Hidden Gems - 5 wonderful secrets in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janiero is one of the most diverse and exciting cities around! With thousands of tourists flocking to it's major sights every year it is becoming one of the most visited cities in the world. Here we look beyond Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf mountain and reveal some of our favourite hidden gems of this electric city! Don't get us wrong, if visiting Rio you MUST do all the big sites, but if you are looking for that little something special too - look no further!
Located in the Lapa district, this amazing little music venue hosts some incredible musicians and there is no shortage of dancing! You can really soak in the spirit of Brazilian music at Rio Scenarium where the soundtrack is mainly samba! It is open from 7pm until 5 in the morning so dance all night and enjoy the fabulous night time views over Rio. If you're still going... you can watch the sunrise over the city too!
Location - Rua do Lavradio, 20 Centro Antigo
This one of Rio's true hidden secrets - this beautiful public park situated just under the monstrous Corcovado Mountain. At the heart of the sprawling tropical gardens is a spectacular mansion dating back to 1840. If you're feeling adventurous, and have some decent walking shoes on, climb the mountain trail up to Rio's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
Location - R. Jardim Botânico, 414 - Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro
Samba all year round
Carnival is not the only time of the year to experience the vibrant, electric atmosphere of samba! When Carnival is over, a lot of the samba schools in Rio start practicing for the next year, the practices can be watched for very cheap and the closer it gets to carnival the more extravagant the routines become, with full dress rehearsals a few weeks previous. Look out for signs for samba schools or ask a local guide.
And now for something completely different… A jazz night at ‘The Maze’! This is one of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro. The Maze has an interesting story: inside a peaceful favela, a former BBC journalist converted a small house into a guesthouse and venue and began hosting live jazz bands. This place is always packed with a varied crowd, all looking for great live music, dancing, good drinks and the main attraction: a panoramic view of Rio itself. It is open most of the time for great views of the city but the best time to go is every last Friday of the month for jazz night!
To get there, you can take a taxi to the bottom of the hill and then a minivan or a moto taxi to get up top. Don’t be afraid by the fact it is in a favela, there is no drug risk and there is constant police protection - it is a safe area where a lot of visitors will be and you will be welcomed with open arms and a cocktail or two!
Location - Rua Tavares Bastos 414, house 66. Catete
This beautiful little hidden paradise is a welcome contrast to the large, sprawling urban beaches popular with most tourists. It is a great surfing spot and is graced with some amazing nature. Spend a whole day here soaking up some sun, catching some waves and generally relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of Copacabana or Ipanema. Prainha is just a short drive Southwest of Rio and may be a little tricky to find if you don’t know where you’re going, but this is half the fun! There is a beach bar there selling delicious drinks and snacks, but is just a small affair – nothing like the big tourist bars and hawkers on Copacabana.
Feeling inspired? Book your trip to Rio today!
Why not incorporate your stay into a longer tour of Brazil and see what this diverse and exciting country has to offer! Check out our variety of itineraries here.