Where to Drink Wine in Rio de Janeiro

Where to Drink Wine in Rio de Janeiro

wine bars in Rio de Janeiro

Nothing beats a glass of wine. It’s appropriate on so many occasions. Had a bad day? Have a glass of wine. Have something to celebrate? Have a glass of wine. It’s also suitable for all climates. If it’s hot, drink a nice, cold rosé and if it’s cold, go for deep, warming red. One thing that I used to consider sacrilege was chilling red wine, yet it’s pretty normal to do this Rio. On a baking hot day, drinking a room temperature red isn’t actually that pleasant and soon I began to realise, and appreciate, the benefits and joys of a chilled red. If you find yourself in Rio being served a beautiful red in a bucket of ice, try to disguise the look of horror on your face and simply ask for one at room temperature. Just remember, when you’re living and working in the hot summers of Rio, any kind of drink that isn’t icy cold (except coffee of course) just isn’t worth drinking as far as locals are concerned.

Here are some of my favourite spots in Rio to enjoy a nice bottle or two of wine.

Mercearia da Praça – Ipanema

I spotted this place a few weeks back and finally made it there just last week. As I entered, the charming owner escorted me to a table and made sure I was well looked after while I waited for my friends. If this sounds formal, it’s not at all – it was more like a friendly host wanting you to feel comfortable and happy in their home. The location is excellent too – just opposite Praça General Osório and seconds away from the metro.

Why do I love this place? My favourite part is the setting. It’s like a combination of a well-stocked deli and a Portuguese restaurant. There is an inside area with small wooden tables and an outside space which is the nearest equivalent to a Rio beer garden. My other favourite part was the food and drinks – one wall’s sole purpose is to hold an enormous wine rack filled to the brim while the rest of the venue has large hams hanging at the back, a huge selection of cheeses and several types of imported chocolate and jams. It’s a little breath of a charming European deli and makes for a chilled evening of wine and good cheese.

  • Mercearia da Praça
    R. Jangadeiros, 28 – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, (21) 3986-1400
    Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 8 am to 12 am
wine bars in Rio de Janeiro

Canastra – Ipanema

Canastra has been the king of the wine market in Rio for a while and there is absolutely no reason to think that this will change anytime soon. When I went by there a few Tuesdays ago, it wasn’t just the bar that was heaving but the entire street in front. For anyone that has spent Carnival in Rio, it reminded me of the post-parties in the street after a large bloco but this time without the glitter and fancy dress. Tuesday happens to be their busiest day as this is the day when they serve up their fresh oysters which brings people waiting outside the venue almost an hour before it opens. On regular days, it’s still best to go there early as it gets packed quickly. Canastra is French-owned and most of the staff are multilingual.

Why do I love this place? I love its wine and the Canastra cheese is perfect. Before I talk more about the wines, I have to mention the burrata cheese – it is my favourite. It’s all soft, gooey and mild and worth saving some room for. The wines are great here and 100% Brazilian which I think it’s one of the main appeals of the place. I usually go for red wine in any wine bar yet Canastra is the one major exception. Its rosé is too good not to try.

  • Canastra
    Edifício Paranoá – R. Jangadeiros, 42 – G – Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, (21) 99656-1960
    Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 6:30 pm to 1 am
wine bars Rio de Janeiro

Winehouse – Botafogo

Tucked away on one of the side streets in Botafogo, I came across this bar by pure chance as I was walking to metro Botafogo from Shopping Rio Sul. It was closed as I went by but as soon as I saw the word ‘wine’ and ‘house’ together, my curiosity was piqued and I just had to check it out. I don’t know why but I haven’t managed to spend a night there without drinking one glass (or a bottle) too many. I’ve always had such great fun there and never want the night to end too quickly. Cue the extra glass or bottle that I certainly don’t need but seemed like an excellent idea at the time.

Why do I love this place? I love this place for many reasons. First, the British owner Dominic is a really friendly chap that certainly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to wine. Secondly, the wine is just really good. The selection includes a mix of Brazilian and imported wine and if you ask for a recommended pairing, you’ll get some great advice. I know I said that I usually order red but I’m about to prove myself wrong yet again by saying that the espumante (the sparkling white) is delicious and in fact, is one of my favourites on the menu. It’s called the Brut Champenoise and actually comes from the south of Brazil. Finally, the food is great and I love the fact they have homemade guacamole on the menu.

