3 Days in Rio De Janeiro for Adventure Seekers

• Updated

Rio De Janeiro attracts many visitors from all over the world every year, especially for its carnivals that last a long time. However, the city has more to offer than just street parties, such as beautiful beaches, lush mountains, exciting football matches, delicious food and of course, fun times in bars.

Rio De Janeiro is one of the main cities in Brazil and is usually simply called Rio. It was founded in 1565 by Portuguese travellers and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Rio is also the capital of Rio De Janeiro state and is a part of the Carioca Landscapes, which is in between the mountains and the sea.

Lots of people describe Rio De Janeiro as a city full of colours, fun and adventures. So this itinerary is going to show you how to explore the city if you are an adventure seeker and are looking for exciting times when visiting Rio De Janeiro.

Take into the mind that this itinerary isn’t suitable during Rio carnivals. Also, it is not recommended for those travelling with kids as some of the activities can be too difficult and tiring for them. However, teenagers are welcome! Consider also renting an airbnb when here!

  • 3 day itinerary
  • Average of 4 stops per day

The Natural and Colourful Side of Rio

Christ the Redeemer at Corvorado Mountain
Christ the Redeemer
Mirante Dona Marta

The first day in Rio De Janeiro covers a couple of the city's natural attractions, including the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, the city's colourful square and a bar of your choice. To begin, take a taxi or public transportation to reach the first destination, Vista Chinesa, and from there, be prepared for a lengthy hike to the city’s main attraction - Christ the Redeemer.

Start early in the morning (sunrise time) and pack lots of food and water to last you throughout this stunning hike. As this day involves constant walking, especially up hills, make sure you are comfortable with that as the hike might be easier for people with more physical strength. Alternatively, you can always rent a car and travel from one stop to another, which will reduce hiking hours.

Spectacular Vista Chinesa

Vista Chinesa is a place that offers stunning views of the south of Rio De Janeiro, including of Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain. It is called Vista Chinesa because there is a Chinese pavilion that was built at the top of the mountain in 1903 by Chinese immigrants.

After exploring Vista Chinesa, select one of the hiking paths that head South to reach your second stop - Christ the Redeemer. It should take you less than 3 hours. Alternatively, take a taxi or bus to reduce your hiking time.

Visit the Famous Christ the Redeemer

After a couple of hours of walking, you will reach your second stop - Corcovado Mountain (700 m above sea level), which is where you will see the statue of Christ the Redeemer (the symbol of Rio De Janeiro).

Christ the Redeemer was constructed between 1922 and 1931 and is considered to be one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. It is also considered a symbol of Christianity and offers stunning views of Rio De Janeiro.

Mirante Dona Marta

Mirante Dona Marta is a belvedere that can be reached in 1.5 hours from Corcovado Mountain. Although it is not as high as Corcovado, but it still offers magnificent views of Rio. Actually, it is less crowded than Corvocado and you are able to clearly see the Maracana Stadium, the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, Copacabana, Guanabara Bay and Niteroi from there. If you want a more thrilling experience and have some extra money to spend, take a helicopter ride and enjoy the views from above.

The Colourful Boticario Square (Largo Do Boticario)

The last stop of the day is a very quiet and less known touristy place called Boticario Square (Largo Do Boticario). It is famous for its bright-coloured, neoclassical houses that are covered in rainforest vegetation. The square was once a popular place for artists and politicians to hang out, but now all the houses have been abandoned or made into galleries/venues for events. Also, there are several great bars around, so make sure to check them out.

The Exciting and Unique Central Rio

Colourful Houses in Rio De Janeiro
Colourful Houses in Rio De Janeiro by NakNakNak
Etnias Murals
Etnias is the Largest Mural Street in the World by NakNakNak
Selaron Steps
The Colourful Selaron Steps by gettep

Your second day will be more relaxing than the first one as you are going to explore Rio De Janeiro’s attractions in the city's centre, which is filled with the city’s history and the local culture. You will also visit famous locations, such as Escadaria Selaron (colorful stairs) and Etnias Murals, which will help you to learn more about the local people.

Central Rio has always been a popular place for tourists. For this reason, be prepared for crowds and fake ‘guides’ who offer tours around the city centre, but overcharge tourists. So make sure you know where you are going. Also, start your day early in the morning and grab lunch and dinner in central Rio as it has great little traditional restaurants that serve the best local food.

