Wanderlust to Rio de Janeiro

Wanderlust Guide to Rio de Janeiro

All the world’s best athletes are going to be in Rio this summer, so why shouldn’t you? Rio de Janeiro has so much to offer from the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to the gorgeous beaches. However, there is so much more to see and experience in the city than you would imagine! Here is our guide to a unique experience in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro.

Unique sights:

Pedra de Arpoador

This is a rocky area between Copacabana and Ipanema beach. It is a fun area to climb around and a perfect place to watch the sunset. You can spend the day lounging on the next door beaches and then grab a picnic dinner to enjoy on the rocks.

Pedra do Arpoador

Museu de Favela

Favelas are a simultaneously hidden and prevalent part of Rio. While many favela’s may offer tours, it is important to find a tour that actually benefits the community and does not take advantage of the people. Museu de Favela was created by the community to share their story through street art. As you walk through the neighborhood, you see a progression of murals that share how their community came to be. Check out their website to schedule a tour: http://www.museudefavela.org/


Jardim Botanico

The botanical gardens is a relic of the imperial times in Brazil. Explore the vast array of plants from around the world. Plus the ticket is less than $5 USD! It is perfect for wandering and finding peace in the middle of the city. If you are ready for a long hike, it is the starting point to get all the way to Christ the Redeemer.

Jardim Botanico

Morro da Urca

This is the perfect hike for anyone looking for excellent views without a struggle. The trail takes about 45 minutes round trip, but offers a gorgeous perspective on the city. It is right next to Sugar Loaf, so you can skip the tourist overload for your own unique experience.

Morro da Urca

Museu do Amanha

Get ready for an experience you won’t forget. This museum offers an interactive experience to learn about how humans are effecting the environment. The back end of the museum also provides a gorgeous view onto the water.


Street Art

Art can be found throughout the city, so always be on the look out! There are tours available, but it is more satisfying to discover the pieces on your own.

Photo by Ruben Staszewski

Photo by Ruben Staszewski

Pro Tips:

  • Download an offline map to use as you are navigating such as offline Google Maps or the Here app.
  • Both Ubers and Taxis are cheap and convenient to travel in the city. If you are taking a taxi, it is best to write out your desired location to give to the driver.

Delicious Eats:


This restaurant sits on the top of Santa Teresa for the best views of the city and surrounding landscape. It doesn’t offer the traditionally cheap large portions that most Brazilian restaurants do, but it does serve extraordinary dishes and drinks. Try to catch a reservation time starting at sunset and into nightfall for the best views!



You might not find this restaurant at the top of the list on Yelp, but this local gem serves the best hamburgers in Rio. It provides a fun and hipster vibe for the nearby college students. While you are there, take the chance to walk around Gavea or come in the evening for their great nightlife.



Bars are not hard to find in Rio! However, if you are looking for a popping place to check out, try here. It is a perfect place for groups, but you have to be willing to stand outside. Many Brazilian bars have little inside space, and instead offer service to the crowd surrounding outside.


Bar e Restaurante Urca

A true Brazilian experience with no seating, but perfect access to the beach. Order a caipirinha and an empanada and head over to the beach ledge to enjoy. This restaurant will only cost you a few dollars, but leave your stomach happy!

Aperitivos servidos na mureta de predra junto à Baía de Guanabara, pelos garçons do Bar Urca, eleito "O melhor da orla" pela Veja Rio em 2008.

Pro Tips:

  • A 10% tip is automatically included on the receipt at most restaurants, so no need to leave an additional tip
  • Never leave cash on the table for the waiter to pick up. Wait until the waiter comes back to give your payment.

Shops to Check Out:


Each Farm store offers a unique experience that will leave you wanting to visit every store in the city. You will find Brazilian made clothing in gorgeous patterns!

[sotaque brasil] muita vida e cor pra receber nosso verão 17! #tonoadorofarm #sotaquebrasil

A post shared by FARM Rio (@adorofarm) on

Void General Store

Void oozes cool when you walk past. It is full of a variety of items from beer to street wear to art books. They offer multiple locations around the city, so be sure to stop and look around if you pass by.

Ipanema Hippie Fair

If you are looking for unique and handmade goods, be sure to check out the Ipanema Hippie Fair. There are tons of vendors every Sunday. Be sure to haggle because they usually quote you a price around 30% more than they are willing to take!


Granado Pharmacias

This royal pharmacy turned bath and body store is perfect to pick up unique gifts during your stay. You can pick up lotions, perfumes, etc. made from Brazilian ingredients.


Safety Tips:

  • Drink only filtered or bottled water
  • Stay away from beaches and parks at night
  • Do not wear any form of jewelry – even costume
  • Keep an eye on your bank account and avoid ATMs at the airport
  • Do not leave your items unattended at the beach