10 Rio de Janeiro Tips from Locals

10 Rio de Janeiro Tips from Locals

October 24, 2017
By Leticia Calvillo


With spring in full bloom, Brazil is preparing for its high season of travel. With these Rio de Janeiro tips from Cariocas, the city’s locals, you can make the most of your time in the Cidade Maravilhosa. Discover its many diverse neighborhoods and activities to enjoy.

Aerial View of Rio de Janeiro

1) Pack Light, Casual Clothing

Carioca’s daily style leans more towards an informal style, so pack light clothing and a light jacket for cooler nights. Cotton clothing is great for Rio weather!

***Expert tip: Pack sunscreen. Especially high SPF numbers tend to be imported and expensive.

Rio de Janeiro beach


2) Don’t Take a Towel, Hat or Large Backpack to the Beach

To fully understand the Carioca lifestyle, you must experience the beach culture in Rio. However, there are certain unspoken rules for the beach that are important to note beforehand. The first is that using towels at the beach is seen as old school. Instead, buy a canga at the beach, they will make great souvenirs after!

Secondly, Cariocas simply don’t wear hats to the beach. Lastly, large backpacks will not only give you away as a tourist but are also unnecessary since it is best to take only the essentials to the beach.

Blue water at the beach


3) Explore Beyond Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches

Of course, your visit to Rio would not be the same without a visit to world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. However, Rio has many more beaches that Cariocas rave about! Check out our Best 5 Brazilian Beaches in Rio de Janeiro: Beyond Copacabana post for more options such as Praia do Secreto.

Sunset over the mountains


4) Take a Hike on Brazilian Trails

Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro are incomparable. Many of these views are only afforded after a trail. In order of ascending difficulty level, Cariocas recommend: Trilha da Cachoeira do Chuveiro (Horto), Morro da Urca, Pedra Bonita, Morro dois Irmãos, Pedra da Gávea.

River at the trail


5) Must See Places to Visit

Take a break from the beach and visit some of Cariocas’ favorite places. These include The Lagoa, Jardim Botânico, Parque Nacional Tijuca, Army Museum and Forte de Copacabana, Parque de Cidade em Niterói, Hippie Fair (on Sundays). When it comes to museums, Rio does not disappoint.

Most of the museums are conveniently located in Centro and are free on Tuesdays. Some include: Museu do Amanhã, Museu de Arte do Rio, Museu de Arte Moderna. While you are at Centro be sure to also stop by the Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil, Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.

Maracanã Stadium


6) Visit Maracanã

Most Brazilians love soccer. Don’t be surprised if they ask you what team you support! The biggest rivalry in Brazil is between the Flamengo and the Fluminense teams. Hence, if you are in town during one of their matches, head to Maracanã, the biggest soccer stadium in the world, for an unforgettable experience!

Rio's harbor


7) Take a Weekend Trip starting from Rio de Janeiro

Some of the popular destinations include Paraty, Búzios, Arraial do Cabo, Angra dos Reis, Itaipava, Petrópolis, and Teresópolis. You can travel to most of these cities by bus, and all are great for weekend trips!



8) Try Brazilian Classics

Traditional food in Brazil is the result of a mix of European, African and indigenous flavors. Some of the traditional foods that resulted from this are Moqueca and Feijoada. Street food in Brazil is also a must try. Some local favorites are Coxinha, Pão de Queijo, and Açaí. Don’t forget to visit a Churrascaria while you’re here! But be sure to go with a big appetite as it is an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ.

At the harbour


9) Learn Some Portuguese

Since Brazil is the only Portuguese speaking country in Latin America, it is easy to forget that Brazilians don’t speak Spanish! Knowing at least some Portuguese will help you have the off-the-beaten-path experience you are looking for.

Some important words and phrases:

  • Não/ sim — No/yes
  • Por favor — Please
  • Ótimo — Great
  • Obrigado/a — Thank you
  • Valeu — A local way of saying thank you
  • Legal — Cool
  • Onde fica o banheiro? — Where is the bathroom?
  • Quanto custa? — How much does it cost?
  • Onde fica ________? — Where is ________?

Rio sunset


10) Enjoy your Time in Brazil!

Although you should be aware of your surroundings at all times, don’t forget to enjoy all that Rio de Janeiro has to offer!  


With those Rio de Janeiro tips, you’re all ready to go out and explore the city in the most authentic way! Now all you need is a local guide to take you to the best restaurants in town or just visit Rio in a completely customizable tour.

Categories: Brazil, From the Team, Travel Tips