5 Free Things To Do In Rio De Janeiro.

Rio De Janeiro is one of the most expensive cities in the world and it can cost a lot to visit, but travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and even some of the most expensive destinations in the world have some amazing free sites and activities to keep even the tightest of budgets happy. Check out these 5 free things to see and do in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Brazil has always been one of the most expensive countries on any backpacker’s South American itinerary, and its capital, Rio de Janeiro in particular can be hard on a travellers budget. This is only going to get worse over the next few years as prices are set to skyrocket with the hosting of the 2014 FIFA world cup this summer and the 2016 Olympics, but with a little bit of careful planning and knowledge there are ways to travel through Rio on a basic budget. So whether you are here to see the world cup or just to visit a truly remarkable corner of the world, your wallet will thank you for reading this!

Climb The Other Mountains.

Climbing the iconic Sugarloaf mountain in Rio is considered an absolute must, but the problem is for backpackers on a really tight budget it can cost a lot of money to get a tour or cable car up to the top. So instead why not just head to the surrounding Morro da Babilonia and Morro da Urca? The peaks may not be quite as high as Sugarloaf mountain, but they aren’t far off and offer just as amazing vistas and views, as well as some pretty good hiking routes. Plus they’re free!

Pedra Do Sal.

Head down to this rapidly developing area every Monday and Friday night to become part of the musical rhythm of the free Samba party. Join the cariocas as the samba circles build up into full on festival mode with dense crowds joining in and singing, it is really hard not to be drawn into the atmosphere.

Get Back To Nature.

Rio may be famous as a densely packed city, and for good reason, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways to escape the dense urban sprawl and see some of the truly stunning natural scenery South America is famous for.

The Parque Nacional Da Tijuca is the busiest national park in Brazil, but it is so big it never feels too crowded. There are dozens of hiking trails of various lengths and difficulty winding through the stunning forest, and some of them, like the Vista Chinesta offer stunning views!

Beaches are always perfect places to spend a day people watching and relaxing in the sun for free too, and Rio is no exception. The busiest beaches are of course the more famous ones, Copacabana or Ipanema for example, but the further West you head the quieter and more remote the beaches are, and are better for water sports like surfing.

Take A Historic Walking Tour.

Brazil has a deep and rich history, and there is no better place to explore that than downtown Rio. Stroll aimlessly through the winding, atmospheric streets and within easy walking distance of each other are the magnificent buildings of the Royal Palace, the Bibliotecha Nacional and the striking Teatro Municipal. Take a guide book with you or read up about the history on line and you will gain a better understanding of the history of this part of the city without taking an expensive tour. The distinctive Portugese colonial architecture and the abundance of bars and restaurants also make this area an atmospheric to explore, especially when the samba music starts playing! 

Parque Lage.

Undoubtedly the number one attraction in Rio de Janeiro is the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, and many people view this famous modern wonder of the world from the Jardim Botanical, and pay through the nose for the privilege. Yet smart budget conscious travellers can simply head to Parque Lage instead, a gorgeous stretch of greenery less than half a mile from the botanical gardens and giving you great views of the statue for absolutely free. You can even hike up to the statue from here, but getting close will again cost you money.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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Posted in Travel Lists
18 comments on “5 Free Things To Do In Rio De Janeiro.
  1. Jules and Christine says:

    Great list. Rio is such an expensive city to visit and all the classic sites like Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer can really break a budget. Nice to have some alternative options!

  2. Ayla says:

    This is very handy just I go, thanks Mike! And Pedra Do Sal sounds brilliant, I will definitely be going there 🙂

  3. Camping says:

    Noted these ideas Mike, I’m taking my two Sons to the World Cup and will need ideas to entertain them on the days we aren’t at the stadiums. They’re 17 and 20 so they should be able to handle the hikes and the samba!

  4. This is very handy indeed but like you said I fear that by the time I manage to get to this beautiful part of the world it would have become even more expensive after the football cup.

    • It is almost inevitable unfortunately, especially with the 2016 Olympics coming up as well! But a little knowledge and planning can help you keep the costs down a little bit at least.

  5. Elena says:

    When I was there in 2009 I remember paying for everything, I wish I had read this post before going there :)) One of my favourite cities but it takes so long to get anywhere…

    • It is such an expensive city Elena you are right. There is no real way of getting around it, it will hit your wallet hard, but little tricks like these can help out a little. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  6. Christina says:

    Great tips for a (hopefully) future trip. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Shikha says:

    I went to Rio recently and loved loved loved it but I agree that the cable car prices etc can put off backpackers and think it’s great that you’ve made some suggestions about other nice viewpoints that will save some cash!

  8. armida says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Also I suggest things to do in Rio is enjoy the festival & events of Rio like Victoria Day, Folklore Day, Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Festival do Rio & Rio Film Festiva.

  9. 情趣用品 says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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