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rio de janeiro: a small guide

rio de janeiro: a small guide

coined by the writer coelho neto back in 1935 as a tribute to the city's natural beauty, the nickname ‘cidade maravilhosa’ is as accurate today as it was back then. I’m lucky to have visited many places around the world but rio’s charms still wow me every time I step foot in the city. so here’s your rio de janeiro must-do guide for a spellbinding social feed gallery.

article & photos by joão pedro marques & filipa martins.
friends from CINCO.

janeiro, what else?

the award-winning JANEIRO Hotel from osklen’s creative designer oskar metsavaht and hotelier carlos verneck is rio’s hottest place to stay right now. 
the comfortable rooms are a blend of old school meets modern-day design. all the woodwork seen on furniture pieces such as beds, bedside tables, chairs, cabinets and wall panels was exclusively designed and executed for the hotel.

the impeccably-decorated breakfast room is fully integrated with the landscape. the blue sea and the waving palm trees dance along the jazzy bossa nova in an hymn to furniture music. the smell of freshly brewed coffee lights up the room. everything is right. the simple yet delicious buffet is filled with local products and fresh fruit. additionally, a la carte delicatessen like tapioca, açaí or fresh from the oven pão de queijo will prepare you for the rest of the day.

a young and fashionable (yet unpretentious!) crowd on flip flops and tasty beachwear mingle over cocktails by the infinity rooftop pool. the same pool that offers you a breathtaking natural canvas of morro dos dois Irmãos, framed out of a round window. a set of stairs will take you to the upper deck where the iconic christ the redeemer greets you from high above.

figure 1. JANEIRO hotel lobby
figure 2. JANEIRO hotel room
igure 3. elin necklace at janeiro hotel
igure 4. JANEIRO hotel rooftop pool with views of morro dos dois irmãos figure 5. JANEIRO hotel lounge area
figure 6. JANEIRO hotel breakfast room

you just can’t get enough.

after a swim and a fresh coconut water in the beach of leblon, you are ready to discover rio! bathed in natural light and the ocean breeze, the 8 km long calçadão (from leme to leblon) invites you to exercise. tanned bodies, freckled smiles and salty hair. this is rio! walk, run or cycle until arpoador for a sunset to die for. another beautiful bike ride is in lagoa rodrigo de freitas. you can cycle until parque lage and then pause to contemplate its gardens and have brunch in the café!

if you’re up for some hiking, the pedra bonita trail in são conrado is a must and an opportunity to watch mico-monkeys along the way! on top, you’ll get an unforgettable view. remember to pack sunscreen and water for the hike.

if you’re in rio, you can’t miss pão de açúcar. rising 396 m above the harbor, the peak is accessed by a cable car. buy your tickets online to avoid the crowds and prepare yourself to mesmerizing views over the city. 

christ the redeemer is the fourth largest statue of jesus christ in the world, the largest art deco-style sculpture on the planet, and to top it all off, one of the new seven wonders of the world. a small train will take you to the top. again, buy your tickets online to avoid the crowds.

depending on the time you have, other attractions you should consider include: botanical garden, museum of tomorrow, niterói contemporary art museum and the royal portuguese cabinet of reading. 

figure 7. street in leblon
figure 8. guanabara bay
figure 9. calçadão in ipanema
figure 10. pedra bonita
igure 11. rio skyline captured from arpoador
igure 12. christ the redeemer from pão de açucar
igure 13. view from pão de açúcar
igure 14. santa teresa neighborhood
igure 15. royal portuguese cabinet of reading
igure 16. parque lage

from traditional botecos to upscale restaurants.

the foody scene in rio is buzzing and you should definitely give it a try! as any large city, you’ll find a bunch of decent Italian and japanese restaurants but you can’t miss the mouth-watering meat, cheese or shrimp pastel along with a chopp (draught beer). your diet may not include fried food and alcohol but you can definitely make an exception after a run in calçadão. boteco belmonte (ipanema or leblon), braseiro da gávea, jobi, boteco boa praça (leblon) or boteco princesa are just a few options. if you’re hungry, ask for the picanha with black beans and farofa com ovo. you will not regret it!

for a date night, the two michelin stars oteque in botafogo is a perfect option! the 8-moment seasonal menu is just magnificent. but don’t worry if michelin starred restaurants aren’t your thing. a lot of other options to choose from: giuseppe grill for meat lovers, gurumê, sushi leblon and spicy fish for the japanese experience or cipriani and posi mozza e mare if you’re an Italian food lover. in case you want to visit the neighborhood of santa teresa, stop by bar do mineiro for an authentic brazilian meal or aprazível for a nice meal with a view!

figure 17. bibi sucos in ipanema
igure 18. boteco belmonte in leblon
igure 19. chopp (draught beer)
igure 20. bar do mineiro
igure 21. oyster at oteque restaurant

joão p
edro marques is an ophthalmologist and physician scientist at centro hospitalar e universitário de coimbra (CHUC), portugal. he is an inveterate foodie and passionate about traveling.

filipa martins is an energy industry professional currently working in the renewable energy sector at galp. she loves animals (cats in particular!) and is enthusiastic about traveling and finding secret spots for a delicious meal.


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