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  • Writer's pictureBlue Trunk

Explore Rio de Janeiro: A Virtual and Accessible Tour


One of the most flamboyant and illustrious cities in Latin America, it seems only right to head over to the capital of Brazil this week — Rio de Janeiro. The city is known for its beautiful beaches, as well as its world famous Carnaval and widespread favelas. Rio de Janeiro is an incredible city, and even one that both Rupa and Claire, Blue Trunk’s co-founders, have already visited.  

We are trying to make sure the content we suggest is accessible in different ways. Although it can be difficult to find websites that are fully accessible, we review many to offer you the ones that are the most accessible. As always, if you find barriers or have suggestions please reach out to us at and let us know so that we can improve! 

Visit the Museums and Sites

Rio de Janeiro is home to numerous sites worth visiting, from museums to parks to statues and much, much more. One of the most famed sites is Christ the Redeemer, the fourth largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world. Standing at 30 meters tall, this statue is a very compelling art deco depiction of Christ, and has attracted tourists from all across the globe. To learn more about the history of Christ the Redeemer, be sure to read a detailed blog from Strawberry Tours and watch a video from Learning Trail, which contains auto-generated captions. 

Another interesting site is Tijuca National Park, also known as the largest urban rainforest on the planet. For travelers who do not feel like venturing directly into the Amazon, Tijuca is a great place to see native flora and fauna, as well as some remarkable views. An article from Earth Island dives deeper into the impact Tijuca has had on wildlife, and is definitely worth reading. Tourists who want a quicker look into the park can also read a relevant blog from Itaway Ecotours and watch a video from FIFA on the forest. The video contains auto-generated captions. 

If braving the urban rainforest is still a bit too much, then the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro may be more your speed. Boasting around 6,500 species of exotic flowers, plants, and other vegetation, the garden is definitely a wonderful, natural place to get lost in for the day. To learn more about the scientific and cultural impact of the botanical garden, be sure to read a blog from Full Time and watch a video from Hobarts Abroad about their trip to Rio. The video contains auto-generated captions. 

Escadaria Selarón, locally referred to as the “Lapa Steps”, are another widely visited tourist attraction that represent the national identity of Brazil. Jorge Selarón designed these brightly colored stairs, adorned with vibrant tiles, as a tribute to the people of Brazil. For a closer examination of what makes these steps so special, we recommend reading an illuminating blog from Nomadic Chica and listening to an in-depth podcast from The Radio Vagabond which mentions the stairs. The above video from Hobarts Abroad also shows the couple’s visit to Escadaria Selarón!

For travelers who want a stellar museum experience, the scientific Museum of Tomorrow is a great place to explore. Designed by Spanish neofuturistic architect Santiago Calatrava, the museum showcases exhibits that depict the hardships and opportunities that humanity will be forced to face in the coming decades, specifically from the lens of sustainability and togetherness. To learn more about the Museum of Tomorrow, be sure to read an accessibility centered blog from our co-founder Claire Wellbeloved-Stone and also watch an interesting video from Our Brazilian Life. The video contains auto-generated captions. 

Tune in to Shows and Movies About Rio de Janeiro and Brazil

Rio de Janeiro and Brazil as a whole have been the subjects of numerous engaging films and television shows. While Rio de Janeiro is a great city to follow from a filmic perspective, we decided to focus our attention on Brazil more broadly so that we could find appropriate and accessible media for you. 

The documentary Favela Rising sees through a man and a movement in a Brazilian favela. Haunted by the murders of his family and friends, main character Anderson Sá turns to hip-hop music and Afro-Brazilian dance to rally his community against oppression and violence, moving all towards liberation. Favela Rising is available for watch on Apple TV, and includes English subtitles. 

For a quirky romance film with a twist, look no further than the film Someone Borrowed. To avoid being removed from his dying mother’s will, an inflexible bachelor decides to pay an actress to play his fiancée and convince his entire family that he is in a solid relationship. You can watch Someone Borrowed on Netflix, and it includes closed captions. There are also audio descriptions available in Brazilian Portuguese, French, and Spanish. 

Pelé, a documentary following the famed Brazilian soccer player by the same nickname, details his extraordinary path from breakout talent to national hero. Widely regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time, Pelé had to struggle for everything he earned, especially considering the turbulent backdrop of Brazil at the time of his rise. Pelé is available to watch on Netflix, and includes both closed captions and audio descriptions in English and Brazilian Portuguese. 

