You've been selected to participate in a beta for a new release of our website. If you do not want to participate in this beta,please click here >
The Uxua Praia (beach) Bar is the most coveted spot on the beach. A short walk from the Quadrado, it's been built out of old abandoned fishing boats that had been on the site. The main bar is shaded by a thatched palm roof and a cocktail alter features a statue of Mary surrounded by bottles of cachaca and other alcohol. The bartenders make excellent versions of the national drink, the caipirinha, but also have cold beers and will hack open coconuts and pop in a straw so you can sip coconut water. It's the perfect spot for a sunset cocktail.
I didn't expect after spending the day hiking around Machu Picchu to experience another moment of breathtaking beauty. The town of Aquas Calientes exists among a raging river that demands your attention. While waiting for the train I looked over a wall and witnessed the unity of water, earth, and people. Amazing.
The sky and water are a perfect hue of my dreams of Ipanema. I can only imagine how wonderful the water will be to the person about to go surfing.
Everybody’s favorite Brazilian Street Fighter decided to follow me along on my trip, ya know, just to make sure I had back up. Blanka was posing for his life all over the place. I have never hung out with such a camera hogging vinyl toy. Blanka, for those who do not know, is a video game character created by Capcom for the classic Street Fighter game in 1987. Blanka makes a cameo appearance in Disney’s Wreck it Ralph. I know he looks grumpy in this picture, but Blanka loved Ipanema beach. Photo by Ruddy Harootian
There may be no better place in Rio to watch the sunset than Arpoador Rock. Wedged in between Ipanema and Copacabana, is it a gathering point for Cariocas and tourists alike to toast the day with a fresh caipirinha. Watch the sun fade behind Ipanema’s famed double peaks and Pedro Bonita, the rock structure where hang gliders launch into the clouds throughout the day. Time stands still at Arpoador rock, and everyone participating shares in the same goals in those moments: to enjoy life. As the sun cascades behind the rocks, people bask in its beauty, couples kiss and everyone erupts in clapping and cheering, saluting the earth for the magnificence it possesses and appreciating life for the fullness it offers. Surfers take a moment to sit on their boards and let the waves roll underneath them as they also salute the painted sky. It is a perfect ending to a perfect Rio-kind-of-day.
While jogging off a huge dinner before hitting the beach in Ipanema one morning, my headphones became overwhelmed by drumming and whistles. When I lifted my sweat soaked head to check out the commotion ahead, I was amazed to see brightly colored dancers and a group of drummers parading down the boulevard and attracting a growing crowd of onlookers and partiers. I soon became one of the revelers and followed them all the way to Copacabana. The spontaneous outbreak of Samba was one of the highlights of Rio de Janeiro, especially since it wasn't even close to Carnival.
While in Rio you must go to Sugarloaf Mountain. It has beautiful views of the entire city. I went on a day that was misty and cloudy and was a little disappointed that I couldn't see the Christ the Redeemer statue from the mountain, but soon the wind started to blow and the clouds started to move and the statue stood among the clouds. It was beautiful and I ended up being happy it wasn't a crystal clear day.
Open only on Saturdays, this large market has stalls selling lots of fresh fruits and fish for good prices. Everyone who lives in Rio is addicted to açai, the Amazonian berry that’s loaded with antioxidants. The berry doesn’t come from this region of Brazil, but you can get it fresh in the market in a big bowl mixed with strawberries or ice cream. Rua Frei Leandro As told to Heidi Mitchell. Photo by Gabriel Rinaldi. This appeared in the March/April 2012 issue. See all of Batman Zavarese’s favorite places in Jardim Botânico.
The Santa Teresa district is a tangle of cobblestone streets and crumbling landmarks perched above the city. It’s undergoing a renaissance thanks to anchors such as the restored Hotel Santa Teresa and the working-class eatery Bar do Mineiro. The latter lures diners with its feijoada (bean and mixed meat stew). This appeared in the September, 2012 issue. Photo by Jan Sochor.
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Roberto Burle Marx, this expansive park was meant to be an improvement to Central Park in New York City. Home to an impressive amphitheater, museums, water bodies, and lots of paths with some impressive landscaping, it's well worth a visit. Come for a stroll, jog, picnic, open air concert or bike voyage on a Sunday. Various food vendors are strewn throughout with agua de coco and snacks. It's best to check the website for events if you'll be visiting on a weekend.
The São Joaquim market in Salvador, Brazil, offers a broad spectrum of merchandise. At the far end of the market you can even purchase live animals. While walking through this area I saw goats, chickens, ducks and doves. A baby goat costs around 70 Reals or $45.
Do you go down to the beach via ladder, or just sit on the cliff and get lulled into a trance with with rhythm of the waves? Or just come back again tomorrow? Ahhh choices.....
