Joie de Vivre
Speaking of Carnaval, Rio knows how to party. Whether you call it joie de vivre, Lebensfreude or lust for life, cariocas have it in spades. Carnaval, and the buildup to it, is the most obvious manifestation of this celebratory spirit. But Rio has many other occasions for revelry: celebrations after a big Flamengo (or Vasco, Fluminense or Botafogo) soccer match; weekend samba parties around town; baile funk parties in the favelas (slums, informal communities); and boat parties on the bay – not to mention major fests such as Réveillon (New Year's Eve) and the Festas Juninas.
BEST TIME TO VISIT RIO DE JANEIRO
The best time to visit Rio is between December and March, when the weather is warm and sunny enough to hit the beaches. The city's seductive samba beat and incredible panoramic views last year-round, but arrive in February to experience Carnival. This four- to five-day festival leading up to Fat Tuesday brings thousands of visitors and locals to the streets for parades, parties and balls. Finding an affordable place to stay during Carnival can be difficult; you should consider booking your hotel and flight up to a year in advance. Between January and March, daytime temperatures can sometimes surpass 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer more moderate conditions, visit during autumn (April and May) or spring (October and November), when temps fall back to the 70s and low 80s during the day and the 60s at night.
This is Rio's peak season. The city's most notable events — including Reveillon (New Year's Eve) and Carnival — take place during Brazil's summer, which lasts from December through March. Approximately two million people come to Rio to celebrate New Year's Eve with live music, firework shows and good spirits on Copacabana Beach . Hotel prices can be inflated during these months, so book early to ensure availability. Also, expect crowds on the main city beaches, when temperatures hover in the mid-80s (but can occasionally soar into the 90s and above). This is also the season when Brazil sees the most rainfall, so pack an umbrella.
Crowds and hot summer weather dissipate in May. But don't expect Rio's humidity to disappear: The Amazon region is notorious for its year-round damp tropical heat. After Easter, you'll find cheaper room rates.
During Brazil's winter season, locals come out of their shells to enjoy the moderate weather and tourists flock to Rio for vacation. Expect mild temperatures and inflated hotel prices. These months are also ideal for sightseeing: There are fewer rain showers and less fog on Corcovado and Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Spring is an ideal time for visitors seeking sun and adventure. Mild and dry weather, fewer crowds and more room to sprawl out on the beaches are all part of the allure. If you don't mind missing the festival hoopla, you'll save money by booking a hotel at this time of year.
GETTING IN RIO DE JANEIRO
- Galeão Airport -- Most major airlines fly to Rio de Janeiro, sometimes with a stop or connection in São Paulo. International passengers arrive at Antônio Carlos Jobim Airport more commonly known as Galeão Airport, 20km (12 miles) from downtown.
- Santos Dumont Airport -- Rio's second airport, Santos Dumont, Praça Senador Salgado Filho), is downtown, surrounded by the Baia de Guanabara. Most Brazilian airlines now use Santos Dumont for domestic flights.
Cruise ships dock in the terminal almost opposite Praça Mauá. Downtown is an easy walk, and public transit is close by. If returning to the ship after dark, it's best to take a taxi. Praça Mauá becomes a somewhat seedy red-light district in the evening.
GETTING AROUND RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio may seem like a large and sprawling city, but the neighborhoods in which visitors spend most of their time are very easy to get around in. From Centro south to São Conrado, the neighborhoods hang like beads on a string on the narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountains. You can almost always see one or the other; with landmarks like these it's pretty hard to stray too far from where you want to go.
By Metrô -- The easiest way to get around is by subway; in Centro and the Zona Sul it covers almost every major area of interest, particularly now that there are integrated bus/subway lines for the parts of the city where the Metrô has not yet reached. There are only two lines: Line 1 goes north from downtown -- it's useful for going to the Maracanã and the Quinta da Boa Vista -- while Line 2 begins at the Central Station and goes south, covering most of Centro, then swinging thorough Glória, Catete, Flamengo, and Botafogo before ducking through the mountain to its final destination in Ipanema. The trip takes about 20 minutes to move you from Centro to Copacabana (as compared to a 40-60-min. bus ride in rush hour). The system is very safe and efficient. You purchase a magnetic ticket card at the entrance of the station, either from a machine or from a ticket booth.
