5 Nights in Rio - Rainy Day Ideas

Old Feb 29th, 2016, 11:16 AM
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5 Nights in Rio - Rainy Day Ideas

My fiance and I are headed to Rio de Janeiro for the first time in just a few weeks from now. We are only spending 5 nights in the city before returning to New York, landing on a Thursday morning and flying home overnight on a Tuesday.

I've been through quite a few threads and gotten a good shortlist of places/things/activities to shortlist like Corcovado and Sugar Loaf, Lapa and Santa Teresa, beach time, Jardim Botanico, some nightlife, maybe a daytrip to Paraty or Ilha Grande. Looking at the current and future forecast, it sounds like we should prepare for less sunbathing, more rain and thunderstorms.

So to that end, does anyone have any great ideas for how to really enjoy a rainy stay in Rio? Bad weather will probably not be good for beach time or Paraty or the two major viewpoints, but I imagine we could still enjoy the Jardim Botanico and the Santa Teresa neighborhoods. It seems as though a major draw to Rio is just absorbing the city and being outside and on the beaches and observing and participating in Carioca life and culture. Is the vibe significantly different in the rain? (I would imagine so). Would you recommend Museu de Arte Contemporânea or Museu de Arte Moderna or Museu de Arte do Rio or something else? Any alternative daytrips we should consider if its a washout for Ilha Grande or Paraty? Petropolis?

Just trying to get a sense of how to prepare for rainy Rio, and at least have a strategy and not be completely disappointed by not getting to experience the sunny vision of the city that beckoned us to book this trip. Thank you for any ideas!!

(Also a heads up for Americans looking to travel ahead of the World Cup and the waived visa requirement: the New York Consulate is processing visas with a 5 business day turn around, so you can do last minute Brazil trips right now!)
inspiredexplorer is offline  
Old Feb 29th, 2016, 02:34 PM
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Hoping you will find some sunny days to visit Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado, and hit the beaches. You could visit the Botanic Gardens and Santa Teresa in the rain, especially if it's light; be aware the cobblestones of Santa Teresa may become slippery in the rain. Also be mindful of deserted streets if you find yourself in bad weather, especially in neighborhoods such as Santa Teresa and Lapa. I personally enjoyed the exterior of the Contemporary Art Museum, along with the ferry to Niteroi and coastal walk, more than the interior, which would make for a dry day activity.

The downtown Centro neighborhood may be a good place to be on a rainy day due to the number of indoor attractions. A tour of the Municipal Theater may be worth your time. You can also visit the numerous museums and churches in the area, including the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Fine Arts Museum, the Imperial Palace, and former National Parliament building.

If you are into shopping, then you can also wander the streets of Ipanema on a rainy day.

I would advise against Paraty or Ilha Grande on such a short visit, because you won't have enough time to enjoy them on a day trip. If you want to get out of the city, then perhaps take a day trip to Petropolis, which is about an hour and a half outside of the city; you can visit the royal palace, wander the town, and not feel rushed in a day.

I fell in love with Rio with my first visit and hope you do too.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 03:50 PM
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It's still warm, and Rio is a walking city, so just break out your big umbrella and get going on exploring the neighborhoods. When you get tired, find a bar with covered outdoor seating to have a beer and a coxinha, and do some people watching. Spend a weekend afternoon eating a typical leisurely feijoada lunch with the cariocas.
On the weekdays, you could visit the historic buildings in the centro during working hours, but not weekends or nights when there aren't a lot of people.
There are plenty of museums and trendy shopping malls. One of the most recent museums to open is the interesting architecture of the Museum of Tomorrow in the port area, which is undergoing major renovations. I also like the little ethnographic museum in the Quinta de Boa Vista park, also home to the zoo, kiddie rides, food stands, and which is full of Carioca families on a nice Sunday. At the nearby Sambodromo, you can take photos while trying on Carnaval costumes at the little shop at the exit.
There are lots of places to listen to music and go dancing until the wee hours, so it might be nice to sleep in of a morning. You can also go to the indoor Feira Nordestino, for music, food and shopping.
You can ride the newly reopened bondinho up into Santa Teresa or take the fun ferry ride across the bay to Niteroi. Get a taxi to drive up into Tijuca park to see the waterfalls, maybe some monkeys, and if clear enough, stop at a couple of the vista points like Vista Chinesa.

Neither Ilha Grande nor Paraty is a reasonable day trip IMO, because of distance and logistics (ferry schedules to the island). Any day tour on offer is likely to be an endurance contest for little time at the destination.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 05:13 PM
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Even if the forecast is for rain, it is unlikely to rain the whole day. Make sure to spend a few hours on the sand in Ipanema. Even if it's cloudy, you can still swim, enjoy looking at the locals and sample the many snacks offered by the roving vendors.

I like the Tijuca Forest idea suggested above. Also consider a soccer game at the Maracana. There's nothing more Brazilian than that. Any tour agency can arrange that or you can do it on your own if you're feeling adventurous.

Walk along Praia do Flamengo. The water is too dirty for swimming but it's great for people watching. The Carmen Miranda Museum is in the area and is worth half an hour or so.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday you can go to the Feira de Nordestina.
Heading up to Lapa on Friday night is popular for partying.

You can also do a favela tour. If you do, try to get one that is run by people who actually live there.
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 08:02 PM
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"Even if the forecast is for rain, it is unlikely to rain the whole day."

That is only true at certain times of year.
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 05:03 AM
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Thank you everyone so much for the ideas and reassurance!

I'll take Paraty/Ilha Grande off our shortlist, especially because if it is rainy, the nicer days will definitely be eaten up by beach time and Sugar Loaf/Corcovado.

Will add Centro, Tijuca, and long weekend meals to the shortlist as well, for rainy alternatives. And SambaChula your suggestion to pair later nights of dancing with sleeping in also sounds great.

Trebex we would love to see a soccer game while there! I think the Maracana may not be hosting games right now to keep the field in good condition for the Olympics, but I will look into alternate venues in Rio (I assume the soccer must go on).
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 09:32 AM
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There is also the Engenhão stadium in Rio. I don't follow soccer (oh my!!!!), so I can't help with fixtures or even how to look for them online, but if you post on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum for Brazil, there are a number of regular posters there very familiar with the schedules for Rio.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 06:38 AM
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Thanks, SambaChula! I wound up just googling the 4 big clubs in Rio and their schedules, and unfortunately it looks like we're arriving in a lull point between the Rio league group stage and the Copa do Brasil, which is unlucky but oh well.

We'll again hope for a day of nice beach weather and see some futevôlei instead.
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