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4 Hidden Gems to Visit in Rio de Janeiro

Pia Vuolteenaho

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Pia Vuolteenaho

Last updated : Dec 29, 20226 min read

Things To Do

From the majestic statue of Christ the Redeemer, to the imposing form of Sugarloaf Mountain, many of Rio de Janeiro's most famous attractions are so big and so bold that they're impossible to miss. While the Marvelous City is dotted with these larger-than-life landmarks, it is also home to countless hidden gems that go overlooked by most visitors.

If you're interested in discovering Rio de Janeiro's underground gems, guidebooks can only take you so far. Our top tip? Get to know the city beyond its most obvious tourist attractions by booking a private tour with an expert Brazil tour guide. To help get you inspired, this article will introduce you to 4 hidden gems located in Rio de Janeiro.

Olympic Boulevard

blog imageThere is no better place to witness Rio de Janeiro's bright and colorful beauty than the Olympic Boulevard. Located on the seafront just moments from the famous Museu do Amanhã, the boulevard is framed by a larger-than-life mural that's bursting with color and creativity. The painting was created by celebrated Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra for the 2016 Rio Olympics. The rainbow hued mural is almost 3,000 square meters in size, making it one of the largest graffiti artworks in the world. Kobra and his team worked around the clock for two months to complete this masterpiece, going through thousands of cans of spray paint in the process.

Titled "Las Etnias" (“The Ethnic Groups” in English), the massive mural depicts five characters symbolizing the five Olympic rings. Each person depicted in the mural represents a different ethnicity, with characters inspired by the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. The painting is a testament to the diversity which the Olympics represent and a potent reminder of how we are all one. The artwork was in fact originally called "Todos Somos Um" which means "We Are One" in Portuguese. The vibrant mural is guaranteed to catch your eye. It also provides photo ops that are second to none!

Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading

blog imageWith its bustling beaches, lively samba carnivals, and intense soccer matches - Rio de Janeiro exudes a vibrant energy. If you know where to look, the city also offers prime opportunity for more quiet pursuits, far removed from the hustle and bustle. Every book lover visiting Rio de Janeiro should definitely add a trip to the beautiful Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading to their bucket list.

Located in the city center, this historic library was first established in 1837. Today, it houses an impressive collection of some 350,000 titles - with thousands of new books added every year. This is the largest collection of Portuguese books that exists outside of Portugal itself. Even if you don't read the language, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading is well worth visiting. The establishment has repeatedly been named one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and it's easy to see why. The building features stunning Gothic architectural influences, but the real highlights are of course the books themselves. The artful arrangement of books lining the library's walls immediately brings to mind Belle's beloved library in Beauty and the Beast!

Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences

blog image

  Leandro Ciuffo, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

 

Many of the most famous museums in Rio de Janeiro have become popular tourist attractions. While places like Museu do Amanhã and the National Museum are routinely included among Rio's top attractions, the Museum of Astronomy and Related Sciences gets much less attention, despite being located close to the city center (and less than 2 kilometers from the National Museum). Though the venue is smaller and more modest than its more famous counterparts, it makes for a very rewarding outing - especially if you plan your visit for a clear and starry night.

The museum is nestled amongst leafy gardens protected by high walls. This inward-facing layout really makes it feel like you've discovered a hidden gem as you step through the gate. The venue offers an interesting permanent collection of scientific instruments and also displays a scale model of the solar system. The real draw are the numerous telescopes which allow visitors to gaze at the starry night sky. Keep safety in mind if you are visiting the museum after dark, and consider enlisting the services of one of our vetted Rio de Janeiro private tour guides for added safety.

Cachoeira do Horto

blog image

Mcalvet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

With its iconic cityscape, it's easy to forget that Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by the wild and untamed tropics. A great way to plan a quick retreat to nature without wandering too far from the city is by visiting the Tijuca National Park. The park is home to several beautiful waterfalls, one of them being Cachoeira do Horto. This waterfall is relatively unknown to visitors, so you'll definitely need the help of one of our Rio de Janeiro tour guides to show you the way. The trek to the waterfall can be a bit challenging in places, but as soon as you arrive, you will realize that Cachoeira do Horto is well worth the effort.