By Bus -- Rio's buses follow direct, logical pathways, sticking to the main streets along much the same route you'd take if you were driving. What's more, they're fast. Indeed, it's a good idea to wedge yourself in your seat; Rio drivers like to lean into the turns.
By Taxi -- Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive. They're the perfect way to reach those out-of-the-way places and the best way to get around in the evening. Regular taxis can be hailed anywhere on the street. You will also find taxi stands throughout the city.
By Van - When you see the chaotic bus-ridden streets of Rio de Janeiro, it's hard to believe that there could be a shortage of buses. However, in the last few years the city has seen an explosion of additional bus services provided by Volkswagen vans and microbuses. Some of these vans are licensed, many more remain officially illegal.
By Ferry - Rio has a number of ferries operated by Barcas SA, departing from Praça XV downtown. The busiest routes link downtown Rio with downtown Niterói or Charitas (also in Niterói) across the bay -- also reached by car and bus by crossing the 14km (8 1/2-mile) bridge. The service to Niterói runs daily from 6am to 11:30pm; to Charitas the service is Monday to Friday 6:50am to 9pm; departures on both routes run at approximately half-hour intervals.
By Car - A car is not required for exploring Rio; a combination of public transit (in the daytime and evening) and taxis (late at night) gets you pretty much anywhere in the city for very little money. The truth is, driving in Rio is not for the weak of heart. Traffic is hectic, street patterns confusing, drivers just a few shades shy of courteous, and parking next to nonexistent. Better to get used to the city traffic as a pedestrian first and rent a car only if you're going out to destinations such as Petrópolis and the historic towns of the Minas Gerais region.
WHERE TO STAY IN RIO DE JANEIRO
- Windsor California Hotel
Ideally located on the seafront of Copacabana Beach, Windsor California Hotel offers comfortable accommodation with contemporary furniture and overlooking the ocean. Shopping malls, upmarket boutiques, cafés, restaurants, theaters and nightclubs are found in the nearby. Walking along the coastline, you will also reach the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. The Windsor California Hotel is 15 minutes by car from the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer monument. Rio de Janeiro city centre is a 15-minute walk from this hotel.
- Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana
Right on famous Copacabana Beach and 600 m from Ipanema Beach, Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana offers scenic views of the Sugar Loaf, plus a panoramic pool. WiFi and parking are available. Modern and spacious, the 5-star rooms feature LCD cable TV, iPod station and minibar. All are air conditioned, including a balcony with city or sea views. Some also grant access to the VIP executive floor. Guests at Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana can benefit from the fitness centre, gym class, wedding services, beauty and various wellness options offered by SPA Willow Stream. Copacabana Fort is 550 m from Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana whilst Lagoa Stadium is 4 km away. Santos Dumont Airport is at a distance of 11.7 km, while Galeão International Airport is 23.9 km away.
Set in Rio de Janeiro, JANEIRO Hotel it's a 5-minute walk from Post 12 - Leblon. Guests can enjoy a drink at JANEIRO bar or easy going food in the JANEIRO's on-site restaurant. The units offer sea views and come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a coffee machine and a desk. Ensuite bathroom offers with complimentary toiletries. JANEIRO Hotel offers a buffet breakfast with some vegetarian options. The accommodation offers an outdoor pool. The nearest airport is Santos Dumont Airport, 10 km from the property.
- Belmond Copacabana Palace
The elegant 5-star Belmond Copacabana Palace offers luxurious rooms with marbled bathrooms and panoramic ocean views, located on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana Beachfront. Services include a wellness spa and 3 gastronomic restaurants. The spacious rooms at the Belmond Copacabana Palace are individually decorated with English antique furniture and original artworks. All offer king-size beds, free use of internet and a free pair of Havaianas flip flops. Some include private balconies with panoramic city or ocean views. Guests can enjoy a daily breakfast served in Pérgula restaurant, which also offers Brazilian specialties and fresh seafood delicacies. Breakfast can also be served in-room and additional charges apply. Top Italian dishes are served in Cipriani restaurant and a selection of drinks are available at the Copacabana Piano Bar. The new MEE Restaurant offers Pan Asian cuisine, with a menu created by the chef Kazuo Harada. A large selection of Japanese Sakes is also available.
