For what it’s worth, here’s my Rio top 10.
10. Check out the Catholic cathedral in Rio, totally different from what you would expect. Really ugly on the outside, kind of cool on the inside.
9. Rio Scenarium – I’m not a bar/club kind of guy, but this one is really cool. It’s an old warehouse where they used what was in the place to decorate things. I love looking around in there. http://www.rioscenarium.com.br/
8. There is cable car that take you up to Santa Teresa, which is a little artsy location in town, and which gives you a feel for old Rio. It’s a fun little ride and when you get there Santa Teresa has some cool restaurants and corner bars.
6. Maracanã – I remember the first time I watched a soccer game in Maracanã: cheering, chanting, fires, flags, the open display of passion was over the top. I hope you get a game like that too.
5. How about if #5 is just the generic “food” entry. From Porção and Marios (churrascarias) to Esfirras and Quibes (street corner salgadinhos) Rio has the weird mix of elegant and casual that applies to eating too. Be sure to try some of the fruit juices, kind of like smoothies. I love the fruits in Brazil, the pineapple (abacaxi) and passion fruit (marauja) are my favorites. Açaí is popular nowadays, but I can’t say it’s one of mine.
4. Near the lagoon (called the lagoa) is a place called the botanical gardens (jardim botanico). When the royal court fled from Portugal and settled in Rio, the king had a botanical garden made. Another one of my favorite spots in Rio, I just love walking around in this garden.
3. Ipanema beach, it’s total cliche, but I get sucked into the whole “bossa nova” version of Ipanema every time. I especially enjoy walking along Ipanema on Sunday mornings when it is closed to car traffic.
2. I’m not sure how many times I’d have to go up Corcovado to the Christ statue and not be blown away by the magnificent view. God worked overtime on the day he made Rio.
1. If you go to take the tram ride up sugarloaf, try going at the end of the day so that you can be on top at sunset. Watching the sun set over Rio from on top of Sugarloaf is one of my favorite sites in Rio and that’s why I put it as my #1.