Apart from being Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro has gorgeous beaches and stunning landscapes, like Impanema Beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain. And now that the city is gearing up for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, new hotels, restaurants and boutiques are cropping up nearly every month.
The city is divided into the coastal centre and northern, eastern and western districts, with the coastal centre being the hotbed for toned bodies and glamorous hotels.
The best beaches here are Arpoador, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, and Leme (Abricó is the only nudist beach) and they are always teaming with locals, even on a Monday afternoon.
People from Rio live their lives by the sea. Their beaches have fantastic vendors that walk around selling fruits, juices and empanadas all day long.
Do hit up all the iconic tourist destinations, like the Christo Redentor, but avoid them on weekends or during high tourist seasons like carnival. That said, don’t neglect places like Niteroi, a nearby city that has just as many beautiful beaches yet is often overlooked.
Rio’s food scene is incredible too, but mainly meat based. Find the nearest Churrascaria to your hotel and get ready to gorge on dozens of unctuous grilled and sliced meats.