TG Tips – Rio de Janeiro

Things to do, as well as places to stay and eat in Rio de Janeiro

I recently (December 2015) returned from spending nearly one month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And what a month, in fact what a place.

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Last Mate Sellers of The Day – Ipanema Sunset (Jemima Photos)

Originally planning a short stay I left Rio after a week of visiting family, it being my intention to return just in time for my flight back to Europe. However, even sitting in what Amerigo Vespucci described as ‘Paradise’ – the incredible island of Fernando de Noronha, I missed Rio and part of me thought; you’ve just not done this place justice…

So I returned and thanks, apparently to the Universe, ended up spending ten further days in the company of THE best ‘guide’ I could have envisaged. It’s fair to say I have fallen in love with this wonderful city and cannot wait to return, first in Jan with Travel Eyes, but then maybe for a month in March…

Here are my suggestions for a few places to stay and eat as well as things to do in Rio.

I would like to extend my eternal thanks to my brother and his family as well as Jemima for making this all possible – I will treasure the memories…

Accommodation

Though I was fortunate enough to stay privately pretty much on Ipanema beach, during my time I came across two very different, though both excellent options for a bed for the night…

The Maze – R. Tavares Bastos 414, Catete. I had originally wished to ‘do’ a Favela tour as part of my stay and googling that came upon something much better; The Maze. Bob Nadkarni, former BBC camera man opened his hostel in a Favela and has since created one of Rio’s and often said, the world’s best jazz venues.

The Maze

The Case of the Escaping Sun…

It is a fascinating place to stay, offering some of the best views of the sprawling city below. Check their website as they have so much going on; music nights; curry lunches; art exhibitions. A truly out of the ordinary option for a couple of nights. See their website here; The Maze.

Hotel Santa Theresa (Relais & Chateaux) – R. Alm. Alexandrino 660, Santa Theresa. Travel and the spontaneous joys and opportunities it presents (if we seize them) is simply my favourite thing to do. In this case it was a rather surly waiter who informed me that in order to enjoy a Prosecco from their terrace bar, on a Monday, at least, one had to be a client. Five minutes and Room 47 later that problem was solved. And what a great – posh – place (well you expect that from R &C) it turned out to be.

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I do Love a Good Four Poster

Great breakfast, really great breakfast. Not cheap of course, but if you need a night or two of luxury whilst in Rio (and Santa Theresa is a fun place to explore anyway), then I recommend Hotel Santa Theresa wholeheartedly.

Places to Eat in Rio de Janeiro

Here is a teeny tiny selection – didn’t eat that much whilst in Rio – of a few notable places… The most obvious perhaps and not so easy to list here as they are so abundant – are the kiosks all along Copacabana as well as Ipanema that do food. Most are good and it is fun finding your favourite place; a personal favourite dish turned out to be the prawn platters. Did you know the collective known for prawns is a committee?

Hare Burger – Ave. Henrique Dumont 68, Loja G – Ipanema. As a veggie, Rio might not always be that easy – they do seem to love their meat. A great option for a quick bite is this place, just one block back from the beach.

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It’s Best to go Flying on a Full Stomach

Plain and with simply good burgers, even various options to chose from which is always refreshing for a veggie – you know not just the ONE veggie option. Needless to say, prices are good too. Hare Burger.

Casa Momus – R. do Lavradio 11, Centro. This is a great street – I ended up calling it ‘Cuba’ as it reminded me so much of Havana. On it and largely by chance, we stumbled across this largely Italian restaurant (though perhaps European is a better term).

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Shirt-Splittingly Good Desserts (Jemima Photos)

The service was possibly a little slow, but the dishes were good and it was nice to sit outside on a lively, pedestrian street full of bars, people and music – superb to people watch. The star of the show, apart from dining with Audrey, was the amazing Tiramisu and Affogato served for dessert… See more here; Casa Momus.

Things to do in Rio

The best things in life are free right? Oh very much so I feel. I am so grateful to my guide for introducing me to how much fun one can have in this city, both for nowt and with a few Rials in ones pocket. We went on sunrise runs, hikes up mountains, strolls around the Lagoa, the switching on of Christmas trees, drinks at coconut corner, crashed the toilets of the Sheraton (twice) as well as those of hotel sky lounge bars above Copacabana. We experienced sunset-physcology on the beach and squiggly lines in the sand, participated in and came away with trophies from local races. We played fresco ball or beach tennis – now THAT is fun, went Christmas present wrapping and even to Christmas parties. We saw ballet and opera as well as more ill-fitted thongs than one can shake a stick at. We achieved a fraction of what we said out to, but that simply means I will have to return…

Rio Scenarium – Pavilhão Cultural – R. do Lavradio 20, Centro. Opposite where we ate, this was the first time in a while I’d queued to get into a club (old man). It is a fascinating place – the decor, on all three floors is certainly eclectic.

Three Floors of Butts and Boobs...

Three Floors of Music, Butts and Boobs…

From the stage on the ground floor the music (samba on this occasion) drifts up through a big hole in floors two and three. All levels have bars, chairs and couches – plenty of space for dancing (if one excels a that – which I do not) or people watching – oh the best people watching without doubt. I think they do food also. Rio Scenarium.

Escola Carioca de Voo Libre – Av Prefeito Mendes de Morais 1525, Praca Pepe Lopes – Praia do Pepino, Sao Corado. I once tried ‘Parapenting’ in France. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done I think. As a result I had always promised myself I’d do it again some day when a special occasion presented itself.

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Top Left I Think is Yours Truly… (Jemima Photos)

So, last day in Rio, perfect weather and company; good enough occasion? Good enough! Last time I flew over mountains and nature, this time over forests, a favela and the sea and with views of Rio, landed on the warm sand of a beach. Have a look at their website and don’t worry, it really is not scary.

That’s it for now, though watch this space – I hope there will be much more to come. Until then…

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Thanks Rio and Jemima for Turning my World Upside Down… (Jemima Photos)

 


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