  • Winehouse
    R. Paulo Barreto, 25 – Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, (21) 3264-4101
    Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday 5 pm to 12 am. Thursday to Friday 5 pm to 1 am. Saturday 5 pm to 12 am.
wine bars in Rio de Janeiro

Le Depanneur – Botafogo

I remember when this place first opened although I can’t remember for the life of me what used to be in the space that Le Depanneur now occupies. In the beginning, it would always get a small yet steady trickle of customers. Now, whenever I go by there on whatever day of the week, it is totally crowded. Get there after 8 pm and good luck in getting a seat – you’re in for a wait. Le Depanneur is kind of like one of those lovely mixes of what reminds me of a French deli and a casual yet hip restaurant. It juxtaposes modern with traditional with its contemporary furniture and classic deli-style foods. It has a few indoor tables yet the real joy is sitting on the terrace and people-watching.

Why do I love this place? I love its atmosphere. I love simply watching the world go by next to the bustling streets of Botafogo. Its location is perfect – seconds away from the metro and right on the corner of Rua Nelson Mandela, the busy street of bars and eateries. It’s an exciting place to be and the food and the wine are excellent. The cheese board here is amazing and if I know I will be going to Le Depanneur, I will skip my afternoon snack and dinner to save myself space to eat my bodyweight in cheese (I know, I am such a cheese fiend). The reds here are my go-tos yet sometimes I will indulge in the sparkling rosé. Honestly, it is so moreish and delicious that if it’s a warm evening, this rosé will be my first choice.

  • Le Depanneur
    R. Voluntários da Pátria, 86 – Loja A/B – Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, (21) 2537-5250
    Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 8 am to 9:45 pm
wine bars in Rio de Janeiro

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Marley’s Pub: Bringing a New Nightlife Option to Botafogo

Marley’s Pub: Bringing a New Nightlife Option to Botafogo

bars in Botafogo

Marley’s Pub in Botafogo brings a rare combination to Rio de Janeiro’s nightlife scene – live music, a mouth-watering menu and on-tap homemade beers. It is literally the mix that sets the scene for my perfect night out. We were invited to check out the new venue and with the word ‘pub’ in the name, I was keen to see if it would bring a slice of nostalgia of my favourite drinking spots back in the UK.

First of all, let’s start with some background on Marley’s pub. The venue has only opened recently in July 2017 so is a true newbie on the lively Botafogo bar and restaurant scene. However, those with keen eyes may have already spotted this name and you’d be right in thinking that this brand already exists.

The idea of Marley’s Pub started from a partnership between Sergio Albrecht, the owner of a beer food truck, and Teo Nunes and Renata Pereira, the owners of a burger food truck. Having attended several of the same events throughout Rio, they decided to set up something together by pooling their expertise and resources into creating a physical establishment – and so was born Marley’s Pub.

bars in Botafogo

About The Venue

Marley’s Pub has gone all out in creating a homely menu, a selection of wonderful drinks and getting local bands to perform regularly. The venue is set over two floors with the second floor conveniently overlooking the stage so you can enjoy the live music from wherever you are. The music takes a break from traditional Brazilian music and ventures into the fine tunes of blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and indie music. What I loved about the venue though is how it really does resemble a modern-day pub with exposed brick walls, rustic features such as uncovered piping as taps and cute finishing touches such as the dart board (which I aced at. Not).

Let’s Talk About The Menu

Ah, the menu. The menu is packed with comforting foods and of course, delicious hamburgers. In the name of research, I ate my body weight in food so I could share my impressions with you (purely research purposes, of course). I started with two different kinds of snacks – the bolinho de feijão recheado which was a compact ball of black beans and dried meat. It was amazing until I tried the bolinho de feijão branca com camarão which somehow managed to trump it. Both were delicious and went really well with the Jeffrey Pilsen beer I was drinking.

Next up, I had the Mignon no Pão, which is the most homely food I’ve had in a while. It is a huge loaf of round bread with the inside taken out and then filled with a creamy cheese mixed with mignon steak. It would be ideal for a group of people as it’s a very filling snack and can easily feed four people, if not more.

Finally, I couldn’t leave without trying a hamburger. I had one of the most popular on the menu which was the Pão de Acucar, a mix of 180grams of exclusive meat blend, fresh mushrooms, caramelised onions, barbeque sauce, Emmental cheese and Australian bread. It also comes with a side order of French fries. I loved it, especially the fact that the burger was huge. I didn’t try it but I was told the special hot dog is also one of the best items on the menu, so that definitely is on my bucket list for the next time I got here.

