What to do with 24 hours in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s most popular destinations and the second largest city in Brazil after Sao Paulo. In fact, Rio de Janeiro is the sixth most populous city in the Americas. Despite it being the most visited city in the Southern Hemisphere, it maintains it natural setting with a tremendous amount of outdoor activities to do that range from paragliding to trail hiking to amazing sightseeing spots.

Unless you are going to Rio de Janeiro on vacation with ample and deciated time to discover what this beautiful city has to offer, you will have to plan your post-work adventures very carefully or you will not be successful. If you are travelling on business and want to truly have the time to visit the most popular locations, I recommend you stay an extra day and fly out on a red-eye flight.  That will give you 24 hours to get out, explore and soak in the Brazilian culture.


Boldly said, traffic is horrible in Rio de Janeiro so give yourself ample time to travel from one location to another. I highly suggest you stay near to where you want to spend most of your time. Otherwise you will spend hours every day in traffic getting to and from your destinations.

What to do with only 24 hours

If you only have 24 hours to venture about the city, these are the activity you must do and sights you must see.

Christ the Redeemer

Locally know as Cristo Redentor, it is an art deco statue located at the peak of the 2,300 foot Corcovado mountain. You can get to the top by railway or by car. The city views in almost every direction are amazing. Hence, it is one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf is a peak on the Guanabara Bay with a height close to 1,300 feet and a spectacular view of the harbor.

To reach the Sugarloaf peak you must first take a cable car up the Morro de Urca mountain.  You then transfer to a second cable car that crosses and ascends over to Sugarloaf.  The view across to Sugarloaf is amazing so have your camera ready for the three-minute transit over and stand by the window for the best pictures.

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens

The 140-hectare Botanical Garden sits at the bottom of the Corcovado mountain. I consider it one of the quietest locations within the city while simultaneously displaying the diverse flora found in Brazil.  The garden also features a few greenhouses and some monuments of archaeological and historical significance.


Copacabana is one of the most famous beaches in the world with two and a half miles of beautiful shoreline. The architectural diversity, waterfront restaurants, bars and night clubs stretch across the entire beach. You can lay on the beach, run along the sidewalk, watch or play volleyball, enjoy live music by local artists with a beverage or simply sit back and enjoy the view. Regardless of your choice, it will be fun and an experience you cannot leave without doing.


Rio de Janeiro is a wonderful, beautiful and vibrant city that you must visit at least one time in your life. Take a few days and go on vacation to explore or stay the extra day if you’re traveling on business. Either way, you will have a great time.