The 10 Top Tips For Tourists Visiting Brazil During The Olympic Games 2016

Rio de Janeiro seen from Sugarloaf Mountain - Christian Haugen (Flickr)
Rio de Janeiro seen from Sugarloaf Mountain - Christian Haugen (Flickr)

The Olympic Games 2016 will take place  in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from the 5th to the 21th August 2016. If you are planning to go to watch the games, or if you are planning just to go to Rio de Janeiro during this period, here you can check the 10 top tips.

Rio de Janeiro seen from Sugarloaf Mountain - Christian Haugen (Flickr)
Rio de Janeiro seen from Sugarloaf Mountain – Christian Haugen (Flickr)

1. Where to stay in Rio
When you are deciding where to stay in Rio, you need to have in mind a couple of things such as your budget, what is the reason for your trip, if the access it is easy, and if it is safe at night.

If your main objective is to stay in a very good neighborhood just a couple of minutes away to the beach, a place where you can walk around at night time to go to nice restaurants, the best places to stay are around Leblon and Ipanema. Copacabana and Arpoador it also good places to stay, but normally it is crowded and in some points less safe than Ipanema and Leblon.

Ipanema Beach - Skellig2008 (Flickr)
Ipanema Beach / Rio de Janeiro – Skellig2008 (Flickr)

However, if your main reason to go is to enjoy the atmosphere of the Olympic Game you should try to find places around the sports you enjoy the most.

Like for example, if you are interested in tennis, boxing, basketball you should try to find a place in Barra da Tijuca. Though, if you are interested in football you should stay near Maracanã. You always need to have in mind that during the period of the games some areas might have traffic jams, so in order to save your time and avoid stress you should find a place near your objective.

But, if your vibe is the nightlife and the bohemian life of the beautiful city, you must stay near the Lapa or Santa Teresa.

To check more information about where to stay in Rio click here.


2. Best beaches to go
Between the games, you should enjoy the amazing beaches in Rio. If you start in the South Zone, you have Flamengo beach, Arpoador, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Copacabana is usually more crowded. Ipanema and Leblon receive everyday a lot of tourists and also local people, but usually it is less crowded than Copacabana.

Copacabana Beach / Rio de Janeiro - Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)
Copacabana Beach / Rio de Janeiro – Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)

But, if you are looking something more alternative and calm, perhaps the best option is the Reserva beach. This beach is the greatest in size and also in calm. Because of the extension, it is difficult to see it crowded. The beach is located between the neighborhoods of Barra da Tijuca and Recreio dos Bandeirantes, West Zone of Rio de Janeiro.

Barra da Tijuca Beach - Barrazine Da Barra (Flickr)
Barra da Tijuca Beach / Rio de Janeiro – Barrazine Da Barra (Flickr)

However, if you are a kind of naturalist or if you want to try something different you can go to Abricó Beach. During the weekend, the beach has security guards at the entrance. But it’s for a good reason: to ensure that all those who trample on those sands are in the very same conditions: naked. The naturist beach of Abricó, is also in the West Zone.


3. How to deal with the violence in Rio

Unfortunately, the beautiful city it is not only famous for the beautiful beaches or because of the Samba. The violence is one of the topics that is also related to Rio de Janeiro.

In order to be safe and also to enjoy just the good things that Rio de Janeiro has to offer, all tourists should be careful. Some precautions it is basic not only in Rio but also in a lot of cities around the world. Here go a few tips:

– Be careful with your camera, do not walk around with your camera around your neck at night time. Try to behave like somebody else in the beach, of course you can take pictures with your phone, but just look around to see who is near you.

– Do not leave your belongs alone in the beach.

Favela of Rocinha at night - Nan Palmero (Flickr)
Favela of Rocinha at night / Rio de Janeiro – Nan Palmero (Flickr)

– Do not visit the “Favelas” by yourself or with somebody you do not trust. There are a lot of honest people living in the “Favelas”, but it is also where the crime and the drugs are, so if you really want to go, be careful and try to find big tourist companies which do the tour.

– If you are going out for dinner, ask in your hotel if it is safe going walking or if it is better take a taxi. Even that sometimes the places looks near, if you are a tourist it is very easy to get lost, mostly during the night.


4. Brazilian Food
If you are going to Brazil you must try some of the delicious Brazilian food. The most famous Brazilian dish is Feijoada. Feijoada is, black beans cooked with fresh and smoked meats such, corned (salted) spareribs, dried or jerked beef, various types of bacon, sausages, and fresh beef and pork are used. It is accompanied by sides of rice, crumbs and cabbage. For drink, you should get a Caipirinha or a cold pint of beer.

Feijoada - Typical Brazilian food - raphaelstrada (Flickr)
Feijoada / Typical Brazilian food – raphaelstrada (Flickr)

However, if you are looking for a snack, you must try the traditional Coxinha. Savory dough shaped into a drumstick around a creamy chicken salad filling, then battered and fried.

Coxinha, Brazilian snack - Romerito Pontes (Flickr)
Coxinha / Brazilian snack – Romerito Pontes (Flickr)

Now, if you want to try a typical Brazilian sweet, you must try the Brigadeiro. Brigadeiro (Portuguese for Brigadier) is more than just a chocolate fudge ball made of condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder. It is the most popular and beloved ‘candy’ of Brazil.

