5 Things To Do In Rio de Janeiro On Saturday – 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!
1.Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca.
The peak of Pedra Branca is the highest in Rio de Janeiro. Situated on the Western area, Pedra Branca is 1024 meters above sea level and covers a 12.500 ha area. It is three times bigger than the Tijuca National Park region, and it is considered to be the largest State Park in the world.
The park is a clear example of flora and fauna diversity. We will find lots of different and exotic species, some of them are in fact endangered. There are around 930 plants that belong to 118 different botanical families, and almost 430 are unique and exclusive, they just grow and develop in this kind of soil. There are also 338 different types of birds registered in the park, 20 of which are becoming extinct.
Trilha Rio Grande: It is a simple trilha, easy to walk, of around 800 meters long. Everybody can enjoy this path, no matter how old we are, it does not present much of a challenge. It goes through the Pau da Fome area ( Pau = wood (in this case trees) and Fome = hunger), which is a place where muleteers would make a stop on their daily journeys just to grab figs from the trees to eat. The Represa da Figueira is one of its main atractions, it is a natural dam, with water falling into the park, surrounded by big old trees. It would be used by natives during the 19th century to transport themselves along the rivers.
Trilha Santa Barbara: aka Trilha da Casa Amarela (Yellow House trilha) is the main path in the park. It is a long hike that starts in the Pau da Fome area and goes through rivers, waterfalls, sometimes coming across ruins lost in the mato (forest) until it gets to the highest point in the park. It can take around 3 to 4 hours to reach the summit, though it is currently closed due to the dense vegetation that keeps on growing and makes it impossible to follow the path.
Trilha para Açude Camorim: It is a mild trilha, frequented by the eldery and kids. The starting point is the Nucleo de Camorim and is a 2:30 hour walk (3.5 km aprox) with a wonderful sightseeing of the Camorim natural dam. It is the main water supplier for the 9000 people that live close to the region.
Trilha da Caverna Carlos Bandeira: It is a 4km walk that starts in Jacarepegua, Colonia Juliano Moreira. It is an easy path but we have to bear in mind to take food and water with us because we will be walking for around 4 hours minimum. There is a 30 meters cavern in our way and to get there we have to go through a rocky road. It can get scary for those who are not fan of darkness, though by the end the vivid green forest will enlightened our way out.
Travesia Rio de Prata: It starts in Campo Grande, in the Rio de Prata. It is a long walk, around 11 km, and it goes through the Pedra Branca valleys.
How to get there?
We can take the Metro up to Central station and from there we take the train to Madureira. Once in Madureira, we take the 636 bus towards Gardenia Azul. Then, we take the 601 bus to Estrada do Rio Grande. From there we can walk or take a cab to Pedra Branca.
2.Museo de Niteroi.
The Niteroi Museum is one of the most popular places in Niteroi. If we happen to be around, we can not miss the opportunity to visit this rounded building, of 16 meters tall and 6 different areas. It has a concrete ramp that leads us to the inside and shows us its 96 meters room full of art in different shapes and colours.
In 1996, the Oscar Niemeyer´s project (Brazilian architect) finally opened its door to the public, becoming a symbol of the city as well as the region. The construction and completion of such an enterprice took around 5 years.
On the inside, we can find a permanet colection of works of art of different artists, locals and foreigns, such as Abraham Palatnik and Aluísio Carvão. We can also enjoy the travelling exhibitions, the art fairs and the cultural events that the Museum offers.
How to get there?
We can take the 1001 bus (General Osorio-Niteroi) that costs R$6,95 or we can go by barca (ferry) from Praça XV. If we choose the ferry, we need to take a bus to Praça XV first, the bus will be R$3,40 and the ferry R$4,90. Once in Niteroi, we can either take a cab or the 49B bus to the Museum.