Marley’s Pub Drinks

Marley’s Pub has plenty of locally-brewed beers on the menu including Jeffrey beer which is served on tap. I stuck to the Pilsen, a light beer that is definitely my favourite, I also tried the Hocus Pocus Magic Trap which is strong but incredibly smooth and quite sweet. For those that prefer cocktails, there are also several homemade cocktails on the menu, such as the Kinsale (whisky, strawberry, lemon and brown sugar) and the Marley’s (pineapple, mint, coconut milk, rum, malibu and orange).

bars in Botafogo
bars in Botafogo
bars in Botafogo
bars in Botafogo

Why You Should Visit Marley’s Pub

  • It has Jeffrey beer on tap
  • It also serves Hocus Pocus beer which is amazing
  • It has a fantastic menu that includes huge, delicious burgers
  • It has live music with no extra charge (that is a huge rarity in Rio!)
  • It’s a cosy venue that has a true pub-like feel
  • The staff are friendly and helpful

Where To Find It

Marley’s Pub, Rua Fernandes Guimarães, 82, Botafogo
Facebook and Instagram
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 5 pm to 1 am. Friday, 5 pm to 2 am. Saturday, 6 pm to 3 am.
Reservations: (21) 2137-0983 and e-mail contato@themarleys.com.br

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bars in Botafogo

Restaurant Review: Healthy Eating At JAEÉ In Leblon

Restaurant Review: Healthy Eating At JAEÉ In Leblon

Healthy food in Rio de Janeiro

Healthy, organic eating is a growing gastronomic trend and thankfully, it looks set to stay. Some forward-thinking restaurants in Rio de Janeiro that have taken the leap to serve locally produced food, free from preserves and additives. The current hub of healthy eating is in upscale Leblon, which has recently seen an explosion of incredible new restaurants. 

We went to JAEE in Leblon to check out their new menu. Having opened in 2013 as a health food restaurant, it redefined itself in the last couple of months to provide homely, hot food that is served in rustic metal pots that set the feel-good, charming scene. Foodies will love that most of the food is organic and locally-sourced, where the simplicity of the dishes masks the rich flavours within. Most of the food is vegetarian, vegan, paleo, lactose-free, and gluten-free, appealing to a wide audience.

Healthy food in Rio de Janeiro
Healthy food in Rio de Janeiro

The chef behind these delicious homemade creations is João Marcello Coelho who creates a collection of small hot dishes that are ready to eat. For those looking for lunch options that are light and refreshing, there is a selection of healthy salads and pasta that are taste-rich and guilt-free.

We arrived on a busy weekday afternoon and settled down to try their hot lunch menu. Our little wooden table became a banquet of brass-coloured pots filled with chicken pesto and cherry tomatoes, whole-grain rice with cauliflower, escondidinho de cogumeto (a mushroom dish), roasted tomato with Canastra cheese from the Serra region in Rio de Janeiro, and roasted eggplant. The spread of dishes was perfect for two yet luckily we had arrived super hungry and had space to try other things.

We then shared a cold dish, a mix of shredded curried chicken with vegetables, where the flavour drew from its freshness and organic origin. We absolutely loved it, and the owner advised us it could be eaten hot or cold for those looking for a warmer option.

JAEE also have a wonderfully varied menu of juices and smoothies. We tried a refreshing mix of pineapple and coconut water, and a green juice, both were substantial and would make a great healthy snack for when you’re on the go.

Our conclusion? JAEE fills a much-needed niche of a stop off point for fresh, healthy food. It’s homely, filling, yet makes you feel detoxed and healthy after. We definitely recommend it!

Useful Information:

JAEE – Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva, 1228, Loja B, Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Tel: +55 (21) 2540 5627

Opening hours:
Monday – Sunday: 8 am – 11 pm

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Healthy food in Rio de Janeiro

The Complete Guide to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

The Complete Guide to Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain)

Guide to the Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro

Whether you’re on weekend break or a longer trip to Rio, at some point a visit to the Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) will definitely crop up in any itinerary. It’s a typical tourist destination yet with good reason – the views at the top are breathtaking and the whole journey to the top is an adventure in itself. Getting there is straightforward and can be mostly done without a guide; in any instances where a guide is highly recommended (such as rock climbing to the top), I’ve recommended reputable companies below. So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about going to the Sugarloaf Mountain.

First, a little bit about Sugarloaf Mountain

The Sugarloaf Mountain is in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood called Urca and is next to a smaller peak known as Morro da Urca – you will need to get to the top of this little peak first before going the rest of the way to the Sugarloaf. Morro da Urca is next to Praia Vermelha which is a small yet charming beach and worth spending a bit of time there soaking up the sun, hiring a canoe, stand-up surf paddling or simply cooling down with a fresh coconut.

