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Brazil See And Do

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Beaches of Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

If you come to Rio with any intentions other than hitting the beach, you're mildly insane. Sand and sun inform most everything about the city and its people, from the informal and scanty dress to the happy-go-lucky attitude. (Show up on time to a party or dinner date? Perish the thought.) Drop by on a Monday morning and—yep!—the beach is packed. No wonder the citizens of São Paulo joke that Cariocas don't work.

You will be identified as a tourist, but to lessen the sting, here are a few tips: Buy one of the cheap wraps sold on the sidewalks and use it to sit on rather than a towel (which nobody uses outside their homes). Or rent a chair and umbrella beachside—it's about $3 for the day, and the vendors will bring over cold drinks or snacks. Leave your baggy board shorts or one-piece at home—you'll find the best beachwear in the world here, so pick something up. Guys, those tiny elastic shorts are de rigueur, no matter your build. Topless bathing is strictly a no-no—and actually illegal. Lastly, you'll find that almost anything sold in stores can also be bought on the beach, including drinks, jewelry, sunglasses, sunblock, and bikinis (recent city ordinances banned food sales on the sands). Everything's of good quality and fairly priced. When it's really hot out, nothing quenches a thirst (or helps a hangover) like a coco gelada—a chilled green coconut with a straw, available at sidewalk stands.

Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon are the most popular beaches, separated from the high-priced real estate by a four-lane road and those famous patterned sidewalks. In the hundred yards of sand between the road and sea you'll find a universe of commerce, sports playing, flirting, and tanning—the Carioca lifestyle at its best. Each portion of the beach has its own "address": Look for the changing stations/bathrooms, which have the number on them. Posto 3, in front of the Copacabana Palace, is where you'll find the greatest cluster of tourists. The hotel staff will look out for you, but be aware that petty thieves hang here, so watch your possessions. Walkng southwest along the beach, near Posto 6, you'll encounter a rock jetty that sticks into the ocean: This area is Arpoador, which is popular with surfers. The next beach is Ipanema, where you'll find both the hopping gay section, identified by the rainbow flag, and Posto 9, famous for being the hangout of the young, beautiful, and tragically cool. (Even if you're none of those things, be sure to take a look.) A ten-minute walk down the beach will bring you to Leblon: This is excellent middle ground—mostly locals, but rarely overpacked. Note: On Sundays the main street along the three beaches closes to traffic and locals come out to stroll, ride bikes, and hang with friends.

Farther afield are São Conrado, where hang gliders who've taken off from Pedra Bonita land quite spectacularly, and many more miles of good sand along the nouveau riche neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca. Two of Rio's best beaches, though, are secrets, and you'll need to rent a car, convince a local to take you (not that hard), or make an arrangement with a taxi to pick you back up. Prainha and Grumari are 40 minutes west of Zona Sul and are protected—there are no permanent buildings out here, and the hills behind the beaches are covered with lush green rain forest. Prainha, which means "little beach," has lots of surfers, but both places are wonderful for getting away from the crowds and feeling like you're on a (mostly) deserted isle, especially during weekdays.

Warning: The currents on all of these beaches can be quite strong, and even though there are lifeguards, be cautious. Also, stay off the beach after dark; it can be dangerous.

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Carnaval
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

All of Brazil celebrates Carnaval, each region with its own distinct flavor and tradition. And though many locals leave Rio for Carnaval—some of the biggest parties are in the northeastern city of Salvador da Bahia—Rio's is still most accessible for tourists. The main event, the Samba Parade, now takes place in a downtown stadium, Oscar Niemeyer's Sambódromo. Private seating costs big, big bucks, but regular tickets are around through local travel agents (or better, ask your concierge for help). If you miss the parade, though, take heart: The best bits of Carnaval are often the impromptu parties that happen in the street. Hang around the Praça General Osório square, two blocks from Ipanema Beach—it's the home base of the celebrated and most epically celebratory parade clique, Banda de Ipanema. Among the many highlights of this Banda is their drag queen parade, which takes place on the street Rua Jangadeiros on the afternoon of Carnaval Saturday.

