6 days of fun and food in Rio

Rio de Janeiro Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
The view from our washing machine of Corcovado Mountain and Cristo Redentor

We all arrived separately, so it was a happy reunion with my friends on the 22nd floor of Building G, in the Morado do Sol condominium complex.  I'm not sure what the big deal was, but no one could believe I had made it in high heels.  I was just in time, because Beto and Luis, our neighbors, came over to collect our "rent" for the week.  We were more than happy to fork over the cash; this apartment was gorgeous.  Mike, the only guy in our group, had found it for us on the internet, www.rentinrio.com.  It was just as, if not more beautiful than the photos on their website, and everything was on the up and up...we even had our own private maid and high speed internet!  Morado del Sol is a gated community with its own mini-mart where we bought supplies for breakfast and snacks, and also some gag gifts for each other.

Mike's chillin'
  The only shady thing was that it is advertised to have a pool; however, you can only use it if you brought a note from a doctor saying that you are free of communicable diseases.  No worries though, because it's a cheap cab ride to the beach, and from here in Botafogo, you are equidistant to Copacabana or Ipanema, so take your pick!  Who wants to hang out at a stagnant swimming pool anyway?

Our first dinner was at Marius for a seafood buffet then to a little bar with live music where I had my first caipirhina (love it!  Anyone know where I can find Cachaca stateside?).  It goes down easy, like tequila!  The more caipirhinas I had, the more confusing the Samba seemed.

Amy's prepping some snacks in our kitchen
..too much fast footwork!  We made friends and stayed out late.  I think my Samba may have improved by the end of the night.

We ate a late breakfast almost every day in our flat, on a beautiful glass table with an ocean view.  One of the perks of staying in a high rise building:  Corcovado Mountain and Cristo Redentor were visible from over our washing machine!  We went out for coffee at Garota de Ipanema, a little cafe were the song "The girl from Ipanema" was composed.  We then walked along Ipanema Beach and then cabbed it the rest of the way to the Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain).  Cabs are such a pleasure to ride in here...the drivers have interesting names, like Nelson, Washington, Wilson and Junior; Vanderlei is absolutely ubiquitous.

Ipanema
  Between the bossa nova classics piping in from the radio and the uber-reasonable fares, you would think you had stepped into another decade.

By the time we took our gondola ride to the top of the Sugar Loaf, it was too cloudy to see the sun set as we had hoped, but the city lights were enchanting.  That night we dined at a touristy place called Porcao Rios, a Brazilian chain churrascuria, which is basically an all you can eat Brazilian food orgy, the main feature of the meal being various skewered meats that have been broiled over coals all day long and are continuously brought to your table if you keep your tokens out with the green pig side up...when you get full, just turn the token over to the picture of the red piggy, you little porker!  I think the meal was about $25usd, which I would expect to pay in the U.

Ipanema
S., but is not exactly my idea of traveling on a budget.

Next up for the night was a mammoth disco called Asa Branca near the aqueduct in an area called Lapa.  Actually, the whole street was one big partyrama, and we felt like we must have looked really hot because all these 17-year-olds kept asking us to dance.  Caipirhinas were dangerously inexpensive here, like 3 for a dollar or something?  I don't remember how many I had, but I couldn't keep it going as long as the rest of the girls, and neither could Mike, so we went home "early," like at 3 or 4am.

Mike made us french toast the next day...dare I call it breakfast?  It might have actually come in right under the wire of being before 12 noon.

View from Sugar Loaf toward Botafogo...one of the high rises in the middle is ours
  Perhaps it was brunch.  The afternoon was spent at Copacabana Beach.  August is off season, so it was a little chilly due to clouds.  Basically it was a disco nap on the beach.  Only problem is that some of my friends do not need naps, instead they like to invite every single vendor over to chat...and believe me, there is not much that they don't sell here:  sarongs, suncreen, watermelon, bikinis, pencils, beaded bling, and even this cheezy stuff that we nicknamed "Turista on a Stick" or, "T on a stick" for short.  Amy bought one of everything, and as a result, also had to buy a bag to carry it all home in.  Dinner at Cafe Lamas that night was another extravagant affair of salads, appetizers, several bottles of wine, steaks and desserts, only this time the bill only came to about $6usd each because we stayed away from the tourist zone.
The man who needs no introduction
  Looking for something "local" to do we took a cab to the Feria Sao Cristovao, which is not unlike the black markets of Mexico City.  We found some serious good buys, like beautiful handmade jewelry and great music for just a few dollars.

On the suggestion of our next cabbie (I think his name was like Andrew Jackson or Horatio Nelson or something like that) we got dropped off at Bombar, which would have fit in really nicely in Scottsdale, Arizona.  When you've had enough caipirhinas, it's always safe to switch to beer, and Bohemia is one of the national brands.  One thing you have to do to get your Bohemia is have your drink card stamped.  At the end of the night, they don't let you leave until you've reconciled your drink card at the cash wrap.

