Where sophistication crumbles on the pristine white sand beaches and the warm air dries up most of the big city atmosphere. Rio De Janeiro is the place to let your hair down and have some fun. It is a vibrant city with great restaurants, hotels, places to visit, shopping and bars. Its hard to believe that there are favelas or slums on corners of the city where drug lords rule and the police keep a watchful eye. You really feel safe walking the streets, even though there are real dangers on the other side of the mountain.
The neighbouring Ipanema and Leblon beaches are a far cry from Copacabana which is extremely touristy and crowded. It is a much more affluent crowd that goes with the beautiful restaurants and hotels. Its perfect to wake up run down to the bakery grab a pastry and nestle down on your beach chair for a lovely day with your friends. The water is like bath water and there is a mistiness floating on the water and mountains makes the whole place sizzle. Peter Allen’s festive tune captures what what Rio De Janeiro becomes at night. It transforms into one big street party well into the early hours of the morning. Brazilians don’t really sleep, they work all day, have dinner after nine and then party all night. They simply work to live in a big way and strangely its easy to get caught up in the culture and even hours of sleep quickly flies out the window.
There are so many things to see and do. Spending a few days there will be a great experience and also a real holiday. The national drink is the Caipirinha which made up of cachaça, sugar and lime. Its a type of mojito but with another twist on alcohol from heavenly sugarcane. Caipiroska is also popular but made with vodka instead and equally refreshing in the heat.
Brazilians have a distinct style. Its bold, colourful, playful and most of all fun. The size of their shopping malls is a meer monument to how important clothes are to them. Its easy to get lost in the all the shops, especially the number of brazillian bikini stores. They all have a new trendy look in tribal prints or new cuts designed to show maximum flesh. The main festival, Carnival, is a huge festival where locals indulge in all their favourite things before lent. They would be dancing, alcohol and sex. So the costumes are hyper sexy with feathers, near naked women and more glitter than the Mardi Gas festivals combined. Its no surprise that the beaches are filled with women in sexy bikinis reminiscent of their favourite things.
One of the best things to do is visit the Sugar Load Mountains. Hop into a cable car and glide up to a huge park set on a mountain that literally looks like a giant cube surrounded by tropical palm trees and the ocean. Form there you can appreciate how big Rio De Janeiro truly is, with a city beating away and tourists joining in the party alike. Also the statue, Christ the Redeemer is very impressive. Brazilians are mostly Catholic and having a giant Jesus looking over them has meaning. You need to travel a fair way by bus or taxi to get there and its very crowded – but the view is worth it. Looking out at the best that Rio De Janeiro has to offer from a stone creation is quite surreal, especially with low clouds floating by. It feels very close to heaven on earth; jungles, lush urban landscapes, skyscrapers and sexy beaches.
Belmond Copacabana Palace for luxury accomodation is a busy part of the city ($330 pn)
Fasano for a luxury home away from home
La Mason is a little out of the city but has a spectacular property to be enjoyed
Sheraton in the best area and everything you need ($250 pn)
Espirito Santa for Brazilian seafood dishes in a trendy restaurant
Sushi Leblon for contemporary Japanese in an upmarket setting
Zuka for exquisite bistro dining and a party at night
Raja Gasto for a fresh take on Brazilian classics that leave the best to dust
Olympe is an unforgettable experience and there is a reason that it is number one
Pergula sits amongst a quintessential pool backdrop the caviar buffet and prosecco are no surprise
THINGS TO DO
Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana beach
MAMRIO art Gallery for leading local artists
Hop on a ferry to Mac Niteroi for great views across in a building out of star trek
Museu Castro Maya for an incredible art collection that feels private
Catch a taxi from the airport to your hotel.
There are busses and metros that have been expanded for the Olympic Games and while they are said to be safe, give a cab a second look.
Don’t drink the water in Brazil, there are many stores that sell bottled water cheaply.