Brigadeiro - Rodrigo Senna (Flickr)
Brigadeiro – Rodrigo Senna (Flickr)


5. Basic tourist places to visit

If you are going to Rio, of course you heard about the usual places to visit such as Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana. Those places are usually crowded, and it will not be different during the Olympic games 2016.

Corcovado Train. Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)
Corcovado Train / Rio de Janeiro –  Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)

The little train of Corcovado is the best-known way to get to Christ the Redeemer. This also means that it has more queues. The ride is pleasant and lasts 20 minutes. The outputs occur every 20 or 30 minutes. In order to avoid the queues, you can buy your ticket through the official website , and also in Riotur kiosks in Copacabana and in the city centre. The kiosks only accept credit and debit cards. The tickets to visit the Sugarloaf Mountain can also be purchased through the official website.

6. Unusual place to visit and things to do in Rio.

 If you are the kind of tourist which likes the usual places to visit, but also is looking for something different, here you can check some things to do.

Pedra Bonita - RJ. Carlos Varela (Flickr)
Pedra Bonita / Rio de Janeiro – Carlos Varela (Flickr)

World reference in free flight, Rio is certainly one of the prettiest cities to fly. For those who never practiced activity for double jumps hang gliding and paragliding starting from Pedra Bonita, with accredited and experienced riders. The adventure lasts between 10 and 15 minutes and reveals panoramic views of Ipanema, Lagoa, Barra da Tijuca, Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer.

Can you imagine climbing the two beautiful hills, postcards of Ipanema and Leblon beaches? With a little effort, you can! The track, which has become more accessible to the public in 2013, after the pacification of the “favela”  Vidigal, leads to the tops of the two brothers – the largest, reveals an incredible view of the south of the city, rewarding all the effort.

The recommendation is to come up with local guides and the meeting point is usually the Sheraton Hotel, on Niemeyer Avenue. The trail is not long – are only 1.5 kilometres – but it is a big hill, so it takes an hour to reach the top. In total, the tour takes about four hours and a half. The ideal is to go early heat account and not to forget to bring water, snacks, hat and sunscreen. Wear sneakers and long pants are recommended items for security.

"Morro Dois Irmãos" - View. Paulo Roberto F. (Flickr)
Two Brothers Mountain View / Rio de Janeiro  –  Paulo Roberto F. (Flickr)


7. Carnaval (Carnival)

 The Carnaval in Rio is famous around the world. Unfortunately, the Carnaval is long gone in August, when the Olympic games will happen, but a lot of samba schools are opened for visit, some of them have special days for tourists.

The Rio Samba Schools are associations or social clubs, representing a particular neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro in the annual Samba Parade. They are not samba teaching institutions as their name might suggest. The Rio samba schools are at the epicentre of the Carnival culture in Brazil and much of the “samba world” revolves around them.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro - Nicolas de Camaret (Flickr)
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro – Nicolas de Camaret (Flickr)

Samba nights and rehearsals at these schools are something that ought not to be missed on a visit to Rio. Salgueiro and Mangueira are among the larger samba schools that welcome visitors to their practice halls and construction facilities all the year round. These schools have their headquarters just outside the center of the city.  On scheduled nights, the community and visitors are invited to join in the fun and take part in the singing and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.


8. The nightlife
Yes, the scenery is beautiful, the beaches are wonderful and are a lot of things to do in Rio de Janeiro during the day. But it is at night that the locals really know how to enjoy the life. After settling in at your hotel in Rio de Janeiro, get ready to explore the nightlife in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro at night.Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)
Rio de Janeiro at night – Rodrigo Soldon (Flickr)

The neighbourhood of Lapa and Lavradio Street is a fashion point. Quite informal, where there is a large amount of good bars, some with live music, and a big concentration of young people. It is also in Lapa where the best clubs of “Gafieira” typical dance with Samba takes place. It is a bohemian and traditional place with a very busy nightlife.

Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, have also many bars and nightclubs. In the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, there are many clubs that plays electronic music, but the options vary as well. There are also some GLBT clubs.

9. Explore Rio de Janeiro

If you have 3 or 4 days extra to enjoy different places in Rio, you should go to Buzios and Arraial do Cabo.

They are about 200km away from Rio, but if you have time, you should stay at least 2 or 3 days there. Find a hotel in the town and enjoy. Buzios is a lovely city with amazing beaches, good restaurants and also a good nightlife.

Orla Bardot - Búzios, Rio de Janeiro. Leonardo Antonioli (Flickr)
Búzios / Rio de Janeiro – Leonardo Antonioli (Flickr)

Arraial do Cabo, is just 30 minutes away from Buzios, if you are a big fan of beach this is the right places. It has a rich marine life, and the beaches are breathtaking.

Arraial do Cabo / Rio de Janeiro. Leonardo Shinagawa (Flickr)
Arraial do Cabo / Rio de Janeiro – Leonardo Shinagawa (Flickr)


10. Enjoy the simple things.

If you really want enjoy the most your stay in Rio, do not only get busy walking around to visit as many things as you can. Try to relax and enjoy the city, exactly in the same way the local people do.

Do not forget your suncream, buy coconut water and walk on the coast, or maybe rent a bike in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon to cycle around, or just go to enjoy the sunset on the beach.

Sunset at Arpoador / Rio de Janeiro - Cecilia Heinen (Flickr)
Sunset at Arpoador / Rio de Janeiro – Cecilia Heinen (Flickr)

Just enjoy the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro.

For more information about the Olympic Games 2016, please visit the official website.

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