An Eco-Friendly Guide to Rio de Janeiro // Brazil
When you are heading to a big, bustling city like Rio de Janeiro and are a 'conscious' sort of traveler it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. Well, let me tell you, there are some gems in this fantastic city that won't cost the earth (literally) to experience. You just need to know where to start. So here you have it, an eco-friendly guide to Rio de Janeiro.
1. Head to the Beachfront
Beach culture is the culture in Rio. It's famous for it. Who hasn't danced to Barry Manilow's 'Copacabana' with a cocktail in one hand at some point? Plan to spend your days hopping between Rio's vast and famous stretches of beach. You can walk the length on it's beautiful promenade (it's likely your accommodation won't be too far from it if you've planned it well!) or join the locals in cycling, skating or running the stretch. A green way to view any city!
2. Eat on the Beach
Once you've found your perfect spot of beach (the beaches are organised in sections or 'postos' which generally dictate a vibe or the character's that will pitch up there) you can stay all day without creating any waste. See Rio is also famous for its beach vendors who sell a number of beautiful foods and drinks from the beach. If you plan ahead, taking a steel bottle or jar with you and a steel straw, you can experience the vendors delights without leaving anything behind. Whether it's coconut after coconut (that's what your straw is for), or barbecued cheese, pineapples and pastels - eating at the beach is one way to enjoy Rio's foodie delights, waste free, and from the best spot in town.
For more foodie spots that are likely to satisfy the conscious traveller in Rio, check out this article.
3. Visit Tijuca Forest
Tijuca forest is a tropical rainforest that sits on the edge of Rio de Janeiro (supposedly the world's largest urban forest) and is a must-see. You can join one of a number of tours to get there- saving your fuel costs and helping you to meet others along the way.
As you might imagine, the forest is full hundreds of various species of animals and plants (many of which can only be found in the Atlantic rainforests) as well as a number of waterfalls. Take your walking shoes and water and enjoy a greener view of Rio!
4. Tour the City by Bike
Brilliantly, touring Rio by bike is easy. Much like London's Boris Bike system, Rio operates a bike-sharing scheme and, if that doesn't suit, there are plenty of bike hire shops to help you take to the tar instead. Once you are in the saddle you can lap the beautiful beachfront or take a ride to Lagoa Rodrigo de Frietas - a lagoon that sits a few blocks from Impanema beach. The lagoon is dotted with cafes, benches, piers and parks and is a great stop if the urban metropolis has become a bit much and you need a break from the beach! From it you'll also get a great view of Christ the Redeemer and Tijuca forest too.
5. Visit the 'Musuem of Tomorrow'
This science museum, built next to Pier Maua waterfront and boasting impressive modern architecture, is only a couple of years old. Unlike other museums, the Museum of Tomorrow exists to be a museum of ideas not of objects. Through experiments and experiences, the main exhibition takes you through five main areas: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrow and Now, with the vision of inspiring you to imagine a sustainable world. Besides inspiring you to cultivate a harmonious coexistence with the world around you through its exhibition, the Museum of Tomorrow is built on that premise too, using 40% less energy than conventional buildings.
There you have it, your guide to seeing the greener and more eco-friendly side of Rio. Let me know if you have visited and have any other tips!