Whether you’re planning a trip to the Olympics, in town for business, or seeking out those white-sand beaches of mythic proportions, there are fun things to do in Rio de Janeiro for all types of travelers. And no matter what brings you to Rio in the first place, these are the five Rio attractions you can’t miss.
There’s a reason Rio’s beaches are the first things that come to mind when you mention Brazil: the iconic Copacabana beach (one of the most famous in the world) is a perfect, two-mile stretch of sand. In addition to people watching, locals and visitors come here to play volleyball and sip a cocktail with an uninterrupted ocean view. At night, things get touristy, so come early.
Related: Rio de Janeiro Travel Guide
All Rio tours should make a stop at the 98-foot-tall Christ the Redeemer statue, which is a recognizable symbol of the city. People come from around the world to take the cable car ride to the top of Corcovado Mountain, which boasts incredible vistas of the city.
Other mountain views worth the hike (literally) are from the top of 1,299-foot-high Sugar Loaf Mountain, named in the 1700s for the booming sugar cane trade.
What to do in Rio de Janeiro after nightfall? Dance, of course. The dance halls, or gafieiras, are always packed with locals, though the best are in the Bohemian neighborhood of Lapa. It’s always a party in Rio, but the wildest one of all is Carnival, which arrives every February and lasts for four days. Revellers come from around the world to participate in the festivities.
And even if the Olympics aren’t on your Rio to-do list, you should still stop by the Marcanã, or Mário Filho stadium, where the main ceremonies will start this summer.