Guide to the Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro
Guide to the Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro
  • How to get to the top

Personally, I love the hike up Morro da Urca then taking the cable car (or Bondinho as it’s known in Portuguese) the rest of the way. But whichever way you prefer, it’ll be a wonderful experience with plenty of jaw-dropping views. There are three ways to get there:

1 – Cable Cars

The cable cars leave the ground station next to Praia Vermelha and amble up to Morro da Urca. From there, you can take another cable cart to the Sugarloaf. There is no rush though – once you are at Morro da Urca, you can stop to take advantage of some of the refreshments such as the restaurants and snack bars (or the bar for a caipirinha should you need a little extra courage the second leg!) before boarding the second cable car to the Sugarloaf mountain. Each stage of the cable car takes just three minutes and the cable cars depart every 20 minutes.

Opening hours:
Ticket Office: 08:00 – 19:50
Gate to access the hike closes at 18:00 during the winter and 19:00 during the summer

First journey Praia Vermelha to Morro da Urca – 08:10
The first journey Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf – 08:20
The last journey from Praia Vermelha to Morro da Urca – 20:00
The last journey from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf – 20:20
The last journey from Sugarloaf to Morro da Urca – 20:40
The last journey from Morro da Urca to Praia Vermelha – 21:00

Prices:

Adults – R$76
Children under 6 years old – free
Children 6 to 12 years old – R$38
Young adults 13 to 21 years old – R$38

Discounted Prices:

Adults 60 years old or more receive a 50% discount on the adult price (so, R$38 basically)
People with a disability also pay just R$38
Students whether Brazilian or foreign also pay R$38 (remember your student documents though!)

Prices if you combine the hike and the cable cart:

If you hike to the top of Morro da Urca and then take the cable car back down to Praia Vermelha the price is R$20 for full price or R$10 for half price (like students, children etc)
If you hike to the top of Morro da Urca and then take the cable car to the Sugarloaf and back to Morro da Urca, the price is R$40 for full price or R$20 for half price. Then, you would have to buy the ticket above to get from Morro da Urca to Praia Vermelha, or you could just hike back down.

It’s a good idea to bring some ID to show your age in case you’re asked. The official website states to bring an original copy but I’ve never heard of a photocopy not being accepted as long as the quality is good. You can buy the tickets online or at the ticket centers next to Praia Vermelha beach.

Note: You can only buy tickets in these two places, so be careful if you hike to Morro da Urca and want to get a cable car back down – you will have to get a ticket at the bottom first (lesson learned from personal experience!). Debit card, credit card, and cash are all accepted.

 2 – Hike

The hike follows a trail that starts at the base point of Morro da Urca and winds its way to the top of the hill. From the top, you can either hike back down or take the cable car (make sure to buy it at the bottom first!). The hike is safe, relatively easy and can be done alone – ignore any companies that charge extortionate amounts to take you up the Morro da Urca trail, it really is perfectly fine to do by yourself or in a group. There are plenty of other hikers on the route so you don’t feel alone.

The start of the hike is to the left-hand side of Praia Vermelha beach (if you were facing the ocean) and takes you through a gate along a concrete path before leading you to the well-developed path that cuts through the Atlantic forest. The hike from bottom to top is quite steep in places and takes about 30 minutes. I would recommend taking a little something to eat and water, but should you forget there are plenty of restaurants, bathrooms and drinking fountains at the top. Keep an eye out for wildlife en route such as the adorable marmosets.

3 – Mountain Climbing

One for the more adventurous! I haven’t done it – yet. But I would love to. If you go, please comment on your experiences below, I would love to hear all about it! While Morro da Urca is possible to leisurely hike to the top, the Sugarloaf mountain is only accessible by cable car or actually climbing which takes between 90 minutes and two hours depending on the level of difficulty. This is something I would recommend to do with a tour guide. I’ve recommended three below.

The guides recommend that you have a little bit of experience to climb the Sugarloaf as some climbing routes are tough going. Yet if you are super keen and have no experience, then you can try the Costão route which is still a challenge but better for beginners. For the more experienced climbers, the Italianos, Coringa or Secundo route may be more up your street due to their vertical challenges and tests of agility and strength.

Here are some reputable climbing tours that will safely guide you up the Sugarloaf alongside their seasoned experts. They also have English-speaking staff too: Companhia da Escalada, Rio Adventures, Climb in Rio.

