Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, also dubbed the Marvelous City, is an essential destination for those visiting the largest country in Latin America. Surrounded by beaches and lots of greenery, the city is a metropolis full of natural refuge. And I traveled there two weeks ago!
As a resident of SÃ£o Paulo, whenever I have time, I travel to Rio de Janeiro and rest my mind in the Arpoador and play in the Lapa district (the city center). For those who want to visit Rio de Janeiro, (maybe for the 2016 Olympics?) here are some tips:
1) Stay in the south of the city (Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana …). The city’s center is not very safe for locals (even less for tourists) and access the southern area is always easier as a traveler. Moreover, the beaches of the south are the most beautiful in Rio. If you don’t have much money for hotel, there are also many available youth hostels. My staples are the Copa Hostel (Copacabana) and Brother’s Hostel (in Botafogo). Depending on the season, it is best to book your place in advance.
2) In the morning, walk to the beach, Arpoador. Climb on top of some stones and gather the energy that the meeting of the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema give you.
3) At lunch, go to Ipanema and check out the restaurants on the corners. They’re the best and a very nice one is the Tropical Delirium. Another tip, go to the area called the Shopping Leblon and enjoy a salad at the restaurant Gula-Gula.
4) If you want to enjoy the late afternoon, in Copacabana and Ipanema, many fishermen sell snacks on beach boulevard. Here you can try the cookie cod and crab. A nice place is also the Belmont bar in the neighborhood of Flamengo. Do not forget to taste the famous Brazilian caipirinha! Other bars are the legal Rua Dias Ferreira, in Leblon.
5) For an evening out, take a taxi to the neighborhood of Lapa. There you will find many bars and clubs that play samba, forrÃ³ and chorinho (typical sounds of Rio de Janeiro). My club of choice is the Rio Scenarium, but I stress that you arrive before 9pm. If you arrive at 10pm, there’ll be a line outside that’ll take three hours to conquer. Still, the place is quite large, with three floors that can accommodate 5,000 people. Wear low-heels so you can dance all night!
6) The next day, if it’s sunny, go early in the morning to visit the famous statue of The Christ. Considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, the place has one of the most incredible views imaginable. From there, you can see the whole of Rio de Janeiro.
7) Don’t forget also to visit the Sugar Loaf area and catch the tram that even James Bond rode in one of his films. Take the tram to see the Red Beach, which lies between the two hills of Sugarloaf.
8) Also visit the Museu da ChÃ¡cara do CÃ©u, in the Parque das RuÃnas, besides being a beautiful place, the spot presents us with another wonderful view of Rio de Janeiro. From there you can read the whole center of Rio, Arcos da Lapa and the entire bay of Flamengo and Botafogo.
9) For dinner, try eating at the Golden Steak or the Botanical Garden. If you like Japanese food, Rio de Janeiro has great Temakeria (sushi).
10) Finally, my advice to anyone who is abroad and traveling in Rio, be very careful with your belongings on the beach. Never leave bags in the sand and go to the sea. Don’t hide your money in the routine safest places on your body like in pockets or backpacks, buy a door-dollar and keep the money under the clothes. Another tip, don’t walk around with all of your money on you.Â Always be aware of pickpockets, they roam the beaches behind the tourists, and avoid buying things from street vendors – when they realize that you are not Brazilian, they’ll abuse you with marked-up prices.
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