This perennially cheerful city is a global icon standing shoulder to shoulder with the world’s other great cities. Fabulous hotels, iconic landmarks and incredible vistas draw the visitor in, yet it’s the ‘Cariocas’ infectious enthusiasm for life and good times that brings them back. Climbing Corcovado and marvelling at Sugar Loaf are obvious ‘bucket listers’, but kicking a football on Copacabana Beach and dancing to the Bossa Nova should also make the list.
Rio’s beaches are the city’s default recreational spaces, playgrounds for rich and poor alike. The big beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, along with neighbouring Leme and Leblon are the epicentres of Rio’s beach culture, with the steady throng of life building into packed crowds at weekends and holidays. Most beachfront hotels hold reserved sections on the beach and steady streams of hawkers vend their ice creams, refreshments and trinkets through the day.
Dining in Brazil is an inherently social affair, so it is no surprise that the two quintessential culinary experiences imbue that ethos. Churrascarias are essentially meat fests, with dozens of different meat cuts served to your plate on skewers by the ‘Passadores’. Feijoada is considered the national dish, typically delivering an array of flavoursome stews served with rice. And the national drink ‘Caipirinha’, well they’re addictive to say the least so treat them with respect!