I feel like tourists in a major city are often funneled into the same activities. However, i’ve learned that if you are willing to dig a little deeper you can have a truly unique experience and not miss the major sites. Here are a few suggestion for a non-traditional Rio de Janeiro experience:
Climb up sugarloaf instead of taking the tram. The tram is pretty but it is expensive and not as rewarding as climbing it yourself. For only a little bit more you can hire a local climbing guide and climb/hike to the top. It is such a rewarding experience to earn your trip to the top…and such a fun experience!
Get views of the city by an outrigger. There are lots of great view points in Rio de Janiero however, for a truly unique view head out to sea. I was able to join up on an Airbnb experience and see Rio from the sea. Definitely worth waking up early for!
Go to Vermelha Beach, the tiny beach near Sugarloaf Mountain, instead of Copacabana. Copacabana is famous but also rumored to be super crowded and high in theft. Instead head for Vermelha Beach where you can rent paddle boards and enjoy the ambiance of being right next to Sugar Loaf. Plus it’s a lot less crowded than Copacabana (I still suggest that you watch your stuff carefully!)
Ride bikes instead of taking the taxi or subway. Public transportation in Rio is much more expensive than riding a bike. You can simply download the Itau app and rent bikes all around the city for a fraction of the price of public transportation. Definitely worth it.
Explore the botanical gardens (Jardim Botanico). I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger tourist attraction in Rio de Janeiro but the gardens were magical. I saw monkeys, played in trees and throughly enjoyed walking around. Be sure to add this to your list of must visit attractions in Rio de Janeiro.
Do you have other non-traditional favorites in Rio? Tell me about them in the comments section!