The meeting’s over. You’ve got a little time to explore. It’s your chance to get out of that hotel room, get off the beaten path, and experience the culture, the flavor, and the people.
It’s almost Carnaval time, so we’ve pulled together some of our favorite activities and places in Rio – the ones most travelers don’t have a chance to experience. If you’re in town with a few free hours, check out the list below and go home with your best stories ever — especially if you’re there next week when the festivities are at their wildest.
It might be tough, but don’t spend all your time at the beach. Go for some hang-gliding at Pedra Bonita, a short distance from Ipanema — it’s a great spot to start. And you’ll end up at the beach after all, where you can grab a refreshing coconut water sipped right from the shell.
Tour a Rio favela and gain a better understanding of how the other half (or actually, the other 20%) lives. Favelas may be poor, yet they’ve been home to some of Brazil’s finest soccer players and contribute more than their share to Rio’s famous Carnaval celebrations.
Need a few sequins for your Carnaval costume? Head to Casa Turuna. Since 1915, this spangle-stuffed shop has provided everything from masks to fully feathered and sparkled bikinis for Rio carnavalistas.
Take a refreshing outdoor shower in one of Tijuca Forest’s waterfalls. This beautiful green oasis is the largest urban forest in the world.
Photo attribution: Pedro Kirilos