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Stroll among the bromeliads at Jardim Botânico

Stroll among the bromeliads at Jardim Botânico

For full immersion in the lush green of this tropical city, it is hard to beat the 200-year-old botanical garden. I am no expert, but have returned several times to wander the extensive grounds and wonder at the extraordinary diversity of the 6,500 species that grow...
Wander up Selarón’s mosaic stairway in Lapa

Wander up Selarón’s mosaic stairway in Lapa

One of Rio’s most beautiful, sad and mysterious stories of recent times was the death of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, who decorated a stairway in Lapa with mirrors, mosaics and ceramic tiles. This labour of love was created over two decades, largely without official...
Samba at Pedra do Sal

Samba at Pedra do Sal

Outside of carnival, samba does not get much better than the weekly free performances at the Pedra do Sal (Salt Rock) in the neighbourhood of Saúde. This is hallowed ground – a former centre of the slave trade that later became home to a liberated “Little Africa”, a...
Have a sundowner on the Urca seawall

Have a sundowner on the Urca seawall

It has been called Rio’s Malecón, but that does not do justice to the sea wall on the Urca peninsula, where crowds gather outside Bar Urca (which does great salgadinhos, or snacks) every Friday night to watch the sun go down behind Christ the Redeemer on the...
Picnic on the Dois Irmaos

Picnic on the Dois Irmaos

Rio is a city of spectacular views, but few can match the vista from the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) mountain, which looks down over Ipanema and Leblon and out to the Atlantic horizon. Start early to miss the crowds, pack a simple lunch, take a combi (minibus) up...
Circle the lagoa at dusk

Circle the lagoa at dusk

Run, walk, hire a tandem or pedal a swan boat around Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, known to everyone as simply the lagoa, for one of the simplest but most pleasant evenings you can spend in Rio. Stop along the 7.4km course way for fresh coconut juice, a cold chope...
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