Travel and Lifestyle

Top 10 Free Things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janerio, translated "River of January", is one of the most compelling cities in the world. Want to experience Rio de Janeiro without breaking the bank? Look no further! This glorious city has plenty of free fun things to do to make your next vacation memorable! 
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Rio has beautiful beaches and, best of all, they’re free. Enjoy a day of the city’s pleasant climate, refreshingly cool waters, and white sandy shores, while absorbing much needed vitamin D. Copacabana is the obvious choice, but don’t miss out on visiting Ipanema or Leblon; with Rio’s rugged peaks in the background and pristine waters, the latter two have a raw charm that greatly differs from Copacabana’s touristy vibe.

Pedra do Sal

Located in the heart of little Africa in the city center and former slave market,  Pedra do Sal is a cultural mecca and the birthplace of a dance form known as Samba. Brazil has the largest population of black people outside of Africa (Nigeria #1) because of the 12 million slaves bought to the Americans, 5 million ended up in Brazil.  Africans bought their music and dance culture to the area and Samba was created. 

Pedra do Sal unites some of the city’s best samba musicians for a night of Brazil’s most culture-defining music. Staged in the middle of the backstreets of Little Africa, crowds of people gather every Monday & Friday night to enjoy live outdoor music, Caipirinha(Brazil's national drink) and Samba with strangers and friends. It’s one of the better ways to experience the music that Cariocas (residents of Rio) grew up with and get a taste of their dynamic and captivating culture.

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Hiking is one of my favorite things to do, and Rio definitely have an abundance of hiking opportunities for all fitness levels.
Morro da Urca and Pedra Bonita are two hikes that take about 30 minutes to complete and can be approached at a leisurely pace. For those looking for something more adventurous, head to Pedra da Telegrafo a 45-minute hike 90 minutes outside the city. Take a dare-devil optical illusion photo on top of the rock to share with your followers on Instagram. 

 How to get to Pedra do Telegrafo


The Museum of Tomorrow is one of Rio’s hottest cultural attractions at the moment, thanks to its futuristic architecture and fascinating content. It explores current issues of sustainability, climate change and the future possibilities of our planet given man’s impact on the environment. The interactive, visual-heavy displays are thought-provoking and best explored on Tuesdays when entrance to the museum is free.

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Visit the World's Largest Street Art Mural

Rio de Janeiro is not only about paradise beaches and samba goddesses. It is also a city where street art is celebrated, and by walking 560 feet along Rio’s waterfront, you can appreciate the largest mural graffiti in world, created by Edardo Kobra for the 2016 Olympic Games. The work depicts a Tajapo boy from Brazil, a Mursi woman from Ethiopia, a Kayin woman from Thailand, a Supi man from Northern Europe, and a Huli man from Papua New Guinea. They represent humanity’s common ancestors, the indigenous people from America, Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. Best of all, you can experience this Guinness World Record accomplishment for Free!

Free city walking tour African Heritage Tour

Take a Free walking tour through the renewed area of the docks of Rio de Janeiro along the waterfront.
This tour explores the past, present, and future of Rio. It uncovers the behind the scenes view of the first slave ships to dock in Rio, Pedra do Sal (Salt Stone) the History of the Samba, the greatest graffiti in the world from Kobra, the Art Museum, and the new Museum of Tomorrow. Tour take place every Saturday at 1030am at Maua Square in front of MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio). The closet subway to meeting place is Uruguaiana exit D. Look for guide wearing a yellow shirt and umbrella. For more information visit

Beautiful Sunsets

Thankfully, sunsets will always be free, and one of the best spots in Rio de Janeiro to see the sunset is at Arpoador, a large rock tucked in at the end of Ipanema beach. Every clear night, groups of people head to the rock and settle down to watch the sun sink behind the horizon across the ocean, with the Two Brothers peak outlined by the warm red-and-orange glow of the sky.

Escadaria Selaron

The 215 tile covered steps created by Chilean-born Jorge Selaron between 1999-2013, is the most
iconic attraction in Rio! The staircase has gained notoriety throughout the years and has been featured in Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams music video for Beautiful. Located in Lapa leading up to Santa Teresa, the steps are a popular place for travelers worldwide. 

Get Active at Rio's Famous Lagoon

The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is a great place for walking, running, and biking. The area is quite big and there’s a trail that’s about 4.5 miles long. From here you can see many of Rio’s top tourist attractions, including the Christ the Redeemer statue, Dois Irmãos and Pedra da Gávea.
Cachoeiro do Horto Waterfall and Vista Chinesa

Vista Chinesa and Cachoeiro do Horto waterfall, located deep in the heart of the Tijuca Forest, is a wonderful place to spend your morning. 

Take the hidden jungle-clad trail off the road to Vista Chinesa and wander into the forest. Midway up, you'll discover Cachoeiro do Horto, a small waterfall tucked away over vertical rocks. Enjoy a nice refreshing swim in fresh water and if you're lucky the monkeys will come out to play!

At the top of Vista Chinesa you will discover a Chinese-style pagoda built in tribute to the Chinese immigrants who were brought to the city to work in the tea farms. Enjoy panoramic views of the city for free!


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