09 Jun Rio: Not to be Missed on your Travel List
Colorful! Exotic and Fun! Music always in the air, and gentle breezes even on the hottest day! These, combined with the cool ocean currents and wide beaches make Rio and exciting choice for any vacationer. If the beach is not enough, iconic landmarks and a variety of rich cultures make Rio de Janiero, Brazil a magnet for the well-traveled and adventurous.
Of the many available opportunities in Rio, places like the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain, a peak at the mouth of the Guanabara Bay, definitely become part of the “must do” list-typical tourist sites that everyone must experience. To mix it up a bit, arrange to take a tour of a Favela- a vibrant and historic shantytown built on the hillsides in the outskirts of Rio. Or, you can opt to go to less traveled places. Instead of the well-known Copacabana or Ipanema Beaches, go to Leblon Beach, located in an upscale residential area of the city.
Another amazing part of Rio that must be seen is the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Although once in decline, it is now thriving as a hip and edgy part of Rio. Enjoy walking around, visiting the local shops and restaurants where you can talk with the local shopkeepers and artists that dot the street. Do not miss the famous tile staircase here created by the artist Selaron. You can even stop by and meet him in his studio located midway on the staircase.
Other activities in the city include a visit to one of the many local markets where you can find a wealth of crafts and fun souvenirs. If you happen to be in Rio on a Sunday, ask to go to the “Hippie Market,” a fun marketplace filled with locally-made crafts. Talk a walk through the Botanical Gardens and enjoy native plants and nature with the bustling city in the background. Or, arrange for a tour of the Carnival area to see the permanent stadium seating or visit a Samba school or museum.
My suggestions for a great stay in Rio (based on my experience):
Begin your visit with a few days stay at The Santa Teresa Hotel, located at the top of the meandering streets of the artistic Santa Teresa region. While staying there, I recommend enjoying a pre-dinner drink at the Dos Descasados Bar ( http://jetsetreport.com/nightlife.php?articleId=388&cityID=41&ver=2), an elegant, open-air bar overlooking the neighborhood. Afterward, enjoy a meal at Therese (http://www.relaischateaux.com/en/search-book/hotel-restaurant/santateresa/) , a Relais and Chateaux restaurant in the hotel. During the day, spend some time at a refreshing pool or enjoy the spa. Overall, I recommend staying two or three nights to fully enjoy this vibrant neighborhood.
Next, you can transfer to Leblon Beach for the remainder of your stay. There, you can schedule for tours of Rio’s famous sights as well as take time to enjoy the beach. For an off-the-beaten-path hotel, try the Marina All Suites. It is located directly across the street from a beach in the trendy, upscale neighborhood known as Leblon. The hotel rooms are spacious, with many great views. What I love most about this hotel is that you are in walking distance of the beach, wonderful restaurants, and a nice local shopping district.
When walking through town, be sure to enjoy a refreshing, cold beer and snack at the Devassa Cervejaria Bar. However, if you want a seat at the outdoor bar, be sure to make a reservation.
There are options for many price ranges and experiences. If you want more upscale service, try the Famous Copacabana Palace in Ipanema, another neighborhood in the city, or the Fasana, a five-star boutique hotel. The Palace, in the very heart of Rio, was designed by French architect Joseph Gire, and is well-known throughout the world.
Overall, Rio has everything to offer- city and beaches, culture and adventure. Every traveler should make a point to visit this beautiful and interesting city!