copacabana, Arpoador Beach is known as one of the places where “silver surfers,” men who trade their business suits for wet suits, practice night surfing. The beach is uniquely illuminated to allocate surfers to see incoming waves in the dark.
Barra da Tijuca Beach, located near Barra Olympic Park, provides 11 miles of shoreline for surfers to ride the waves. It’s also a fantastic place to practice kite-surfing, which is becoming a standard sport among Cariocas.
7. Blend in With Locals and Play Volleyball
In addendum to surfing, playing sports and staying active are parts of Rio’s fun beach culture. It’s common to see beachgoers cycling, jogging, and playing soccer, volleyball and footvolley. Hang out with locals and experience the scene at standard spots such as Copacabana and Ipanema, where vendors walk around promotion beachwear, coconut water and salgadinhos (salty snacks). We suggest heading to the city’s more secluded beaches, such as Grumari, for a tranquil excursion.
8. Spread Your Wings Over Rio
Throw caution to the wind and go hang gliding to get a bird’s-eye view of this wonderful city. Get your adrenaline pumping by running off a ramp atop Pedra Bonita to see Tijuca Inhabitant Park’s lush forests and the crystal-blue ocean before making an unbelievable landing on Pepino Beach, one of the city’s most wonderful white-sand spots.
9. Savor the Real Taste of Rio
Experience the right Carioca spirit at a botequim or boteco, usually small eateries or bars where locals can catch up on the latest gossip, news or soccer match with friends while drinking an ice-cold draft beer and eating tasty Brazilian appetizers. Fried cassava, cod balls, pasteis (pastries filled with cheese, meat or shrimp) or coxinhas (small chicken croquettes) are tasty bites that blend the city’s Portuguese and African origins. And you can’t leave Rio without trying feijoada, a traditional Brazilian dish, while slowly sipping on a highly intoxicating caipirinha.
10. Walk Along the Artistically Tiled Steps in Santa Teresa
Go for a walk along the charming cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa. This silent neighborhood has several cafes, restaurants and art shops surrounded by 19th-century architecture. You can’t visit this area without seeing the Escadaria Selaron, made by Chilean-born artist Jorge Selaron, who covered the staircase with painted mirrors and tiles from all over the world. Other not-to-be-missed stops include the Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas, which has wonderful views over Guanabara Bay, and the Museu Chacara do Ceu, home to artwork made by renowned Brazilian artists such as Candido Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Volpi, Iberê Camargo and Manabu Mabe.
11. Go Biking to Explore the Marvelous City
Biking is a fantastic way to explore Rio de Janeiro, and the paths along the beaches and lakes offer spectacular views of the city. The Bike Rio provides locals and tourists simple access to orange rental bikes that cost $1.50 for a day pass or $3 for a monthly pass. Tour companies also rent bikes and offer bike tours along alternative routes through the city and the Tijuca forest.
12. Get an Olympic Games Preview
Travelers can see athletes in action before the Summer Games start. This month, sports fans will get a chance to watch a triathlon and equestrian events at new venues in Copacabana and Deodoro. In May 2016, they’ll have the opportunity get their first glimpse at more new venues and their favorite athletes when the city stages 40 competitions for Aquece Rio, or Warm-Up Rio test events.