Rio de Janeiro is arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world! Spending 2 Days in Rio de Janeiro is a decent amount of time to get a taste of what this dynamic beachside city has to offer.
I spent one weekend in Rio and have put together this Rio de Janeiro Itinerary with the best things to see and do to help you craft together your own trip!
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WHERE IS RIO DE JANEIRO & HOW TO GET THERE
Rio de Janeiro is located on the southeast coast of Brazil and it is the second-largest city in the country with a population of 6.3 million people.
The best and easiest way of reaching Rio de Janeiro is by plane. Daily flights operate in and out of Rio de Janeiro International Airport, connecting domestic and international travelers from around the world.
Rio de Janeiro city is a thirty-minute drive from the airport.
Search All ∼ Flights to Rio de Janeiro on Skyscanner.com
The iconic city of Rio de Janeiro – 2 days in Rio
2 DAYS IN RIO ITINERARY
I have put together this 2 Day Rio Itinerary which includes the best spots that I highly recommend visiting during the time that you have in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro Itinerary Day 1:
- Copacabana Beach
- Ipanema beach
- Two Brothers Mountain
Rio de Janeiro Itinerary Day 2:
- Lapa Stairs
- Rio Walking Tour
- Christ The Redeemer
RIO DE JANEIRO ITINERARY – DAY 1:
The first thing you’re going to want to do in Rio is hit the beach and taking a stroll down to Copacabana is a great place to start!
Copacabana is one of Rio’s best beaches that buzzes with energy and can be a lot of fun. The long stretch of white sand beach at Copacabana is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, beach umbrellas and market stalls, offering something for everyone.
Join in on a game of beach volleyball or go for a body bash in the waves, all the while soaking in the terrific atmosphere.
Copacabana is a police patrolled beach and safe for tourists to visit at any time during the day though it’s always best to keep a close eye on your valuables, especially if you decide to go swimming.
Copacabana Beach – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
Copacabana Beach – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
Ipanema Beach was informally made popular by the hit song from the 60’s ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and a visit to this iconic beach will give you a sense of life in Rio.
From the south end of Copacabana Beach, it’s a short fifteen to twenty-minute walk around the rocky headland till you reach Ipanema Beach.
The sand and sea on Ipanema Beach are seemingly cleaner than that of Copacabana’s and you can also find plenty of fun activities to do such as surfing, volleyball, racket tennis and beach soccer along this stretch of sun-drenched shores.
What makes Ipanema a stand out location among most is the Two Brothers Mountains, also known as Morro Dois Irmãos, that tower dominantly above the southern end of Ipanema’s shoreline.
Grab a cold refreshment from one of the local beach sellers who roam up and down the sand or pop up to one of the many beach bars and restaurants for a quality meal with a side of people watching.
See All ∼ Tours in Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema Beach – 2 days in Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema Beach – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
TWO BROTHERS MOUNTAIN HIKE
Morro Dois Irmãos, is one of the best hikes in Rio de Janeiro, boasting incredible views of Ipanema beach and Rio’s cityscape from the summit. Be sure to add Dois Irmãos to your Rio de Janeiro itinerary as it’s not to be missed!
Dois Irmaos in English translates to Two Brothers which refers to the two iconic mountain peaks located at the south end of Ipanema Beach.
The Dois Irmãos hike goes above and beyond and I guarantee when you reach the summit after a short 45-minutes of hiking, it will exceed your expectations!
At the summit, you’ll be greeted with one of the best 360-degree panoramic viewpoints you’ve ever seen! A large sloping rockface at the top of Dois Irmãos is where to take the best pictures from, though do be careful because it is a long way down, 533m to be exact.
Enjoy extensive views of Rio de Janeiro, its beaches and the surrounding mountain ranges!
I have written a full blog post of the Two Brothers Mountain Hike with all the nitty-gritty details of how to get there and what to expect on the trail.
Click Here to give it a read.
Two Brothers Mountain – 2 Days in Rio
RIO DE JANEIRO ITINERARY – DAY 2
On day two of your Rio de Janeiro itinerary, I recommend heading to one of the world’s most beautiful staircases in the Lapa neighborhood.
The Lapa Stairs, also known as Selaron Staircase, are the works of the Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claims it was his tribute to the Brazilian people.
Lapa Stairs are truly a magnificent piece of artwork boasting colorful ceramics on each step that connects two bohemian neighborhoods, Lapa and Santa Teresa.
You would have surely seen countless pictures of Lapa Stairs on Instagram which ultimately means it is one of the most popular points of interest in Rio.
I recommend getting to the Selaron Staircase before 9:00 am to beat the crowds if you want that perfect Instagram shot.
