Travel stories, tips and suggestions from Brazil

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Unique Things To Do In RioOff -The Beaten

The Wanderbaums caught our eye with their fantastic Instagram account, and once we read their blog, we knew we wanted to have them as guest bloggers! They’ve written more about their time in Rio de Janeiro on their blog but have put together a great round-up of off-the-beaten-path must-dos while there, including some more of their great photos! 

5 Unique Things To Do In Rio de Janeiro

rio de janeiro, rio beaches, brazil beaches, brazil

Thanks to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro is quickly popping up on everyone’s radar. By the end of August next year, people everywhere will be exposed to the breathtaking views, the culture, and the must see spots all over Rio.

We were fortunate enough to visit back in 2013 and still haven’t gotten over how amazing this city is! Not only for all the top attractions like Sugarloaf mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Copacabana beach and dining at an all-you-can-eat steak house, but also for the smaller, hidden experiences you can discover in a city of 6 million people.

We’ve put together our top 5 “off the beaten path” things to do in Rio.

1. Try Some Local Delicacies

rio juice, juice in brazil

We are self-proclaimed foodies and when we travel, we get serious when it comes to researching restaurants and local cuisine to try on the trip. Many guide books will make sure you are aware of the Brazilian classic dish, feijoada, which is a beef and stew lunch favorite and many times served with the national drink, a caipirinha (South American take on a margarita). Though those may be the most popular local choices, a couple of our favorite treats turned out to be dulce de leche churros and coconut water straight from the fruit, both sold right on the beach.

coconuts on the beach rio de janeiro

Brazilians are much more into juicing than coffee or tea so we stopped at several juice bars to get some fresh pressed juices. The açai berry is extremely popular here in the states, but it originates in Brazil so do yourself a favor and get an açai smoothie the second you arrive- and every day until you leave!

churros brazil, rio brazil,

As for real substance, we enjoyed Spanish tapas the most. We took a taxi to a place we researched and when we arrived, we got out, the taxi left and we weren’t in the right spot. So we walked down the street and found a different tapas restaurant set in a beautiful white house, Entre Tapas. We were the only non-Cariocas (cariocas are people from Rio) and relied heavily on origins of words to order from a Portuguese menu but we had some of the best authentic Spanish tapas ever! A pleasant happenstance indeed.

2. Hit Up A Hippie Market

hippie market rio, rio de janeiro

Hippie market, flea market, open-air market, whatever term you prefer, use it and find one in Rio! We were dropped at the Hippie fair in Ipenema and found a huge array of artisan products from handmade pottery and jewelry to mugs and t-shirts. We found some amazing art that was priced so well we wound up buying several pieces and bonus, most of it was unframed and worked well to pack in our luggage.

3. Checkout Escadaria Selarón

Selaron Brazil

This alley is pretty popular now thanks to Pinterest, but it’s most definitely a photo worthy stop. A little west of the city center is a winding pedestrian street with mosaic tile art covering the stairs leading up to the Saint Teresa neighborhood. Just don’t go too far up the path because they lead to a rough, impoverished area. The Selarón artwork is much more touristy now so safety is less of a concern, but being aware is just as important.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Venture Into the City Centre

rio de janeiro city center

Going into the heart of the city, where the locals work and live, is not great for English-only speakers, but it’s very doable to get by. I’m going to get on my soap box for a second so bare with me… Honestly, we came across many language barriers in Rio, but we were blessed with wonderfully friendly Cariocas that were willing to give us directions, help us understand the ordering system at restaurants, explain road signs for us and they did it with the friendliest smiles! Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re lost or confused. Guide books can only help you for so long!

Travessa do Comercio rio de janeiro

Anyway back to the city center… It’s beautiful, full of gorgeous 17th and 18th century architecture and it has the most authentic spot for cafés and pastries. Specifically, the Travessa do Comércio area where the cobblestone alleyways are filled with restaurants and coffee shops. It sounds a lot more like Italy than Rio, but that’s what we loved about the city, so magnificently unexpected!

5. Explore A Different Beach

ipanema beach rio de janeiro

Most moderately priced hotels will be on Copacabana beach which is why many tourists stay put, but if you venture just a little south, along the coast line, you’ll hit Ipanema and Leblon beaches. If you like your space, Leblon tends to be less crowded and Ipanema is famous for its views of the twin brothers (Dois Irmãos) mountain. It’s worth the
visit just to see it at sunset.

Both areas offer restaurants and wonderful shopping just across the street from the sand. It’s like taking a taxi from Soho, New York and ending up at Miami beach… Does it get any better?

twin brothers rio de janeiro

If you plan to visit Rio de Janiero in the future, we hope these things make your list. Also, check out our detailed blog post about the more popular and frequented visited places in Rio.


Do you have a favourite off-the-beaten-path destination in Rio? Comment below and tell us about it!


From The Wanderbaums!


If you are interested, please visit our site over at

We also want to thank Carolann and Macrae for allowing us space on their site to tell you all about our Brazil trip! Thank you guys so much!!

Until Next Time, C + D