As the pomp and pageantry of the London Olympics comes to a close, the world is setting its sights on the heat and heart of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. The South American site of the 2016 Olympics is always a great choice, whether you’re a traveling solo, backpacking with friends or a loved-up couple on your honeymoon. Rio’s waterfalls, white sand beaches, red rock canyons and evergreen mountain peaks fill up the daylight hours while the sun sets to the sounds of samba.
Sugarloaf Mountain offers an exciting excursion for nature buffs, adventurers and scenery seekers. Take a cable car to the summit for soaring views of Rio’s land and sea. Adventurous types can hike the trails and climb straight up the sheer granite for an adrenaline-filled experience. Along the way, check out the views of Botafogo Bay, Governor’s Island and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, as well as the beaches of Copacabana, Flamengo, Leme and Ipanema.
Rio de Janeiro offers the glitz and glamour of some of the most famous beaches in the world, including Ipanema and Copacabana. Both sandy scenes have bookstores, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and world-class nightlife. The surfing set will appreciate the banks and barrels at Sao Conrado and Arpoador.
Take a tour or attend an opera, ballet or symphony at the Teatro Municipal. The 1909 performing arts theater is filled with sparkling chandeliers, intricate stained glass windows, gilded statues and elaborate murals. One of the seven wonders of Rio de Janeiro, the Teatro is the main concert hall in Brazil and one of the most important in South America.
Start off your morning with stunning views of Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf Mountain. Café das Ruinas offers all-day breakfast in a restored mansion house and garden setting. Fresh breads, fruit, Brazilian cheese rolls, pastries, eggs and sausage will satisfy any appetite for long days in the sun and excitement of an Olympic host city.
Located a block from the beach, Zaza Bistro is romantic and colorful with fun and funky décor. Asian and Brazilian fusion combine with contemporary cuisine in salads, lamb dishes, grilled seafood, Moroccan couscous, noodles and fun food for kids. Vegetarian and organic choices are also available.
Porcão is one of the biggest Brazilian steakhouse chains and offers filet mignon, lamb, ribs and more grilled meat than you can imagine. Be sure to bring your appetite.
If you’re looking for a romantic or unique honeymoon destination, check into the Copacabana Palace Hotel. The embodiment of its glamorous 1923 birth, Fred and Ginger made it an icon in the movie “Flying Down to Rio.” It’s since been frequented by The Rolling Stones, Nelson Mandela and many more. You never know which Hollywood hottie might be in the very next room.