When to Go

The mornings are a good time to go to avoid the afternoon crowds that reach peak numbers on weekends and holiday periods, especially around Christmas, New Year and Carnival. The afternoon during the summer can reach immense temperatures so be prepared with sun-cream and plenty of water, especially if you hike the way up. Avoid cloudy days too – the view may be disappointing.

The most rewarding time to go is at sunset on a clear, sunny day. Watch the sun dip behind the horizon and take in the city’s major landmarks, such as Corcovado mountain and the Christ the Redeemer and further to the south, Copacabana beach.

Attractions

As well as the panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro from the top of the Sugarloaf mountain, there are several other surrounding and nearby attraction.

Praia Vermelha. As I’ve mentioned, the beach at the base of Morro da Urca is tucked in between two rock sides that are covered in exotic vegetation that act as a wind barrier and make the water there calm and smooth. It’s perfect to have a dabble at stand-up surf paddling (about R$60 to rent for one hour) or canoeing over the bay to explore the little cracks and crannies in the rocky walls (about R$10 – R$20 an hour). The sand is made up of larger grains than in other commercial beaches in Rio, but lay down a kanga (beach towel), drink a cooling caipirinha and you won’t even notice the difference.

Morro da Urca. The top of the hill has several restaurants and drinking options as well as fashion stores such as Havaianas and H.Stern jewellery (perhaps catering for the odd romantic proposal at the top of the Sugarloaf? *swoon*). There are also sporadic events happening there such as music shows or sunset parties in the evenings. The events are listed on the official site page and are worth a visit for a guaranteed unforgettable party.

Helicopter ride. The helicopter ride is undeniably expensive but gives a beautiful aerial view over the city including many landmarks depending on how long you take the tour for. The helicopter leaves the Sugarloaf helipad (which is on Morro da Urca) and can be booked online or at the helipad point itself. The itineraries vary and prices start from R$320 for 6 to 7 minutes all the way up to R$1,860 for one hour.

Helisight is a good company to book with multi-lingual staff and years of experience.

Bar Urca. One of Urca’s most charming and beloved bars is definitely a must-visit post-hike and is about a 15-minute walk from Praia Vermelha beach. Go to the bar, order a chilled beer and some snacks and take it across the street to sit on the wall that overlooks the bay. If you miss the sunset at Sugarloaf, try to catch it here. It’s not as dramatic but it’s certainly one to remember. Bar Urca is easily one of my favorite places for a chilled drink and a few empadas (Brazilian pies) or a cheese pastel. There are always groups of friends there or couples idly chatting in the charming, understated environment that anyone can enjoy.

R. Cândido Gafree, 205 – Urca

Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday: 06:30 – 23:00
Saturday: 08:00 – 23:00
Sunday: 08:00 – 20:00

How to Get to Uber

Uber or taxi are the easiest ways to get to Urca – just ask to go to Praia Vermelha na Urca and you’ll arrive at the base point of the cable cars.

To take a bus from Copacabana, the 581, 583 and 104 go in the Urca direction, just the latter you need to be careful to get off just after the bus passes Shopping Rio Sul and continue by turning right and walking in a straight line to Praia Vermelha. From Central, you can take the 107 that will go straight to the Sugarloaf (yet I understand that most visitors will be staying in the south zone of the city).

To take the subway, go to Metro Botafogo and take the connecting bus 583 that will take you straight to the Sugarloaf.

Have I missed any key points that you would really like to know? Or do you have any experiences of going there that you would like to share? If so, leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch!

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Guide to the Sugarloaf in Rio de Janeiro

Leisurely Lunch Spots in Rio de Janeiro

Leisurely Lunch Spots in Rio de Janeiro

Are you looking for the best Rio de Janeiro lunch spot? All of the city’s best finds tend to be in unsigned buildings, out of guide books and only in the mouths of ‘Cariocas’. I have lived in Rio for years, but it wasn’t until I learned the sub context of this language, this culture, and their dining habits did I really start to experience the real Brazilian life…. So if you have already hit Ipanema beach and are in the mood for a venture into the real Rio, here is a list of my top 5 hidden gems for a Rio de Janeiro lunch that is fresh, bright in flavor and pairs perfectly with an afternoon beverage.

—01 Lá em Cima @ Dona Coisa – R. Lopes Quintas, 153 (Neighborhood: Jardim BoTÂnico

Ambiance: a moment of inspiration 

Hidden on the 2nd floor of one of Jardim Botânico’s most unique boutiques, Dona Coisa, is a space that blends the visuals of an art gallery, the feel of a tropical tea house and the elegance of a French Café. The best spot? At a table at the front of the space, adjacent to large Colonial windows that open up, exhibiting the flora and fauna that the nighborhood is famous for. Open only for breakfast and lunch, Lá em Cima offers a blend of Brazilian and European classics with a sprinkling or original delights, such as cardamom cheesecake and Gruyère clouds.

