If you’ve always wanted to go to Brazil, allow Kaushal Karkhanis to lay out an itinerary that will thrill you without breaking the bank!
Words KAUSHAL KARKHANIS
RIO DE JANEIRO (2 Days)
Access everything you imagined Brazil to be!
DAY 1: Arrive, chill, soak in the Rio vibe…
After one of the longest journeys you could do from India (20+ hours of travelling, with layovers!), it would be wise to spend your first day simply relaxing on the world-famous Copacabana Beach in Rio – in celebration of being here as well as to set the tone for your trip. Don’t carry any valuables with you – just sunscreen, some money and a beach towel will do. Deck chairs and umbrellas can be rented; or hang out at one of the beach kiosks that provide you with free ones if you patronise them. Alternatively, use your own beach towel and buy local snacks from the beach vendors. Soak it all in, and then make your way to the Copacabana beach promenade. It’s time for a caipirinha (a typical Brazilian cocktail made using cachaça)! Cabanna is best around sunset, so get here by 5pm and chill!
Dinner on your mind? Meat and seafood lovers will enjoy dining at Restaurante Marius Degustare, while Gaia Art & Café will be your haven if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
The Windsor Copa Hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Copacabana and reasonably priced.
DAY 2: Visit Christ the Redeemer and take a tram to boho hood Santa Teresa
Fittingly counted among the New Seven Wonders of the World, the magnificent and iconic Christ the Redeemer statue welcomes the world to Brazil with arms wide open! You can visit the monument in many ways – via a trek, a shuttle bus from Copacabana Beach, by car or by using an app taxi service like Uber. All these take you up to Paineiras, from where you take a designated official vehicle. Or simply take the official toy train from the Cosme Velho station.
Definitely the most fun experience, Trem Do Corcovado – the official toy train – is perfect, especially when you’re travelling with family or in a group. Visit as early as possible in the morning to ensure you have the rest of the day free to explore the bohemian-chic neighbourhood of Santa Teresa.
While it’s best to wander about on foot in this relaxed neighbourhood, this is also the only region in Rio De Janeiro where the tramway – Bondes de Santa Teresa – still operates, which is yet another fun experience, while you enjoy the sights and sounds it has to offer.
Don’t leave Santa Teresa without trying açaí, my favourite food in the whole world, at my new favourite place in the city, the vegetarian and vegan-friendly Cultivar Cafe. Açaí berry pulp is traditionally served in a bowl topped with granola, making this super healthy snack the unofficial food of Rio. Besides being a superfood, it’s delightfully delicious and makes for a great any-time snack!
If you’re looking for typically Brazilian cuisine, Aprazível is your best bet. Try the tropical fish or the Galinhada Caipira – free-range chicken.