10 Greatest Things to Do in December in Rio de Janeiro

With many main holidays falling through the peak of Brazilian summer time, guests  to Rio will typically have the ability to spend Christmas and New Year’s basking in tropical warmth slightly than shivering within the clutches of winter. Brazilians have fun Christmas on the evening of the twenty fourth, and cariocas (Rio natives) usually spend the twenty fifth enjoyable on the seaside. Lagoa, the town’s lake, is among the greatest sights through the vacation season, when an infinite floating tree, decked with hundreds of thousands of glowing lights, twinkles away at its heart.

Rio Carnival wants just about no introduction – and the entire metropolis takes virtually an entire week off in February (or often March, relying on the date of Easter) to participate within the greatest social gathering on the planet.  

New Year’s is widely known in grand kind, with the most important and greatest firework shows held on Copacabana seaside, and the social gathering hub of Lapa throngs with a mixture of locals and guests proper by the social gathering season. 

When given a number of days off, many locals escape the town and head for the seaside locations to the east and west of the town – the Costa Verde, a stretch of gorgeous inexperienced coast dotted with seashores and islands, is residence to most of the state’s greatest sights and is properly price a number of days’ exploring.

Those seeking to escape the vacation crowds can discover shade and spectacular natural world on the spectacular Botanical Gardens, and there is some good last-minute Christmas buying at Ipanema’s Hippy Fair and Centro’s Feira do Rio Antigo.

Botanical Gardens

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

This shady botanical backyard is a must-visit for anybody with an curiosity within the fascinating natural world of Rio in addition to these simply searching for a shady retreat from the sticky warmth of the town streets.

Colorful butterflies flutter by some 6,500 species of vegetation, whereas chattering marmoset monkeys play overhead. The sprawling gardens are unfold over some 55 acres, with trails main from one focal point to a different.

It is completely attainable to spend a whole day on this scenic park, so head right here early within the morning to profit from all there’s to see right here.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: Rio is each scorching and busy throughout peak vacation season, this beautiful park presents shade and a break from the crowds.

Lucy’s skilled tip: Bring a picnic if you happen to’re on a price range – the cafes throughout the park, are considerably expensive.

Read more about Botanical Gardens →

Arcos da Lapa

Arcos da Lapa

Photo courtesy of DanielJayHoffman

Along with the seashores, the Christ statue and Sugar Loaf mountain, one other postcard-perfect picture of Rio are the mammoth white arches that stand in metropolis’s historic heart.

At evening, revelers collect under the arches as an enormous avenue social gathering unfurls – head right here on a Friday evening to see Rio’s social gathering spirit at its liveliest. The space across the arches is taken over by lots of of stalls promoting all method of tempting treats to eat and drink, from fresh-baked pizzas and beers to Northeastern acaraje and fruity-but-potent cocktails. Surrounded by bars and golf equipment pumping out all the things from hip hop and favela funk to samba and pagode, the Arcos da Lapa are the place to begin for a lot of a memorable evening out in Rio.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: Lapa’s electrical nightlife is at its most buzzing throughout main holidays.

Lucy’s skilled tip: Keep valuables properly hidden and snap photos rapidly – whereas security in Lapa has improved lately, it’s nonetheless a favourite spot for petty thieves.

Read more about Arcos da Lapa →

Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar)

Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar)

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

One of essentially the most well-known mountain peaks on the planet, Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar in Portuguese) scarcely wants an introduction.
But when you could also be conversant in the vacationer board photographs of the cable automotive making its dizzying ascent as much as the highest of the mountain, nothing can put together you for the spectacular views and the true splendor of Rio’s cityscape because it unfurls under.
The cable automotive makes two stops – calling first at Morro da Urca, Sugar Loaf’s smaller sister mountain, earlier than persevering with its journey to the lofty vantage level.
Sugar Loaf juts proper out of the Atlantic Ocean, and the sweeping vistas of white sand seashores, jungle-clad mountains and crashing waves will take your breath away.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: The cable automotive journey up Sugar Loaf mountain is a household pleasant vacation attraction to not be missed.

Lucy’s skilled tip: Try to time your go to to catch sundown from the highest of the mountain. Sipping a caipirinha whereas the pumpkin solar descends over the town is an unforgettable expertise.

Read more about Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar) →

Feira do Rio Antigo

Feira do Rio Antigo

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

The historic heart of Lapa is the setting for a vigorous avenue market, held on the primary Saturday of every month (and each Saturday within the weeks earlier than Christmas). Browse for all the things from antiques and folks artwork to handmade fashions and classic equipment. The sound of stay samba music fills the air, the streets throng with consumers and sightseers, and the various pavement cafes and bars occupying transformed colonial buildings do a brisk commerce as teams of mates linger over a reviving espresso, refreshing beer or energy-replenishing meal. The market is a superb place to choose up Chris presents and keepsakes in addition to classic garments, equipment and vinyl information. Local designers additionally promote their creations right here – typically at surprisingly accessible costs.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: This market, often held month-to-month, is open each Saturday throughout December and is a enjoyable place to do some vacation buying.

Lucy’s skilled tip: Browse the market earlier than making a purchase order slightly than snapping up the very first thing that takes your fancy – there are many tempting issues to select from right here.

Read more about Feira do Rio Antigo →

Rio de Janeiro’s metropolis seashores are well-known the world over, and with good motive. But if you happen to´ve been partying laborious throughout your Rio trip and are feeling the necessity for a little bit relaxation and leisure in additional tranquil surrounds, the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Rio de Janeiro State beckons.