So what’s on the Rio de Janeiro lunch menu? Tasty pasta and sandwiches, like the roast beef on ciabatta bread; the cheese bread with curd stuffying and truffle is a must! Now, if you want to get close to gourmet paradise try the sweets, specialties include Eloi Nascimento, and the Theodoro Cake! Vera Balteiro makes the Violet Flower pie, a combination of cream cheese, candied flowers and violet extract, an unusual delight. 

—02   LA CARIOCA @ Rua Garcia D’Avila (NEIGHBORHOOD: JARDIM BOTÂNICO & Ipanema)

Ambience: Latin American Passion 

La Carioca is the first cevicheria of Rio de Janeiro, which opened its doors in November 2011, in the Jardim Botânico. In 2013, La Carioca inaugurated its second restaurant in Ipanema.

La Carioca is your spot for a mid afternoon line-up of Peruvian ceviche (think leite de tigre) and several cold Pisco Sours. I describe this gem on the corner of a small pebbled Ipanema sidewalk with all outside tables, as pure fun! All elements remind you that you are in South America: the salsa music playing, the beautiful people passing by in bright colorful clothes and the rich salt smell of the sea in the air. Known for its ceviche, we highly recommend ordering a small handful of different takes on this classic and don’t forget to add the homemade banana chips!

—03 Bazaar Café @ Livraria da Travessa – R. Visc. de Pirajá, 572 (Neighborhood: Ipanema)

Ambiance: Trendy

You would never know it was there, simply passing by the storefront of this famous Rio bookstore. On the 2nd floor of this bustling shop is a café from the well known Ipanema Restaurant, Bazaar. The look is sleek, the feel is intellectual yet modern, the food is an assortment of classical yet trendy international dishes from Falafel to Burgers, Lemon Tarts to Cappuccinos. You will equally be fulfilled sitting there alone with your new book and a Caldo de Feijoada as you would with the new friend you met at the museum this morning who is tickled to share an afternoon bottle of Sauvignon with you.

—04   BAR ASTOR @  Av. Vieira Souto, 110 (Neighborhood: Ipanema)

Ambience: a taste of São Paulo in Ipanema 

If Manhattan, São Paulo and Ipanema had a baby, Bar Astor would be her name. One of the few restaurants with an ocean view, Bar Astor is always electric. Any time of the day, you will find atmosphere in this hip little restaurant right in front of Posto 8 at the beginning of Ipanema Beach. They have one of the few NY style bars where you can actually sit at the counter, with a large lit up colorful bar that will surely add that tropical feeling to your already balmy afternoon. You can either grab a stool, a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne, or pull up a seat at an outside table for a chopp (a pint) of beer and a steak tartare. If there is an ounce of room still left = Rio de Janeiro lunch recommendation: the Brioche Bread Pudding.

—05 SANTA SATISFAÇão @ Rua Santa Clara, 36 Loja C (COPACABANA) & Av. Ataulfo de Paiva, 1335 (Leblon)

Ambiance: Romantic Bistro-style

This quaint bistro, with locations in both Leblon and Copacabana, is known for its provencal-style décor with patina-inspired furniture and it’s delicious menu. For starters, the kitchen has a wide variety of salads and pastas, plus about five daily suggestions for lunch and diner (think menu of the day-type suggestions), which includes red meat, chicken, fish and risotto. The omelets deserves particular attention as it includes fillings that range from the basics (chesse and ham) to smoke salmon and cheese – but that’s not all! Each omelet is accompanied with a beautiful edible basket made with Parmesan cheese, which houses a mix of green leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Make sure to ask for their fidelity card – for every ten a la carte meals consumed in the restaurant or by the delivery service within 3 conserutive months, you can earn a small portion of the pasta or salad of your choice.

—06   Plage Café @ parge Lage – R. Jardim Botânico, 414 (NEIGHBORHOOD: parque lage)

Ambience: Classic Rio 

Situated at the base of Christ the Redeemer, in one of the last untouched parts of the Rio rainforest, Plage Café is located inside of an old sugar mill turned aristocratic mansion turned art school. This picturesque setting is ideal for everything from brunch to late afternoon coffee. All seating is outside in the inner courtyard, situated around a beautiful pool (made famous in Snoop Dog’s Beautiful music video). This french-style café offers a large variety to appease any palate, from Salade Nicoise to Roast Chicken. The structure itself is stunning, but add to it a glass of Chilean red and a plate of bruschetta and you have the formula of an afternoon of memories.