Hotel Arpoador and is next to the famous Girl from Ipanema Park and 100 m from Ipanema's beach. Guests can enjoy a rich breakfast, served on the restaurant's porch, with a stunning view of Rio de Janeiros's coastline. Free WiFi is offered in the hotel rooms. The property has been recently renovated, with project by the architect Thiago Bernardes. Rooms at Hotel Arpoador are comfortable, with tiled floors and modern design. All units offer air conditioning, Nespresso coffee machine and bathrooms with exclusive amenities, such as hairdryer and bath rope. Some have panoramic ocean views. The restaurant at Hotel Arpoador serves a menu by the chef Roberta Sudbrack that offers delicious Brazilian specialities made with fresh organic ingredients. At the bar guests can have tropical caipirinhas, classic cocktails and beers. Copacabana Fort is 800 m from the Hotel Arpoador whilst Lagoa Stadium is 3.8 km away. Santos Dumont Airport is at a distance of 11 km, while Galeão International Airport is 24.8 km away.
- Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro
Boasting a rooftop pool with stunning sea views, Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro offers luxurious beachfront accommodations on Ipanema Beach. The property also offers a spa and wellness centre. Elegantly decorated, rooms at this 5-star hotel feature a balcony, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a minibar and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and a bath or shower. The spacious rooms also offer hardwood floors and high quality wood and leather furniture. At Rio de Janeiro's Hotel Fasano guests can enjoy the distinguished Fasano Restaurant, renowned for its contemporary Italian cuisine. The property is also conveniently located within a 5-minute walk from restaurants serving local and international dishes. After a relaxing visit to the sauna, guests can exercise in the well-appointed fitness centre or enjoy a refreshing drink from the bar. The property also offers massages, a terrace, concierge service, a solarium and a nightclub. Copacabana Fort is 1 km from Fasano Rio de Janeiro whilst Lagoa Stadium is 4 km away. Santos Dumont Airport is at a distance of 11 km, while Galeão International Airport is 27.8 km away.
- Le Chateaux Joá Boutique Hotel
Le Chateaux Joá Boutique Hotel has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and shared lounge in Rio de Janeiro. Featuring a garden, the 5-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The accommodation features room service and a concierge service for guests. At the hotel, every room includes a wardrobe. At Le Chateaux Joa Boutique & Spa, the rooms come with a TV with satellite channels. The accommodation offers a buffet or à la carte breakfast. Le Chateaux Joá Boutique Hotel offers a barbecue. You can play billiards at the hotel, and car hire is available. Joatinga Beach is 200 m from Le Chateaux Joa Boutique & Spa, while Barra da Tijuca is 700 m from the property. The nearest airport is Santos Dumont, 28 km from the accommodation, and the property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Boasting an outdoor infinity pool, Emiliano Rio is set in a privileged location in Rio de Janeiro, beachfront to Copacabana Beach. The contemporary architecture values the natural light and the sea view, offering guests a special and unique connection with the city. Free WiFi is provided, and private parking is available on site. Each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV and a coffee machine. Some rooms have a seating area for guests' convenience. Every room has a private bathroom with a bath or shower and bidet, with bathrobes provided. It is also fitted with slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. At Emiliano Rio, guests can taste a contemporary Brazilian cuisine made from organic products at the on-site restaurant. Other hotel facilities include a spa where guests can relax and a fitness centre where they can exercise. The rooftop boasts a swimming pool and views to the beach. Ipanema Beach is 1.2 km from Emiliano Rio, while the famous Sugarloaf Mountain is 7.5 km away, and Christ The Redeemer is at a distance of 8.4 km. The nearest airport is Santos Dumont Airport, 8 km from the property, while Galeão International Airport is 20 km away.
