Where to go in Rio – My places

I keep repeating myself I know, but Rio is Rio. I am planning to go there again in December/January and can’t wait to see my beloved city again. As with other big metropolis Rio has problems. Safety is one of the main problems Rio now faces, as crime rates have increased a lot and favelas, that were successfully pacified, are again on the spotlight due to drug trafficking and assassinations of Military Police. However, media has the power to exacerbate things, and people that do not know Rio will believe in everything that is posted or broadcasted. I live in a dangerous place, that, contrary to Rio, does not get the same attention. I travel frequently to Johannesburg, that is a very dangerous place. What we need to have is common sense. We need to know where to go, how to behave. Wearing jewelry and expensive electronics is a ticket to being robbed, not only in Rio, in many places. Going to neighborhoods and spots already known for having crime issues its a call for being robbed or assaulted – in any place not just Rio.

Getting back to my post. Today I am presenting you three of my places in Rio.

  1. Feira Hippie in Ipanema (Ipanema Hippie Fair)

Feira Hippie operates from 7:00am to 7:00pm on every Sunday and its located at  Rua Visconde de Pirajá | Praça General Osório (buses and metro take you there beautifully).

The fair is running since 1968 being known and appreciated worldwide, both for its creative and innovative works, local gastronomy and out of the box decorative articles and handcrafts.

The fair opened for the first time in 1968, in the middle of the military dictatorship. General Osório Square soon became a spot for artists and craftsmen.  A the beginning there were no stalls or tents, the artists just laid down a piece of cloth on the floor to display their work. Over the years the fair evolved and today it has organized line up, with stalls, attracting tourists and locals. There you will find handcrafted and exclusive arts based on the amazing diversity of materials Brazil has, and on the stupendous creativity of its people.  From earrings, to necklaces, purses, bikinis, Cangas, toys, table cloths, to shoes, souvenirs, and clothing you will surely find something to buy. If not into buying, just walk around it and  feel taken by the cheerful vibe, colors and the vibrant personality of the Brazilian people.

Don’t YOU DARE leaving the fair without tasting the Acarajé – a king of croquette, fried in Dendê (Palm) oil, filled with spicy shrimp and bean paste, a delicacy from Bahia.

2. Mirante da Paz

Mirante da Paz is located at the top tower in Ipanema and is accessed through one of the exits/entrance of General Osório subway station in Rua Barão da Torre. Among the various exits of the station, there is one that leads directly to the Rubem Braga Complex. The complex consists in  a series of elevators and walkways aimed to make life easier for the residents of Morro do Cantagalo. The elevator works from 5am to 12am. Just take the elevator, ask the attendant to stop on the 2nd floor and climb three flights of stairs.

If you go on foot, the complex is located at the intersection of Teixeira de Melo and Barão da Torre streets. It is a tower with a panoramic elevator that leads to the Mirante da Paz.

When you get there, you will have a 360º breathtaking view of Ipanema beach, Cagarras Islands, a part of Arpoador, a part of Copacabana, the Cantagalo Favela, Corcovado (Christ the redeemer) , Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Botanical garden, and even a little piece of Gávea, Leblon  and Morro Dois Irmãos., as well as a very good picture of Cantagalo Hill, to which the elevator gives access through a long walkway or pedestrian bridge that connects to another elevator that does in turn reach a higher level of of the community.

And guess what? All that amazing view FOR FREE, not bad huh?

3. Mirante do Leblon

This is for sure one of my favorite places in Rio, when I want an amazing sunset and a relaxing time. Overlooking Leblon and Ipanema, there is this large wooden deck, based on a rock platform that gives us a beautiful view of the ocean and all of the beach front road of Leblon and Ipanema on the way down to Arpoador from one side, and São Conrado, and Vidigal favela on the other, with the magnificent Morro Dois Irmãos at your feet. The deck is populated with two kiosk that sell beer, snacks and coconut water (prices are very high).

It is very easy to get to the Mirante by simply following the beach front road and climbing the hill at the end of Leblon, or taking a bus that stops at the end of Leblon or goes to São Conrado, Vidigal/Rocinha, or Barra. There is a small parking lot on site, which works on the Rotating River system. You pay $ 2.00 and can be parked for up to two hours. On weekends it becomes chaos and it is difficult to find vacancies.

For those who like to exercise while enjoying the scenery, try a good walk there from Copacabana or Ipanema and go admiring the entire border of the south zone (but go prepared, tennis, appropriate clothes if you choose to walk the entire edge, Hey!), You can stop halfway, admire the beaches and when you get there sit at one of the kiosks and drink an ice cold coconut water or a beer, for the lovers. Then just admire the landscape, and it is to be thrilled to see! Go in sunny day, it is much more beautiful!

In case you do not take long to do this walk of about 7.5km (little goes … rs), just go by car, there is parking in the place, or even by bus and walk a little until you reach the belvedere.

It is very common to see fisherman, some standing close to the wall, others sitting on a bench throwing their lines into the sea to catch fish. At the end of the afternoon all types of crowd reunite there to watch the sunset and have a nice cold coconut water.

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