The ultimate guide with the top things to do, where to eat and where to stay in the capital of Acre.
Rio Branco is a mandatory destination for those who love visiting historic places. Did you know that Acre fought to belong to Brazil? Or do you know that the rubber cycle brought many problems to the indigenous people and that North easterners were tricked into becoming slaves in the region? It was only traveling to the capital of Acre and hand-picking what to do in Rio Branco that I was able to learn about all this.
Full of culture and personality, the city will surprise you with its regional cuisine, tourist attractions and hospitality. It’s worth a visit and when you go, don’t forget to set your clock, as it’s two hours less than Brasília time.
In this complete guide we will share with you everything you need to make your trip unforgettable: We will show you where Rio Branco is, how to get there, how to get around the city, where to eat, the main attractions, what to do at night and much more . Let´s go?!
Where is Rio Branco?
The municipality of Rio Branco is located in Acre, in the northern region of Brazil.
See where Rio Branco is on the map:
How to get to Rio Branco?
The best way to get to Rio Branco is via Rio Branco International Airport – Plácido de Castro (RBR).
How to get to Rio Branco from São Paulo: 4 hours of direct flight from LATAM, leaving from Guarulhos International Airport (GRU). Gol operates this stretch from the GRU, Congonhas (CGH) and Viracopos (VCP) airports, with a stopover usually in Brasília and a total duration of approximately 6 hours.
How to get to Rio Branco from Rio de Janeiro: the trip has at least one stopover, taking at least 6 hours to Rio Branco. You can fly from Galeão Airport (GIG) or Santos Dumont Airport (SDU).
How to get around in Rio Branco
The transport options in Rio Branco are municipal buses and apps like Uber and 99 Taxi, the latter is the most used.
To go from the Airport to the center of Rio Branco by bus, use Line 304, the journey takes about 1h.
For intercity transport, the options are the Trans Acreana and the taxi lotação.
The main highways to Rio Branco are identified with “AC” – State acronym and the highway number. Are they:
- AC-010: From the city of Rio Branco to the municipality of Porto Acre.
- AC-040: From Rio Branco to the municipality of Plácido de Castro, on the border with Bolivia.
- AC-400: Connects BR-317 to BR-364.
- AC-401: It connects the municipalities of Plácido de Castro and Acrelândia.
- AC-475: Connects the municipality of Plácido de Castro, on the border with Bolivia, to Highway BR-364 that leads to Cruzeiro do Sul.
When to go to Rio Branco
The best months to visit Rio Branco are from May to October, during the dry season (few rains).
A curiosity about the climate is that summer is called winter in the Amazon region, because when it rains it gets colder.
How many days to stay in Rio Branco
If you only want to know the historic part, you need at least 2 days to do the city tour and get to know a bit of the city. To enjoy the local culture more, discover restaurants, visit museums and take a balloon ride, for example, I recommend 4 full days. Do you want to take the opportunity to get to know the cities close to Rio Branco? 7 days are the ideal time to make the most of your trip.
Where to stay in Rio Branco
We had the opportunity to visit 2 lodgings in Rio Branco:
Villa Rio Branco Hotel Concept
With an excellent location in Gameleira, the Villa Rio Branco Hotel Concept is close to some tourist attractions, and it is possible to walk to the Novo Mercado Velho. The airport is 21 km away.
Rooms for one to three people are spacious, comfortable and clean. Equipped with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, minibar, bed linen and towels, as well as a view of the pool.
The hotel’s infrastructure has an outdoor pool, 24-hour reception, wi-fi. It serves continental and buffet breakfast.
Address: R. Cunha Matos, 393 — Seis de Agosto
Located 15 km from Rio Branco Airport, Jardins Guesthouse has private and shared rooms. Even being close to the airport and other tourist attractions, it will be necessary to use the car to get around.
One of the differentials of staying at Jardins Guesthouse is the cultural exchange that can happen, since many indigenous people also stay here.
The structure has a shared lounge, gardens, the swimming pool pictured above, free private parking and a terrace.
Address: Estr. da Floresta, 2981 – casa
Other hotels in Rio Branco, Acre:
Where to eat in Rio Branco
As cuisine speaks a lot about the history and culture of a people, this article could not lack information and suggestions on where to eat in Rio Branco:
To start, let’s talk about Jarude – which I already consider my favorite Arab restaurant in Brazil. In a decorated and pleasant environment they serve the divine zaatar sfiha with curd. Another highlight in Rio Branco is Jannu’s Bistrô. I enjoyed the cassava cake with tonka ice cream, which is certainly something I still want to eat again in this lifetime. At La Cave, perfect for wine lovers, I recommend the pear carpaccio.
