From the white sand of Ipanema to the dramatic views of Christ the Redeemer, the party capital of Brazil has earned its nickname of the 'Marvelous City'. There is a lot to do in Rio de Janeiro, with its 23 beaches, stunning architecture and famous Carnival celebrations. Luckily, there is a whole army of apps to help visitors navigate the Marvelous City.
Rio de Janeiro Guide
creativecommons.org/Rodrigo Della Fávera
Marketed as the 'Guide for Partiers', this travel guide app showcases all the best party spots in a city that is, quite honestly, very dedicated to merriment. From day trips and nightlife spots to restaurants and shopping, visitors will know the best places to go right off the plane. An added bonus is that the app comes equipped with a GPS-aware map around the city. The map will show all the selected locations from the travel guide, as well as attractions near the user's current position in the city. For first-time travellers to Rio de Janeiro, there is also a handy tips page to assure that visitors are well prepared for the city and its wonders. The best part of all this is that the app is available for free on the app store for Android and iPhone devices.
Blocos do Rio
creativecommons.org/Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
The Blocos do Rio is an essential app for those visiting Rio during Carnival time. With this app, instead of just following the masses to see the best street performers and block parties during this massive festival, visitors will be able to navigate themselves to what they want to see. During Carnival the city is divided into blocks and each has their own special performances and their own unique decorations. Although this app is only really usable during the celebration, it will create an updated list of what is happening in each block every year. App users can even bookmark their favourite block so they can visit them next year. Users can vote their favourite blocks and see where they rank with other app users. This app is available for free on the app store for Android and iPhone devices.
creativecommons.org/Daniel 2 Matsuoka
While there are many English speakers in Rio, it is not as common as most foreign visitors would probably like. That aside, it is always a sign of respect to the culture to show that you at the very least have made an attempt to learn some of the language beforehand. The Speak Portuguese app teaches essential phrases that you probably will need. After all, no one will be able to become fluent on a plane ride over. With the basics, visitors will be able to have a pretty smooth trip through Rio and indeed all of Brazil. This easy to use app provides all the essential phrases repeated clearly by a lively native Brazilian girl and works completely offline so it is accessible anywhere. This helpful little app is available for free on Android and iPhone devices.
Subway is the fastest way to get around Rio and the Metro Rio app is the official subway app of the city. Its clean and bright interface pairs perfectly with the energy of the city, but the design would be pointless if it was difficult to use. Thankfully, that is not so - the app allows users to view all the subway routes so that they no longer have to hunt down a map. It also shows estimated train times, give or take a few minutes. For visitors who know where they want to go, the app allows them to plot out their routes themselves or the app will calculate the fastest route possible, telling users where they need to switch trains and how long they will need to wait for them. This great app for navigating the city is available for free on the app store for Android and iPhone devices.
Top 25: Rio de Janeiro
This app highlights the top 25 sites that visitors cannot miss. From Christ the Redeemer to the Carnival merriment, it highlights where to go and when to get the most memorable experience out of a trip to the Marvelous City. However, not all of the top 25 sites are common knowledge, so there might be a few extra amazing treats in there. With the app's simple, yet not spammy, Facebook integration it allows app users to easily brag to their friends on social media. This app is available for free on the app store for Android and iPhone devices.
creativecommons.org/Diego Torres Silvestre
While the name may not suggest it, this is a taxi app for the city of Rio. While the subway is the cheapest way to get around the city, discerning travellers may not want to squeeze into the crowded cars. This app makes taxi travel around the city simple. Users can schedule a cab to come pick them up at a certain date and time or schedule it so it will show up as soon as it can. For visitors that know exactly where they need to go, they can pay straight from the app. Some of the nicer features of this taxi app include real time status updates of the car and vehicle tracking on the map so visitors know exactly when the car is going to arrive. All of this functionality for the low, low price of free on the app store for Android devices only.
Samba Video Lessons
creativecommons.org/Team at Carnaval.com Studios
Samba is the hallmark of Brazilian Carnivals, but it also permeates the clubs and the bars of the city. There is nothing that beats a lesson at a Rio Samba School, however, for those that don't have time to attend the lessons, this app can help. The video within the app give a little history on the dance and demonstrates how we pass our emotions and feelings through the movements of our bodies. The tutorials are easy to follow and comprehensive, showing the dancer's every move. App users certainly won't be a professional dancer after these lessons, but they will know the basic moves of the most popular dance in Brazil. This app is only available on the app store for Android devices, but it is free of charge.
Rio de Janeiro Map & Walks
Creativecommons.org/Cyro A. Silva
Rio is a city that begs to be seen by foot, so it is only natural that there would be an app that offered some proper walking tours without all the hassle of touring with an actual person. The Rio de Janeiro Map and Walks offers both walking tours and a functional map to help navigate the city. With tours like the Beach Walk, Rio Landmarks and the Art Museum Walk there is something for all visitors to the city to enjoy. These tours guide visitors to certain sites within the city via the map and the GPS of the user's smart phone. Once there, users can initiate an audio guide that will tell them about the site and give a little historical information about it. The app comes in two versions, the Lite version and the Full version. The Lite version is free on the app store for Android and iPhone devices, but the Full version costs $2.99 and comes with additional tours and increased functionality.