Separated by a morro from its closest neighbor Praia da Macumba, Prainha offers peace and quietness, two things hardly found in the most popular beaches in Rio. There are just two quiosques (food stands) to buy food and drinks and only one parlking place, which is more than enough for such a still place. If we are carving for fish, Prainha is one of the best places to get some fresh fish cooked in the hour… mmmmm delicious!
Loved by surfers, Prainha is always welcoming aquaphiles with sick waves. From 5 am surfers get to the beach to ride some waves and to relax, from time to time, on its yellow sand, ejoying the hot sun bathing their bodies. The landscape is breathtaking, surrounded by two green morros, full of trees, flowers and birds (of all types), Prainha is going to leave us speechless with its simple natural beauty.
How to get there?
The best way is to rent a car and follow the road that goes through the coast. The other available options is by bus. We can take any bus to Recreio (360, 382 are some of the options) and once in the final stop we can either walk to Prainha (for about 40’) or take anothe bus towards the end of Praia da Macumba. From then on we have to walk for about 10’ until we get to the beach. There is no direct buss to the beach.
4.Favela da Rocinha.
Kids running in the streets playing football, thousand of cables hanging in the air, square houses lego-like, one on top of the other, and the vivid green morro riddle with trees make the landscape particulary special. With every step we make, the view gets better. People’s energy is what makes this place special. A favela experience is something that will change the way we see everyday matters, simplicity is what makes it interesting.
One of the most striking facts is its location. Rocinha lies on a morro between two of the most weathy neigbourhoods of the city: Gavea and São Conrado. They are part of the residential area of Rio, the proximity with the comunity shows a strong contrast in the landscape and architecture, and also points out the huge social difference and inequality present everyday in the same environment.
Talking about contrast, as they live in a comunity, most people do not pay for public services (i.e. light) so they connect cables to the main source cable to have access to such services. That explains the crazy cable intricate that happens there. Water is also provided to the comunity but it has to be carefully used, mainly on the top, since it is easy to run out of water any day, any time.
Since 2011, Favela da Rocinha has been pacified by the UPP (Pacifying Police Unit) and it counts with a 24 hour surveillance. There are organised tours that take travellers around the comunity to get to know it a bit more and learn about the people and the favela lifestyle. It is so big that there are many things to do, many places to visit. We can get lost wandering around its countless narrow ailes.
We have to bear in mind not to be disrespectful with the neighbours since we will be sniffing around their houses and some people might actually feel unconfortable. Others, however, will take us around, show us the place and feed us with the best food in the area. We can do some restaurant hoping spending half the money (and less) that we spend on any other neighborhood. Lots of places to eat, really cheap, with amazing home made food. Locals are mostly friendly with visitors, they always have a fun nice story to tell. However, there is always a rotten apple to spoil it for the rest of us. Some people may take advantage of expats, saling tours and promises that will never be fulfilled, so it is better to be discrete and not to call anybody’s atention, and try to visit the place with someone that knows it well.
How to get there?
The Palacio Imperial is a historical building located in the heart of Rio downtown. It is one of the places where art exibitions take place and it has a history that dates back to colonial times.
Built in 1743, the Palace became part of the brazilian history in 1808 when D. Joao VI transformed it into a Portuguese Royal Residence. Since then, major events have taken place inside its doors. On January 9th, 1822, the Prince D. Pedro announced his coming back to Portugal and such event came to be known as Dia de Duelo (mourning day). On May 13th, 1888, The Princess Isabellla enacted the ‘Aurea Law’ which abolished slavery in the country.
In 1985, the Palace became a Cultural Centre gaining a library, exhibit rooms, a theatre and a movie theatre, restaurants, coffee and art craft shops. Inside, there is a little bistró called Bistró do Paco, and a chic restaurant called Atrium. In one wing of the Palace, there is a charming multi use room called Arlequin, which offers vinyl records and books, but also nice food.
How to get there?
From Ipanema / Zona Sul we can take the 128, 413, 415, 473 busses towards downtown. The address is 48th Praça XV de Novembro St. The palace is open to the public everyday from 12:00 to 18:00.