Though Carnaval is officially a four-day affair that ends on Fat Tuesday, the party actually gets going at least two weeks earlier. It's worth taking in the public rehearsals of the top two samba schools, Mangueira (55-21-2567-4637) and Salgueiro, which compete for costume and performance prizes. The street party outside gets going around 11 pm; inside, it goes till dawn. Expect to hear the same Carnaval song over and over and over, though.

Carnaval dates: February 17–21, 2012; February 8–12, 2013; February 28–March 4, 2014

Hotel Photo
Corcovado and the Cristo Redentor
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

Rio's equivalent of the Statue of Liberty, this 125-foot-high statue of Christ has an arm-span of more than 90 feet. Sculpted in France, it was installed in 1931 on top of Corcovado—or Hunchback mountain—which rises some 2,300 feet above the city and sea. It serves as a geographical reference point in most parts of the city and reminds you that you're in an unmistakable place: You're in Rio! Is it worth actually visiting, though? Yes—for the best views of the city, but only on a clear day (Rio's skyline can descend into a smoggy haze). The peak can be reached by a very slow, crowded train (the Corcovado Rack Railway), but it's faster, cheaper, and easier to hire a taxi instead. The steep, winding road runs through the Tijuca Forest—an enormous rain-forest-covered park. Once there, you can walk the 200-step staircase or take the escalators to the base of the statue and admire Christ's smooth, beneficent face and expressive posture. But it's the amazing view of greater Rio that helps you understand how all its elements work together: Sugarloaf, the beaches, the lake, and the glittering sea beyond.

Favelas in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

"Welcome to the only part of Rio that the locals don't know," chirps the guide, escorting a handful of open-mouthed tourists into the heart of Rocinha, one of the grim and desperate slums depicted in Fernando Meirelles' Oscar-nominated film City of God.

There are 750 favelas in Rio housing 1.5 million people, or one fifth of the city's population. Their well-earned reputation as violent ghettos ensures that Brazilians steer well clear, but a number of tour operators conduct daily tours for the curious foreign visitor.

Marcelo Armstrong's Favela Tours has been going since 1992, escorting twice-daily drive-and-walk visits to two slums, the whole experience lasting three hours (55-21-3322-2727). Be a Local follows a similar schedule, but focuses just on Rocinha, the city's largest slum, where an official population of 50,000—unofficially, it's three times more—cascades down two sides of a mountain, thrusting unapologetically into Gávea and São Conrado, two of Rio's richest neighborhoods (55-21-9643-0366).>p>

What visitors find in the favela is a city within a city. Music erupts from all sides, powerful sound systems pumping out crashing chords from stores, street markets, and private houses. Unsilenced motorbikes, many carrying drugs or messages for the gangs, zoom constantly by. Trucks lumber through the bustling streets, forcing salesmen to advertise their wares at full volume through megaphones.

The favela is a place of poverty but not of misery. Residents have access to drinking water, sewer service, and electricity. Cells phones work, and there's even broadband Internet, the cables lacing visibly through the darkened, crowded alleys. Rocinha has three banks, three bus lines, a radio station and cable TV channel, and five recording studios. The city government even collects trash once a day. But life goes on at a price: The peace is kept by the drug gangs, whose spotters, runners, and informers are all-present and all-seeing, and every resident understands that the cost of crossing the narcos is high indeed.

Gloria Sunday Market
Gloria
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

This largely neglected neighborhood near the Santos Dumont domestic airport has a boisterous Sunday market that offers a tantalizing insight into the ordinary lives of Rio's residents. Vendors call out their wares, vying with high-volume samba and bossa nova beats, and with the street kids who bash out a rhythm on upturned fruit cartons and rusted oil drums. To the right, a vendor heaps ice over exotic tambaqui fish, flown in that morning from the Amazon; to the left, a stallholder tantalizes passersby with little-known jungle fruit such as bacuri and cupuaçu. Housewives haggle over the price of jackfruit, dip a hand into a water bucket to choose the feistiest crab, or cast a critical eye over colorful lines of chili peppers. Trample some discarded fruit underfoot, breathe the fullness of the humid air, and in one short hour, you'll learn more about Brazil than in a week on the beach.

Open Sundays 10 am to 5 pm.