For carnivores and vegetarians, the Pão de Queijo Restaurant and Buffet is the right choice. Want a relaxed atmosphere? Check out Casa do Rio. At Onofre, I suggest trying the pork ribs with a cupuaçu teriyaki. The Manto Verde restaurant serves a very tasty fish from the region, tambaqui without bones.
To cool off in the heat, two delicious options: the ice cream shop H Gelatos Sorvetes has several options of ice cream with typical fruits of the region such as: abacaba, patuá, buriti, and the confectionery and café Doce Deleite where you can have a delicious milk shake.
Rio Branco tourist attractions
Check below which are the tourist attractions of Rio Branco:
Novo Mercado Velho
Novo Mercado Velho in Rio Branco, despite its name, was built in 1929. It underwent a revitalization in 2006 and it was considered “new” once again. It was the first public building in the city built in masonry.
In addition to being a photogenic icon of the city, there you will find restaurants, souvenirs and natural medicine stores such as Casa Lessa.
At the end of the day, it is in front of the market that many people take a break to enjoy a cold beer.
Address: Av. Epaminondas Jácome Centro, 2813
Opening hours: Stores are open from 8 am to 6 pm, but the market’s restaurant and restroom are open until 12 am.
The Gameleira Boardwalk is an important part of the history of Rio Branco. It was the gameleira that caught Neutel Maia’s attention when he was navigating the Acre River in search of a place to build a rubber plantation. From here the first street of the city was formed.
In addition to getting to know Gameleira, the century-old tree that gives its name to the tourist spot, there you will find snack bars, pubs and music.
Address: R. Sen. Eduardo Assmar, 1221
Palácio Rio Branco
Located in the center of Rio Branco, Palácio Rio Branco was built with the intention of innovating and modernizing architecture in the city.
In addition to the Acre State Government Headquarters, it also houses a Museum with a collection and memories.
Note: The museum is temporarily closed.
Address: Av. Getúlio Vargas, s/n
The Autonomists Memorial is a place that houses the history and culture of Acre, there you will find exhibitions, guided tours, watch concerts or presentations at Theatro Hélio Melo.
The name of the Memorial is a tribute to the movement that emancipated Acre as a Brazilian State.
Address: Av. Getúlio Vargas, 309
Opening hours: 08 am to 6 pm from Monday to Friday
Considered the heart of Rio Branco, the Revolution Square (also known as Plácido de Castro Square) is the main square of the city. There you can find a 12-meter tall monument honoring the city’s unsung heroes.
Parque Capitão Ciríaco
Parque Capitão Ciríaco is an environmental protection park with native Amazonian forest, with fruit plants and even rubber trees. Known for being the largest urban rubber plantation in the world.
Here it’s a great opportunity to learn about latex extraction, an important part of the city’s history and culture. I showed the tools they used in this process in my instagram stories, see here.
This space belonged to Captain Ciríaco, Joaquim de Oliveira, one of the members of the group that promoted the Acre revolution. The buildings inside the park portray the traditional architecture of Acre.
Address: Rua Parreira Passos, 225 – Seis de Agosto
Opening hours: The park is open every day from 08 am to 5 pm, the exhibition halls are open from Monday to Friday. You can follow events and news through the Instagram profile.
Horto Florestal of Rio Branco
If you are looking for a place to connect with nature even within the city, Horto Florestal de Rio Branco has native forest, leisure spaces and trails.
Note: I’ve heard comments from locals saying that on-site policing has been improved in recent times, anyway, it’s a place I’d particularly go only during the day.
Address: Av. Antônio da Rocha Viana — Horto Florestal
Opening hours: Every day from 05 am to 8 pm.
Parque da Maternidade
Located in the center of Rio Branco, the park has kiosks, sports courts and a leisure area for adults and children.
Inside the Parque da Maternidade you will also find Casa dos Povos da Floresta, Casa do Artesão and Biblioteca dos Povos da Floresta, but these attractions are under recovery.
Nossa Senhora de Nazaré Cathedral
The architecture of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré Cathedral was inspired by a church in Rome, it is an important part of the Catholic history and culture of Rio Branco.
Curiosity: Inside the Cathedral you will find the painting of Nossa Senhora da Seringueira, an image of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in one hand and a rubber tree branch on the other.
They say that this picture was painted by a Bolivian Indian who believed he had seen the Blessed Virgin.
