The number 1 guide to the best of Rio
With 450 year of history, Rio homes fascinating treasures in its museums with enviable collection. The land of carnival and samba, and of several theaters, music venues, commercial and gastronomic locations open during the whole year. But it is the match of the geography of the area – the sea, mountains and forests – along with the human presence that makes Rio de Janeiro a unique city ~ Visit Brazil
First things first. Before even landing in Rio, travellers will need to decide where to stay.
1. LATA members would suggest the Ipanema and Leblon areas. Hotels such as the new Janeiro Hotel in Leblon or the Praia Ipanema overlook the ocean and are situated streets away from the Ipanema beach. They offer more upscale luxurious accommodation while the streets behind hide some of the best eating, drinking and shopping.
2. Copacabana itself is one of the main areas to stay in Rio and is known for being a particularly lively part of the city. If you want a prime beachfront location but away from the hustle and bustle, Chimu Adventures (chimuadventures.com) recommends staying in Leme at the quieter end of the beach. For a bit of liveliness then stay anywhere from Arpoador to Leblon. Cox and Kings (www.coxandkings.co.uk) suggests the Copacabana Palace Hotel, one of the oldest and most luxurious hotels in Rio.
3. Barra da Tijuca is a relatively new neighbourhood given that it was developed around 30 years ago and is considered an up-market option for visitors. Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) suggests the LSH Hotel, a new luxury property overlooking the beach that is popular among surfers, kite surfers and body boarders.
Tours & Activities
Rio is one of the liveliest, most vibrant cities in the world meaning there is plenty to do for incoming travellers.
1. For a little peace and tranquillity, Jacada Travel (jacadatravel.com) recommends visitors head to Parque Lage – located off the tourist radar with a beautiful historic mansion at its centre and great views of Corcovado. Or for a more secluded beach, they suggest visiting the tranquil Praia Vermelha (in the Urca district, right next to Sugar Loaf Mountain).
2. Abercrombie & Kent’s (abercrombiekent.co.uk) helicopter selfie experience hovering above the city of Rio de Janeiro offers travellers the chance to grab a daring snapshot overlooking the iconic Christ the Redeemer. The flight is especially customised in order to allow passengers to snap a picture with their legs hanging out the aircraft granting a fresh new perspective on the tropical rainforest, beaches, islands, sea and the metropolis’ expanse.
3. Tucan Travel (tucantravel.com) recommends a ferry ride out to the island of Ilha Grande. A tropical paradise just off the coast of Rio with sandy white beaches, clear blue waters and plenty of peace and quiet. The island is a car free zone and can be done in a day excursion but Tucan suggests staying overnight to explore hiking routes, snorkel with marine life and enjoy delicious seafood.
4. Chimu Adventures says the best way to appreciate ‘Carioca’ culture is a gastronomic tour of the city. A tour of the city’s cobbled streets finding local markets, hidden eateries or fine-dining restaurants. A food tour allows guests to try an array of cuisines from the colonial Portuguese favourites to exotic Amazonian dishes. Alternatively, Cox and Kings recommends a walking tour of ‘Old Rio’ taking in many interesting locations in downtown Rio. The tour reveals many secrets and stories of Rio’s past.
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Rio is a gastro-hub of the South American continent and trying the local cuisine is a must for anyone that visits. The LATA members recommend these typical carioca dishes.
1. Feijoada is a traditional dish made with black beans and pork and is an absolute must when in Rio. Visitors can try the dish at the small neighbourhood bars and restaurants on a Saturday afternoon ideally complemented with a refreshing homemade caipirinha carioca.
2. Acai is another popular dish in Rio, made from a berry only found in Brazil, the dish is similar to frozen yoghurt with granola and banana and ginger flavoured cachaça often found in the bars of Lapa.
3. Churrasco is a delicious Brazilian style mixed grill, generally served with locally grown vegetables. Diners pay a fixed price for a variety of meats brought round on skewers and elegantly sliced to serve at the table. For some of the best Churrasco, LATA members recommend the Churrascaria Palace in the Copacabana district or Carretão.
4. The petiscos (snacks) or local bar food to complement a nice chilled beer come highly recommended. One of our favourites is the cheese and prawn pasteis (pastries).
For some of the best panoramas:
1. Trailfinders (trailfinders.com) suggests heading to Morro de Dois Irmaos; an iconic mountain at the end of Leblon beach to enjoy a 40 minute hike to the top offering breath-taking panoramic views of Rio.
2. The Brazil Tourist Board suggests scaling Pedra da Gavea, a mountain in Tijuca forest that rises to 844 metres of altitude and is the highest mountain in the world that ends directly in the ocean. The Pedra da Gavea is renowned for a particularly ‘instagrammed’ ledge overlooking Rio and its immaculate coastline.
3. Cox and Kings recommends a cable car to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain and a visit to the summit of Corcovado Mountain where Christ the Redeemer sits are a must for breathtaking views of the city and its bays from above.
4. Other options include the Pedra do Pontal, found between the beaches of Recreio and Macumba in the western part of Rio. Alternatively the Vista Chinesa is a Chinese gazebo-like structure made out of bamboo located high up in the Tijuca National Park offering stunning panoramic views of the city.
Rio is a city full of energy and flamboyance which comes to the fore in one of the greatest parties in the world, the Rio Carnival. However, visitors can enjoy the fiesta-feel that inhabits the city year-round.
1. Botafogo has a great and growing nightlife scene with plenty of quirky and trendy bars. Tucan Travel often takes guests to a wine bar called the Winehouse featuring a grand selection of local and imported wines.
2. Lapa and Santa Teresa are off the tourist path yet offer party-goers the perfect chance to experience Rio’s world-famous samba bars and clubs. Abercrombie and Kent take travellers into these rich cultural hubs of music and food as part of a tailored itinerary.
3. Journey Latin America suggests the Café do Forte, located in Copacabana’s fortress, for an evening of cocktails overlooking the legendary Copacabana beach. The café is run by the historic Confeitaria Colombo and offers stunning views of Sugar Loaf Mountain.
For further information visit LATA
Rio de Janeiro awarded TripAdvisor Travellers Choice 2018 number 1 Brazil destination.
Rio de Janiero awarded World Travel Awards 2018 South Americas Leading Sports Tourism Destination.
Parque Lage currently has a 4.5 star out of 5 star TripAdvisor review rating from over 5000 reviews.
Pedra da Gavea currently has a 4.5 out of 5 star TripAdvisor review rating from over 2800 reviews.
Sugar Loaf Mountain has a 4.5 star out of 5 stat TripAdvisor review rating from over 52 000 reviews.
For a full list of Cox & Kings awards visit here.
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