5 Things To Do In Rio de Janeiro On Monday – Rio de Janeiro is waiting for us with great beaches, trilhas and tipical places that mesmerize us with their beauty and style. we give you here 5 tips for you to make the most of your day and enjoy your holidays to the top!
Santa Teresa is the bohemian neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro. Full of ateliers, it has been the cradle of many different artists. Musicians fell in love with its vibrating energy, a particular vibe that mesmerises anyone that visits such a charming place.
Oodles of Graffities, anywhere we look, there is art in Santa. All along our journey, Santa Teresa is gonna blow our minds with its magnificent architecture, big old houses and classy mansions spread among the floresta. We have to bear in mind that this area is part of the Tijuca National Park. In fact, by walking up the streets we can get to the Christ, the flora of the hood is extraordinary. We will fall in love immediately!
There are plenty of viewpoints in Santa. The higher we get, the wider the view, but from almost everywhere we will catch a glimpse of the Christ, the Niteroi bridge, and the Sugarloaf.
We can start our journey in the Largo de Guimaraes. Perfect place to go restaurant-hopping. We will find different types of food, typical Brazilian dishes from the North and from Rio as well. We are prone to come across bahianas cooking in the streets, dressed up in the traditional white hoop skirt, lace blouse and African turban. Their food is worth the try, they are excellent cooks.
During the weekends, there are many fairs. There is one in particular that sells organic products, very interesting for those who are looking for a natural option at the moment of eating. There are also many people selling home made clothes and shoes in the streets, and several selling art craft. The old cinema is a place we should not miss during our visit. It is open everyday and it plays Brazilian films twice a day.
Close to the Largo de Guimaraes, we will find the Benjamin Constant’s museum. The entrance is free, just to get to the garden, which is beautiful. Full of green trees, it has a mini trilha that goes up to the highest point from which we will appreciate the roof of the house. However, if we are willing to get to the museum (which is the actual house), we will have to pay a R$2 ticket.
We can not leave Santa without having a beer in its most famous bar, the well-known Bar de Gomez. At the end of Monte Alegre street, there appears the favourite bar in the whole neighbourhood. 5′ away from the Largo de Guimaraes, we will run into this traditional bar where residents and expats gather every night to share a beer and relax after a tiring long day. Gotta go!
There is one more thing about Santa that makes it so especial: the bondinho. It is a train that goes across the whole neighbourhood. However, it is not currently working and is expected to be on the run by the Olympics.
Santa Teresa, for sure, is a place that we must visit if we happen to be in Rio.
How to get there?
There are 3 buses that takes us to Santa: 006, 007, 014. We will take them downtown, so we will have to take the Metro up to Gloria or Cinelandia stations first and then get any of the buses previously mentioned.
2.Cachoeiras do Horto.
The Cachoeria do Horto belongs to the Tijuca National Park. This unique place is going to take us to another dimension, a one in which nature follows its own rules, and invites us to go with the flow…the flow of nature!
One of the good things about Rio de Janeiro is that we have access to places like this in just a matter of minutes. Pure wild nature unfolding in front of our eyes.
The cachoeiras (waterfalls) are three, but each of them have their own peculiarities. To get to them, we will have to go through a brave journey, which starts with an uphill trilha. We will be hiking for around 20′ till we reach the first cachoeira. Surrounded by huge old trees, vivid green prevails in all its shades. There is a small lagoon, crystal clear, in which we can hang out and relax while listening to the sound of water running among the rocks. This is the beginning of the adventure!
Riddle with rocks, the trilha gets complex from time to time, and we will find ourselves actually climbing big rocks with the help of some chains that are carefully placed for that matter. Indiana Jones’ style, we will grab the chains and heroically go up the rock just to keep on climbing, sometimes holding onto branches so as not to fall.
Then pass this fun obstacle, we continue the ascent until we find ourselves with a new challenge, a big wall, and the only way in which we can pass it, is to climb over grabbing a branch, that is the only way to continue in order to arrive until the second waterfall.
Finally we get to the second cachoeira, and we will realise it was/is worth the ordeal. This one is bigger than the first and it has some kind of natural swimming pool in which we can dive in pure fresh water, it feels like swimming in strong rain. We will also find rocks lying around where we can sit and rest, maybe have a picnic or grab a snack.
However, if we keep on hiking we will get to the third and last cachoeira.
That is the highest we are going to get and is a really beautiful place, people relax and many actually used this spot to meditate and to get in touch with nature. Definately a place to go and enjoy a wonderful evening.
How to get there?
The easiest way is by bus. We grab the 409 bus that goes through the principal avenues in Rio. It drops us on Jardim Botanico street and we have to walk a 20′ path to get to the trilha.