—07 Café 18 Do forte @ forte de copacabana (NEIGHBORHOOD: COPACABA)

Ambiance: relaxed sophistication 

Most people come to Forte de Copacabana to eat a carioca-style, Rio de Janeiro lunch at the famous Café Confeiteria, however waiting times can test the most patient person. Just a stones throw away is the Café 18 do Forte where visitors can enjoy the same pictersque views while enjoying mouth-watering delicious food all the while avoiding the queue.

Here you find the perfect setting to make your Rio de Janeiro lunch even more special. Besides the traditional sweets, their menu offers an assortment of salads, sandwiches, pastas and some Brazilian favourites like feijoada and moqueca. Along with offering breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, Café 18 do Forte also offers a special à la carte lunch menu. Our recommendation? Cool off with a glass of champagne paired with a churros do forte.

The entrance into the Forte de Copacabana is R$6 and is 50% off if you present a valid student card.

 

Casa Bromelia is a space where is a Rio de Janeiro Travel Concierge. We are your “access” to the city. We speak your language, know your culture & understand your expectations. Whether that be dancing at underground Samba party, staying in a classic art deco villa, being picked up by an English speaking driver or advice on where a local dines, the Casa will tailor design your dream vacation. The founder, Lauren Amber Quinn, is a California native who has been traveling/living abroad for 15 years. She leads the team of locals curating your trip. With Casa Bromelia you will share, explore, heal, relax and be inspired

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The Complete Guide To The Christ The Redeemer

The Complete Guide To The Christ The Redeemer

Guide to the Christ the Redeemer

As one of the most iconic images of Brazil, the Christ the Redeemer is on almost everyone’s bucket-list when they come to visit Rio de Janeiro. The statue is an imposing monumental in its own right, yet the real joy of going there lies in the panoramic views overlooking the city and its extraordinary coastline. To get the most out of your trip to Christ the Redeemer, here is a complete guide to visiting this must-see landmark.

*UPDATE: (11th July, 2017) Since publishing, we decided to update our hike section. In the last 2 weeks, 58 hikers have been robbed on the forest-trail up Corcovado that begins at Parque Lage and leads up to the Christ. As a result, the path has been closed to the public and for now is no longer accessible. We recommend you take the bus or van up to the top for now and we will keep you posted when this situation changes.

There are three ways to get up to the Christ the Redeemer statue – by van, by train, or hike your way up.

Guide to the Christ the Redeemer
Guide to the Christ the Redeemer
Guide to the Christ the Redeemer
  • Going by train

The train (or bondinho as it’s known in Portuguese) slowly ambles up Corcovado mountain through the Atlantic forest, allowing visitors to experience the largest urban rainforest in the world at a close proximity. The rustic style of the train accompanied by the occasional live samba adds to the charming scene.

To take the train, go to the Trem do Corcovado station at the base of the Corcovado peak. To get there, you can either take a taxi or the metrô to Largo do Machado then the Integration Bus (Ônibus de integração) in the direction of Cosme Velho. Jump off in front of the São Judas Tadeu church and the Trem do Corcovado station is right there. The train leaves every 20 or 30 minutes and you don’t need to schedule a set time to go. The ride up takes about 20 minutes. The train leaves the train station between 8:20 am and 5 pm every day and the last ride back down is between 6:30 pm and 7 pm.

You can buy tickets at the train station but queues can get big. For those that hate queues, it’s best to buy in advance at one of the Riotur kiosks which are in Copacabana on Avenida Atlantica in front of Rua Hilario de Gouveia or in the city center on Rua da Candelaria, 6, (open 8 am until 7 pm) or online at the official site.

Prices

The prices include the train up, back down and the entrance to the Christ.

For adults (including students) – R$61 at low season. R$74 at high season (high season includes weekends and holidays all year round).

Children between 5 and 11 – R$48 (low and high season)

Seniors more than 60 years – R$24 (low and high season)

Children under 4 – free

 

  • Going by van

The official van leaves from three points in the city which makes getting around that little bit easier.

The points are at Praca do Lido in Copacabana, next to the metro at Lago do Machado and at Città America in Barra da Tijuca. You can buy the tickets at the bus points (which includes the way there, the way back and the entrance for the Christ) but it’s worth buying online – the queues in Copacabana and Largo do Machado have been known to be up to an hour and a half during high season!