This paradisiacal stretch of shoreline takes in innumerous seashores and extra islands than one may depend – the Costa Verde city of Ilha Grande is in itself surrouned by 365 islands. The largest of those is the huge nature reserve of Ilha Grande, whose historical past as a jail for harmful criminals and, earlier than that, a leper colony, haven’t stopped guests from flocking right here within the seek for remoted seashores surrounded by wild palms and chattering monkeys, versus the excessive rise accommodations of Copacabana.

Of the seashores on Ilha Grande, Lopes Mendes is essentially the most dramatically lovely with its white sands and lapping waves. Take a ship if you happen to don´t fancy the two-hour jungle trek to get right here from Ilha Grande´s one actual city.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: For a little bit respite from the town swelter throughout vacation excessive season, head to the seashores alongside the attractive Costa Verde.

Lucy’s skilled tip: Official ferries go away for Ilha Grande as soon as a day from the seaside city of Angra dos Reis, however it’s quicker to get a fishing boat from close by Conceicao de Jacarei, which will be reached by coach or group switch from Rio.

Read more about Costa Verde →

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain

Photo courtesy of Erik Ogan

No go to to Rio could be full with no journey to see ‘the Big Guy’, and the views from the ft of this most iconic of statues are actually breathtaking.

One of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, the ‘Christo Redentor’ stands tall atop Corcovado, or ‘hunchback’ mountain – the best peak on this metropolis of rugged mountains.

While minibus journeys run as much as the statue, one of the simplest ways to make the ascent is to journey the funicular railway. As the little purple prepare climbs by the jungle-clad hills, leaving sweeping vistas in its wake, it is not unusual for stay samba bands to entertain passengers onboard.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: A visit to see the Christ statue, and take within the views, will add a blinding contact to any vacation in Rio.

Lucy’s skilled tip: While there are strolling trails as much as the Christ Statue, it’s not protected to stroll up except you’re with a gaggle and an skilled information

Read more about Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain →

New Year's at Copacabana

New Year's at Copacabana

Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

There’s no higher place in Rio to ring within the New Year than Copacabana seaside.
Millions of joyful revelers, magnificent fireworks shows, stay bands and music and a glowing of Rio magic make for a really memorable evening.

Tradition dictates that those that head to Copacabana seaside achieve this carrying all white, and with some three-million folks descending on the seaside every December 31, the ocean of white is a sight to behold.

The festivities start with big-name bands taking to the stage on the seaside, and when the clock strikes 12 a critically spectacular fireworks show lights up the skies over the seaside.

Bring a bottle of your favourite tipple, put in your greatest white garments, and put together to ring within the new yr in fashion.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: Reveillon – or New Year’s Eve – is widely known in grand fashion on the sands of Copacabana seaside

Lucy’s skilled tip: he enormous crowds imply it is not a good suggestion to carry younger kids to the New Year’s Celebrations on the seaside

Read more about New Year’s at Copacabana →



Photo courtesy of NateClicks/Flickr

Designed by famed modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer, this huge purpose-built stadium is the place Rio’s carnival magic occurs. Located near Centro, the Sambódromo, as it’s identified in Portuguese, stretches for 700 metres and has capability for some 90,000 onlookers within the bleachers. Samba faculties shake and shimmy their manner alongside a large ‘runway’ to the delight of the gathered carnival crowds. Tickets for the massive carnival present fluctuate in response to which faculties are performing, consolation ranges and proximity to the parades, and for a (slightly steep) payment samba followers may even rent a fancy dress and dance alongside the varsity of their selection. In the months main as much as carnival, Sunday evening technical rehearsals present a possibility to catch a little bit of the carnival fever – albeit with out the complete floats and costumes – without cost.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: Rio’s Sambadrome is the setting for essentially the most dramatic carnival shows on the planet

Lucy’s skilled tip: Prices rise in accordance with consolation ranges, however the least expensive bleachers typically have a buzzing environment

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Ipanema Hippie Fair

Ipanema Hippie Fair

Photo courtesy of Janice Waltzer/Flickr

The identify ‘hippie honest’ might conjure up photographs of flowing kaftans and incense sticks, however this colourful market, held in Ipanema every Sunday for some 60-plus years, is in actual fact an excellent place to choose up all the things from native arts and crafts to style finds. Set apart a superb few hours to browse all of the stalls and do not be afraid to discount with sellers – you’ll be able to typically bag a discount if you happen to purchase multiple merchandise from the identical stall. Eagle-eyed consumers will have the ability to discover all the things from classic designer shades to hand-made attire in funky materials.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: This vigorous honest is at its busy greatest within the run as much as Brazil’s sunny vacation season, as locals and vacationers store for Christmas presents

Lucy’s skilled tip: Bring money – not all sellers settle for playing cards, and you will need some change for snacks and drinks similar to grilled cheese and coconut water

Read more about Ipanema Hippie Fair →



Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson

Lagao Rodrigues de Freitas, or Lagoa as it’s popularly identified, is Rio’s lovely metropolis lake and yet one more postcard excellent scene on this metropolis of so many pure wonders.

The huge stretch of water is flanked by jungle-clad, cloud-swathed mountains, and ringed by a seven-kilometer strolling, operating and biking monitor that could be a main draw for health-conscious locals. Tourists flock to take swan pedal boats out into the water, and this can be a excellent place for a household day trip.

Cafes, bars and eating places across the lake make nice locations of a cooling drink and a revitalising chew to eat, and are sometimes stuffed with the sound of stay music after darkish.

Recommended for Things to Do in December as a result of: The large Christmas tree on the heart of the lake is a serious attraction, and the switch-on options stay bands and attracts enormous crowds

Lucy’s skilled tip: Head right here at Christmas to see a completely huge synthetic Christmas tree – lit with hundreds of thousands of twinkling stars – proper in the course of the lake.

Read more about Lagoa →

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