Rio de Janerio

{ an insiders guide }

Posted on August 15, 2016

Inner Beauty

Rio de Janeiro is a feast for the eyes; from the vibrant street art {graffiti is legal in Rio} to the mosaic paths- along the world’s most famous strips of sand- Copacabana and Ipanema {download a QR reader for your phone- the paths have codes embedded for visitors} plus you can check off one of the seven wonders of the world from your bucket list.

A trip to Rio would not be complete without a visit to beaches that are as recognizable as the songs written about them, but first you’ll want to gear up like a local.  Start at Feira do Lavradio.  On the first Saturday of each month Cariocas {Rio de Janeiro locals} go to this street market to buy cool stuff, like clothes and antiques. Your mission is to find a colorful Canga, the Brazilian’s fast drying beach towel, beach blanket, cover up, dress, pillow, satchel…and portable changing room. If you miss picking one up at the market you’ll find vendors selling them along the beaches.

copacabana beach

Although you are assured to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer from anywhere in Rio, don’t miss the opportunity to take a selfie with the statue and catch an amazing 360° view of the city and its beaches. If you are reasonably fit, a hike to the summit is worth the 1.5 hour walk, watch for the “natives” who live in the Tijuca Forest, especially the Toucans and Capuchin monkeys.

On a rainy or hot day, stay indoors at the Village Mall – Barra da Tijuca.  This mall offers four floors of the best of Brazilian and international fashion, amazing restaurants & movie theaters. Check the website for special events and live theater.

MAR rio

Museu de Arte do Rio, is the city’s newest art museum.  Before you enter the museum, you will find the architectural design fascinating, the modern contemporary style of the newest building is combined with the Palacete Dom João VI, built in 1916. Once inside visitors are treated to a jaw dropping view of Rio’s Port district, Guanabara Bay and the nearly 6.5 mile Rio-Niterói Bridge. The exhibits are located in the oldest of the buildings. Check the website for on-going and special exhibits.


Many visitors don’t know about the Ilha Fiscal, sitting on an island in Guanabara Bay, is a gothic palace complete with towers and stained glass windows- the type you might imagine from a page inside a favorite fairy tale. Originally used as a customs house, the building is well-known as the location of the last Imperial Ball on November 9, 1889. A large painting inside the building depicts this last celebration of the monarchy. Guided tours only, since most areas of the building are still in use by the navy.

Located in the center of Rio de Janeiro, the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Literature is jaw-dropping. Built in 1880 and turned into a public library in 1900, the building is home to nearly 400,000 volumes of Portuguese literature as well as other culturally and historically significant collections.

In a city as diverse as Rio you will a variety of restaurants no matter what you might be craving.  Here are few local favorites;

Gero Ipanema
Gero is a favorite meeting place of celebrities, artists and journalists of Rio, perhaps it’s because the restaurant has as an award winning Italian menu, outstanding service and a delightful interior.


Confeitaria Colombo
The oldest and most delightful confectionery and French café located in the city’s center. Relax with a famous Brazilian coffee and Brigadier {a chocolate dessert similar to a truffle} 

Churrascaria Fogo de Chão
Brazil is famous for their traditional churrasco. Fogo de Chão is home to the“Rodizio” all you can eat. You pay for the full churrasco experience and sample as many different meats as you want. They also offer a salad buffet a selection of seafood. By the way you will find Fogo de Chão in several locations throughout  the United States. 

Vizta Restaurant
As its name says “Vizta”,  this restaurant has a spectacular view of Leblon beach, Vizta is on the second floor of the Hotel Marina Palace and features Brazilian food and sandwiches crafted with artisan breads. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights you will hear the sound of Rio with some of the best of live Bossa Nova, Jazz and Samba music, beginning at 9 pm. 

 For more local favorites visit