PLACES TO VISIT

A few days in Rio de Janeiro

grafitti in rio

chilli peppers at market

escadaria selaron

Feria

corcovado train

cristo redentor statue

fruit stand

ipanema beach

Ipanema Penthouse

Ipanema penthouse2

Last spring when we sat down to plan our year of travel we decided to favour small towns over cities and to spend about three weeks in each destination. We thought this would keep the pace a bit slower and allow us to really get to know each place beyond the usual touristy way. One thing we couldn’t manage to avoid, however, was flying into cities or brief stays in between available flights. So when the option came up to stay in Rio for a few days before flying down to Uruguay, we took it, and we’re so happy we did.

Rio is one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever seen. Verdant green mountains jut out of tropical blue seas in every direction and skyscrapers meet lush rain forests beyond them. Rio may have its share of big city problems, but beauty is not one of them. I’m so glad the kids got to experience it too, especially after seeing shots of Rio during last year’s World Cup, and also knowing it will be the host city for next summer’s Olympic games.

We stayed three days and managed to squeeze in many highlights. Here is a recap from our time with the Cariocas.

TO STAY:

  • We were invited by i-escape to test out their Ipanema Penthouse and report back on the property as well as kid-friendly things to do in the area — a task I was excited to accept. The apartment was really spacious, in a nice building and in a perfect location, just blocks from the beach and metro. I would not, however, recommend it for families with young children. The roof terrace has some worrisome hazards and the décor is more adult than family. If you are traveling with kids there are many other Rio properties on the i-escape site and I always appreciate their stylish selection and honest assessments of their properties.

TO DO:

  • Take the Corcovado Train up to see the famous Cristo Redentor statue. You can see the statue from all sorts of different angles around the city (we first spotted it from the airplane and you should have seen how excited the kids were!), but to see it up close is really breathtaking. And the train ride up through lush tropical trees is fun for the kids too.
  • We signed up for a walking food tour with Eat Rio, and it was the highlight of our visit. We spent the day walking around Rio’s centre, trying new foods and juices (Suco de Cupuaçú!), perusing the food markets and dropping into some its most traditional restaurants. We ate crazy fruits we’ve never heard of before (one took a hammer to open), we ate a traditional Amazonian soup called Tacacá, and finished off with a big meal of ‘Carne seca com abobora e feijão de corda’. We can’t recommend this enough for food lovers.
  • We took a taxi over to the Lapa neighbourhood to start our food tour, and the Escadaria Selarón was one of the first sites we visited on the tour. We loved hearing the story of the Chilean artist, Jorge Selarón, and how he covered the 250 stairs in colourful tiles collected from more than 60 countries. It was such a site to see!
  • We also loved seeing all the street art and graffiti in the Lapa neighbourhood. It was nice to have our food tour guide food explain the background on some of the graffiti artists and their work.
  • On Sundays, there is an amazing ‘Feira Hippie‘ (or hippie market) just one block from the apartment. There were so many great stalls and handmade products. (We bought lots of bracelets for the kids and for their friends back in London.)
  • The beach! We never had a perfectly sunny day, but we still made sure to experience the famous Rio beaches with all the action and bikini-clad Brazilians (the kids still talk about the shots of the crowded beaches they saw during the World Cup last year and it was fun to experience it in person).

TO EAT:

  • Juice bars! There are many different juice bars scattered around the city offering delicious juices from a choice of tropical fruits (many fruits we had never even heard of before). Did you know you can drink cacao juice? It’s made from the white pulp surrounding the individual cocoa beans inside the cacao pod. So cool!
  • We ate breakfast at Cafeína, a charming cafe with delicious breakfast treats and coffee.
  • On our second day we ate breakfast at Terzetto Café, which was just one block from our apartment and served good food with lots of Brazilian specialities.
  • We ate feijoada on Sunday at Bar do Beto, which was super family-friendly. We aren’t feijoada experts, but we thought the food was good and the staff was super nice.
  • Our kids were tired in the evenings after exploring the city, so one night we ordered sushi to be delivered to our apartment. Locals had recommended the iFood app for food delivery, and it worked perfectly! Sushi is very popular in Brazil, due to the large Japanese Brazilian population (we were told that Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan!).

 

Because of rainy weather, we didn’t get to do everything we had hoped to do, but it was still a jam-packed few days. Please feel free to leave additional tips and recommendations in the comments section below. It’s always helpful for people who are looking for inspiration for future travels. Thank you!
Courtney xx


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Comments (5)

Lisa
November 13, 2015

beautfiful pics ; thanks so much for sharing all invaluable advice for when we plan a trip to Brazil. It was never on my list of places I wanted to see for some reason but after your reviews I have changed my mind!!!! X


November 13, 2015

It was a real pleasure to meet you Courtney, and to show you and your lovely family around some of my favourite parts of Rio. I hope next time you’re here the sun shows its face – Rio is even more beautiful in the sunshine. Enjoy the rest of your epic adventure!
Tom


Susan M.
November 14, 2015

Epic indeed! Thank you for the inspiring post. Great tip about having a food tour. Enjoy everything and safe travels!


November 15, 2015

[…] Courtney of BabyccinoKids is traveling the world with her kids this year – everything to love about their time in Rio De Janeiro. […]


Alberto C.
August 12, 2016

Great post! I recently visited Rio and absolutely loved it, such as vibrant city! I actually also wrote a post on my blog about my trip, check it out and let me know what you think!

http://www.arwtravels.com/blog/4-days-rio-de-janeiro


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