Spotlight: Rio de Janeiro

Land of caipirinhas, samba and the world's best-known Carnaval

Rio de Janeiro is majestic and magical, and will keep calling back long after one's departure. The city is  gearing up for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics with infrastructure and safety improvements, however any time is a good time for a Brazilian adventure. Visit the famous (and very crowded) Posto 9 beach in Ipanema, take in a cocktail at the Copacabana Hotel and dine or shop in the upscale Leblon area. Those with extra time may want to explore nearby in beautiful Florianópolis or Buzios beach towns. 


Must See Sight 
Corcovado (the big Jesus statue who stands atop Rio)

Predominant Language 

Most memorable experience 
Going to Salgueiro Samba School in the weeks leading up to Carnaval. Samba “schools” are not samba classes led by instructors, but more categorize the performers representing a local district at the annual Carnaval parade. One will experience an infectious mix of Portuguese and African rhythms, beats and music from brass and percussion instruments. It’s a cultural nightlife experience filled with lots of dancing, revelry and a taste of being a true carioca (Rio local).

Best places for a single girl or groups of girls to go out  
Lapa. This is where the historic aqueduct once existed, however now there exist around the “Arcs of Lapa” many nightclubs including the many-floored and roomed Scenarium, to suit all musical flavors and tastes. The scene in the summertime lasts until the wee hours of the morning.

If you're central and looking for some nightclubs, try Baronetti on Rua Barão da Torre (popular among  young, trendy hipsters) and the exclusive club above Boox restaurant. Dress chic, there's a tough door policy! Londres nightclub at the  Fasano Hotel is also worth a pass-through.

Brazil has some of the best sushi, so don't miss Sushi Leblon. Book in advance.

Safety & Medical Tips

Walking alone and at night
Safety Scale - 2: Recommended that you walk in groups and/or chaperoned by a male(s)

Perceptions of safety in Rio de Janeiro vary widely among travelers. From experience, common sense and street-smarts are of the utmost importance. It is advised not to go looking for trouble outside of popular areas, especially not in favelas where one has no business being unless entering with a local/locals. When walking around alone at night, stick only to well-lit areas before 9 or 10pm. Afterwards try to walk with a small group or at least a friend, preferably male. 

Male tourists are likelier targets of burglary and corruption. Experience  has seen routine traffic stops end in collusion between the cop and the cab driver to procure a few hundred Brazilian reais. Looking or acting like a naïve tourist probably doesn't help in these situations. Be polite, courteous, cooperative and carry ID.

A pop-up pre-Carnaval street party

A pop-up pre-Carnaval street party

Popular over-the-counter drugs for cold/flu symptoms:  Cataflan, Ponstan, Naprosyn, Biofenac, Feldene, Profenid

Over-the-counter drugs available for curing women’s infections 
The use of a single-dose Fluconazol and Itraconazol is a very well accepted approach because the treatment lasts only one day. You can use them alone or in combination with their topical versions.    

Process to acquire birth control pills 
You do not need to have a prescription in order to buy birth control pills in Brazil. A recommended brand is called Harmonet. The morning-after pill is also readily available in many drugstores, called “pílula do dia seguinte.”

There is also 24-hour multi-lingual clinic in Rio de Janeiro called the Clínica Galdino Campos

492 Ave. N. S. Copacabana
Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro - RJ
CEP. 22020-001 Tel.: (+55 - 21) 2548-9966

Daniela & Shindy at Giuseppe Restaurant, Leblon
Daniela & Shindy at Giuseppe Restaurant, Leblon

Contributed by Shindy Chen & Daniela Justi 
Photos by Shindy Chen

Daniela & Shindy lived in Rio de Janeiro. Daniela is from Campinas, and also lived in São Paulo.