Colorful ceramics at Lapa Stairs – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
RIO DE JANEIRO WALKING TOUR
A walking tour in Rio is one of the best ways to really immerse yourself in the Brazilian culture and learn more about the history of the city. The tour guides are full of energy and bucket loads of information that will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have while strolling around Rio’s hot spots.
There are dozens of tour operators and offices dotted around the city to book walking tours in Rio, but in my experience, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which operator to book a tour without being ripped off.
Alternatively, you can book a Rio walking tour online in advance to avoid the hassle of having to organise a trip once you have arrived.
I recommend finding a tour that best suits you on the Get Your Guide website. They have a variety of walking tours in Rio that are affordable and reliable!
Rio Walking Tours – 2 days in Rio
CHRIST THE REDEEMER
Last but not least on this 2 Days in Rio de Janeiro itinerary is Christ The Redeemer which is easily the most popular tourist attraction in Rio and perhaps the world.
Christ The Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor in Portuguese, is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ which stands a staggering 30m tall on the summit of Mount Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. It has been listed as one of the New 7 Wonders Of The World and has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.
There are a few ways of reaching the summit of Mount Corcovado to visit Christ The Redeemer and they are by walking, bus or funicular train.
If you decide to walk/hike to the summit you won’t have to pay an entrance fee for Christ The Redeemer, though bear in mind that it’s at least a one hour hike each way in the blistering sun.
My personal recommendation is to take the funicular train from the train station at the bottom of the Mount Corcovado and ride it to the very top which takes approximately twenty minutes. The cost is R$65 in low season and R$79 in high season.
Once you have finally reached the summit you can enjoy the most amazing panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro city! To avoid the crowds aim to go early in the morning or at sunset.
Find All ∼ Hostels & Hotels in Rio de Janeiro
Christ The Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
View from Christ The Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
Christ The Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
Christ The Redeemer – Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
WHERE TO STAY IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro has thousands of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of my favourite places to stay in Rio de Janeiro to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travellers.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Sofitel Rio de Janeiro Ipanema
This luxury 5-star hotel is located right on the edge of Rio’s most famous beach, Ipanema. The Sofitel features an outdoor pool, sauna, spa and gym, all with panoramic views of the ocean and Rio’s skyline. The rooms are spacious, stylish and comfortable with free wifi and breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Atlantis Copacabana Hotel
A 3-star hotel centrally located next to Copacabana beach and Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro. Atlantis features an outdoor terrace and a rooftop swimming pool. Free wifi is available at the hotel and a buffet breakfast is included. Each room offers cable TV, spacious living, air-conditioning and private bathrooms. Perfect for couples and families.
Budget: Solar Hostel Beach Copacabana
Rated one of the best hostels in Rio, ideally located at Copacabana beach. This budget hostel offers dorm rooms and private rooms, perfect for solo backpackers, friends and couples. There is a shared kitchen at this property and free wifi. For $8 a night, it’s pretty hard to beat!
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN RIO, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
RIO DE JANEIRO ITINERARY MAP
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AIRBNB RIO DE JANEIRO
Another option for accommodation in Rio de Janeiro is to stay at an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals.
WANT TO SAVE $$$ ON AIRBNB? GET MY AIRBNB MONEY SAVING GUIDE
MORE SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
If you are planning a trip to South America, be sure to check out my other travel guides below that you might find useful while crafting together your South America Itinerary:
Rio De Janeiro Guide: Rio de Janeiro Itinerary
Peru Travel Guide: 3 Weeks Peru Itinerary
Cusco Travel Guide: 10 Things To Do In Cusco
Rainbow Mountain Guide: Rainbow Mountain Trek
Machu Picchu Guide: Machu Picchu Mountain
Ausangate Guide: 9 Day Ausangate Trek
Huacachina Guide: Huacachina Oasis
Colca Canyon Guide: Colca Canyon Tour
Mendoza Travel Guide: Mendoza Wine Tour
Iguazu Falls Guide: Iguazu Falls
Buenos Aires Guide: 1 Day In Buenos Aires
Lake Titicaca Guide: Lake Titicaca Tour
Death Road Bolivia: Mountain Biking Death Road
Uyuni Travel Guide: Uyuni Salt Flats Bolivia
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WHAT TO PACK FOR RIO
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 year worth of content.
ONLINE ENGLISH TEACHING
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Teaching English online is one of the easiest and most flexible jobs out there! Become a Digital Nomad today where you get to choose your own hours and work remotely from anywhere in the world by teaching English online. All you need is a laptop, good WiFi connection, a TEFL certificate and you’re good to go!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out My Online Shop!
I’ve got a wide range of digital products for sale and I’m sure you’ll find something that will come in handy during your travels!
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF 2 DAYS IN RIO
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about this Rio de Janeiro Itinerary, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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