Frommer's Rio de Janeiro day by day by Alexandra deVries by Alexandra deVries - Read Online

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Frommer's Rio de Janeiro day by day - Alexandra deVries

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16 Favorite Moments

  1 The Best Full-Day Tours

The Best in One Day

The Best in Two Days

The Best in Three Days

  2 The Best Special-Interest Tours

Rio for Contemporary Art & Architecture Fans

Rio’s Colonial Treasures

Rio with Kids

Rio’s Carnaval

The Best of Brazilian Music

  3 The Best Neighborhood Walks


Santa Teresa

Glória & Lapa

Jardim Botânico


  4 The Best Shopping

Shopping Best Bets

Rio de Janeiro Shopping A to Z

  5 The Great Outdoors

Rio’s Best Beaches

Parque Nacional da Tijuca

Parque do Flamengo

Rio’s Best Outdoor Sports

  6 The Best Dining

Dining Best Bets

Rio de Janeiro Restaurants A to Z

  7 The Best Nightlife

Nightlife Best Bets

Rio de Janeiro Nightlife A to Z

  8 The Best Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment Best Bets

Rio de Janeiro A&E A to Z

  9 The Best Lodging

Lodging Best Bets

Rio de Janeiro Hotels A to Z

10 The Best Day Trips & Excursions




Where to Stay & Dine

  The Savvy Traveler

Before You Go

Getting There

Getting Around

Fast Facts

Rio de Janeiro: A Brief History

Useful Phrases


Published by:

Frommer Media LLC

Copyright © 2015 Frommer Media LLC, New York, NY. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to

Frommer’s is a trademark or registered trademark of Arthur Frommer.

ISBN: 978-1-628-871354-8 (paper); 978-1-628-87155-5 (ebk)

Editorial Director: Pauline Frommer

Editor: Margaret Sanborn

Production Editor: Donna Wright

Photo Editor: Meghan Lamb

Cartographer: Roberta Stockwell

Compositor: Heather Pope

Indexer: Maro Riofrancos

Front cover photos, left to right: Catarina Belova, Luiz Rocha, and Celso Diniz

Back cover photo: Luiz Rocha

For information on our other products and services, please go to

Frommer’s also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic formats.

5 4 3 2 1

About This Guide

Organizing your time. That’s what this guide is all about.

Other guides give you long lists of things to see and do and then expect you to fit the pieces together. The Day by Day guides are different. These guides tell you the best of everything, and then they show you how to see it in the smartest, most time-efficient way. Our authors have designed detailed itineraries organized by time, neighborhood, or special interest. And each tour comes with a bulleted map that takes you from stop to stop.

Hoping to soak up the sun at Leblon Beach, sip a calpirinha at Copacabana, or don a costume and join in the annual celebration of Carnaval? Planning to browse the swanky shopping district of Ipanema, cool off under a waterfall in the world’s largest urban rainforest, or take a dramatic train ride up Corcovado Mountain to stand at the feet of the statue of Christ the Redeemer? Whatever your interest or schedule, the Day by Days give you the smartest routes to follow. Not only do we take you to the top attractions, hotels, and restaurants, but we also help you access those special moments that locals get to experience—those finds that turn tourists into travelers.

The Day by Days are also your top choice if you’re looking for one complete guide for all your travel needs. The best hotels and restaurants for every budget, the greatest shopping values, the wildest nightlife—it’s all here.

Why should you trust our judgment? Because our authors personally visit each place they write about. They’re an independent lot who say what they think and would never include places they wouldn’t recommend to their best friends. They’re also open to suggestions from readers. If you’d like to contact them, please send your comments our way at, and we’ll pass them on.

Enjoy your Day by Day guide—the most helpful travel companion you can buy. And have the trip of a lifetime.

About the Author

Dutch-born author and translator Alexandra de Vries has written extensively about Brazil for Frommer’s and other travel publications. She enjoys sharing her inside tips to explore this fantastic city, encouraging visitors to go beyond the beautiful beaches and experience Rio’s rich culture, and getting to know the friendly Cariocas. She is currently based in Rio de Janeiro.