- Vila Santa Teresa Hotel & Spa
Offering a year-round outdoor pool and views of the sea, Vila Santa Teresa Hotel & Spa is situated in the Santa Teresa district in Rio de Janeiro. The hotel has a sun terrace and views of the pool, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Every room at this hotel is air conditioned and features a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain rooms have a seating area for your convenience. Some units include views of the garden or city. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. Breakfast is included and there is a 24-hour front desk at the property. You can play tennis at the hotel. Christ the Redeemer is 2.5 km from Vila Santa Teresa Hotel & Spa, while Corcovado is 2.6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Santos Dumont Airport, 4 km from Vila Santa Teresa Hotel & Spa.
Located right across from the famous Copacabana Beach, the Miramar Hotel by Windsor features a green granite pool and a modern gym. This pet friendly, design hotel offers butler service and free WiFi. Guests can start the day admiring the beautiful beach view while savoring a rich breakfast. Decorated in grey tones, each room here comes equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen cable TV, safe and minibar. The private bathroom includes toiletries and a bathrobe. Many shops, grocery stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs are close to Miramar by Windsor. Beach service is available with towels, chairs and parasols. Guests can have a drink at the rooftop bar or enjoy the hotel's restaurant. Copacabana Fort is 700 m from the Miramar Hotel whilst Lagoa Stadium is 3.8 km away. Santos Dumont Airport is at a distance of 11.7 km, while Galeão International Airport is 25 km away.
PLACES TO VISIT & THINGS TO DO IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Between its giddy mix of bustling urban life and natural wonders, there’s no shortage of iconic and fascinating sights in Rio De Janeiro, from monumental statues to long stretches of world famous beaches. Turisti-info rounds up 20 of the must-see attractions in this vibrant South American city.
As one of Rio’s most iconic tourist attractions, no trip here is truly complete without a visit to this momumental landmark. The Christ is the largest Art Deco statue in the world, which is remarkable in itself. Yet what is truly impressive is the fact it is perched on top of the 2,330-foot (710 meter) high Corcovado mountain. The statue can be reached by hiking trail, train or van.
The Pão de Açúcar – or Sugarloaf mountain to give it its English name – is another unmissable tourist attraction on a par with Christ the Redeemer. The peak is surrounded by the ocean and is accessible by cable car, or by rock climbing to the top for the truly brave! The views from the summit provide a breathtaking panorama of the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.
The beach prefered by the international jet-setters back in the ’60s, Copacabana Beach remains a firm favorite among today’s travelers for its long stretch of soft sand and cooling waters. The beach is bustling with activity during the day, as sports enthusiasts, beach goers, live bands and beach vendors all jostle for space at peak hours.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the only places in Brazil where tourists can safely visit a favela, and the safest of them all is Vidigal. After a successful pacification programme in the region a few years ago, Vidigal has incredible nightlife during the weekends, with bars such as Bar da Laje offering great views, appetizing food and delicious cocktails, and Alto Vidigal with its all-night parties and exciting national and international DJ line-ups.
With its base at the peak of the Vidigal favela, the Dois Irmãos peaks (Two Brothers peaks) is one of the most interesting and beautiful hikes in Rio de Janeiro. After a relatively testing 40-minute hike to the summit, hikers will be rewarded with glorious views that reach out over Ipanema, Lagoa and cross to the lesser-known East Zone of Rio.
The Museum of Tomorrow was constructed to coincide with the mass of tourists flocking into Rio for the 2016 Olympics. It is now Rio’s most popular musuem, both for its extraordinary architecture and its fascinating interactive displays that focus on sustainability and future possibilities of our planet.
Pedra do Sal is the birthplace of samba, and live bands go every Monday evening to continue with the age-old tradition of performing to the crowds that gather there. Historically, Pedra do Sal was the place where escaped or freed slaves would seek refuge. Nowadays a crowd of all ages and tastes head there to drink refreshing caipirinhas in the balmy evenings to the sound of captivating samba.
