Aerial View-Beaches ,Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Courtesy of Matuete


No matter where they live or whether they are young or old, fit or less than fit, cariocas go to the beach year-round: it’s Rio’s living room, lounge, gym and main playground—and a key part of what makes Rio, Rio.

To go to the beach like a carioca, remember that less is more: bathing suits (bikinis and Speedos are the norm); a kanga (pareo) around the waist for women, maybe a T-shirt for men; the ubiquitous Havaianas (flip-flops) on the feet for both. A straw bag will carry essentials: sunscreen, a hat, a book, change for a snack. That’s it. Chairs and umbrellas can be rented there, and food and drinks are plentiful, offered nonstop by vendors (a classic: ice-cold maté and Biscoito Globo, a crunchy, salty toastlike treat).

Hot beaches: Posto 9, Ipanema (musicians, colorful characters, gay crowd); Posto 10, Ipanema (stylish locals); and Pepê, Barra (the young and the beautiful). Next door to Ipanema, Leblon is more tranquil, with a local crowd and dramatic Dois Irmãos hill to the north. A little further off is Joatinga, beautiful and secluded below a residential area on a hill. Farther north (and harder to access) lays the idyllic Prainha, wild and filled with beautiful girls and surfers.

Tip: For beautiful and very “carioca” sunset, head to Arpoador, the rock which divides Ipanema and Leblon. It may be crowded but it’s worth it.

Editors' Picks

Casa Daros

This is the new outpost of Daros Latinoamerica, one of the most comprehensive collections dedicated to Latin American contemporary art, which has its headquarters in Zurich. The museum occupies an extensively restored 19th century neoclassical building in Botafogo, and has a nice restaurant as well as an interesting store.

Enteriar View-Chacara do Céu,  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Courtesy of Halley Pacheco de Oliveira

Chacara do Céu

The modernist 1950’s residence of arts patron Raymundo Castro Maya houses the main part of the his art collection, as well as original furniture. Expect many works from Brazilian modernists Cândido Portinari and Di Cavalcanti, and also a few from Matisse, Seurat, Modigliani and Miró. More than 500 works by Debret, who depicted Brazil during the 19th century, are also on display. Don’t miss the library and the dining room, preserved as they were 50 years ago. The house itself is a work of art, built amidst lush gardens and with amazing views of the Guanabara Bay down below (Chácara do Céu means “country house in the sky”). Closed Tuesday.

Train-Corcovado Trams ,  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Courtesy of Halley Pacheco de Oliveira

Corcovado Trams

At more than 2,300 feet—the highest point on the Tijuca Massif—the Corcovado peak is majestic enough on its own, but many find irresistible the idea of climbing to the ninety-eight-foot-high statue of Jesus that was built on top of it in 1912. The best way to reach it is either by tram or a previously booked car or bus—avoid the cabs and vans that congregate at the tramway station. Trams depart daily, every half hour 8:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

Exterior View-Fortaleza São João ,  Brazil

Fortaleza São João

At the base of Sugar Loaf is Rio’s oldest fort, the site of the city’s foundation, which dates from 1565. While the fort is open to the public (Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.–6 p.m. noon, Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.), visits require advanced reservations and can only be made in pre-arranged groups.

Aerial View-Forte de Copacabana ,  Brazil-Courtesy of Halley Pacheco de Oliveira

Forte de Copacabana

Built in 1914, Forte de Copacabana, on the southern end of Copacabana beach, is the newest and most accessible fort, with permanent exhibits and the lovely Colombo teahouse. Walk to the end of the peninsula for an exceptional view of the sea, with Copacabana and Ipanema beaches spreading out to the horizon on either side. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Aerial View-MAC – Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Indagare Tours: Architectural Highlights of Rio

Your local guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a tour of the city’s architectural landmarks, ranging from a striking baroque monastery and Portuguese churches to modernist creations such as Oscar Niemeyer’s first project, Palácio Capanema. Later, catch a boat to cross the Guanabara Bay to Niterói, home to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), uniquely designed by Niemeyer and completed in 1996; a spaceship like building that houses a permanent collection and changing exhibitions. After the visit return to your hotel by car. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Indagare Tours: Beach Day Trip

Take a helicopter to one of the most beautiful seaside towns in the country: Paraty or Buzios. Paraty is a Portuguese colonial town with charming cobble-stoned streets and colorful historic buildings set right on the bay of Angra dos Reis. You can wander the town and then be picked up by a boat for some touring and lunch on an island restaurant. Or choose the twenty-five minute flight up to the resort town that has been called the St. Tropez of Brazil, Buzios, where you can hit the beach and have lunch in one of the trendy seaside restaurants. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Indagare Tours: Brazilian Cooking Class

Brazil’s cuisine has influences from many cultures including African, Portuguese, Japanese and Italian. Spend a few hours with a local chef who will take you to a local market and then teach you about the ingredients and techniques that characterize Brazilian cuisine.

