Rio is one of the most exciting, enthralling and beautiful cities in the world. The iconic images of Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) and the unusually shaped sugar loaf mountain are famous worldwide, as well as the renowned beach resorts of Copacabana and Ipanema. Surrounded by tropical rainforest with overcrowded favelas spreading out into the hills, ramshackle housing communities and upscale neighbourhoods lie pretty much side by side. With arty, bohemian neighbourhoods, cool street art, great restaurants, entertaining beaches, pulsating nightlife, samba, carnival and a distinct ‘Carioca’ personality – you’d be mad to miss this, one of the world’s greatest cities off your Brazil travel list.
Arraial do Cabo
Much more low-key and less touristy than Búzios, Arraial do Cabo is a more affordable and backpacker-friendly ‘beachy’ escape from Rio. Surrounded by glistening white sand dunes, amazing beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, Arraial is famous for diving (rumoured to be the best in Rio state) and humpback whale watching. The working fishing port of Porto do Forno is a refreshing slice of authentic Brazilian seaside life.