The Maracanã Stadium is the largest soccer stadium in Brazil and the second largest in South America – the title of the largest stadium goes to Estadio Monumental in Peru. Currently tours of the stadium are not operational with no date set to resume. However, a better way of experiencing the sheer size of this stadium is getting tickets to watch a game. Local games between Rio’s four rival teams – Flamengo, Fluminese, Botafogo and Vasco – are the most exciting to watch.
Tijuca Forest is an extraordinary natural attraction in Rio. As the largest urban forest in the world, it is home to astonishing species of plants and animals, a few that exist nowhere else in the world and depend solely on Tijuca’s environment for survival. There are also a handful of manmade attractions here that are worth visiting, such as Vista Chinesa, a Chinese-style gazebo with panoramic views over Lagoa and Ipanema.
This natural lake in the south zone of the city creates a wonderful spot to run, ride a bike, have a picnic or just leisurely stroll around. Lagoa has ample quiet bars and restaurants to enjoy a daytime beer or an outdoor dinner with a lakeside view.
Tucked into the corner of Ipanema, Arpoador has some of the clearest and warmest waters of the beaches in Rio. During the day it is a hotspot among surfers who go there to catch the small, neat waves, or beach-goers who enjoy the suntrap of the peninsula. The most rewarding time to go is in the evening when you can watch the sun set over the horizon, providing one of the Rio’s most vibrant and stunning sunsets.
A former mansion surrounded by the Tijuca forest, Parque Lage is now an art school and café which serves wonderful breakfast and lunch options, with beers and wine on the menu too. The serene surroundings are home to resident monkeys and birds that are wild yet not fearful of people, allowing fantastic photo opportunities. Visitors to Parque Lage may be reminded of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams’ music video “Beautiful,” which features Parque Lage in the final scene.
Rio de Janeiro’s Botanical Gardens provide a remarkable sample of Brazil’s exotic plant and tree species. In addition to the gardens, there is a museum dedicated to Brazilian musician Tom Jobin, a French-style café and restaurant and a natural museum with insect samples and informative displays.
The unique and vibrant steps of Escadaria Selarón stand at the entrance of Lapa and reach up to the hillside of Santa Teresa. Chilean-born Jorge Selarón created the steps by hand, carefully piecing together bits of interesting and colorful tiles to create a 410 foot (125 meter) length mosaic on what has become one of the most famous staircases in the world.
Joatinga Beach is near to Recreio in the east of the city. Rarely visited by tourists, it is a tranquil haven of white, soft sands and a stunningly clear sea. It is a great place to laze the day away on the beach or tackle some challenging waves in empty waters for surfers.
A quiet cobbled alleyway during the day, Arco de Teles comes alive at night with live Brazilian-music bands in the streets and rows of bars and restuarants catering for the masses that gather here. The best nights to go are Thursdays and Fridays when happy hour proves irresistible for people working nearby who stop by to wind down and join in with the fun-loving crowds.
The Municipal Theater borders the Cinelandia square in the city center. A classic example of stunning architecture inspired by Parisian styles, the theater hosts plays, live orchestras and operas, and dance shows, especially ballet.
With an extensive collection of both national and international works, the Museum of Modern Art (or MAM as it’s often known) is a must-see for art lovers. The surrounding gardens are the works of Roberto Burle, a famous Brazilian landscaper. Sometimes the museum becomes the venue for cultural and musical events on the weekends, with live music performances and all-night parties.
Cachoeira do Horto is a waterfall in the middle of Tijuca Forest and provides a light relief from the relentless hot days of Rio de Janeiro. Take the short, 15-minute hike to the fall that is small enough to stand under and lie in the cool pool that forms below.
What was once the inspiring project of a new hotel in the middle of the rainforest, quickly became an abandoned shell after the construction company became bankrupt. Nowdays, the Gavea Hotel (or locally known as the Skeleton Hotel) remains in the middle of the Tijuca Forest, attracting locals and travelers curious to discover more about this deserted hotel. It can be reached from Estrada Vista Chinesa, and visitors can take the staircase inside up to the top to admire the stunning surrounding views.