3.Pedra do Sal.
Besides the hectic daylife, Rio also offers different options to enjoy the night. Pedra do Sal is the Mondays’ party. It is a roda do samba in downtown, Praca Maua exactly. People gather after office to have some beers and dance to the rhythm of live samba music.Let’s join the carioca way to start the week.
The scenario is always the same, people dancing and drinking in the street, nice Brazilian beats and lots of alcohol. There is an actual pedra where everybody sits and hangs with friends. Drinks are cheap and we can also get some food for a very reasonable price.
A tiny bit of history.
Situated close to the Rio de Janeiro harbour, Pedra do Sal used to be a salt deposit. However, an illegal slave market was functioning there at that time, so the area was known as ‘the little Africa’. Africans also lived there, bringing candombe music to light. Samba was created from the fascinating mixture of candombe and local music. The first bloco de carnaval was born from this peculiar union.
How to get there?
4.Praia de Itacoatiara.
If we have the chance to visit Niteroi, we can not miss Itacoatiara beach. We will find paradise, turqoise water and soft sand welcoming us to fall in the dreamy day we are about to live.
No matter how small the beach is, it is full of atractions. It is surrounded by two rocks, one bigger than the other, but both easy to climb, and showing different viewpoints of the beach. There is a beautiful trilha that leads us up the bigger rock, and from its peak we can enjoy a marvelous sunset.
The beach is located in a very exclusive neighbourhood, and during the week there is almost no one there. We have to pass security to get into the place. Desolated as it may seem, it is always one of the favourite places for local surfers. The waves are massive, sometimes too strong to dive into. We can feel the pressure water has on our bodies, pulling us in.
Itacoatiara is also a good spot for slackliners. For those skilled ones, it is a recurrent challenge to practice there. Though it is a rather new sport, Brazil has participated in world championships with major winnings.
How to get there?
We can take a bus to Praca XV, and from there we are going to take a barca (ship) to cross to Niteroi. It costs R$4,90. Once in Niteroi we take the 38 bus to Itacoatiara. It will drop us at the neighbourhood entrance. From then on, we walk until we get to the beach, around 10′.
We can also take the 1001 bus, that goes from Ipanema (General Osorio Square) to Niteroi directly. It costs R$6.95. Once in Niteroi we take the 38 bus.
5. Pedra Bonita.
Pedra Bonita is part of the Tijuca National Park, and is located in Sao Conrado, The rock faces Pedra do Gavea, very well known by its strenous hike and amazing view, but also looks to the biggest favela in America, Rocinha.
This Pedra, as any other in Rio, has its own trilha. Wild green and tropical, it pierces the vivid flora that grows to its sides. When we get to the summit, the view is superb. On the one side Barra de Tijuca, on the other Zona Sul and Rocinha, and to the front Pedra do Gavea. The trilha is quite easy, the hike lasts for around an hour.
We can actually get by car to the ramp in Estrada das Canoas in Sao Conrado, and from then on we can start to walk uphill. If we are planning to go by car, we need to bare in mind that the path presents some set backs. We are dealing with a narrow steep road, so cars usually honk to let everybody know they are coming.
On the rock, we will find a free flight ramp, from where enthusiasts have the oportunity to go paragliding and hang gliding everyday. The landing spot is Praia do Pepino, 693 metres down. Sunset is the prime time for such activities, we will witness one of the most outstanding views in Rio. In case we would like to jump, it is always bertter o hire a proffessional instructor. Some locals are willing to offer their services for a lower price, but frequently they are not truthworthing.
If we don’t feel like jumping, we can always go climbing. There are 9 different natural walls available of around 155 meters tall, and plenty of instructors to help us during the activity.
A bit of history.
During the 19th century, Rio de Janeiro was growing quicky, bringing up a big demand of wood and coal. Pedra Bonita was chopped down in order to fulfil such an enterprise. It started to be little farm settlements all over the area that grew vegetables and flowers to sell among fairs in Rio. Residents created trilhas as their daily path. Nowadays, we will find at the beginning of the trilha the original rocks, called pe de moleque, that used to lead the former habitants home. When major roads were opened, such paths became obsolete, but in 1960, when Pedra Bonita came to be part of the Tijuca National Park, some of them were rediscovered.
How to get there?
By car: we go by estrada Lagoa-Barra and we take the Joa exit. We drive up the Estrada das Canoas until we reach the Pedra Bonita entrance. We follow the path up to the ramp and then we continue walking. Parking costs R$5.
By bus: we take the 448 bus (Maracia x Sao Conrado) to the beginning of the trilha.