Travel in Latin America

How to Enjoy Rio de Janeiro for Free
By:Sarah Dray

Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second largest city and the country’s main touristic destination because of its beaches, carnivals and Corcovado mountain, where the giant Christ statue is located. If you’re visiting for more than just a few days, however, you will find that most of the main attractions require an entry fee, and not a small one at that. If you want to stretch your budget, finding free things to do will help you make the most of your visit.

Head to the beach. Rio de Janeiro has the largest beaches in Brazil and some of the best in the world. Ipanema and Copacabana are especially popular, and are a great destination if you don’t mind large crowds and scorching sun. If tanning is not your thing, visit in the evenings, when free concerts and performances are common.

Get to the Christ statue on your own. Instead of paying to ride the train to the top, drive up Paineiras road by yourself. This only works if you already rented your own car, which is certainly a good idea in Rio anyway, and don’t mind dealing with the traffic and foreign driving rules. Avoid taxis, though, because they’re usually overpriced.

Make your way to Tijuca National Park, the world’s largest urban forest. If you have a whole afternoon, simply pack a picnic and take to the trails to enjoy the exotic flora and fauna, as well as waterfalls, creeks and hills. Trails are clearly marked and you can choose anything from simple walks to steep climbs.

Join the carnival. If you’re visiting Rio de Janeiro in February, make a point to take to the streets and enjoy the parades, exhibits and free entertainment. For four days and nights, the samba schools take over the city and offer lots of chances for free entertainment. Later, they move to the Rio Sambadrome. While the stadium requires an entry fee, lots of hotels offer free tickets to their guests when booked in advance, so make sure you ask.

Visit some of the free museums. Rainy days in Rio de Janeiro are not frequent, but they do happen. If you can’t enjoy the outdoors, make your way to the city center to visit some of the free museums, such as Monumento Nacional aos Mortos da II Guerra Mundial, a monument and military museum set up in honor of those who lost their lives in World War II. The Historico Nacional is another great free museum.






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