If you are heading to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics, there are a few things that you should know. The city is vast, hot and exciting and there are experiences to all tastes and budgets. Cariocas are friendly and the vibe is intense – in a way that lifts the soul. Rio de Janeiro is marvelous so expect to get much more than you are bargaining for. Here is a list of 11 facts & experiences to make your stay unique. Welcome to Rio!
Written by François Correia
Cover Photography by Rodrigo Harold
Jazz in the Favela
The Maze is a cultural center and B&B in a Rio de Janeiro’s shantytown, right by the bay, with views as extraordinary as its location. What’s more – the view; the Sugar Loaf Mountains are cinematographically framed by the concrete architectural Lego like dwellings.
This shanty town is one of the safest in the city and the place is accessible and a true local hangout. Don’t miss out.
A Local is Called 'Carioca'
The Cariocas are a friendly bunch. They are street wise, jokers by nature and enjoy the beautiful sunsets the coast of Rio affords – they actually clap most sunsets – in hues of pink & orange. One thing that holds true is that Cariocas are rather flexible so don’t worry if they have arranged something and do not have follow through – in this town there is always a party to go, friends to meet and moments of uniqueness to experience so chill and don’t be so formal or expect anyone to be on time.
See the take over of the Belmond Copacabana Palace by digital art
Kristjana Williams is an internationally awarded Icelandic designer whose work has graced iconic brands and buildings – from Fortnum & Mason in London, Harrods and Liberty to Louboutin. Her latest creation for the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro is truly epic. The digital work was based on cartography and the natural elements of the Olympic hosting cities of the past, present and future.
Check out the digital projection everyday during the Olympics @ 7pm – when the façade of this iconic building is swarmed by multi-colored butterflies – a magical moment in this marvelous city.
Botafogo - The Gourmet Hub of Rio
Visitors tend to stay by the beach when in Rio but there is so much more to see. Botafogo is a bohemian, trendy neighbourhood and it deserves a visit – it is full of amazing restaurants and nice bars. It’s been nicknamed ‘BotaSoho’ by the locals. Self-explanatory right?
Stay Like a Local - Boutique Rentals We Love
Rio de Janeiro has views to die for, and there is nothing better than staying in one of the many excellent home rentals in the city. There are many new sites and options to find the perfect place to stay if you want to feel like a local in style. Rentals range from apartments in Ipanema to mansions in exclusive neighbourhoods with endless views of the sea and the mountains of Rio.
My Favourite Caipirinha is at Vidigal Shantytown
Not only does this place serve my favorite caipirinha but it happens to also have the best view of the city. One can have nice caipirinhas all around town but the one at Da Laje Bar is made with sugar cane liquor, cherry tomatoes and basil – trust me it is divine.
On Saturdays there is the local ‘feijoada’ – a traditional dish of black beans stew with pork – accompanied by the live performance of great samba musicians.
Cariocas Applaud Sunsets!
Yes they do – simply because sunsets from Ipanema or Arpoador are so cinematographic that they deserve an applause. So don’t be shy – join in the crowds that getter at sunset and applaud life – after all you are in Rio de Janeiro.
Paragliding from São Conrado
The São Conrado mountain range is an unique formation that allows the perfect paragliding platform launch. It is iconic and a thrilling experience – see Rio from above and join in one of the most loved sports in the city.
Visit the Museu do Amanhã
The Museu do Amanhã – or Museum of Tomorrow – is a cutting edge designed space located at the new revitalized Mauá Square next to Rio’s port. The architectural project, signed by Spanish neo-futurist architect Santiago Calatrava , is a vision of infinite water features and white organic walls. The building itself is inspired by the bromelia plants of Rio’s botanical gardens. A gem of a science museum.
Gems & Design
Rio is a hotspot for design and a great place to find unique jewelry pieces. Designers based in the city draw from its natural elements and geography – creating extremely architectural yet wearable pieces. We love You Do – a modern, urban brand with strong geometrical aesthetics by Thais Scot and Suzy Gouvea and Atelier Yara Figueredo’s sculptural jewelry collections, drawing from precious Brazilian stones and natural elements of wood and feathers.