Want to watch a film about Brazil with the whole family? Be sure to tune into Rio, a child-friendly film detailing the journey of Blue, a flightless macaw, who travels to Rio to save his species from extinction. There, he meets a host of friends who do their best to help Blu fulfill his destiny and learn to fly. Rio can be watched on Disney+, and includes closed captions. 

As for television shows, Invisible City is a compelling take on both crime and fantasy. Carlos Saldanha’s first live-action series imagines a world in which mythical beings have always walked among us, but now, their entire existence is at stake. To see what happens next, be sure to watch the series on Netflix. Invisible City includes closed captions. 

Girls from Ipanema presents a female-forward television series that is both sentimental and inspiring. When 1950s housewife Maria Luiza goes to Rio de Janeiro to meet up with her husband, she finds that he has abandoned her. Instead of falling apart, Maria decides to stay put and open a bossa nova club. Girls from Ipanema is available to watch on Netflix, and includes both closed captions and audio descriptions in English and Brazilian Portuguese. 

Viewers invested in true crime may find excitement in the series The Great Robbery of Brazil’s Central Bank. In 2005, a group of thieves dug a tunnel into a Fortaleza bank vault and stole over 160 million reais. The show uncovers how this heist was pulled off and the impact it had. The Great Robbery of Brazil’s Central Bank is available to watch on Netflix, and includes closed captions.

Get Lost in Books About Rio de Janeiro and Brazil

As cultural centers, Rio de Janeiro and Brazil have been home to some world renowned authors and beautiful written works. 

One such book comes from Ed Siegle, titled Invisibles. Invisibles follows Joel Burns, who believes his presumed dead father is actually alive. When a news report from Rio de Janeiro shows a sighting that seems to prove Joel correct, he journeys to the city in hopes of getting his family back together. Invisibles is available to read on Amazon, with both a Kindle and paperback version. 

The Book of Rio: A City in Short Fiction, edited by Katie Slade and Toni Marques, is a masterful anthology. This diverse set of ten stories detail the multifaceted experience of living in Rio de Janeiro, from Copacabana’s thriving LGBTQ+ scene in the 1960s to contemporary life in the neighborhood of Leblon. The Book of Rio: A City in Short Fiction can be accessed on Amazon, and there is a Kindle and paperback version.


Internationally acclaimed author and considered to be one of the most important female writers of the 20th century, Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector has certainly made an impact with her works. Her pieces are often abstract and introspective, including her famed piece The Hour of the Star. Following Macabéa, a girl who is forced to live in the slums of Rio, her unwavering nature and ability to move forward paint her as having a sort of surprising freedom. A Kindle and paperback version of The Hour of the Star are available on Amazon, and an audiobook version is available on Audible

Brazilian lyricist and novelist Paulo Coelho has fashioned a lush, powerful story about humanity in The Alchemist. The book follows the journey of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, who travels from Spain to Egypt in search of buried treasure. On the way, he meets a host of characters, all which inadvertently point him to the path of recognizing the treasures within. To read The Alchemist, head over to Amazon for access to a Kindle, paperback, and audiobook version

Heralded as a new masterpiece, Crooked Plow by Itama Vieira Junior tells the story of two sisters’ experience with an ancient knife and the shuddering violence it brings into their lives in the Bahia hinterland. The book touches on themes of family, post-slavery existence, spirituality, and political struggle. A paperback version of Crooked Plow is available to read from Penguin Random House.   

Bring Rio de Janeiro to Your Kitchen

Rio de Janeiro is home to some incredible cuisine, including pastries, vegetable dishes, soups, and more. We have selected a few vegan and gluten free meals for you to make at home.

A widely known Brazilian dish is the Brazilian cheese bread, or pão de queijo. These little bread bites are perfectly savory and once you’ve started eating them, it can be hard to stop! For a great vegan and gluten free version of the cheese bread, be sure to head over to Salted Plains for their recipe. 

For a more hearty recipe, especially as fall comes rolling in, feijoada, or black bean stew, is a great dinner option. This dish is so popular in Brazil that it is sometimes known as Brazil’s national dish, and it is the best comfort food for a cold day. Vegan Cocotte has a yummy recipe for vegan and gluten free feijoada — make some soon!

After all of these savory dishes, dessert is definitely needed. A vegan and gluten free Brazilian-inspired carrot cake with chocolate ganache from FeedFeed might just do the trick. The cake is subtly sweet and smoother than the American version, making it more of an all purpose cake. If you would like to indulge, be sure to whip this up and impress your friends. 

Where to Next?

Thanks for wandering Rio de Janeiro with us virtually. Join us next time as we explore Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


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