Brazil is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world, and its list of hidden places to visit and things to do is so long, it is almost impossible to get it all. This exotic country holds so many cultural wonders and fascinating landscapes that in 4 days you will only get a glimpse of everything it has to offer. However, if you are short on time and want to see the best side of Brazil, this next list we arranged shows you the best activities and sites this beautiful country holds, waiting for you on this short but significant 4 days.
Day one: Beaches, parties and the Cristo Redentor
Once you arrive at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro and head to your hotel, your morning will probably consist of resting and recovering from jetlag, with a good cup of coffee, a fulfilling breakfast, and amazing city views. Still, if you’re feeling just fine, head to Ipanema beach, one of Rio’s most beautiful ones, relax on the soft sand and have fun playing soccer or volleyball under the Brazilian sun.
In the afternoon, it is time to meet Brazil’s most remarkable attraction: the statue of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor). To get there, you need to board a train from the Cosme Velho neighborhood to the top of the Corcovado, a trip filled with stunning views of Copacabana, Ipanema, Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico), and Leblon… basically all of Rio. Once you arrive, the towering 710-meter Christ statue will take your breath away, looking over the city with its stretched arms.
Head back down from Corcovado while a live band plays samba on the train, lifting your spirit and giving you the energy you need for the night of partying that awaits in the nightlife capital of Rio de Janeiro: the famous Lapa.
Day two: Morro Dois Irmãos and Pão de Açúcar
Rise before dawn and head to the safe favela of Vidigal, since now it is time for some hiking. Usually, there are tours starting at 4:00 am, and the rather difficult hike to the top of Morro Dois Irmãos can take from 40 minutes to one hour. However, the views you get on the way up the forest make up for how challenging it can get. Once you get to the top, sit down and rest until the sun starts to rise from the horizon, slowly covering Leblon and Ipanema with a soft pink light, a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will only get in Brazil.
Go back down to lower ground and grab a taxi from the Urca neighborhood to the base of Pão de Açúcar, where you can take a cable car to Morro da Urca and then onto the peak of Pão de Açúcar. The views you get there are striking in their own sense, and if you wait until evening to get up there, the spectacle of watching the sun setting from a whole different point of view will be engraved on your memory forever.
Day three: Forest, waterfall and art
Another early rise leads you to your next adventure: the Tijuca forest. Detach yourself from the busy city of Rio de Janeiro and dive into the verdant, alive forest. Keep your eyes open to spot some unique wildlife: birds, monkeys, sloths, turtles… the list just goes on and on. You should also be careful of any accidents since you have to climb a rock wall at some point, and remember to never do this without help. After a short hike, you get to the true highlight of the forest: the Cachoeira do Horto, a small but still charming waterfall, in which you can bathe and relax as if you were in a thermal spa.
Next, head to Santa Teresa and explore the neighborhood: its restaurants, cultural spots, bars, historical buildings, all adding up to transform it into a hotspot for artists to establish their residences and workshops. Visit Santa Teresa’s craft shops and take home some creative souvenirs as a reminder of your amazing trip.
Day four: Man-made wonders
Start off your last day with a favela tour, but don’t worry, this activity is not dangerous at all. Visit Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil and the second largest in Latin America, and with a local keeping you company and making everything easier for you, try some locally-made food, buy homemade produce, and get up close with the lifestyle of these closely packed houses, an eye-opening experience that will change your view on things.
As your trip comes to an end, make sure to visit the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã) in the Praça Mauá, built right next to the waterfront. It doesn’t matter if you’re not really into museums, because the futuristic architecture and unique mix of science and design this museum holds makes it stand out from any other in the world.
For the last example of the wonders mankind can create, head to the Olimpic Boulevard and meet a Guinness World Record: “We are all one”, the colorful largest street mural in the world, a 190-meter long mural painted by the famous Eduardo Kobra, representing indigenous people from the five continents, based on the five Olympic rings.
Things you should know
Getting to Rio is fairly easy, being a popular tourist attraction, there are numerous flights from all over the world, you just need to spend some time searching online to get the best prices. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but it’s important to know people mostly use Brazilian Portuguese, with its own slang and pronunciation, so it’s recommended to learn at least a few phrases. Last, but definitely not least, even though the city is mostly safe, you can be at risk if you’re not careful enough. For security measures, make sure you leave your passport at your hotel and carry a photocopy of it, and as for your debit or credit card, it’s recommended to not carry them with you on the street.
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