The painting was brought to Brazil during the Acre Revolution by the Bolivians, with the aim of hiding behind it, who would shoot the Acre people. Plácido de Castro was suspicious of the false procession, armed by the Bolivians and shot through the canvas. Even though there are no documents that prove the story, it is possible to notice marks of the bullet that went through the painting.
Address: Praça da Catedral, 8 — Centro
Opening hours: from Monday to Friday, from 7 am to 12pm and from 2pm to 8pm. Saturday from 7 am to 12:30 pm and Sunday from 6 am to 9 am and from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Things to do in Rio Branco
I thought there wouldn’t be a lot of things to do in Rio Branco, in the end, I was wrong 😅. Here’s what you can add to your roadmap:
I’ll start with the most important tip in this article: if you’re going to travel to Rio Branco, be sure to hire a tour guide to take you on a half-day or full-day city tour.
During the City Tour that I took with the guide Tássio Fúria, I was able to learn a lot about the history of Acre and the daily life of those who live in its capital while visiting attractions in the city, such as the Old Market, Parque Capitão Ciríaco and Elias Mansur Municipal Market.
To give you an idea of prices, a private 3-hour tour of the historic center costs R$100*.
Note: The price mentioned does not include transport from the hotel to the starting point of the tour.
The Rubber Museum was founded on November 5, 1978, telling the story of the rubber cycles, what the work and daily life of rubber tappers was like, in addition to the arrival of the Northeasterners to Acre.
Admission is free and you can ask your questions with a museum guide.
Fox’s tips 🦊:
To have a historical and cultural context of the region, start your trip to Rio Branco here. This way you will have more information and be able to better enjoy the other cultural attractions.
Address: Av. Ceará, 1144 — Centro
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 14 pm.
Elias Mansur Municipal Market
If you want to try typical fruits of the region, buy herbs, vegetables and regional foods, Elias Mansur Municipal Market is your place. It is worth checking.
Address: R. Sergipe, 40 – Centro
Opening hours: Every day from 5 am to 5 pm.
Watch dolphin on the Joaquim Macedo catwalk
The Joaquim Macedo Walkway is a cable-stayed bridge that crosses the Acre River. It is a tour that I recommend taking without haste to observe the dolphins. If you follow me on instagram, you saw that I managed to find one by passing by.
For the more adventurous and those who want to see Rio Branco from a totally different perspective, the hot air balloon ride is a great tip.
The tour lasts about 40 minutes and between the routes you can fly over part of the Amazon and geoglyphs (large figures made on the ground by ancient peoples). After the descent, breakfast or picnic is served.
The price for 1 person in a minimum group of 3 and a maximum of 8 people and pilot is R$990 each. Average weight 75kg per person.
Learn more about the balloon ride here.
Visit indigenous villages
If you want to experience an immersion in indigenous culture, you can visit the indigenous villages in the region and spend a few days learning about and experiencing the reality of these peoples and the forest.
The experiences can last up to 8 days and in addition to helping to support many indigenous families, it provides a unique moment of reflection and personal transformation.
In my case, I did an immersion in Feijó city with the Shanekayá People, and I must say that it was an experience that changed my life. Octavio from the agency 360.LOT (Like Old Times) organized the whole experience. See in Instagram highlights how our trip was.
Spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at the Manto Verde Restaurant
With a restaurant and fishing structure, the Manto Verde Restaurant is a great place to rest, fish and eat moqueca or typical fish of the region.
It is worth spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon enjoying the tranquility that this place has to offer. More information on the restaurant’s Instagram, here.
Address: Estr. do Amapá, 5097 – Amapá
Opening hours: Friday from 11 am to 3:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm.
For backpackers or people looking for different travel experiences, volunteering is an opportunity.
Thanks to volunteering, you can exchange a few hours of your time and skills for accommodation and even meals and other benefits.
Worldpackers is a platform that brings together travelers with availability for this exchange with hosts ready to welcome, facilitating this form of travel.
In Rio Branco, you can volunteer at Hostel Vivacre and collaborate at the reception.
Buy souvenirs at Espaço Kaxinawá
Espaço Kaxinawá is where you will find great gifts and souvenirs from the trip, such as baskets, hammocks and handicrafts made by indigenous people.
I particularly thought the prices were great, I got to buy handmade baskets from R$20* to R$35* each.
Address: R. Rui Barbosa, 17 – Centro
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.
Via Verde Shopping
Not sure what to do in Rio Branco when it rains? In addition to the museums, you can catch a movie or take the kids to enjoy the leisure activities at Via Verde Shopping.
The mall has facilities such as a bank, pharmacy, lottery and even a beauty salon, in addition to a wide variety of stores, food options, cinema and indoor park.
