Essential Rio Experiences for First Time Visitors

Rio is an amazing city, and one that we absolutely adore spending time in. We are thrilled that we get to go back there later this year for the Summer Games, and that our preparations have meant we’ve spent at a lot of time in the Cidade Maravilhosa (which translates into Marvelous City in English, and is one of Rio‘s nicknames) over the past few years. There is so much to do in Rio, from exploring the beaches and natural attractions, to the wonderful restaurants, cultural landmarks, and of course taking in the various sporting events that will be happening throughout the Games.

If you’ll be heading to Rio for the Games, and it will be your first time in the city, there are some experiences that you really shouldn’t miss while there. Here are some of the essential ones that we think every first time visitor should experience: 

Visit Christ the Redeemer. This iconic landmark is a must-see not only so you can get that essential photo of the statue itself, but also because visiting it gives you absolutely superb views out over the city. The statue sits atop the Corcovado, a 2,300 ft mountain that you climb on an electric train that winds its way through beautiful rainforest up to the statue.

Drink a Caipirinha, Brazil’s delicious national cocktail. This tasty mix of a traditional Brazilian sugarcane liquor, cachaça, lime, and sugar, is served pretty much everywhere in Rio. If you aren’t a drinker, then substitute this for coconut water direct from a coconut, which is also a very Brazilian drink. Try and get either while at one of the city’s many gorgeous beach bars for a super laid back and very Rio experience.

People watch on Ipanema Beach. Sitting on the sands of Ipanema and watching the beautiful people walk by you in barely there beach attire is a quintessential Rio experience. There’s more than a mile of white sand to stroll along, and plenty of beach bars and vendors along the way to keep you refreshed as you check out all the eye candy.

ipanema slim

Take the cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. This is another fabulous way to view Rio, as the views from the peak and the cable car on the way up there are just amazing. Sunset is the best time to do this, as the views are just knockout then, but anytime is worthwhile.

Eat steak. Brazil is famous for its carnivorous tastes, and if you love to eat meat you will not go wrong by visiting a churrascaria restaurant here. Servers walk from table to table with plates of perfectly grilled meats for you to choose from, and the sides are always delicious too. Vegetarians needn’t worry though, there are so many different kinds of cuisine in Rio, from all corners of the world, so there will be plenty for you to sample too when visiting the city.

These are of course just a few of the many things one can do in Rio, and whatever it is you’re into or want to experience, we can make that happen when planning your perfect Summer Games trip. Contact us to start a conversation about Rio, and we’ll get you to the games in style.


What a class act - from hosts meeting you as you arrive, to checking in with you each day. I would recommend to anyone.

— Robert Haulter, 2012 Summer Games in London