An Additional Note

Please be advised that travel information is subject to change at any time—and this is especially true of prices. We therefore suggest that you write or call ahead for confirmation when making your travel plans. The authors, editors, and publisher cannot be held responsible for the experiences of readers while traveling. Your safety is important to us, however, so we encourage you to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Star Ratings, Icons & Abbreviations

Every hotel, restaurant, and attraction listing in this guide has been ranked for quality, value, service, amenities, and special features using a star-rating system. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping, and nightlife are rated on a scale of zero stars (recommended) to three stars (exceptional). In addition to the star-rating system, we also use a icon to point out the best bets for families. Within each tour, we recommend cafes, bars, or restaurants where you can take a break. Each of these stops appears in a shaded box marked with a coffee-cup-shaped bullet .

The following abbreviations are used for credit cards:

Travel Resources at

Frommer’s travel resources don’t end with this guide. Frommer’s website,, has travel information on more than 4,000 destinations. We update features regularly, giving you access to the most current trip-planning information and the best airfare, lodging, and car-rental bargains. You can also listen to podcasts, connect with other members through our active-reader forums, share your travel photos, read blogs from guidebook editors and fellow travelers, and much more.

A Note on Prices

In the Take a Break and Best Bets sections of this book, we have used a system of dollar signs to show a range of costs for 1 night in a hotel (the price of a double-occupancy room) or the cost of an entree at a restaurant. Use the following table to decipher the dollar signs:

How to Contact Us

In researching this book, we discovered many wonderful places—hotels, restaurants, shops, and more. We’re sure you’ll find others. Please tell us about them, so we can share the information with your fellow travelers in upcoming editions. If you were disappointed with a recommendation, we’d love to know that, too. Please write to:

View of Rio.

16 Favorite Moments

Nicknamed Cidade Maravilhosa (the Fabulous City), Rio de Janeiro conjures up images of golden beaches, tropical sunshine, and colorful Carnaval parades, but the city has much more to offer. Blessed with impressive natural beauty, Rio is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and steep mountains clad with coastal rainforest. The city’s architecture encompasses everything from 18th-century colonial baroque to modern minimalism. A rich cultural scene showcases some of Brazil’s most talented musicians and artists. And then there are the people, the friendly, high-spirited Cariocas, who know that they live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and make sure there is always enough time to kick back and enjoy life; to do otherwise would be disrespectful of the Cidade Maravilhosa .

Spreading your wings and soaring high above the city. Ever dream you can fly? Now you can, with no experience required! Your hang glider pilot will see to it that you are securely strapped in for take-off from Pedra Bonita, and accompany you on a safe, exhilarating ride through the city’s skies. After a 10- to 15-minute flight, you’ll land gently on São Conrado Beach. See p 93.

Soaking up the tropical sun on Leblon Beach. Head to the beach for the quintessential Carioca experience. Just bring some sunscreen and a towel, rent a chair and sun umbrella, and you’ll be all set. Soak up the warm rays, go for a swim, meet some locals, have a cold beer or fresh coconut water, and enjoy some fabulous people-watching. See p 80.

Browsing hip Brazilian fashion in upscale Ipanema. Ipanema’s swanky shopping district is home to some of the most exclusive international and Brazilian labels and designers. But don’t expect a stuffy or stuck-up vibe; the shops exude the fun, laid-back atmosphere of this beach neighborhood. See p 62.

Savoring a plate of feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, at the Casa da Feijoada. I have never met a Brazilian abroad who wasn’t pining away for this rich savory stew of black beans and meat. At Casa da Feijoada, you can try this dish with all the trimmings any day of the week and learn a bit about its history. See p 103.

Ipanema Beach.

Watching the sunset at Arpoador. Time your afternoon stroll so you can walk up Arpoador’s rocks just before the setting sun casts a magnificent glow over Ipanema and the silhouette of Dois Irmãos, the peaks just beyond Leblon. See p 10.

Sipping a caipirinha on Copacabana Beach. Brazil’s signature cocktail, made with cachaça liquor, lime, sugar, and ice, may have conquered bars across the world, but nothing beats sipping a caipirinha at a beachside kiosk along Copacabana’s iconic black and white mosaic sidewalk. See p 80.

Taking the cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. A short cable car ride whisks you to the top of Rio’s famous landmark granite rock that guards the entrance of the bay. From this unique vantage point you can enjoy magnificent views of the nearby beaches, downtown, the Floresta da Tijuca, and the south-side neighborhoods. See p 11.

