There is excitement in the air. Brazil is to host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games in 2016. With the eyes of the world set to turn to Rio, now is the time to enjoy the city, before it is completely invaded by hordes of tourists.

The sandy beaches, lush mountains and of course the sexy samba are still what attract most tourists to Rio de Janeiro. So get the big stuff out of the way first — visit the Christ monument or Sugar Loaf Mountain and then head to Ipanema beach. Have a caipirinha (cane liquor cocktail) or agua de coco (coconut water) while you watch the spectacular sunset. Rio has lots to offer to those who have been before. You can hire a bike, go for a jog or take a stroll at Lagoa, which has a 7.2 km path around the lake. For a pleasant afternoon, catch the train to Sant Teresa and enjoy the old mansions, good bars and restaurants in the area.

And if you’re going to Rio, you’ll want to know where the beautiful people hang out.

Zona Sul, Ipanema and Leblon are the places where artists, intellectuals and the wealthy liberals cariocas like to hang out.

They are the same stretch of beach separated by the canal Jardim de Alah.

These charming tree-lined streets criss-crossing these areas offer a wide range of restaurants, boutiques and open bars.

The tanned boys and girls from Ipanema like to meet at Posto 9, as Leblon usually attracts Brazilian TV Globo actors and actresses.

Rio has many different attractions besides the samba of Lapa area for night life. For rock check out the gigs at Circo. For electronic music, head to 00, a sophisticated restaurant with an open air garden and a dancefloor in Gávea’s planetarium.

Good to know

Best Restaurant
Porcão – The best place to eat churrasco (barbecued meat) in Rio.

Best Budget Hotel
The Mango Tree — Located a block away from Ipanema beach, this cozy hostel is based in a renovated 1930’s colonial style house.

Best shopping area
Ipanema has the best boutiques in Rio.

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