Ladies, just came back from another fabulous trip! This time, Rio de Janeiro...
My 3 day IT:
day 1: checked in at Porto Bay Copacabana: absolutely wonderful hotel! nice brekkie spread, rooftop pool/bar with views of the beach and christ, comp. havaianas, balcony with ocean view, friendly staff.
-watched soccer match flamengo vs palmeiras: super fun! Flamengo fans are hardcore, I must say... it was a draw, thank god! Otherwise, the fans must've killed each other LOL! FYI: Maracana is under renovation until next year for the olympics.
day 2: promenade along copacabana beach, then drank caipirinhas at one of the kiosks along the beach. alcohol at 0700am, too early but still pretty awesome!
-joined Brazil Expedition tour of Rio. Our guide was Murilio, loved his NY accent, funny and very informative. We were able to hit the ff: san conrado beach where the handgliders land, tijuca forest, christ statue, santa teresa, lunch at lapa, then the lapa steps. Best tour in Rio IMO.
-Sugarloaf mountain, stayed here until sunset, so worth it! Cable carx2 so definitely not for those with fear of heights
-dinner at a churrascaria place. OMG meats galore, cheap too!
-after dinner drinks at the hotel's rooftop bar
day 3: Souvenir shopping at Zona Sul and copacabana market
-snack at a juice bar
Havaianas shopping at MG Bazaar, dirt cheap!
Lunch at Garota de Ipanema (touristy but food was so good! Highly recommend getting the picanha, pricey but good for 2-3 pax)
Promenade along Ipanema beach... gorgeous people everywhere! Watchd beach soccer and hot bodies LOL
Strolled along the lagoa rodrigo de freitas
-biked along Avenida Atlantica with the locals
Loved Rio to bits! Prices were a bit high but not as bad as, say Iceland or Dubai. Hotel 300 USD/night, havaianas about half off US prices, churrascaria meal with wine about 40USD, taxis are cheap, a nice lunch for 2 is about 40 USD with drinks, caipirinha's about 3.50 USD small glass, tour was about 50 USD. The prices are comparable to NY/San Fo, give or take, depending on location.
Weren't able to go out at night that much but I heard Lapa and Santa Teresa are the places to be on a Fri or Sat, a lot of bars and restos in the area.
Brazilians are pretty friendly, they love the beach and of course, football! The city itself has ugly areas (favelas),but there's also plenty of nice areas like ipanema, leblon, and san conrado.
Must eat foods/drinks:meat, esp picanha, shrimp empanadas, coxinha, feijoada,caipirinha, skol beer, fruit juices, acai, guarana drink, etc.
Leave your expensive duds, jewelry, watch, etc at home, brazilians are casual and laid back, no need to be dressy, except maybe if you're going to a nice resto or club.
Hope this helps!