Hang Gliding in Rio
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 7837 1055
www.hanglidingtour.com.br

Tourists have leaped off Pedra Bonita's 1,800-foot summit for more than a quarter century, when Rio became one of the first cities in the world to authorize tandem jumps over municipal areas. The 10- to 20-minute flights, which end with a dramatic landing among startled sunbathers on São Conrado's Pepino beach, have become a popular way for thrill-seeking tourists to gain a bird's-eye view of Brazil's most-visited city. The best-known pilot, Assad Júnior, has been jumping with tourists at his company, Hang Gliding Tours, since 1981, taking each to a wooden platform that juts out from the Pedra Bonita ridge. Below, dense stands of jungle lap at the gates of ostentatious mansions and helipad-equipped high-rises. A coastal highway is just visible through the heat haze, edged by the searing white sand of Pepino beach. After strapping the passenger into a harness, Assad rehearses the jump with several practice runs, each stopping just short of the abyss. At the final countdown—"Um, dois, três, já!"—both fliers run forward and throw themselves bodily into the void. With luck, the hang glider catches a decent thermal, rearing up over the jungle's canopy for some 15 minutes before the long loop downward.

Instituto Moreira Salles
476 Rua Marquês de São Vicente
Gávea
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3284 7400
ims.uol.com.br

This exceptional cultural center, exhibition space, and museum of cinema was founded by Brazilian banker Walter Moreira Salles, whose filmmaker son, Walter Salles, Jr., won international acclaim with his 2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries. Researchers come from all over the world to browse the institute's vast permanent collections, which include half a million photographs, 400,000 literary works, 100,000 songs in recorded or written form, and 3,000 works of art. There's also a varied program of art house movies, talks, concerts, and workshops that draws in artistically minded Cariocas. The building alone is worth a visit: Set amid a lush subtropical garden, the elegant modernist complex was originally designed as Moreira Salles' private house.

Jardim Botânico
1008 Rua Jardim Botânico
Gávea
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 3874 1808
www.jbrj.gov.br

Rio's botanical garden in Gávea is the oldest of its kind in South America. Founded in 1808 by King Dom João VI, it covers an impressive 338 acres of the city, giving Cariocas a real oasis within the city limits. It is one of the few places in the country where you can still see the smooth-barked, yellow-flowered pau-brasil, a sought-after brazilwood tree that was felled in vast quantities by early Portuguese explorers. The garden contains some 8,000 species of tropical trees and plants, including a 130-foot kapok tree, whose roots extend some 20 feet up from the earth, and the aptly named cannonball tree, whose heavy nuts fall with a dangerous crunch. The cocoa and rubber trees are also present, but the collection is not confined to Brazilian species: There are some fine Madagascan traveler's trees and splendid avenues of Cuba's royal palm. Extensive collections of orchids, cacti, and medical plants, many housed in elegant glasshouses, also rank among the richest in the Americas, particularly the bromeliad collection, whose 1,700 species offer a seemingly unlimited variety of color, shape, and texture. Children, in particular, make a beeline for the insectivore greenhouse, where pitcher plants and venus flytraps form part of the carnivorous plant collection.

Park officials have been working on filling the information gap: Maps in English are available at the visitor center; most trees now bear name tags in Portuguese and Latin; and an interpretative trail has been blazed through a dense patch of Atlantic forest. If you don't fancy walking, watch for the electric carts that depart with a small number of passengers every two hours (the tours are free, but sign up early at the visitor center). Even if you're no botany buff, it's difficult not to enjoy wandering through the gardens, which provide habitat for myriad butterflies, hummingbirds, toucans, and guan. Look carefully, and you can even spot lizards in the undergrowth and several tribes of marmoset monkeys, which cavort through the trees in the late afternoon.

Hotel Photo
Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
Lagoa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
www.lagoarodrigodefreitas.com.br/

Roughly behind the neighborhood of Ipanema lies this saltwater lake, usually just called Lagoa. Ringed by expensive apartment buildings and a 4.6-mile track for running, walking, and bike-riding, it's a great place to get exercise, hang out, or eat (you wouldn't want to swim here, though). In the evening, there are a number of decent kiosk-style restaurants serving sushi, Italian, and Middle Eastern food, and they usually feature live musicians at night.

