Nicknamed the ‘cidade maravilhosa’ (that’s Portuguese for the ‘marvellous city!’), Rio de Janeiro is one of the world’s most electrifying cities. Fringed by majestic mountains, sun kissed beaches and thick jungle, the metropolis emits a laid back vibe with an upbeat energy. It’s emerged as a must-visit destination for major cruise lines sailing from all corners of the globe. If your voyage has pencilled in a visit to Brazil’s world famous metropolis read on for our insider’s guide to spending a day in Rio de Janeiro.
A morning by the sea
Set your alarm bright and early and make a beeline for Zona Sul, one of Rio’s most upmarket neighbourhoods. Kick off your day the local way and order a cafezinho (mini espresso) and pão de queijo (freshly baked cheese bread). After you’ve had your caffeine fix spend the morning catching rays on the iconic Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon beaches. Sit back, relax and soak up the sun, sand and sounds of samba!
Lunch on local delicacies
When you’ve had your fill of the beach it’s time to re-energise with a hearty lunch. Health buffs will love smoothies featuring Amazonian acai, a purple berry packed full of iron and antioxidants. There are plenty of beachside cafes serving up light meals while those with bottomless appetites should pay visit to one of Rio’s famous all-you-can-eat churascarias. These local steakhouses serve up an endless flow of mouth-watering grilled meats. Wash it all down with an ice cold caipirinha, the country’s zesty national drink.
An afternoon of sightseeing
When the afternoon sun becomes too hot to handle it’s time to seek out the shade and soak up some of Rio’s most iconic sights. Head to Cosmo Velho where you can catch the cog train to the 710 metre high Corcovado peak. Gaze at the beautiful Tijuca National Forest and embark at Cristo Redentor, one of the most recognisable monuments on the planet. Passengers with an interest in social economics will jump at the chance to sign up for a tour of the city’s notorious shantytowns while history aficionados can explore the Santa Teresa district. The bohemian hillside neighbourhood is brimming with old-style mansions, boutique museums, crafts shops and galleries.
As a city celebrated for its exhilarating parties experiencing Rio after dark is a rite of passage. When the sun goes down get the party started with Brazilian tapas, local beer and live music. After you’re well and truly in the mood catch a cab to Lapa, the city’s premier nightlife hotspot. Seek out a samba club, sip on a cocktail, laugh with the locals and dance the night away.
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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Christian Haugan, Ruben Porto Jr,Adhemar M. Duro Jr.