Both the main airports are less than 30 minutes away so after a swift transfer, check in to the Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro, a sophisticated, Philippe Starck-designed hotel located at the legendary Ipanema beach, and freshen up for your day ahead.
Start your day at the Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico 920; +55 3874 1808), a haven for orchids, medicinal plants and an amazing collection of trees and bushes from all around Brazil and the world. This is the setting for La Bicyclette (Espaço Tom Jobim, R. Jardim Botânico; +55 21 3594 2589). Set inside the Botanical Garden with its privileged location and delicious options of fresh breads and pastries, this unpretentious local bakery is the top breakfast location in Rio.
A stone’s throw away from the Botanical Garden is the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, peppered with kiosks offering different experiences, from the more sophisticated Palaphitas (Av. Epitácio Pessoa; +55 21 2227 0837), an outdoor lounge with a theme based on the Amazon, serving an array of drinks and tasty appetisers, to smaller unnamed spots with typical Brazilian offerings of ice-cold beer and salty snacks.
The Lagoon is the ideal next step to your adventure in Rio, home to the helipad in the South Zone. Helisight (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Av. Borges de Medeiros – Parque dos Patins; +55 21 2511 2141) caters to group and private flights, from a minimum of six minutes to up to one hour flying over the main sights of the city, like the stunning Sugarloaf Mountain and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Christ the Redeemer.
The city favours Italian cuisine with ample servings of options in every neighbourhood. However, no one embodies its spirit and flavours more completely than Gero Ipanema, from the well-known restaurateur (R. Aníbal de Mendonça 157; +55 21 2239 8158). With classic Italian recipes passed down through generations, this is the ultimate place in Rio for authentic Italian cuisine on one of the trendiest streets.
After lunch, drop in on some of the designer stores on the same street as Gero Rio, and in the two streets next to it, the famous Garcia D’Avila, with international brands such as Louis Vuitton, and Maria Quitéria street with Brazilian brands such as the now international Osklen (R. Maria Quitéria, 85; +55 21 2227 2911).
The Hotel’s Fasano poolside rooftop bar is the trendiest spot in the city to watch the amazing sunset over Ipanema beach, however it is exclusive for hotel guests, so if you are not staying, unfortunately you will not be allowed up for drinks, but do not fret! You can enjoy the sunset from the beautiful Arpoador rocks only five minutes away, and return to the hotel’s bar in the restaurant Fasano Al Mare to enjoy cocktails courtesy of head bartender André Paixão.
Aprazível, the Portuguese word for “that which provokes pleasure and interest” is the name of the street and restaurant that you cannot miss on your visit to the “Marvellous City”. In the neighbourhood of Santa Teresa, Aprazível (R. Aprazível, 62, Santa Teresa; +55 21 2508 9174) unites Brazilian and international recipes with tropical ingredients with one of the most beautiful views of the city centre and the Guanabara Bay.
To follow up the one-of-a-kind dinner experience at Aprazível, there is no better venue in the Bohemian neighbourhood of Lapa than Rio Scenarium (R. do Lavradio, 20 – Centro; +55 21 3147 9000). Filled with historic antiques, and with live samba shows by night, this is the must-go-to club in Rio to party all night.