Strolling underneath the imperial palm trees in the Jardim Botânico. Clear your head with a relaxing walk through this 200-year-old botanical garden, a green refuge of native and exotic flora that is also home to many birds and even monkeys. A row of elegant Imperial palm trees frames the entrance to the garden. See p 58.

Cooling off under a waterfall in the Parque da Tijuca. On a hot day, you can beat the tropical heat by seeking cooler climes in the Parque da Tijuca, the largest urban rainforest in the world, and taking a refreshing dip in a waterfall. See p 79.

Imperial palm trees in the Jardim Botânico.

Admiring the city spread out at the feet of Christ the Redeemer. A narrow-gauge train chugs through the rainforest, carrying visitors to the top of Corcovado Mountain and Brazil’s most famous monument, the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The views here are truly divine. See p 86.

Riding the Santa Teresa streetcar. There is no better way to see Rio’s bohemian hillside neighborhood than from a wooden bench onboard this rickety yellow streetcar. It sets out from downtown and travels over the 17m (56-ft.) high Aqueduct before it reaches the cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa. See p 20.

The Santa Teresa streetcar riding across the Lapa Aqueduct.

Performers at Carnaval.

Donning a costume and joining the biggest party in the world. All year long, Cariocas look forward to Carnaval, the city’s largest and most colorful celebration. Even better than being a spectator is purchasing a costume and experiencing first-hand "o maior show da terra" (the greatest show on earth), to quote the lyrics of a famous samba song. See p 38.

Dancing the samba in historic Lapa. Recent urban renewal and renovations have transformed Rio’s former red-light district into one of the best nightlife destinations in the city, where you can listen to excellent samba (and other music styles) any given night of the week. See p 54.

Marveling at the Portuguese colonial architecture at Largo da Carioca. Amidst a sea of modern office towers lies a small island where time has stood still. Admire the dazzling gilded baroque artwork of the Igreja de São Francisco da Penitência and the lovely colonial architecture of the Convento Santo Antonio, fine examples of 18th-century architecture. See p 33.

Attending a concert at the neoclassical Theatro Municipal. Rio’s most opulent performing arts venue has been fully restored for its 100th anniversary in 2010. There’s no better time to see a concert, and to take in the elegant and impressive gleaming dome, marble stairs, and stained glass windows. See p 15.

Gazing at the signature curves of Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture. One of the best examples of the work of the great modernist architect who left his distinct mark on 20th-century architecture can be seen in Niteroi. His Museu de Arte Contemporânea, with curvaceous lines and reflective pools that mirror the ocean and the sky, is more impressive than any of the artwork on display. See p

Niteroi’s Museu de Arte Contemporânea.

Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer).

The Best in One Day

If you only have 1 day in Rio de Janeiro, experience the spectacular beaches and beautiful vistas that have made the city deservedly famous. Stroll along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, mingle with laid-back Cariocas (residents of Rio), who always find time to enjoy life, and get your bearings from atop Arpoador and Sugarloaf. START: Metrô to Cardeal Arcoverde.

Copacabana Palace Hotel. This elegant hotel is a favorite among visiting celebrities for its old-world charm and glamour. Built between 1917 and 1923, the Copacabana Palace Hotel was one of the first commercial buildings along this once-deserted stretch of beach and dunes. Historic photos lining the wall at the rear of the building (facing Av. N.S. de Copacabana) show how much the city has changed. Start your day with a coffee in Pérgula restaurant, next to the swimming pool. On Sundays, the restaurant serves an excellent, although pricey, brunch with delicious seafood.  15 min. Av. Atlântica 1702, Copacabana.

 021/ 2548-7070. Metrô: Cardeal Arcoverde.

Copacabana Beach. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, Copacabana Beach offers 5km (3 miles) of glorious white sand; it’s a true microcosm of eclectic Rio, where tourists and residents meet to swim, tan, flirt, exercise, stroll, and relax. Kids have plenty of space to build sandcastles or kick a ball around. Walk along the boulevard and admire the sea views, watch locals play soccer or volleyball, and sip cold coconut water.  1 hr., or longer. Metrô: Cardeal Arcoverde.

Colônia dos Pescadores. At the end of Copacabana, toward Ipanema, you will come to a small fishing community. Early risers may see the boats head out to sea and return with their catch, which is sold at the small fish market on site. In the