WHERE TO EAT IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio De Janeiro known for its postcard scenery, has not only some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and people, but also an incredible gastronomic tradition. With influences from Portugal, Africa, and indigenous peoples, Rio de Janeiro’s cuisine is full of exciting flavors and spices. Here’s our guide to 10 of its most stunning restaurants.
Located in the beautiful, artsy and slower-paced Santa Teresa neighborhood, Aprazível wants to show the world the goodness of local Brazilian produce. Their menu includes a variety of dishes that take guests on a culinary journey across the country. Indeed, Brazil is such a big and cosmopolitan country that every single state and city has a cuisine typical to the area. Sitting under the trees, guest watch their food being cooked in the open-air kitchen while relaxing to the sounds of nature.
Bar and Restaurant Urca takes inspiration from both Portuguese and Brazilian cuisines, the delicious dishes and snacks that this place offers will satisfy the most demanding of palates. Located in a postcard setting at the banks of Guanabara Bay, overlooking Christ the Redeemer, Urca is perfect for a picturesque meal. Their specialty is seafood and fish which always comes fresh and includes tasty dishes such as the shrimp bobo, seafood broth and beans and fried sardines, Portuguese stew, and much more.
Located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Leblon, CT Boucherie is a steakhouse like no other. The restaurant was founded by the well known and talented French chef Claude Troisgros, and is now run by his children; Thomas and Carolina. The meat cuts are always fresh and tender. But not only is the meat delicious, so are the all-you-can-eat sides that are continuously brought to the table. The service is also exquisite.
On the banks of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, between Ipanema and Copacabana, lies Palaphita Kitch, a traditional Amazonian canteen. In the heart of Rio de Janeiro. This eco-friendly restaurant promotes a beautiful vision; to build without destroying, to recycle not to pollute, and above all, to be a simple place where city inhabitants can relax and feel at peace. Together with a variety of tropical dishes, guests can enjoy delicious caipirinhas made with various types of alcohol including cachaça, vodka, saké and whisky among others, and with flavors including rambutan, mango, kiwi, pineapple and tamarind.
Gourmet Tropical is the gastronomic hub of Chácara Tropical; a complex selling a variety of garden products and decorations. As such, the restaurant itself is located in a green environment, surrounded by beautiful plants in a very serene atmosphere. The interior design is charming, with rustic furniture and local artisanal decoration and popular art all around the restaurant. Gourmet Tropical specializes in international cuisine, but guests can also buy condiments, oils, and Italian pasta to cook at home. In addition, they provide delicious wines to complement every choice
Within one of the most popular gastronomic hubs of Rio de Janeiro, Lagoon Gourmet, lies San Remo - Lagoon, a bar which connects all the other restaurants of the complex. Located in a gorgeous setting at the banks of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the wine and tapas bar offers first class drinks and impeccable service. It has a covered area, and a beautiful veranda with a panoramic view of the lagoon.
Zazá Bistrô is inspired by the owners’ worldwide travels and the flavors they encountered along the way. Following the statement that ‘you are what you eat’, they only offer healthy food, and use organic ingredients as much as possible. Dishes here are very different to the ones usually encountered in Rio’s restaurants, but just as delicious, if not more so. The drinks are excellent too.
Sushi Leblon: fresh fish, great atmosphere, trendy location and excellent service. Sushi Leblon is by far one of the most fashionable restaurants in Rio de Janeiro. Every night, both cariocas and foreigners queue in front of the door and reservations are hard to come by. Sushi Leblon is one the best sushi restaurants in town.
Roberta Sudbrack is a contemporary Brazilian bistro run by Rio de Janeiro’s most beloved female chef. Situated close to the botanical gardens in a very upscale neighborhood, the restaurant has a local, neighborhood vibe, with light-colored walls, wooden furniture and burgundy carpets. Prior to starting this restaurant Chef Sudbrack worked at the presidential palace for seven years. Contemporary yet simple characterizes her food the best: Sudbrack’s eight-course tasting menu is different every day, according to the availability of the ingredients at the local food market. Her desserts are exquisite, especially her famous banana ice.