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Maracanã
Rua Profesor Eurico Rabelo
Maracanã
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
www.suderj.rj.gov.br/maracana.asp

While Catholicism is the official religion in Brazil, futebol is a very close second. Brazilians follow their national, city, and local teams with avidity, and even tourists will soon be asked whom they root for. The two big rivals in Rio are Flamengo—the working class's team—and Vasco, often favored by the elite. Maracanã, the largest soccer stadium in the world, plays host to Flamengo's home game. An enormous open-air ovum that erupts with frenetic energy on game day, American sport has no equivalent. Fans wave enormous flags half the size of a football field, pound samba drums, shout chants, throw things, and party in the seats. A must, even if you care nothing for soccer. (More than one gringo has been converted this way.) Tickets can be bought before the game at the stadium, or ask your concierge. It's a ways from Zona Sul, so take a taxi for the round-trip.

Museum of Naïve Art
561 Rua Cosme Velho
Cosme Velho
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2205 8612
www.museunaif.com.br

Brazil's "naïve" artists, a radical, self-taught group, shimmy free of tiresome artistic rules and restraints, relying instead on earthy sentiment and gutsy passion—and large doses of fun. This 6,000-work collection of naïve art, housed in a century-old mansion in Cosme Velho, includes colorful depictions of street scenes and local fauna. The most compelling works are devoted to soccer. Central to the collection is a giant rendition of a football supporter clad in the colors of rival nation Argentina; as the fan clutches a transistor radio to his ear, a large tear wells up in his eye. The work's title is cruelly simple: Goal to Brazil.

Open Mondays noon to 6 pm, Tuesdays through Friday 10 am to 6 pm. Call ahead for appointments.

Niterói
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

The empty beaches and picturesque fishing villages of Niterói, on the eastern shore of Guanabara Bay, provide a pleasant step-down from Rio's pace. Three ferries leave each hour from Praça XV de Novembro in Centro ($1.70 each way), affording superb views of the Sugarloaf and Niterói's hills. Also visible on the 20-minute ride across the bay is Ilha Fiscal, a lime green, Gothic-style castle built as a customs house in 1889 but better known as the site of the last Imperial Ball that same year, when outgoing Emperor Pedro II nearly bankrupted the soon-to-be-declared republic by hosting a party so lavish that it drained the state's coffers.

Niterói's principal attraction is the Oscar Niemeyer–designed Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC), a curvilinear, saucer-shaped fantasy swathed by a swirling catwalk that is splendidly situated on a rocky outcropping above the bay's glittering waters. (Catch a cab or the 47B bus from Niterói's congested dock area.) Other highlights include the 1612-built Fortaleza de Santa Cruz da Barra, where artillery batteries once guarded the entrance to Guanabara Bay; the nearby fishing village of Jurujuba; and a long stretch of unspoiled, little-visited beach towns (including Piratininga, Itaipu, and surfers' favorite Itacoatiara) along the Atlantic coast.

Parks of Rio
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

The Mata Atlântica humid forest that once carpeted Brazil's coastline has been cleared from much of Rio itself, but the remaining fragments in the city's parks and open spaces give an indication of its astonishing biodiversity.

Outdoors enthusiasts flock to the 12-square-mile Tijuca National Park, the world's largest urban forest. Much of Tijuca's old-growth forest was felled in the 18th century to make way for coffee plantations, but after the clearance caused a dramatic reduction in Rio's rainfall and natural water supply, Emperor Pedro II ordered the area's reforestation in 1861. Today, wild cats prowl among the jackfruit, cashew, and Brazilian rosewood trees, while parrots, tanagers, and toucans put forth an intense, unending barrage of birdsong. Sloths and capuchin monkeys can be found in the middle canopy; cobras, vipers, and boa constrictors slither through the shadowy undergrowth below. Well-marked trails connect hikers and bikers to spectacular waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the city, such as the 3,350-foot Pico da Tijuca, 2,750-foot Pedra da Gávea, and 2,300-foot Mount Corcovado, where the outstretched arms of Heitor da Silva Costa's Art Deco statue of Christ appears to embrace the city in all its turbulent glory.