Picking up the van in:

Copacabana

The vans leave from Praça do Lido at posto 2 (Avenida Nossa Senhora de Copacabana between Rua Ronald de Carvalho and Rua Belfort Roxo). They leave every 15 minutes and the non-stop route takes about 45 minutes to arrive with usual traffic.

Price:
Adults (even students) – R$70 in high season (holidays, carnival, weekends), R$57 in low season
Children 5 to 11 – R$44 in both high and low season
Seniors over 60 – R$37
Children under 5 – free

The van does pick ups in Copacabana every day between 8 am and 5 pm. The final trip back down Corcovado is between 6 pm and 6:30 pm

Largo do Machado

The vans leave from Praça do Largo do Machado in front of the church and happen every 15 minutes. It will take about 30 minutes in all to get from there to the entrance to the Christ.

Price:
Adults (even students) – R$70 in high season (holidays, carnival, weekends), R$57 in low season
Children 5 to 11 – R$44 in both high and low season
Seniors over 60 – R$37
Children under 5 – free

The van does pick ups at Lago do Machado every day between 8 am and 5 pm. The final trip back down Corcovado is between 6 pm and 6:30 pm

Barra da Tijuca

The van leaves from Shopping Città America on Avenida das Americas, 700 and takes place every 30 minutes. It takes about 50 minutes to get from the shopping mall to the top of the Corcovado.

Price:
Adults – R$102 in high season and R$89 in low season
Children between 5 and 11 – R$76 in both high and low seasons
Seniors over 60 – R$69
Children under 5 – free

The van does pick ups between 8 am and 4:30 pm every day and the last van to go back down Corcovado leaves between 6 pm and 6:30 pm.

You can take a taxi or non-official van (the non-official van costs about R$30 and leaves from Cosme Velho) to the Visitor Center then take an official van the rest of the way (they’re the only ones that are allowed to do that last stretch up to the Christ). I would strongly recommend avoiding the hassle of driving your own car there – there is no parking and it’s so much easier to make the most of the other transport options available.

To take the van from the Visitors Center, the prices are as follows:

Adults – R$40 in high season, R$27 in low season.
Children between 5 and 11 – R$14 all year round
Seniors over 60 – R$7
Children under 5 – free.

The van leaves from the Visitor Center every day between 8 am and 6 pm with the final van leaving the top of Corcovado between 6 pm and 6:30 pm

 

  • Going by hiking

I’m saving the best for last as the hike up Corcovado to the Christ is definitely a personal favorite! I love being surrounded by the Atlantic forest and the cute little monkeys, plus it’s immensely rewarding tackling the trail that starts at the beautiful Parque Lage (tip: stop by there for a pre-hike breakfast) and goes all the way up to the Christ. Take plenty of water as the whole trip up and back down takes at least two hours.

There are some tour companies that offer a guided tour up Corcovado and charge a small fortune. This trail is FREE, easy to do and can definitely be done independently. However, there have been news of muggings on the hike going up with groups of robbers taking mobile phones and other items. Whilst it is more likely nothing will happen, these unfortunate incidents do and can occur, so it is best to never do the hike alone and leave all belongings of value at home. In the worst case scenario and you do get approached by criminals, hand over any belongings calmly and always cooperate. It’s a good idea to always have a bit of cash on you so if you do get robbed, you have something to hand over, saving you from the need to explain that you don’t have anything on you which can be misinterpreted by robbers due to language barriers. This information is not to scare you! It is simply informative of all possibilities – remember, knowledge is power.

If you do the hike, you can buy your ticket for the Christ there (expect queues in the high season!) or on the official site. BE AWARE: if you buy the ticket at the entrance to the Christ, make sure you take enough cash as you can ONLY pay in cash there, they don’t accept cards. Prices are:

Adults – R$24 in the high season and R$12 in the low season. Seniors over 60 and children under 11 are free.

 

As this place is all about the views, visibility is key so try going either before 8:30 am or after 3:30 pm when there is fewer crowds, less heat, and better visibility and less haze.

The busiest times of the year is around Christmas, New Year, Carnival, holidays and weekends.

So, that’s it! The complete guide to visiting the Christ the Redeemer. If there is anything I’ve missed or you would like to know about, just take a moment to comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Also, if you have been already, please share your stories and pictures! I love a good travel story and would love to hear yours.

Image credits: Fernando Maia and Alexandre Macieira  from Riotur / Visit.Rio 

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Guide to the Christ the Redeemer