Largest Murals Street - Etnias Murals

Etnias Murals is an art street in the Gamboa district of Rio De Janeiro and is recognized as the largest mural street in the world. The murals were painted by the graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra and represents the common ancestors and indigenous people from Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and America. This mural street is one of the most unique parts of Rio De Janeiro.

The Buzzing Uruguaiana Market

Uruguaiana Market is one of the best places to shop in Rio De Janeiro and is probably the busiest market you will find in the city. It is worth strolling around it for a couple of hours and get yourself some lovely local street food. It is said that you can find anything there, such as clothes to quirky traditional souvenirs, carnival masks and exotic animals.

Colorful Steps - Escadaria Selaron (Selaron Steps)

Escadaria Selaron (Selaron Steps) is another unique Rio location that was created by Jorge Selaron. Selaron Steps has 215 steps that measures 125 meters long and are covered in more than 2000 bright mosaic tiles. These tiles come from over 60 countries around the world and signifies optimism and togetherness.

Largo do Guimaraes - the Bohemian Part of Rio

Largo Do Guimaraes is a square in the Santa Teresa district that is famous for its bohemian culture. The square has several handicraft shops and thrift stores and great bars/restaurants. It is also the place where lots of carnival parties happen. Don’t miss a chance to get a great Brazilian beer at one of the bars as Largo Do Guimaraes is the best place to experience the local bar culture.

The Scenic Side of Rio De Janeiro

Copacabana Beach
View from Sugarloaf Mountain
View from Sugarloaf Mountain by ASSY
Copacabana Beach
Sunset at Arpoador, Ipanema
Sunset at Arpoador, Ipanema

Your last day in Rio De Janeiro is going to be filled breathtaking sites and adventures, so be prepared to be active all day. You will first take a thrilling cable car ride to Sugarloaf Mountain to enjoy 360 degree views of Rio. Afterwards, you will visit Copacabana beach where you will have a chance to try out surfing or go for a long bike ride along the coast. Later on, you will go to the National Park of Catacumba, which is filled with scenic trails. Your last stop of the dat will be to a rocky peninsula that is a famous spot for its sunsets and walking paths. Al of the abovel locations are relatively close to each other, but you can rent a car, take a taxi or public transportation to minimize your walking time.

Thrilling Views from Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is one of the most iconic sites in Rio De Janeiro and offers breathtaking views of Copacabana Beach, the city and Christ the Redeemer. You can reach the mountain in several ways, such as by taking a cable car that stops at a smaller peak (Urca Hill) before continuing on to Sugarloaf Mountain. You can also hike the peak by walking up to Urca Hill and then taking the cable car from there. The hike is fairly easy (about 40 minutes) and the trail is surrounded by tropical plants. You will also be able to see monkeys, lizards and tropical butterflies on your walk.

Never-ending Fun at Copacabana Beach

Copacabana Beach is one of the best and busiest beaches in Rio De Janeiro. It is 4 kms long and offers various types of activities, such as surfing, watersports and biking trails. Beyond that, the beach is full of kiosks and street vendors that sell anything and everything, from swimwear to various traditional snacks. If you just want to relax, there are of course plenty of nice walking trails along the coast, or you can just find a nice spot on the white sandy beach to lay about.

Hidden Treasure - Catacumba National Park (Catacomb Park)

Catacumba National Park (Catacomb Park) isn’t very known to tourists, so you will be able to enjoy some tranquillity and peace and quiet in nature. It is believed that this park was a place where Indians used to bury their dead before the Portuguese arrived in Brazil. Today, this park offers a great escape from the hot weather and relaxation from the crowds. There are numerous nice jungle trails that lead to viewing points of the Ipanema. Also, if you aren’t keen on walking, there is an Adventure Park by the entrance to the park.

Sunset at Arpoador, Ipanema

The last stop of your trip will be Arpoador, which is a small rocky peninsula located in between Copacabana and the Ipanema Beaches. It is a famous spot for watching the sunset and surfers, so grab a drink and snack at one of the local bars to enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean one last time. If you still have some energy left in you, why not join the surfers by trying to stand up on your very own surfboard as surfing is very popular at this spot. Also, after watching the sunset, you can walk along the coast from Arpoador to Ipanema beach if you fancy.


Written by Agne Civilyte

031226hug WRITER I am a Lithuanian living in the UK and trying to travel all around the world. I love visiting places that are still not well-known to tourists. My favourite part of the world is Southeast Asia as I can find beautiful mountains and temples there. My absolute favourite country is South Korea as I feel at home there.


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