View of Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf) from Corcovado
  I can't remember if this is the real name, or one that my friends made up, but basically it is a person with a cash register, tucked into some shadowy corner where the coat check would be, if anyone ever needed to wear a coat in Rio.

On Sunday when we woke up the sun was shining for the first time, and we could clearly see the statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) in the distance.  On the way up Corcovado Mountain, I purchased a soccer t-shirt so I could be like all my buddies, supporting the national teams.  The statue of Cristo is surprisingly enormous, quite breathtaking and completely crowded with other tourists who were taking advantage of the sunny day just like us.  Now you might say, hey, it sounds like off season is not such a good time to visit if it is cloudy all the time.

Ipanema
..but let me assure you that in my opinion, the clouds just added to the charm.  They hang low over the higher formations of the city, giving it an other-worldly appearance...Cristo surrounded by fog is downright ethereal.  The beaches aren't crowded, and you can still manage to get a pretty bad sunburn, trust me.

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Hippie Fair in Ipanema.  We all purchased posters by Fabio Sombra, and I particularly enjoyed the demonstration by a school performing Capoeira (a mix of dancing and martial arts) in the central plaza.  We had an early dinner at a restaurant on the Ipanema strip called Barril 1800 where the roasted pork melted in my mouth.  Disco naps were in order at that point, and then a late night meal at Garota de Ipanema again, and don't ask me how my friends picked it, but we ended up at Club Mutante.

Stacy's admiring artwork at the Hippie Fair
  Just the name would be enough to keep me away, and after one dance with an aroused stranger, I was begging Mike to go with me back to our flat.  The girls, you guessed it, met some donjuans and stayed up until sunrise drinking fast cocos on the beach with their new fast friends.

Two of our members were leaving Brazil the next day, so we made the most of it by getting up early and getting some sun at Copacabana Beach before saying goodbye.  Now that Mike was gone, we could finally let loose and go to the mall across the street!  It's called Rio Sul, and it's pretty large.  We were thrilled to find Zara, our favorite from when we all lived in Spain together a few years ago.  We were lazy and ate dinner in the mall at the Tower Grill, and once again, we were not disappointed.

capoeira
  The food kept coming in many courses and the bill was quite reasonable.  In a bookstore at the mall I found a coffee table book with gorgeous photos of Rio that I took home as a souvenir (thanks for the idea, Mike!) and that I still enjoy browsing through from time to time.

Our last day came all too quickly.  The girls and I piled in another cab and this time headed for Barra da Tijuca, a precious beach just a little farther away.  It was really beautiful and less touristy...and the other beachgoers seemed more relaxed; perhaps it was something they were smoking?  We ate lunch at the Emporio di Camarao, where they acted like I was from Mars to pay with a bill worth $6usd.  Why don't these people have change for a $6 bill?

Our last night on the town was rock star caliber.

I am so athletic-looking in my soccer t-shirt
  Dinner at the Esplanada Grill was once again a festival of food for just about $8usd each.  Did I mention one of our crew is vegetarian?  She had plenty of tasty options to choose from everywhere we went.  On recommendation we tried out the swanky Bar Onnetti. With fabulous music and a generally hip crowd, I wondered why we couldn't have found this place sooner?  What a fun night!

Rio is the ideal vacation for me, with it's gorgeous beaches, fantastic food, and endless nightlife.  Tchau, tchau Rio!  Molto obrigada!  I'll be back someday, hopefully before my Brazilian visa expires!

 

villan says:
What a thorough, interesting and fun review!
Posted on: Mar 25, 2008
vulindlela says:
Great pictures and an enjoyable read too!
Posted on: Jan 27, 2008
ted332 says:
Great Rio fun!!!
Posted on: Jan 16, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The view from our washing machine …
The view from our washing machine…
Mikes chillin
Mike's chillin'
Amys prepping some snacks in our …
Amy's prepping some snacks in our…
Ipanema
Ipanema
Ipanema
Ipanema
View from Sugar Loaf toward Botafo…
View from Sugar Loaf toward Botaf…
The man who needs no introduction
The man who needs no introduction
View of Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf)…
View of Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf…
Ipanema
Ipanema
Stacys admiring artwork at the Hi…
Stacy's admiring artwork at the H…
capoeira
capoeira
I am so athletic-looking in my soc…
I am so athletic-looking in my so…
Cariocas
Cariocas
Copacabana Palace
Copacabana Palace
Ipanema
Ipanema
Ipanema
Ipanema
Garota de Ipanema
Garota de Ipanema
View from Sugar Loaf of Copacabana
View from Sugar Loaf of Copacabana
From Sugar Loaf overlooking Botafo…
From Sugar Loaf overlooking Botaf…
Rio Sul Shopping Center
Rio Sul Shopping Center
Copacabana
Copacabana
Fast coco, anyone?
Fast coco, anyone?
Barra da Tijuca
Barra da Tijuca
3 more caipirhinas, please!
3 more caipirhinas, please!
Our last night on the town!
Our last night on the town!
Sponsored Links