There are few better spots for a quiet stroll than Parque Lage in Jardim Botânico, perhaps Rio's prettiest park. Laid out in the early 19th century by British landscape architect John Tyndale, the trails cut through subtropical Atlantic forest at the foot of Mount Corcovado, passing ponds, lookout spots, and even a miniature castle. An ornate mansion built in the 1920s for industrialist Enrique Lage now houses a school of visual arts that holds regular exhibitions; there's a decent café in its central courtyard.

Among the many local outfitters operating group excursions for hikers, bikers, and climbers, the best include Trilhas do Rio (55 21 2424 5455), Indiana Jungle Tours (55 21 2484 2279), Rio Adventures (55 21 2705 5747), and Rio Hiking (55 21 2552 9204).

Rainy-Day Rio
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

Rio's lushness is no accident. Low-pressure weather troughs can linger for days, particularly in the southern winter, which lasts (roughly) from July through September. Staying inside is never going to provide the same buzz as beach life, but there's enough stuff to do indoors in Rio, mostly in the Centro district, to occupy at least a few dreary days.

If you're just caught in a downpour on the beach, wait for the clouds to clear at Livraria da Travessa, Ipanema's coolest bookstore, which sells everything from Asterix the Gaul to Noam Chomsky in several languages; you can also listen to CDs or chill out in the café (572 Rua Visconde Pirajá; 55-21-3205-9002). If the rain doesn't look like stopping, hop a cab downtown to the 17th-century Mosteiro de São Bento, where a single organ note heralds evensong, prompting 16 black-robed monks to file into the darkened nave and bow before the altar, a row of spotlights finally illuminating the church's Baroque interior of carved angels, waves, feathers, twists, and curls, all entirely covered in gold (60 Rua Dom Gerardo; 55-21-2206-8100). The city's modernist Metropolitan Cathedral, completed in 1979, lies at the other architectural extreme. Its exterior resembles a Mayan pyramid constructed of faded, rain-streaked concrete; step inside, however, and it's like walking into a kaleidoscope, thanks to four floor-to-cupola stained-glass windows, each more than 200 feet in height, that radiate brilliant color into the darkened interior (245 Avenida República do Chile; 55-21-2240-2669).

There's enough old culture downtown to interest keen historians or bibliophiles, such as the nine-million-volume National Library, the largest library in Latin America (219 Avenida Rio Branco; 55-21-3095-3879), or the Imperial Palace (48 Praça XV de Novembro; 55-21-2533-4491), upgraded from viceroy's residence to royal palace in 1808 when Napoleon chased the emperor of Portugal from Lisbon to the New World. Or there's new culture, best exemplified by the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, or CCBB (66 Rua Primeiro de Março; 55-21-3808-2020). Housed in the bank's former headquarters, the ornamented interior of Ionic columns, Art Deco lamps, and wooden galleries provides an elegant center for exhibitions, cinema festivals, and theater productions. Worth checking out, too, are similar exhibition spaces in the neighboring Casa França-Brasil (78 Rua Visconde de Itaboraí; 55-21-2332-5120). And in true Carioca style, even Rio's museums can be fun: The Carmen Miranda Museum (Avenida Rui Barbosa; 55-21-2299-5586), bizarrely located in a concrete bunker in a Flamengo park, displays the iconic Brazilian singer's bejeweled dresses, extravagant tiaras, and tumultuously fruity hats.

Salgueiro Samba School
104 Rua Silva Teles
Andaraí
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil
Tel: 55 21 2238 0389
www.salgueiro.com.br

The most authentic samba schools in Rio are based in the favela slums. Dance students act as informal guides as they accompany tourists to the school building for practice. The Salgueiro school is one of the safest to visit, thanks to a kind of benign mob protection walk. Admission is pricey by local standards but won't put a big hole in your pocket, and the cab fare from the south side should run around $25. The street party outside gets going around 11 pm; inside it goes till dawn.

