Recommendations: Rio De Janerio

For a long weekend in March, I headed down to Rio to visit my good friend Tristan.  I already had the South American itch after visiting Colombia last year but after visiting Rio, the full on Latin bug hit me. And on top of that, I absolutely fell in love with Rio - it's right up there with Paris and Amsterdam as one of my favorite cities. 

So for those of you heading to one of the most magnetic cities, below are some recommendations. 

Tom, Tristan and I at Ipanema.

Where to Stay: When you go to Rio, you go for the beaches so stay by them.  I don't think there is any better neighborhood than Ipanema so I would start there.  It's one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city filled with great bars and restaurants and is steps away from one of the worlds best beaches.  While there a few good hotels, check out Air BnB as there were a number of great options with stunning views.  Honorable Mention - If you can't find anywhere to stay in Ipanema,  check out Rio's chicest neighborhood, Leblon, or head over to Rio's most well known neighborhood, Copacabana. 

The view of Ipanema from our Air BnB. 

What to Do: 
  • Ipanema: As I mentioned, you go to Rio for the beaches and there is no better beach to park yourself for a day than Ipanema.  Head over to posto nove to rent a chair and then all you have to do is take in the jaw dropping views and enjoy a few caipirinhas. 
  • Helicopter Ride: There's not better way to see this sprawling city than from the air.  For a few hundred dollars per person, you can take the ride of your life getting breath taking views of all the major sites throughout the city.  
A helicopter ride provides you with the best views of this famed statue. 
  • Favela Tour: Almost a quarter of Rio's population call the favelas home.  While there are certainly some favelas that you won't want to venture into, this Favela Tour takes you into the heart of some the cities most famous favelas to see all they have to offer. 
  • Copacabana: While we preferred Ipanema, Copacabana is one of the most well known beaches in the world and is worth checking out. 
Copacabana from above. 

  • Christ the Redeemer: When in Rio, you have to visit it's most well known resident.  Viewable from almost anywhere in the city, this 125 foot statue is worth the journey to the top even if you are not religious. 
Rocinha, Brazil's largest Favela. 
Where to Eat:
  • Majorica Churrascaria: A bottle of Argentinian red and perfectly cut steak from this traditional Brazilian Churrascaria is a perfect way to start your trip. 
  • Aprazivel: Set a top a hill in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, this al fresco eatery serves up fresh fish from the Amazon as you view the city lights down below. 
The three of us at Majorica Churrascaria.
  • Zuka: Located in the stylish neighborhood of Leblon, Zuka is one of the hottest restaurants in Rio right now that serves up seafood and meat dishes. 
  • Garota de Ipanema: If you find yourself humming "Girl from Ipanema" while you are in Rio, you should swing by the establishment where the composers actually wrote the song for some Picanha no Rechaud.  
  • Honorable Mentions: There's no better way to nurse a hangover from Lapa than with an Acai bowl in the morning which can be found all over Rio.  And there's no better afternoon snack than an beef empanda from one of the corner cafes or vendors on the beach. 
The view from Aprazivel. 

Where to Go Out: When going out in Rio, Lapa is where you should head.  The night doesn't seem to start until close to midnight and gets over almost in time for sunrise at Ipanema. 
  • Rio Scenarium: This massive establishment has multiple stages to check out but you'll find people of all ages sambaing the night away in the main stage. 
The main stage at Rio Scenarium. 
  • Carioca de Gema: This more intimate venue is home to tourists and locals alike.  Even if you never have sambaed before, just jump right in and start to move those hips. 

Carioca de Gema. 

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