RIO de JANEIRO, BRAZIL TRAVEL INFORMATION

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 Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro is one of the best beaches in the world.

Rio de Janeiro is my favorite city in the world. The main thing I am impressed with is the natural beauty of one of the world's largest cities. I call it the "Urban Jungle," which I suppose has a double entendre. One of my friends lives in an area just past Ipanema called Leblon. He walks down the street from his apartment to get to the beach. It's about a five block walk. Meanwhile, although there are highrises and busy streets and restaurants and shops, it's in the middle of a jungle. Somehow, this factor makes living there much less stressful. The view from his 12th floor balcony looks over the mountainside and the mansions that cover it. Of course, you can also see the ocean.

Here's a quick list of tips for your trip to Rio:


1)  Find a good driver and get his cellphone number.  It's better to have someone who knows to expect you than to rely on a cab.  Take his advice as to where to go, and, more importantly, where not to go! This one factor alone will dramatically improve your security while in Rio.

2)  Eat at the following restaurants: Puercao (Churrascuria), Esplandada Grill, Leblon Sushi (Best Sushi in the World, bar none.  Also a great see and be seen place.  They were shooting a commercial right next to me last time I was there.), Esch Cafe (for drinks, light snacks, and cigars), Satyricon (fancy seafood place). 

Local residents play volleyball or just soak up the rays on Ipanema.

3)  Stay at Ipanema, not Copacabana.  It's worth the extra money because it's safer, more classy, cleaner, and less crowded.

4) Caesar Park Towers is a great place to stay in a great location and has great service if you can handle the price.

5) BEACH BEACH BEACH BEACH!

6) Eat lots of Pao de Quesia.  You'll understand when you get there.  Brazilian food is a little salty, but it's really good.  The salads with hearts of palm are great. There are lots of rice dishes that are fabulous, many with bits of dried meat in them. Make sure to go to a Churrascuria while you are there.  Unlike the copies in the US, most of the Churrascuria's in Rio/Sao Paulo have the most amazing buffets you've ever seen.

7) Remember that in Rio, most "discos" are actually pick up locations for prostitutes (yes, that's true for the famous club "Help" too), so find a local resident (or a hotel concierge) to recommend a place if you are really going out to dance.

8) Cabo Frio, about two hours from Rio, has great fishing.  You can catch your fill of sailfish and often blue marlin.  Paulo, the world record holder for the largest blue marlin ever caught lives a few hours east and north of Rio.  It's worth the ride to charter his boat and have him take you out.  He also has a couple of apartments that he rents out to fishing clients.  I highly recommend you go stay with him and utilize his skills at finding the fish.
 

9) Visit Leblon.  It's an area of Rio just up the beach from Ipanema.  I love walking around the neighborhood. There are some great shops, the world's best sushi place (Sushi LeBlon), great bars (try Esch Cafe), and wonderful people.  This is the area I refer to when I call it an "Urban Jungle."  The streets are covered with a canopy of trees, but yet it is remarkably urban.

 

View from the roof of my friend's apartment in Leblon in Rio de Janeiro.

 

More stuff to see and do in Rio:

The statue of Christ, the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro is breathtaking. Christ, the Redeemer Statue
On top of the Corcovado Mountain at a height of 710 meters, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is one of theworld's most-visited monuments. Hire a driver and have him take you through the mountains and the Atlantic Rainforest up to the the statue.  Along the way and once you arrive, you will get stunning glimpses of Rio from many different angles. From the top, the view is nothing short of heavenly: Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Botanical Gardens, the Jockey Club, and the Lagoon. The entire city spreads out in an unbelievable panorama during the day, and sparkly and beautiful after dark.

Botanical Gardens
Rio is home to an impressive Botanical Garden. You will find wonderful examples of plant life in this huge garden. The Imperial Palms are among its most impressive attractions, planted in 1809 by Prince Regent D. João VI.

There are huge trees decked with orchids that contrast with giant victoria-regia, lilies, bromeliads, royal poincianas, and tropical foliage, making the Botanical Gardens a favorite tourist attraction.


Sugar Loaf, near the beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sugar Loaf
Rio's signature landmark is at the entrance of Guanabara Bay-- the famous Sugar Loaf Mountain. Take a “bondinho” (cable car) to the top of Morro da Urca and eat a snack while admiring one of the most beautiful views in the world. Then, continue on to the peak of Sugar Loaf and enjoy a complete view of the Bay and the beautiful Rio beaches.

Modern Art Museum
Be sure to check out the Modern Art Museum located in Flamengo Park close to downtown. The museum is home to 1,700 works, including paintings, sculptures and engravings by Brazilian and foreign artists. It's definitely worth your time to visit.

Island of Paqueta
Visit the beautiful island of Paquetá, lying in the middle of Guanabara Bay, just one hour from downtown by ferry. The only means to get to the island is by boat as there are no bridges linking it to the continent. The only cars on Paquetá are one ambulance, one police car, and one fire truck. The beauty of this excursion begins when you board the ferry at Praça XV (downtown). Bring or wear a bathing suit and towel, because once you are on Paquetá, you will love the beautiful beaches, the quaint atmosphere, and the unforgettable sunset. There are some wonderful photo opportunities on the island as well.

 

 

 

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