5 Ultimate Stops for a Quick Rio del Janeiro Trip

Rio de Janeiro is a huge destination to visit and one will never see everything in one trip. I spent 3 days in Rio which ultimately was an extended weekend. I wish it were longer but as I had to go around my work schedule with a coworker, it was the best we can do or miss having the Visa waived back in September.

Whether you visit long-term or are coming just for a weekend, make sure you make these 5 quick stops:

The Stairs


Head to Lapa to see (and go up) Escadaria Selaron. These bright, colorful stairs were made as a tribute to the Brazilian people by the artist called Selaron.

It gets hot in Brazil and these stairs are no joke. They are steep and there are 215 steps total at a height of 410 feet. Take your time and be careful not to slide down the resting stones on the side. They get slippery and I’ve seen children fall!

At the top, you will gain an amazing view. Mornings are best as that is when least tour companies bring guests. You can always find a break within the waves of crowds too or politely help someone with a photo then ask for another in return.

 : Free

The Arches


Also located in Lapa, you will pass the Arches on the way to the Stairs.

The Arches are an old aqueduct made up of 42 total. It used to be used to transport cable cars in the past. Now, they stand as a part of architecture near the center of Lapa.

 : Free

Sugarloaf Mountain


If you don’t have time, money, or simply don’t want to go up Sugarloaf Mountain, at least snag a great view of it.

One can do so from a rooftop in Copacabana Beach. If you are driving from the airport into town, you will also see it on the road. On the way to other excursions, you will most likely pass it.

For best photo opportunities, get out of the car or stop at a business on the way.

 : Free

Christ the Redeemer


You only need 2-3 hours max to get on a van to see Christ the Redeemer and get yourself back to town.

Grab a tour whenever you are ready to go for $17 at these locations. No reservations required – just show up! The ride up is probably 30 minutes and is the same going down. Once you are the statue, take as long as you like taking photos, going up the stairs, and taking in the views. The vans run every 20 minutes.

 : $17 per person for entire trip

Copacabana Beach


If you are staying in Copacabana Beach – great choice!

If you are not, make a stop there on your trip. This beach is famous and you would not want to miss out.

Grab a caipirinha on the beach, stop at a churrascaria for a meaty meal, and enjoy the live music along the boardwalk. The best way to enjoy it is to walk the length of the beach. See as much as you can – it is something new at every corner!

 : Free

Where do you love sightseeing in Rio?