Indagare Tours: Exploring the Nightlife

Whether you like samba, bossa nova or disco, Rio has a club and a scene for a great evening of music and dancing. We can arrange for a class with a samba teacher and a visit to a samba club to watch or participate in the dancing. Or arrange for an evening sampling some of the electronic music clubs in Lapa. You will discuss your interests with our local host who will tailor the evening to your taste. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Indagare Tours: Favela and Art Visit

Our tour goes to the Pereira da Silva favela to visit a unique art installation and NGO: the Morrinho Project.

Indagare Tours: Favela and Drumming Visit

There are more than 1,200 favelas in the city of Rio housing twenty percent of the population. Brazilians would never visit a favela, or slum, but if you want to understand the city, it is worth making a visit. Explore the Santa Maria favela with a local guide who will take you through the narrow alleys with a resident of the favela. You will see a recycling project and when you arrive to the rooftop where Michael Jackson filmed his famous video “They Don’t Care About Us”. Here you will have a drumming class with some of the local kids from the community, who will teach you about samba music. It is also possible to learn kite flying from the kids or to visit a traditional samba school to learn more about this musical form. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Indagare Tours: Gardens and Landscapes

Lovers of gardens and landscape design can have a tailored tour that could include a visit to the botanical garden as well as to Sitio, the former home and garden of Brazil’s most famous landscape designer Roberto Brule Marx. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Helio Oiticica pavilion at Inhotim, Brazil

Indagare Tours: Inhotim Day Trip

Contemporary art lovers with deep pockets should consider a helicopter trip to the fabulous open-air museum/botanical garden of Inhotim. It is truly an art experience like no other in the world. This fantasy land of art and beauty must be seen to be believed but it contains interactive art installations by such world-renowned artists as Doug Aitkens, Anish Kapoor and Matthew Barney as well as Brazil’s top artists like Tunga and Helio Oiticica. Set on 5,000 acres, the complex was created by mining billionaire Bernardo Paz as an ode to art and the natural beauty of his native region Minas Geiras as well as a social investment in the local community and his belief that beauty (natural and man-made) can unify humanity. Over many years, he has transformed this vast park into the world’s largest outdoor museum, providing permanent space for works that would never find room in museums. Read a profile of the founder: Local Legend: Bernardo Paz. Trips for an overnight or just a day trip can be arranged, but we recommend two days to visit all of the pavilions. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Editors' Picks

Indagare Tours: Rio as a Playground

Rio may be the city in the world that most resembles a playground but you need a local to show you where and how to enjoy its natural beauty.  Whether you want to be picked up at the airport by guides who can meet you with bicycles so you can bike to your hotel (a guide will take your luggage) or you want to hike, surf, paddle board or play volley ball or soccer on the beach or learn Brazilian martial arts, we can arrange a variety of typical Carioca activities. Contact the Indagare Bookings Team to arrange.

Beach at-The Lagoon ,  Brazil-Courtesy of Halley Pacheco de Oliveira

Indagare Tours: Rio Introduction

We can customize your introduction to the city for a full or half day to include an overview of the city’s beaches and neighborhoods as well as visits to such iconic sights as Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf mountain. Your local guide can give you the social, historical and political background of the city and also explain about why soccer, samba and bikinis are so integral to Carioca culture.

Exterior View-Jardim Botânico ,  Brazil

Jardim Botânico

This 200-years old park founded buy the king of Portugal is a must-see. Located at the foot of the Corcovado mountain, it has a vegetation composed by only 40% of cultivated species, the rest being original rainforest. The entrance, through a beautiful path lined with a hundred royal palms is one of those things one should see before one dies. Inside, ponds with victoria lilies, sculptures and fountains, plus numerous greenhouses with thousands of native species of plants. Go on a cloudy day or when you need a break from the crowds. It is also a nice spot for families. Open daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Tip: Café La Bicyclette inside the Botanic Gardens is a great place for a snack and coffee.

Editors' Picks

Lopes Quintas Street

It’s a bucolic street filled with interesting shops. Look for design items at Gabinete Duilio Sartori (n. 87, 3173-8828), fine deli and grocery shop Casa Carandaí (n. 165, 3114-0179)  and Dona Coisa (n. 153, 2249-2336). On Sundays stores are closed.

