In May 2013, we found an amazing deal on flights to Rio, so we jumped at the chance for a long weekend of R&R.
The last time we were in Rio was for New Years Eve in 2004.
This trip was way more chilled-out.
Luxury Link had an auction for the Copacabana Palace that included a king bed, a bottle of wine, a selection of cheeses, breakfast for two each morning, and a 4-course dinner for two at Hotel Cipriani Restaurant.
The historic Copacabana Palace is located on Avenida Atlântica along the famous Copacabana Beach.
There is always a lot going on along Avenida Atlântica.
Street performers, sand art, food vendors, soccer, volleyball, and loads of people watching.
We stumbled on a food market a few blocks from our hotel.
By the time we got there, the vendors were starting to breakdown their stalls for the day.
Most of the vendors still had a lot of food to sell so they handed-out samples of delicious produce hoping to reel you in.
They reeled me in with this fruit. I think it is called cherimoya.
The black seeds are like polished black rocks but the cream colored pulp is sweet, soft, and rich.
We bought a couple of those and a bag of strawberries to snack on in our room.
Down the road from the market we noticed a crowded indoor/outdoor restaurant, so we grabbed the first table that became available.
We ordered galeto, young rooster, from the sugestões board.
It may not look like much, but our lunch at El Galetto ended up being one of our favorite meals.
Always look for the restaurants packed with locals. They know where to go.
Our other favorite meal of the trip was at Churrascaria Palace Copacabana.
When eating at a churrascaria there is one very important rule to remember: avoid the filler foods!
Filler foods include everything that isn’t meat.
They will tempt you with the salad buffet, french fries, onion rings, and bread but you must stay strong.
Trust me, save all of your stomach space for the good stuff.
The rain came and went the whole weekend but we managed to do some exploring in-between the rain showers.
One day we walked Avenida Atlântica towards Leme Beach.
Our goal was to go to Forte do Leme and walk through the forest to the top of Morro do Leme, but the fort was closed due to the rain.
Near the fort, we saw this narrow walkway that curves around the mountain.
When we got to the end of the walkway, we saw several fisherman with lines in the water.
I think they were confused by our interest in them and their fishing spot.
They were looking at each other like, why would tourists visit Rio and hang out here with us?
One reason is there is an incredible view of Copacabana Beach from their fishing spot.
The other reason is because that is where real life was happening… and I like that kind of stuff.
Our next stop was Pão de Açúcar, Sugarloaf Mountain.
Sugarloaf is one of Rio’s most famous sights.
It’s located at the mouth of Guanabara Bay and stands 1,299 feet above the harbor.
Many people like to take the cable car to the top at the end of the day for stunning views of Rio at sunset.
Due to the cloudy skies, we decided to walk the Cláudio Coutinho Track instead.
The track is 2,500 meters long (round trip) and is a popular place for locals to run.
I’m sure it is because of the lush trees on one side and crashing waves against the rocks on the other.
We finally saw a couple of capuchin monkeys playing in the trees.
They are small, quick, curious, and fun to watch.
If you are visiting Sugarloaf Mountain, make time for a peaceful walk along the Cláudio Coutinho Track.
On our last day, we booked a tour with Carioca Tropical to Corcovado Hill to see Rio’s most famous icon, Christ the Redeemer.
When we first got to the top, the statue was hidden in the clouds:
And we could barely see the city below.
But then the clouds started to move . . .
And everyone cheered as Cristo Redentor was revealed.
I highly recommend booking a tour with Jane at Carioca Tropical.
She not only has a fantastic sense of humor, but she jumped through hoops (and cut in front of lines) to make sure we made it back to our hotel in time to catch our ride to the airport.
Thanks again, Jane!
Our long weekend in Rio was perfect.
A lot of rest and gorgeous walks along the world’s most famous beach was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Obrigado, Rio . . .