Among many new developments tied to the Summer Olympics, Rio is investing heavily in reinventing its derelict waterfront. The Porto Maravilha plan will bring light rail and several new museums, along with bike paths, public parks and thousands of new trees. The 15-year, R$8 billion project will happen in stages, with the Rio Art Museum opened in 2013, and the Museum of Tomorrow in 2014.
Maracana Football Stadium
Brazil’s most hallowed football arena received an RS800 million makeover in preparation for the World Cup and Summer Olympics, dramatically improving its on-site facilities while retaining its heritage-listed facade.
Cidade das Artes
The City of Arts Cidade das Artes ﬁnally opened in 2013. The high-tech Barra da Tijuca concert hall will host a wide ranging repertoire and is the new home of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.
Museum of Image & Sound
In Copacabana, construction is underway on the high-tech Museu do Imagem e Som, an R$88 million waterfront project designed by the award-winning Diller Scoﬁdio + Renfro.
Work continues on Rio’s underground. The Linha 4 expansion, due for completion by 2016, will ﬁnally connect Barra cla Tijuca in the west to Ipanema and Leblon.
Studio & Bar Astor
The music has returned to Ipanemal Studio RJ is a great new concert space with diverse programming (rock, jazz, samba). Downstairs is the new Bar Astor, an instant classic.
Molecular gastronomy arrives in Rio with Oro (opened in 2010) top of the pack among a crop of celebrated new restaurants. Felipe Bronze prepares brilliantly imaginative dishes, up to nine courses.
Rio is investing heavily in favela improvements, and security has improved markedly in recent years. Some favelas are drawing tourists, such as Complexo do Alemio, with its scenic cable car.
After more than two years of renovations, the 1909 Theatro Municipal has been restored to its full gilded glory. Take a guided tour for an in-depth look.
- Metro – The most convenient way to get around. Trains run from 5am to midnight Monday through Saturday, and 7am to 11pm on Sunday and holidays. Single rides cost R$3.20. Rates are higher at night and on Sundays.
- Bus – Buses are frequent and cheap, with destinations listed above the windscreen. Fares on buses are around RS3.
- Taxi – Useful at night. Rates start at RS450 plus RS1.6o per kilometer.
- Bike – A shared-bike scheme, Bike Rio has numerous stations around town. You’ll need a local cellphone number to release the bikes at each station.
Rio’s most popular accommodations include high-rise hotels on the beachfront, small art-minded guesthouses (particularly in Santa Teresa) and stylish hostels. No matter where you stay, you probably won’t get much value for the money. Rio’s rates are inflated, and you’ll pay a premium (double or triple the normal price) during Carnaval and New Year’s Eve, with minimum stays (four to seven nights) usually required. You can save money by renting an apartment. Book at least two or three months in advance during high season.