If spending another winter holiday bundled up in sweaters around the heater doesn’t sound appealing this year, maybe a trip south of the equator is what you are looking for.
Soaking up the sun in South America can be a nice change from the chilly Christmas you are used to every year. You can find great deals on flights from the UK, to sunnier climates in the winter, like Rio de Janeiro. Rio is one of the most popular destinations in South America, drawing visitors from all around the world to its beautiful beaches. It’s a great place to warm up during the holidays.
Here are the top ten things that visitors do once they get to lovely, warm Rio:
Stretch out at the beach
Shake off the cold winter air and step onto the warm sand on some of the most famous beaches in the world. Grab a chair or a blanket and soak in the rays with that book you’ve been waiting to read or pop in the earphones to listen to your favorite band. Many tourists flock to Copacabana, but it can quickly get overcrowded, so consider heading to Ipanema instead.
Visit the Jardim Botanico
The botanic gardens in Rio were founded by John VI in 1808 and opened to the public in 1822. There are more than 7,000 plant species to see. It is a great relaxing placed to spend a few hours during your trip.
Check out the neighborhoods
Go for a walk around some of the beautiful neighborhoods of Rio and admire the scenery. In Botafogo, you can walk around the bay near Sugar Loaf Mountain and look at the posh yachts. The neighborhood of Santa Teresa is full of charming colorful homes.
Walk around the lake
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a lake that borders Botafago and Ipanema. It is a great place to go for a little people watching, a jog, or to take out a boat for a row around the lake.
Live up the night life
Other than the beautiful beaches, Rio is also known for its colorful nightlife. There are plenty of nightclubs and bars in Lapa. Every week there is a great street party where locals get together to drink and party outside instead of in the bars.
The Tijuca Rainforest is the world’s largest urban rainforest and shouldn’t be missed when you are in Rio. Entry into the park is free. Visitors get the chance to swim under waterfalls and take scenic hikes throughout the park. It is also where you get to have a closer look at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
Corcovado is the name of the Christ the Redeemer statue that is so well-known around the world. If you want to get close to the statue, you can take a taxi, the funicular (cable car), or challenge yourself with the hike.
Ride the bonde train
You can get a good view of Lapa while you ride on the old train that crosses the Arcos de Lapa Bridge. You leave from downtown Rio and journey into Santa Teresa. It is a fun excursion and costs so little.
Dine in a chuhascaria
If eating a variety of freshly cooked meats appeals to your appetite, then stopping at one of Rio’s restaurants called chuhascarias is for you. Waiters constantly bring around meats for you to select fresh off the fire. They are all-you-can-eat, making it a great deal when you are traveling on a budget and want to get the most for your money. They also offer sides, salads, pastas and desserts.
Visit the birthplace of a song
We all know the catchy little tune “Girl from Ipanema” (Garota de Ipanema). When you visit the city that it is named for, you can actually see where the songwriter penned the lyrics at Vinicius de Morais 49.