Planning Your Time

The many attractions of Rio de Janeiro fan out in all directions from the city itself, so it makes sense to focus your time on one region, whether it be the mountainous inland, the Sun Coast, or the Green Coast. Whichever direction you head, trips along the coast invariably merit a few days. Anyone heading down the Costa Verde should allow for at least a couple of nights' stay on lovely Ilha Grande, and once back on the mainland, it's a couple of hours' scenic drive to Paraty. While the highlights of this historic town can be seen in one day and night, those who can spare the time may well want to head to the tranquil beach village of Trindade nearby.

The highlights of Rio's sister city, Niterói, can be seen in a morning or afternoon, and sun lovers will want to set aside at least a couple of nights to visit the beach resorts that lie farther up the coast. The aptly named Costa do Sol is home to some of the best beaches in the state. Make your base in Búzios, where chic accommodation options abound, and take a day trip to the beaches of Cabo Frio and Arraial do Cabo as well as setting aside at least one full day to take a boat trip to some of Búzios's best beaches. Partiers should allow time in their schedules for late nights and lazy mornings.

The mountainous north is often visited as a day trip from Rio, taking in the imperial town of Petrópolis, but hikers and climbers may want to spend a couple of days scaling the peaks that surround nearby Teresópolis.

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