The tourist highlights of Rio de Janeiro combined with a cooking course

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
8
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
8
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
3
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
10
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
9
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
72 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
South America
country
Brazil
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 275
Time of year visited
March
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
98th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 30% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

The views over stunning Rio de Janeiro Harbour ( . . . one of the Natural Wonders of the World) from Sugar Loaf Mountain, walking along the sands of the world-famous Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, and heading up the cog train to see Christ the Redeemer (. . . one of the Wonders of the World), Rio has about as many world-class highlights as any city in the world and is a must if visiting Brazil

 

Naturally, with such fame comes crowds, and it’s hard to really avoid them in the main sites where it can be a bit energy sapping as you’re queuing and wedged in with thousands of fellow tourists.  My biggest tip to counter this is to break up your visits to the main sites with a chilled out day on one of the beaches, the real heart of Rio, and to join one of the high-tempo Brazilian cooking courses, in particular with the now famous Simone Almeida’s Cook in Rio located in the Copacabana neighbourhood.  You’ll learn to make 4 traditional Brazilian dishes, but its the enthusiasm Simone provides, to both the food and the endless caipirinhas she plugs you with, that makes this so fun

 

The combination of the world-famous highlights of Rio and the fun of the cooking class made these 2 days in Rio a superb experience

 

I only stayed in Rio for 3 days so don’t feel that I can do this superb city justice with a full review, but the one extra tip I will give is to just be aware of the crime risk.  As with all large Brazilian cities, crime is a problem so use a bit of common sense.  Always carry something to hand over like a basic wallet with some small cash in if, in the unfortunate instance, you do get robbed, and hand everything over you have been asked – thieves in Latin America really don’t mess about.  Take taxis in the evening, and totally avoid the beaches at night.  In fact, the beaches are so huge, that you can actually get robbed in the daytime – fun times!

highlights

#1 Taking the cog train up to see one of the 7 Wonders of the World - the Christ the Redeemer Statue

#2 Taking a cooking course and learning 4 traditional Brazilian dishes with the wonderful Simone Almeida

#3 The views down on Rio Harbour, one of the Natural Wonders of the World, with Christ the Redeemer in the distance from Sugar Loaf Mountain

#4 Taking the cable car up to Sugar Loaf Mountain for dynamic views across the city

#5 Getting tucked into some afternoon caipirinhas either during the cooking class or on the beach for the sunset

#6 The full views across the city from the Christ the Redeemer Statue

#7 Seeing some of the street art in the Copacabana neighbourhood

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone