Rio de Janeiro offers something for everyone - all with a picturesque backdrop. If it is beautiful white beaches, stunning landscapes, and throbbing nightlife you are after, Rio de Janeiro is the place for you. The yearly carnival is a highlight of many travellers' itineraries. That's why Rio is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere.
Accommodation in Rio varies from world-class resorts and five-star hotels to hostels and beach huts. There are also dozens of good mid-range hotels with all the usual amenities. The closer you get to the city centre or the beaches, the pricier it gets.
Top Attractions in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janiero offers you a chance to take a literal walk in the clouds - at Corcovado, the city's biggest and most famous mountain. You have to take a train to get to the top of Corcovado, but the trip is well worth it. On your way, you will see the famous rainforests. Then, at the top, you will get a great view of Rio's beaches, the bay, and landscapes.
For another breathtaking view, head to the top of Pão de Açúcar, better known as Sugar Loaf Mountain. In fact, many visitors argue about which mountain offers the best view. At Sugar Loaf, you will take a cable car 390 feet into the air, to the top of the granite mountain. Cable cars go up and down all day long, but Sugar Loaf Mountain is especially beautiful at sunset.
Cristo Redentor - or the statue of Christ the Redeemer - is another famous Rio landmark. This huge statue can be reached by taking a funicular train or a combination of a taxi and a shuttle bus.
No trip to Rio de Janeiro would be complete without spending some time on the beach. You will find thousands of tourists year round enjoying themselves on world famous beaches such as Ipanema and Abricó (a nudist beach).The city's most famous beach is Copacabana. Full of restaurants, bars, sun, and surf, Copacabana Beach is a hub of activity in both the daylight and the moonlight. And, it is home to some of the best Rio de Janeiro hotels.
Away from the beach - and on top of a massive hill - you will find Santa Teresa, Rio's most unique neighbourhood. There are trams going through the neighbourhood. During your ride, you will see plenty of cobblestone streets, artists, gourmet restaurants, tiny shops, and bars.
An interesting feature of the food scene in Rio is 'comida a kilo', which means restaurants where you pay according to the weight of your dish. This is an economical way of filling your stomach with hearty Brazilian food. One of the best venues offering this type of dining is the Fellini Restaurant in the suburb of Leblon.
There are also numerous all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants, and all the usual fast food joints. Rio has a large Japanese population, so sushi restaurants also abound.
Rio de Janeiro Hotels
The fanciest Rio de Janeiro accommodation options can be found along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. If the budget will not stretch that far you can head for Flamengo or Catete, where you will find many small and less expensive hotels.
High hotel prices have caused hostels to become increasingly popular in Rio. To find a good selection of hostels and cheap hotels in Rio de Janeiro head for the Catete, Lapa or Botafogo districts.