Prana Vegetariano offers delicious, sophisticated vegetarian dishes. Every day, chef Marcos Freitas, a native carioca and healthy food lover, uses his creativity to combine a variety of flavors to create the perfect recipes. The freshly squeezed juices are incredible and the açais are also a must try while in Rio.
WHERE TO SHOP IN RIO DE JANEIRO
Rio de Janeiro is well known for its stunning beaches, colonial city center and all-night parties. With a population of over six million residents, it should come as no surprise that there are also some serious shopping areas throughout the city, from bargain hotspots to places that stock the best national and global brands. Here, Turisti -Info narrows down Rio’s best places for shopping that suit nearly every style.
Ipanema has a mix of upscale and bargain shopping areas. Some streets, such as Rua Garcia d’Avila and Rua Maria Quiteria, house the bigger, more expensive brands, yet the main street Rua Visconde de Piraja is home to more reasonably priced ones. Start at the end of Rua Visconde de Piraja by the metro and walk the length of it, dipping into fashion stores as you fancy. Ipanema also has the Hippie Market, which is held at the General Osorio square every Sunday. This market is a concentration of dozens of stalls that sell leather bags, hand carved wooden furniture, jewelry, clothes, ornaments, food and paintings. Take a stroll and pick up exclusive souvenirs or quirky accessories along the way.
This fair happens the first Saturday of every month in downtown Lapa, where hundreds of stalls concentrate around the old houses in Lapa famous for selling antiques, vintage items and handcrafts. The crumbling houses open to reveal a treasure chest of items; rummage through to find some real vintage gems. The fair is close to many local restaurants and there are often musicians in the street playing samba and chorinho, two traditional styles of Brazilian music.
The most Americanized neighborhood in Rio, Barra da Tijuca is packed with shopping malls, bars and restaurants. The summer heat in Rio can be sweltering, so the air conditioning in the malls will come as a relief. The shopping options are varied, too, with plenty of national and international brands. Village Mall in Barra is the most luxurious, with brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, whereas Barra Shopping and New York City Center Shopping offer an assortment of more affordable shops.
Upscale neighborhood Leblon has the upmarket stores to match. Things here get pricey, but for shopping, it has some of the best brands in terms of style and quality. Take a stroll down Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva for high-fashion boutique stores and browse some of Rios’ hidden yet gorgeous clothing brands. Be sure to stop at Shopping Leblon to pick up a classic Brazilian bikini from Salina, some cool streetwear from Osklen or a new outfit from Animale for a night out.
Right outside of the metro station, Uruguaiana is one of the city center’s biggest permanent markets. Row after row of stalls set up to sell a whole range of merchandise from clothes and electronics to piercings, jewelry and knick-knacks. Whenever anyone in Rio needs something a bit obscure, Uruguaiana is where they venture to. Take your time strolling through to pick up souvenirs and other little bits and bobs such as cute purses and strappy bags. It is also worth visiting Uruguaiana pre-Carnival to pick up a costume for fancy dress that is ready for the parades and street parties.
- Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão
Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão occupies a space of 32,000 square meters and accommodates around 600 stalls. Open Tuesday through Sunday with weekends open around the clock nonstop, this fair specializes in products from Bahia and the northeast of Brazil and has something for everyone. Here is where you can buy northeastern foods, cachaca, souvenirs, clothes, hammocks and a whole range of other items. With live music all day and night, it is impossible not to feel a little spring in your step as you browse through the hundreds of wonderful items waiting to be bought.
Shopping Rio Sul is a shopping mall in Botafogo. This mall is roomy enough to support a variety of cool and trendy brands such as Forever 21, Zara, Eclectic, Osklen and Mr. Cat, yet is compact enough to have everything within close range. It also has a great restaurant area with popular eateries such as Outback Steakhouse and Delirium Tropical. Use the large touchscreen computers to help find your favorite shops and their interactive maps will guide you there. In addition to stores, there are salons to get your hair and nails done at on the top floors for the ultimate treat and pampering day.