Aerial View-MAC – Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MAC – Contemporary Art Museum

The Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Niterói, is one of the city’s main landmarks, an intriguing building in the form of a flying saucer by Brazilian famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. The building is actually the main reason for a visit here, for its architecture and splendid views. The bistro also has beautiful views.

Editors' Picks
Aerial View-MAR ,Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


The Rio Art Museum was the talk of the town when it opened, in March 2013. Hip design firm Bernardes + Jacobsen managed to unite two unused buildings that now house a stunning art gallery and an art school. An undulating concrete canopy connects the two buildings from above, and the new rooftop has a public terrace and a bar. The MAR is part of the major urban redevelopment in the historic port area of Rio.

Unknown image

Museum of Tomorrow

Opened in late 2015, Rio’s Museum of Tomorrow not only revitalized a previously derelict port area; it also introduced one of the world’s most pioneering sustainable museums. The science museum was conceived from the idea that the world is not ready for tomorrow, and in order to take care of the planet, we need to educate ourselves. The futuristic building, which uses 40 percent less energy than most, was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and it is focused on transforming the visitors’ way of thinking through five exhibits about the environment and climate. Hopefully, the lengthy roster of consultants including astronauts and climate and social specialists can help achieve this goal.

Editors' Picks

Parque das Ruinas

In the artsy and bohemian Santa Teresa district, the ruins of a traditional carioca house (today a cultural center) has one of the best panoramas of Rio. From the dramatic iron and glass structure you can see the Guanabara Bay and downtown Rio through a whole different angle. Through a small bridge you can access Chacara do Céu art museum. Closed Monday.

Parque do Penhasco Dois Irmaos

Take the steep (but short) trail or a taxi up the hill for one of the best views of the Rio beaches. Close to Leblon and Ipanema, the area is safe and well kept. Walking takes roughly 20 minutes, with many viewing decks on the way. By following Rua Aperana you will head straight into the park

Parque Lage

Though technically not part of Tijuca National Park, Parque Lage melts into it as its lush gardens ascend the Corcovado foothills. Built in the early 20th century as a residence for shipbuilder Henrique Lage and his opera diva wife, Gabriela Bezanzoni, Lage has a series of garden paths circling the enormous main house. At Parque Lage there is also a nice café and restaurant (better for breakfast): D.R.I Café.

Exterior View-Petropolis ,Rio de Janeiro, BrazilCourtesy of Alexandre Machado


The historical and quaint mountain town of Petropolis is a great place to unwind from the hustle (and escape the high temperatures) of Rio. About one hour up a winding road with breathtaking views, the town was the summer destination of the royal family in the 18th century. Highlights include the royal family summer house (today the Imperial Museum) and the Bohemia brewery, where you can expect good quality beer (and live music if you are lucky). But plan your day around something else: a lunch in the amazing Pousada da Alcobaça (Rua Dr. Agostinho Goulão, 298, 55 (24) 2221-3162) – a charming B&B with amazing gardens, set in the middle of a lush tropical forest. The owner, an elderely woman, takes care of the kitchen and prepares amazing comfort food – and  maybe the best feijoada in Brazil.

Selaron’s Staircase

The magical tiled stairway that connects the Lapa neighborhood with Santa Teresa was the work of Chilean artist, Jorge Selaron, who spent years hand painting and collecting tiles and affixing them to the steps and surrounds. The 2,000 colored tiles cover 250 steps stretching 125 meters and have appeared in a Fanta commercial, music videos of U2 and Snoop Dogg and Rio’s winning bid for the Olympics. Today, they serve as a memorial to their founder’s vision for a bright spot in a tough neighborhood. From 1990 until 2013, Selaron lived almost day and night on the steps or just next door in his house, drawing tourists from around the globe and chasing away drug dealers, who may have eventually killed him. He was found dead on the stairs in January 2013, but tourists still come to see his monument to his love of the “Marvelous City” of Rio.

Aerial View-Sugar Loaf and Corcovado ,  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil-Courtesy of Matuete

Sugar Loaf and Corcovado

The obvious places to see in Rio are also the most beautiful: Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountains look at each other from across the arch of Guanabara Bay and provide two excellent vantage points to take in the city’s extraordinary landscape, the ocean, the rain forest and the mountains. If you can, go on a clear, sunny day, in the early morning or late afternoon, preferably at the beginning of your trip—both sights will give you all the information you need to appreciate Rio on all its many levels. Sugar Loaf/Pão de Açúcar is accessible by a tram from its Urca base station. Sightseeing helicopter flights depart from Morro da Urca, the small hill adjacent to Sugar Loaf and a half-point stop for the tram.


Indagare employees walking up stiars

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