Copacabana sidewalk

The next stop in our Five Healthy Days tour is Brazil’s second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro. This vibrant South American metropolis is brimming with activities to do and places to go, including tropical rainforests, white sandy beaches, and a Carnival celebration like no other. After all, there’s a reason why it’s called the Cidade Maravilhosa, or the “Marvelous City.”

The home of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the origin of Samba dance and music, Rio de Janeiro is a cultural hub just waiting to be explored. Food, dance, museums, and a gothic-style castle all await you, and we promise Rio won’t disappoint.

As far as logistics go, here are a couple of tips: Many natives understand some level of English in this Portuguese-speaking country, but we also recommend bringing a translation dictionary and learning a few basic phrases to better communicate with the locals.

Also, the best way to get around the city is by cab or public transportation via the bus or Metro Rio, which is Rio’s subway system.

With that said, here’s your itinerary for five healthy days in the fabulous city of Rio de Janeiro:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Welcome to Rio! Kick off your first day in Rio with a delicious breakfast at Café du Lage. Enjoy fresh fruit and a couple of slices of homemade bread with jam and butter.
  • Workout: Head over to Tijuca National Park and take a forest tour – a four-hour hike through the largest urban forest in the world. Yes, it’s a forest in the middle of the bustling city, and you’ll definitely want to visit and check out the local wildlife and plants.
  • Lunch: Stop by the Zazá Bistrô Tropical for a light lunch, featuring local organic products. Try the Royal Quinoa Salad or the Curry Chicken Organic for a healthy and satisfying meal.
  • Mind/Body Balance: Grab your sunscreen and head over to Ipanema Beach for a little R&R and sunbathing with the locals.
  • Must-See Attraction: It’s difficult to go to Rio and not notice the giant Christ the Redeemer statue at the top of Corcovado mountain. Even if you’re not the religious type, the incredible view of the city is definitely worth the trip to the top.
  • Dinner: For dinner, head over to Porcão for authentic Brazilian cuisine. Known for cooking their meats churrasco-style, which is Portuguese for “barbeque,” Porcão features a vast menu that includes steaks, poultry, and fish. There’s also an incredible salad bar that won’t disappoint vegetarians.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Jump-start the day with a light breakfast and a delicious cup of coffee on the outside patio at Cafecito.
  • Workout: Mosey on over to Cinelândia and take a bike tour around the city. There’s a lot to see, and you’ll enjoy this three-hour bike tour that will take you by just about everything worth seeing in Rio.
  • Lunch: After your long bike ride, refuel with a salad and sandwich at Café do Forte, which faces Rio’s most famous beach, Copacabana.
  • Mind/Body Balance: Take a glimpse back into the history of Brazil with a visit to Ilha Fiscal, a castle that was the customs house for the former Brazilian Empire during the 19th century. Located on a tiny island in Guanabara Bay, you’ll enjoy the sight of this beautiful building and an equally breathtaking view of the waters that surround it.
  • Must-See Attraction: Walk around Brazil’s natural history museum, Museu Histórico Nacional. Immerse yourself in centuries of Brazilian culture as you view over 250,000 pieces of the country’s history. From old relics of the indigenous natives to massive oil paintings and displays of imperial coaches, you’ll learn a lot about the country’s rich history.
  • Dinner: Be sure to bring your dancing shoes tonight, because you’ll be dining and dancing at Rio Scenarium in Lapa. Try the grilled fillet of sole with mushrooms. Don’t forget to stick around after dinner as well — the restaurant turns into a dance club at night!

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Try not to be tempted to eat every baguette in sight at The Bakers. Stick with the fruit salad and a croissant or a slice of bread with jam, and you’ll be in the healthy “safe zone.”
  • Workout: Whether or not you busted a move after dinner last night, you can’t come to Rio without trying to samba. And since dancing is one of the best workouts for your body, today’s the day for some samba lessons. You won’t regret it!
  • Lunch: Since you most likely worked up a hearty appetite, grab a tasty Mediterranean-style lunch at Amir. Enjoy hummus, pita, and maybe a falafel or the vegetarian platter.
  • Mind/Body Balance: Even though you only got to see Copacabana beach yesterday, now’s the time to enjoy it. No promises that Barry Manilow will be there to serenade you, though. Sorry!
  • Must-See Attraction: You may have noticed a giant mountain over the last couple of days, which is locally known as Pão de Açúcar, or Sugar Loaf Mountain. Visit this incredible natural attraction by taking the cable car ride to the top of the mountain. If you can, go during sunset for a truly spectacular view.
  • Dinner: At the bottom of Sugar Loaf Mountain is Zozô, a restaurant beloved by tourists and locals alike for its great ambiance, food, and music.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: It’s going to be another fun-packed day today, so get your protein fix from a fresh omelet at Alessandro & Frederico Café.
  • Workout: Discover the rainforests of Rio with a canopy zip lining tour. Be sure to call and make a reservation in advance, because the trips book up fast, and you’ll want to arrange transportation from your hotel—which the tour provides!
  • Lunch: Have your mid-day meal at Yumê, a great Japanese restaurant in Rio.
  • Mind/Body Balance: Relax and enjoy the gorgeous flowers and plants at Jardim Botânico, Rio’s 137-acre botanical garden. While you can enjoy a serene walk during the week, Jardim Botanico is much more lively on the weekends, as the visitors pile in and music plays throughout the garden.
  • Must-See Attraction: Treat yourself to a little more relaxation and shopping, with a visit to the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, which features numerous beaches and great shopping centers.
  • Dinner: A day spent at the beach and nearby stores requires a satisfying dinner at Cervantes Restaurante, which features a great Spanish-style menu and a mean steak.

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Enjoy a nutritious breakfast at Felice Caffè. You’re going to need lots of energy today, so be sure to accompany your meal with their delicious coffee.
  • Workout: Go for a swim and a beach workout at Aproador Beach. This area is also a popular surfing spot, so if you want to hang ten rent, a surfboard at Francisco Otaviano Street, or sign up for a lesson at one of the local surfing schools.
  • Lunch: Carretão is committed to gastronomy, which is the “art of eating food.” This means that they take special care in preparing the finest cuisine, and hope to create an equally rich experience.
  • Mind/Body Balance: It’s been a busy and exciting week, so relax with a massage or a rejuvenating spa treatment at Pizzichilli Spa.
  • Must-See Attraction: Even though you’re fully relaxed, you’ll still want to end your trip with a bang: watch a game of Brazilian football at Maracanã Stadium, which holds some of the most exciting matches in the world. And considering how crazy the fans go during the game, feel free to let loose and join in on the fun!
  • Dinner: View an art gallery and enjoy a delicious meal. You can do both at Riso, where diners indulge in a blend of contemporary Brazilian and American cuisines while surrounded by incredible art displays.

Enjoy your trip!


About The Author

Monica Montesa is a writer at Scribewise. An explorer and foodie at heart, she loves traveling to new places and discovering exotic cultures and cuisines. Visit


  1. Brian- Glad to hear you enjoyed the guide! I hope you had a great time in Rio!

  2. Monica,
    This guide was awesome! we didn’t follow it 100% we tried though!
    So just wanted to show our appreciation for your insight!

Comments are closed.

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