48 Hours in Rio de Janeiro

April 29, 2017

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Praia da Joatinga. Image by Pedro Widmar.


Rio’s locals call their beloved home Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvelous City. If that sounds a little boastful then wait until you get here; you’ll soon see it isn’t an idle claim. Rio cast its spell over The HUNT Rio de Janeiro writer, Tom Le Mesurier, in stages. First, he was seduced by the natural features: wide, golden beaches, dramatic mountains and a huge forest hiding waterfalls and wildlife. Then, it was the culture that got him: buzzing samba clubs, colorful street art, busy markets full of tropical fruits bursting with flavor, and, of course, the music – samba, bossa nova, forro, baile funk – all of which combine to create a celebratory soundtrack for the city.

Day 1

Parceria Carioca. Image by Tom Le Mesurier.

9am: Start your day in the tranquil neighborhood of Jardim Botânico with breakfast at Empório Jardim, where you can opt for a healthy or hearty meal.

10am: Mosey south through the garden trails toward Parceria Carioca to grab a colorful Brazilian knick-knack. If you’re in the market for designer fashion, browse nearby women’s boutiques Isabela Capeto and Dona Coisa.

11:30am: Time to hit the beach! Hail a taxi to the Urca peninsula for some fun in the sun at Praia Vermelha.

1pm: Planning to scale Sugarloaf Mountain? You’ll want the guidance of Companhia da Escalada, a rock climbing school that can teach you the best way to get to the peak, as well as provide equipment. If climbing isn’t for you, take the cable car and then follow the trail to the summit.

Palaphita Kitch. Image by Tom Le Mesurier.

3pm: After you’ve returned, head to Urca to enjoy a late lunch at Bar Urca, where you can purchase food and drinks, and then make your way over to the harbor wall outside, find a perch, enjoy your meal and take in the gorgeous scenery.

4pm: Get some post-lunch shopping in by cabbing it to Gilson Martins, to browse the stylish Rio-themed bags, wallets and accessories.

6pm: Flag down a taxi or walk along the beach before heading east to Palaphita Kitch on the southeast bank of the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon (known as “Lagoa”). The exotic fruit cocktails and spectacular vistas across the water make this the perfect spot for a sundowner.

8pm: Take the bus four stops from Rua Prudente de Morais into Leblon, where you an stroll along swanky Rua Dias Ferreira until you reach CT Boucherie for dinner, indulging in all manner of carnivorous delights.

CT Boucherie. Photo courtesy of the venue.

10:30pm: After dinner, grab a cab to WineHouse in Botafogo,w here you can sample a range of Brazilian wines before finishing the night off with tipples and music two blocks away at Comuna.

2am: If you’ve stayed up this late, you’re probably hungry again. Make your way south to Copacabana, and find late-night venue Galeto Sat’s. The roast chicken with broccoli rice and egg farofa will keep tomorrow’s hangover at bay.

For more great insider recommendations in Rio, pick up the guide on gatehousepublishing.com.


Day 2

Alda Maria Doces Portugueses. Images by Tom Le Mesurier.

9:30am: Start your day in style with breakfast in the grand hall of Confeitaria Colombo in Centro. On most days, you can take the little yellow bondinho (tram) from the station on Rua Lélio Gama, across the Carioca Aqueduct and up into bohemian Santa Teresa.

11am: From the tram stop at Largo do Curvelo, enjoy the charming Santa Teresa scenery as you make your way to La Vereda and nearby Tucum to shop for original, handmade souvenirs.

12pm: Drop in at the beautiful house of Alda Maria Doces Portugueses for a sweet treat. In the mood for something a little less sedate? Stop for a beer and bolinho (croquette) at Amazém Sao Thiago.

Zazá Bistrô Tropical. Image by Tom Le Mesurier.

1:30pm: Wave goodbye to Santa Teresa and hop in a cab to Zazá Bistrô Tropical in Ipanema for lunch.

3:3pm: After noshing, walk along the iconic black-and-white patterned sidewalks and head to the beach to cheer with the crowd during a game of volleyball or rent a chair for waterfront nap. Then, pop by Toca do Vinicius, where you can browse the bossa nova record collection.

6pm: As you leave the beachy neighborhood, stop in at Polis Sucos for a freshly squeezed juice. Try a classic Carioca combination, like pineapple and mint or papaya and orange.

7pm: Find Maria Oiticica Biojóias six blocks east, and browse her collection of jewelry, made with natural  materials sourced from the rain forest.

Bar Semente. Photo courtesy of the venue.

8pm: Take a 30-minute walk, or hail a taxi to Puro for contemporary Brazilian dining, where nearly everything served is seasonal and locally sourced.

10pm: If it’s Friday or Saturday, hop in a taxi to Trapiche Gamboa, located in Saúde, for an authentic samba night. Any other night, check out Bar Semente in Lapa for music and dancing.




About The HUNT Rio de Janeiro Writer: In 2009, Tom Le Mesurier left London looking for adventure. He spent the next year traveling through South and Central America until a chance meeting with a Brazilian journalist in Nicaragua led him to Rio de Janeiro. He fell in love with the journalist and her city; four short months later they were married, and Tom was learning Portuguese. Today, he lives in Santa Teresa and takes guests on culinary walking tours while sharing restaurant recommendations on his website, eatrio.net. When it comes to finding new bars and restaurants, Tom like to think of himself as a dedicated research, but really, he’s just greedy.


For more great insider recommendations in Rio, pick up the guide on gatehousepublishing.com.

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