Modern Rio, Vintage Rio, Decadent Rio. Rio is such a rich and beautiful city (the most beautiful, it is often said). It’s a proper 3D city, with as much going on vertically as horizontally. And it’s both extremely urban, and extremely green all at once, with one of the largest urban tropical forests anywhere, and some of the most beautiful urban beaches anywhere.

We had occasion to return to Rio recently – well, one of us…and it wasn’t me ;-), so here’s a refresher for Pirouette readers with a sense of Carioca adventure.

Pirouette tips : what to visit in Rio

1. Niteroi : The famous cupola building designed by Oscar Niemeyer, hosting the Contemporary Art Museum. The ride boat to reach the museum is also fun.

2. Corcovado : Very touristy, but worth the crowds. Go early in the morning, with the little train and enjoy Jesus Christ smiling at the 360 degrees stunning view of Rio and its bay. 

3. Jardim Botanico : Lush and monumental ancient garden in the city (Unesco heritage site). The avenue of palm trees at the entrance is breathtaking. Those trees are so high that they seem to be holding the sky. You’ll see orchids and carnivore plants, and we spotted incredible plants that were moving their long leaves like fans by themselves, without the help of the wind.

4. Real Gabinete Português de leitura in the “centro” and explore the surroundings, have a rest at Confeitaria Colombo, a historical heritage of belle epoque and old Rio. 

5. Escalaria Salaron, also called the Lapa steps. Then wander in this popular and lively neighbourhood.

For the rest, the beach is the ideal place to really get a sense of the carioca lifestyle. Ipanema and Leblon were our favourites.

See more Rio related posts from our Latam adventures blog : here, here, here, here and here.

Where to sleep in Rio de Janeiro

4 boutique hotels, unique and charming

Hotel Mama Ruiza

Casa Amarelo

Robert le Heros

Casa Mosquito (children from 12 years old)

Hotel vila galé in Lapa to be next door to a vibrant nightlife with great music (check Bar Semente, also called the rio blue note, and Bar Astor) 

Where to eat in Rio de Janeiro

– Via Sete, Garcia d’Avila 125, Ipanema (A fresh and healthy selection for parents and kids)

– Mil Frutas, Garcia d’Avila (delicious ice creams, try açai and chirimoya)

– Espirito Santo Rua Almirante Alexandrino 26, Santa Teresa (Surprising and really tasty Amazonian food)

– Aprazivel Rua Aprazível 62, Santa Teresa (Amazing view on Rio)

– Pipo, Rua Dias Ferreira 64, Leblon (We haven’t been, but it’s “Cool and affordable” according to French Elle Magazine)

– La Bicyclette, Rua Pacheco Leao 320, Jardim Botanico (opened by a French man and his Brazilian wife)

– Celeiro (organic restaurant), Rua Dias Fereira 199, Leblon

– Zaza Bistro Rua Joana Angélica 40, Ipanema (you will eat an inventive and delicious fusion cuisine sitting on the floor, angels are hanging from the ceiling. Kids will love it for the decor, parents for the food).

Something to take with you

– Enfim Enfant, Rua Marquês de São Vicente 52, Gávea (dollhouses and wooden toys, locally made)
– Casa Carandaí, Rua Lopes Quintas 165, Jardim Botânico (Brazilian treats for gourmands of all ages)