I loved Rio De Janero but I wasn’t impressed with the hotel accommodations. Most of the hotels are pretty old. There isn’t much new construction in the Copacabana area when it comes to high end hotels. It took me forever to decide on a place to stay. Nothing really tickled my fancy, if you know what I mean. Nothing spoke to my inner bourgeois. The Belmond Copacabana Palace is considered the top hotel in the Copacabana area, but it didn’t sing to my spirit. I love modern décor, clean white lines. The Belmond has that traditional luxury décor. It gave me old school vibes. As an agency owner, I understand that everyone’s travel style is different. Everyone doesn’t need luxury accommodations and custom curated experiences.
Here’s a few tips to help you make the most of your experience.
- Believe it or not, you can snag a beachfront hotel for under $150 a night. Of course there are some hotels that will cost a little more. But you can secure a decent 4 star at that rate. Now, just because your property is located on the beach. That doesn’t mean all rooms will have beach views. If you select an entry level room, you may get a city view or a view of another building. The better the view, the more the room will cost. Now if you are really on a budget crunch. There’s always hostels, but that’s not my ministry.
- Instead of booking with a tour operator, do self guided tours whenever you can. You will be able to tour at your own pace. I suggest going to Christ the Redeemer as soon as it opens. It gets crowded pretty fast and maybe difficult to get a great shot. Not using a tour operator, you could miss out on their knowledge and expertise that they are able to provide. There’s pros and cons to each option. Choose the option that best suits your needs and travel style.
- If time is of the essence and Copacabana is just another drop in the bucket. You can actually visit all of the major tourist attractions in one day. You can knock them out within 8 hours Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Maracanã, Cathedral and Selarón. Doing it this way saves you time and is less expensive than booking individual tours. The average full day tour will cost $70 - $125, most will include lunch. You will have the remainder of your trip to do as you please.
- Eating along the beach can be pretty expensive. Yes it’s convenient, but your typical pasta dinner may cost $28, instead of $15. Take the back roads and side treats. You will find some great local eateries. That won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Getting to your hotel. Private roundtrip airport transfer can cost $55 - $70. That’s pretty steep! I suggest using a ride sharing app like Uber. Transfer from the airport to Copacabana averages $9 - $15 each way. An even cheaper option is using the public transportation system.
- If you are planning to stay within the city center of Copacabana, a car isn’t needed. Traffic is the pits and paying for valet can really eat up your budget. You can pretty much walk, Uber, take the bus or hop in a cab. These options are very inexpensive. If you are going to take a cab, I recommend only using a taxi service and or driver that’s affiliated with your hotel. It isn’t uncommon for taxi drivers to have fake registration papers. If you don’t speak Portuguese, I suggest keeping a translation app close by.
Make sure you try an acai bowl. Your taste buds will thank me. It’s nothing like the crap they feed us in the states.
Brazil no longer requires Americans to have a VISA to enter into the country. Yay!!
I hope these tips, help you plan an amazing experience. Rio de Janerio is truly a beauty. Take advantage of all it has to offer, great food, unique history, amazing culture and picturesque landmarks. Happy Travels