Living in Rio

This is a longer "trip." We live here in Rio: my husband, two teenage kids, and I. I'll give you some ideas as to how good the "tourist" suggestions are, the best times to visit, and fun things we've found for all of us.

Living in Rio

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 8, 2006

Whatever else you do, don't miss going up Corcovado on the small train. The statue of Christ the Redeemer is amazing in itself (whatever your own personal convictions may be), and the view of Rio is stunning. You just have to watch the weather, as the statue in invisible when there are low clouds!

Sugar Loaf Mountain is fun, another highly rated tourist spot. The cable car to get up there is regular and reliable.

It's cheesy, but take a trip to the "Garota da Ipanema," a corner bar/restaurant where the song "The Girl from Ipanema" was (apparently) written. Locals crowd this place to sample their signature dish, Picanha, sliced beef on a sizzling skillet with fries, rice, and a couple of other local accompaniments. It's fun and tasty, especially washed down with a few glasses of chopp (draft beer).${QuickSuggestions} Leave all your jewellery at home—seriously. Buy a cheap watch if you need one. Although we've never experienced problems, we know folks who have—they all had expensive stuff out on display! The less like a tourist you can look, the better. Shorts, skinny T-shirts, and flip-flops can get you in at most places. A good${BestWay} Rail: Rio's Metro system is cheap, clean, and reliable—and surprisingly safe, too. We used local taxis, the yellow-and-blue ones. Try to get one with a name written on the sides in white; they belong to "groups" and are less likely to rip you off. Always make sure they start their meter!!

Driving yourself is dangerous. Not only do they drive like maniacs, but you can easily end up in a bad neighborhood.

The buses are cheap and plentiful—just take care at night. Never travel alone, especially for women. People walk everywhere!


Member Rating 2 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

A popular recommendation for tourists, it is very much overpriced, especially when you can get similar meal for about half the price at other churrascarias.

Decor is "upmarket beachcomber." Marius has two restaurants next door to each other, one is meat-based and the other fish-based.

If you get to know Brazilian churrasco (barbecue), Marius really isn't anything special, despite the hype. It's a nice setting and the food is average, but there's a wide selection.

Av. Atlantica, 290
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22010-000
+ 55 21 2542 2393

Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

We just love this place. It's touristy, yes, but still popular with the locals. It's hard to get seated on football-game nights!

Their house specialty is the picanha, sliced steak delivered on a sizzling plate for you to cook at your table. It comes with fries, vegetable rice, farofa, and salsa. One order is more than enough between two or even three people. An extensive menu is available, although only one or two of the desserts are usually available. It's cheap and cheerful, with street entertainment just outside. Even if you only go once, it's where they penned the song "The Girl from Ipanema," so it's worth a visit.

Girl from Ipanema
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Colombo Coffeehouse

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

The location in Rua Goncalves Dias is the main branch of this cafe. Downstairs there is a sandwich/salad/cakes kind of place, which is excellent. Upstairs is a more formal restaurant called Cristovao, which really needs reservations. It's fairly pricey and far more formal, although not necessarily shirt-and-tie formal.

Our favorite branch, though, is in the Forte de Copacabana. It has the same menu as the lower cafe, in a super location at one end of Copacabana Beach. You can sit outside and watch the entire length of the beach. You have to pay to go into the fort—just tell them you're going to the Cafe Colombo. It's only 2 reals to get in for an extremely pleasant place to have lunch. There are great salads and sandwiches.

Colombo Coffeehouse
Rua Goncalves Dias, 32
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
+55 21 232-2300

Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theatre)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

This is a beautiful building worth a tour in itself. Tickets are hard to come by, and the ticket office is almost impossible to find if you're not a local speaking fluent Portuguese! That said, it is a very nice place to watch a concert.

Seats are numbered from the center outwards, so you will find yourself sitting in seat nos. 9 and 11 next to each other, which is weird if you're not used to it. Brazilian audiences tend to be enthusiastic, and not averse to calling out requests, even at a classical concert!

Have your travel agent purchase tickets for you before arriving, and be patient with local "eccentricities."

Teatro Municipal
Praça Floriano
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20031-050
+55 21 22974411

Corcovado with Christ the Redeemer

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

Do not miss this. Even if you're panicking about how high up this place is, don't. I have true vertigo (not acrophobia) and sometimes have issues about where I can or can't go. I managed Corcovado pretty well, so most anyone can. Very wide stone walls around the top keep you from feeling as though you're on the edge.

Take the train from Cosme Velho station. It's a rickety thing, but you travel up through the forest, which is entertaining in itself. Friends who've gone up by car have mainly ended up with vomiting children in the back because of the twisting road.

There are elevators and escalators from the train to the statue itself, so there aren't endless stairs, unless you feel like the penance!

I recommend going either early morning (10 to 11am) or after 3:30pm, when crowds are lighter. There is a decent cafe and souvenir stalls up at the top, and no rip-offs, which is nice! The best photo is from the far end of the top deck, facing the statue. You just have to push your way through to get there!

Be warned that on some holidays, like Christmas and especially New Year's Eve, this place is crazy.

Christ the Redeemer Statue (O Cristo Redentor)
Corcovado Mountain
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

H. Stern

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by driftingdeals on April 19, 2006

Your hotel will probably try to give you a voucher to visit this place for free. Take it and use it. It's a great way to spend a morning, especially on those occasional rainy days Rio has.

The nice people at H. Stern will send a car for you, show you how gems are found and made into jewellery, sit you down with refreshments, and let you try on anything you like from their store. Obviously they want you to buy it, but there's no hard sell. My kids are teenagers, and I thought they might be bored, but they found it quite entertaining and liked the free small scoop of fruit-based ice cream they were given. Even my tomboy-ish daughter unwound enough to look at some of the more modern pieces they had on offer, and another friend who swears she hates anything like this place came out converted!

The people are delightful and the gems wonderful, and it's entirely possible to get a very good bargain compared to prices outside Brazil.

Museu H. Stern
Rua Garcia D'Avila, 113
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22421-010
+55 21 22597442

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