Bucket List: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil Club 411: So, it’s 83 and sunny in Rio today (probably). Or it might rain. But around here, our favortie Rio t-shirt is the one that reads “A Rainy Day In Rio Is Better Than…” so you get the idea. Take our ten tips and head for the land of samba and sun!

Happy birthday, Rio de Janerio!

Brazil’s most famous city was founded by Portuguese settlers on March 1st, 1565 and was named São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, in honor of St. Sebastian, the namesake of Portuguese Monarch D. Sebastião.

Rio de Janeiro (“River of January”) was the official name given to Guanabara Bay and ws also the capitol city of Brazil for nealry 200 years, yeilding that title to the newly-created city of Brasilia in 1963.

For those who have already had their passpot stamped at Jobim International, no explaination is needed for a return trip.  For newbies, Rio should be on your bucket list. And if that’s not reason enough to hop on a plane for a night flight to Brazil, here are 10 more:


Hit the beach. World-class sand strips are mega in Rio. And legendary. Name droppers love Copacabana and Ipanema. You will too. Not your style? Check out our list of Rio’s hidden beach treasure coves.

8. Pizza

More Italianos live in Brazil than any other country outside of Italy, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find some of the world’s best pizza in Rio. Grab a slice Brazilian-style at Caravelle just off the Copa strip. The open-air sidewalk café has its charm, but so has the spicy molho sauce.

7. Take in the sights

Sugarloaf or Corcovado? Do both. The later on a clear sunny morning is breathtaking: take the Swiss-styled tram straight up, or the scenic drive to the base of Cristo Redentor.  A cable car ride at Sunset on Sugarloaf is something you’ll never forget. You’ll find open-air lounges at each stage. Hit ’em both!

6. Nightlife

photo: Alberto Santos

Just like the weather, Rio’s nightlife is flat out awesome. Dance clubs rock ‘til dawn and the historic Lapa district has it all, from Samba to Brazilian jazz. And that means…

5. Cachaca!

photo: Veja SP

Brazil’s greatest invention since sliced meat, this sugarcane rum mingles with fresh cut limes and sugar to create its own real-life liquid hash tag. Tastes great on the beach or poolside, or head off to Academia da Cachaça in Leblon or Barra da Tijua.

4. Food (& drink)

photo: Esse Mundo E’ Nosso

Rio has dozens of world-class restaurants to match international cusines, but be sure to chill at a neighborhood boteco after a long night out. And ice-cold draft beer is called chope!


photo: Pestana Rio Atlantica

From east to west, Rio is one place in the world so gifted by breathtaking vistas that its easy to forget all about those selfie shots. For our money, nothing beats the poolside view of a Copacabana morning. Rio’s beachside hotels are tropical luxury you can easily get used to.

2. Nature

photo: Leonardo Shinagawa

When Mother Nature takes a scenic vacation, she heads to Rio, where the mountains march right up to the ocean’s edge. There’s even a tropical rainforest in the middle of the city. So New York, what do you got?

1. Sundays

…in Copacabana: What other world-class city shuts down half of its major beachside Avenida for family fun once a week? Sundays in Ipanema mean the Hippie Faire at Praca General Osorio for arts, crafts and more. And in between? Countless bazzars and markets to tempt every sense.


photo: Leo Gandelman

Rio isn’t just a musical city like Chicago or New Orleans. Bossa Nova and Samba rhythms are infused in every breath the city takes. Plus free conerts on the beach, the nightlife scene in the Lapa disctrict and ‘Rock In Rio!’ Oba!