Address: Estr. da Floresta, 2320 – Floresta Sul
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm.
Things to do in Rio Branco at night
Check out some options of things to do in Rio Branco at night:
Vila Rio Food Park
Vila Rio Food Park is the largest food court in Acre, the food options are many! You can find hamburgers, barbecue, sfihas and Japanese food, it will be hard to choose just one!
The Food Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 6 pm to 11 pm and it has live music. For the schedule, see here.
Address: Jardim de Alah, Rio Branco
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 6 pm to 11 pm.
Downtown Rio Branco
Another very cool thing to do in Rio Branco at night is to go to the square where the Novo Mercado Velho is. There, in front and along the street, there are several bars and restaurants where you can enjoy live music and have a cold beer.
There is also a fair with local cuisine, which is perfect for those who, like me, like street food. It’s a totally different experience than visiting it during the day.
Things to do in cities near Rio Branco
Within your travel itinerary to Rio Branco in Acre you can also insert activities in neighboring cities:
187 km away from Rio Branco, the city of Xapuri was where the Acre revolution was born, and it is also the birthplace of environmentalist and rubber tapper Chico Mendes.
The main tourist attractions in Xapuri are: Museu Casa de Chico Mendes, where you can visit where he lived. Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, a conservation area of our Amazon rainforest that has the Chico Mendes Trail – considered one of the most interesting in the world. Casa Branca Museum, about the history of the Acrean revolution and rubber tappers in the region.
Lake of Amapá
For nature lovers, Lake of Amapá can be visited after 4.5 km of trail within the Environmental Protection Area of Lake of Amapá. The trail is easily accessible and can be done without great difficulty by children, adults and the elderly. Destino Acre organizes this tour on Sundays for groups up to 10 people, the price is R$50* per person with snacks included. Duration of approximately 3 hours.
Another tip is to go kayaking along Destino Acre on Saturdays, for groups up to 5 people. The tour lasts an average of 3 hours and costs R$150* per person, including instruction, safety equipment, snacks and health insurance.
Note: The mentioned values do not include transport from the hotel to the starting point of the tour.
Geoglyphs are drawings formed by excavations in the land. They represent geometric shapes, the structures are so large that they can only be seen completely from above.
They are a legacy of ancient villages in the region, their function, date of creation and how they were made are still a mystery, which makes knowing these formations even more curious.
Bird watching at Chandless State Park
The Chandless State Park, located in the municipalities of Manoel Urbano, Santa Rosa do Purus and Sena Madureira, is a huge environmental reserve and is the second-largest park in the northern region.
The place has attracted bird lovers because it is possible to find rarer birds and it is recommended to hire a local guide specialized in birds to have a better experience.
The park has a Facebook page, learn more here.
Acre brands you need to know
There are some regional brands that we only have the opportunity to get to know during travels, I have separated some Acre brands that are worth mentioning for you to know during your stay in Rio Branco:
- Made in Acre: The brand puts all Acre personality in its clothes. You can buy online or visit their physical space.
- Use Papa Acre: All pride in being from Acre is represented by the Use Papa brand in its pieces.
- Amazônida: For those who enjoy slow fashion, the brand is sustainable and uses organic raw materials in the composition of its bags.
What to bring to Rio Branco
- Comfortable shoes for walking around the city;
- Cap or hat;
- Natural sunscreen and biodegradable repellent;
- Cutlery, glass and reusable bottle.
Rio Branco, capital of Acre, was named in 1912 in honor of the Baron of Rio Branco.
Barão de Rio Branco was responsible for the regularization of borders and he was very important in the process of making Acre a state of Brazil.
Those born in Rio Branco are called Rio-Branquense.
The population estimated by IBGE in 2021 is 419,452 people.
Rio Branco has a tropical climate, the average temperature throughout the year is 25.5ºC.
The rains are more intense in the summer, according to climate-data.org:
There is a lot to do in Rio Branco, rain or shine, day or night. Here are some examples: Rubber Museum, Mercado Velho, Parque Capitão Ciríaco, read more…
Since many of us don’t learn much about Acre at school, let us learn by visiting it, right?!
Values mentioned were collected in January 2022 for reference only and are subject to change.
Acknowledgment: During this entire trip, we had the support of the Secretary of Tourism and Entrepreneurship of Acre. Accommodations at Villa Rio Branco and Jardins Guesthouse were complimentary, as were meals at Onofre, Jarude, Jannu’s Bistrô, Manto Verde, among others. But rest assured that all opinions expressed here are sincere and based on our experience. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Thaly from Destino Acre, who helped us to revise this text.
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