Hotel Photo
Santa Teresa
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro's up-and-coming artists' quarter, is a quaint and charming—if slightly oddball—kind of paradise. It's a world away from both the statuesque sun-worshippers who strut the Ipanema waterfront and the middle-aged European men who search for kicks in Copacabana's less salubrious nightclubs—but that's the point. Santa, as it's known to locals, bases its bohemian-chic reputation on its serpentine streets, rash of artists' ateliers, and imposing, if slightly shabby, architecture. Moreover, in a city where most hillsides sprout grim favelas, Santa Teresa is the rare exception: Safe enough to stroll around, its altitude gives the visitor unparalleled views of the Sugarloaf, Corcovado, and glittering Guanabara Bay. Santa grew up around an 18th-century convent, its mansions erected by aristocrats and businessmen. It remained a wealthy enclave until the 1960s, when rising crime sent the rich fleeing to Rio's southern suburbs. Artists led the area's revival in the mid-1990s, snapping up low-cost studio space in the grandiose but abandoned villas. More recently, a slew of stylish hotels and restaurants—along with security cameras and better policing—have brought foreign tourists to the area, many drawn by Santa Teresa's artistic heritage and village-like feel. Shopping highlights include La Vereda, which sells rugs, paintings, and clothing from local artisans (428 Rua Almirante Alexandrino; 55-21-2507-0317), and HB-195, a contemporary art gallery (195 Rua Hermenegildo Barros; 55-21-2508-9148).

Linking Santa's disparate attractions is a rickety tram—the last in Rio—that clatters between Largo dos Guimarães, Santa's hub, and the Centro district downtown (the station is not far from the Catedral Metropolitano). Known as the bonde, it was built in the 1890s by British engineers and has changed little since. Its doorless carriages are equipped with aged wooden seats; to request a stop, passengers tug on a length of string tethered to the ceiling.

Hotel Photo
Sugarloaf (Pão de Açucar)
Rio de Janeiro
Brazil

If you only have the time (or the inclination) for one scenic overview of the city, do Corcovado's Cristo instead. But on sunny, clear days, the cable car ride up to 700-foot Morro da Urca and then on to the taller, 1,300-foot Po de Aucar is a classic Rio experience. The truly energetic can scale a route up the near-vertical rock face, exploiting barely visible crevices to rise through wild flowers, bromeliads, and circling vultures before emerging triumphantly among camera-toting tourists on the Sugarloaf's upper platform. Even novice climbers can make it to the top: Guiding outfit Companhia da Escalada provides all the gear—and encouragement—you'll need.

One of Rio's few neighborhoods with detached residences, the rest of Urca is also worth exploring. Surrounded by military housing and officers' clubs, it's one of the city's safest areas. To the right of the cable car station (as you exit), caught between Sugarloaf and the jungle-covered Morro do Urubu, is the 300-yard-long Praia Vermelha beach, a pretty stretch of sand with scintillating views of Niterói's rolling hills on the far shore. At its northern end, a well-maintained path (it's patrolled by military police until 6 pm every day) zigzags through the dense vegetation that lines the rocky coast. It's great for a morning stroll, when black vultures whirl overhead, and butterflies and flycatchers flit through the undergrowth. You can even spot some rare brazilwood trees, recently planted by a local environmental outfit. At the beach's southern end, accessible through a military club, is Praia Vermelha Bar e Restaurante, where the decor is nothing special—plastic chairs, zinc tables, and a girder roof—and even the food is forgettable, a mix of stodgy meat, caldo de peixe, and fried chicken. But the barman mixes a mean caipirinha, and there's live music at nights, when the party shifts down onto the sand, directly beneath the improbable lump of the Sugarloaf (Praça General Tibúrcio, Urca; 55-21-2543-7284; 11 am–1 am, every day except Monday).

The rest of picturesque Urca "village," straddling the Morro da Urca's base on the city-facing side, is a ten-minute walk away. Pretty cottages and palatial mansions border its winding lanes—one house, now marked with a plaque, once belonged to Carmen Miranda—which never stray far from the sparkling waters of Guanabara Bay. There's even a tiny beach where kayakers practice on weekends, and a decent restaurant, Bar Urca, known for its fine seafood. Try the chowder, served in a mug—it's been voted the best in the city by a local travel magazine (205 Rua Cândido Gaffrée, Urca; 55-21-2295-8744). You can eat formally upstairs, but most locals crowd along the sea wall, gaze at the lights of Niterói gleaming on the far shore, and order from circulating waiters who happily bring your food across the street.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.