Though the waterfall is not huge in size, it does feel like a beautiful tropical oasis hidden from the crowds. This is a magical setting in which to enjoy a cool dip surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rainforest - though the water can be surprisingly cold! Before jumping in, check with your guide to make sure you’re familiar with any swimming rules, such as knowing where the shallow and deep ends are located. While enjoying all this natural beauty, it's easy to forget that you're just moments away from some of Brazil’s largest urban centers.

Conclusion

Rio de Janeiro is a massive multicultural city with much to offer. From inspiring cultural landmarks to stunning natural wonders, this Brazilian metropolis is guaranteed to leave you in awe. Customizable Rio de Janeiro private tours are the best way to experience the city to the fullest. Our guides can introduce you to Rio's most iconic landmarks, as well as sharing the secrets of the many hidden gems tucked inside this huge and vibrant city.

Written by Pia Vuolteenaho

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GoWithGuide’s writers are passionate travel specialists sharing unique tips and essential information for global explorers.

Rio de Janeiro Tour Guide - Marcelo C.

Marcelo C.

Brazil

Hi! My name is Marcelo I´am a Tour Guide in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. Working for more than 35 years with tourism and hospitality industry, as a travel agent, tour operator and many years as a Hotel Concierge, I am prepared to offer you a personalized itinerary and provide the best experience in Rio. So, See You in Rio?                                                                                                                                  

Sao Paulo Tour Guide - Mohamed amine E.

Mohamed amine E.

Brazil

Hi! I'm Mohamed-Amine Please call me Amine. I was born in Morocco but have worked and living in Brazil for nearly 20 years. I'm very familiar with the many sightseeing spots and attractions of the Country thanks to my long-term life experience in this city. Brazil is a fascinating and picturesque country visited by more then 10 millions tourists every year. I have guided many foreign tourists as an English & French-speaking tour guide for the past lasts years. So after serval years I decide to open my own travel Agency to make people discovering this wonderful country through tailor made guided tours. I like to make people happy. Moreover, I am interested in Brazilian history, culture, and geography, and I also like intercultural exchanges! I can show you the best of Brazil not only popular historical sites and relics but also hidden spots which only locals know. I always enjoy guiding every tourist with my best hospitality. When you have a chance to visit Brazil, please contact me anytime and join one of my tours!                                                                                                                                 

Rio de Janeiro Tour Guide - Kelly T.

Kelly T.

Brazil

I have a background MA in Arts Management at the University of Oregon in the USA and I am a professional tour guide since 2014 in Brasil. I am passionate about nature, culture and the arts. I am an ever adventurous person, always looking forward to connect with diverse cultures and valuing their traditions. I seek and invite you to try out the unexpected, to feel the flavors and vibes, to experience live music, the scents of coffees and cachaças’ spirit, fresh food, and the lush scenery of Rio. Come experience our cultural ancestry through nature and material and immaterial traces. I live each moment with enthusiasm and I share it with people who want to live the same, worshiping life with passion and connecting with others. Storyteller, arts educator and tour guide, three main activities that Kelly Tavares, born and raised in Rio, has been practicing for years. Photography, art and traveling three hobbies she has cultivated since graduation at the School of Fine Arts of Brazil. I am a Community Cultural Producer, multicultural facilitator and language teacher, three professional activities which have been part of my life since graduation from the University of Oregon, USA. I work with love for the causes I believe and I will share unforgettable moments in Rio, through authentic experiences, mixing present and past, personal and cultural history, and a bit of everything you can imagine. I have been running presentation and livestreamed virtual tours for two years already, having developed and used different transmedia methods, such as audio guides, virtual livestreamed and multimedia presentations to showcase and present Rio de Janeiro.                                                                                                                                  

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