If you ever find yourself in Lencois, Brazil, make your way about 40 miles west for one spectacular view. Located in Chapada Diamantina National Park, Pai Inacio Hill is just off BR-242 and can easily be seen from the road. The striking white stone and the majestic appearance of this natural rock formation is compelling enough to make anyone want to stop and explore. It is a relatively easy 20 minute hike to the summit, and once you arrive you will see that it is worth every step. Standing atop Pai Inacio, with the sun and wind greeting your face, you will bear witness to the valley that unfolds below you. It appears to go on forever, and that is about how long you will want to stay and take in the awe-inspiring view.
Leblon beach in Rio de Janeiro is a must. After going to a friends wedding in Belo Horizonte I could not leave Brazil before visiting the "cidade maravilhosa." Rio is so vibrant and what a better place to experience the city's culture than the beach. Make sure to have one of the cold coconuts and a caipirinha that are sold all throughout the boardwalk . This photo was taken from the roof top pool of our hotel. Even though the rooms were not superb the view was priceless.
Go to the Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo for all your gourmet needs. The market has everything from fresh vegetables to homemade candies. I decided to go for a mortadella sandwich from Bar do Mane. The locals seem to have a soft-spot for the place, which has been around since the market opened in 1933. Another point of interest are the beautiful stained glass window panels, 32 in all. These were created by the Russian artist Sorgenicht Conrad Filho. Going on the early side (for lunch) is probably ideal since they don’t seem to close too late, especially on Sundays. Mercado Municipal Rua da Cantareira, 306, near Rua 25 de Março and Parque Dom Pedro. Hours of operation: Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 6 pm, Sundays and holidays from 6 am to 4 pm. Photography by Ruddy Harootian
While hiking along a waterfall in the national nature reserve, we came across a naturally formed infinity pool where the waterfall gathered itself for a long plunge into a green canyon below.
Rio has never been busier. The city is building up and out for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Part of a massive port facelift, the Museum of Art of Rio opens later this year. But in colonial bairros, such as Santa Teresa, fresh paint hasn’t changed the carioca spirit. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue. Photo by Julian Love.
The power of hope and the energy of praying can be extraordinary. In this case, represented by the multiple colors of the wish ribbons. Hard to explain this feeling, but overwhelming after a rainy afternoon in the North East of Brazil
Sao Paulo is a massive, business hub of South America and not the greatest place to visit. It's full of great food, but not much in the way of culture or beauty. But there is a funky oasis in the middle of this skyrise city in the artsy neighborhood of Vila Madalena - Batman Alley. This two block alley is covered in colorful, crazy, wild spray paint murals. Bring you camera, then stick around this cool hood for some pao de queijo.
This bohemian nook on a hill in Rio de Janeiro is home to innovative art galleries, charming architecture and many great artists. A friend of mine led me there, and we spent the day soaking in the scene; peeking into studios and talking and laughing with the lovely local artists. We enjoyed walking up the hill and stopping into the beautiful shops along the way. It is the perfect place to get lost for a couple of hours. The art scene in Santa Teresa is vibrant and dynamic, celebrating both new and traditional art forms.
Beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema are justifiably famous, but city insiders head southwest to Prainha for some of the area’s best surf and views. Join locals at Restaurante Bira for fish stewed in coconut milk or for an after-surf caipirinha while watching the waves. 55/(0) 21-2410-8304. This appeared in the September, 2012 issue. Photo by Ivan Matee/Stockphoto.com.
At the Pousada Maravilha, the view is just jaw-dropping. The light and sea colors change by the minute. So relaxing, looking out over the bay loaded with sea turtles, it was hard to leave....to go to the beach...
From the rooftop of Hotel Praia Ipanema you can view the fabulous beaches of Leblon and Ipenema on top of the world. Praia Ipanema straddles the boarder of Leblon and Ipanema, so you can easily experience both stetches of this urban oasis. Rio de Janeiro is the ultimate city destination, providing beaches, chic shopping and dining, varied cultural influences, unmatched nightlfe, urban jungle and sprinklings of colonial architecture. Rio must conform to its dramatic landscape, creating soaring views from high vistas and unique neighborhoods over and around every fold in the earth.
Ordering something local, often something you have never heard of or cannot pronounce, is one of the best ways to get to know a new culture. While Sao Paulo doesn't ooze with culture, it does boast an incredible food scene. One of the more notable restaurant in Jardins is A Figeuira, meaning fig tree, as the entire restaurants sits under a massive fig tree with dripping candles and twinkle lights. The menu is full of meat, but I went for the fish ribs, which were about the same size as a rib eye. God only knows what monster fish this was, that I can only assume came out of the Amazon, but it was incredible and a do not miss dish. Don't forget the side of heart of palm. Follow your sea monster with a trip to the equally as massive dessert bar loaded with chocolates and dolce de leche.
Behold the largest Art Deco statue in the world! The Cristo Redentor is one of the best monuments I’ve seen mostly because of it’s dramatic location with exceptional 360 degree views of Rio. It sits on top of the Corcovado mountain. The easiest thing to do, and please take my advice on this, is to get a taxi to drop you off at the ticket sales booth which is where you board the tram (Rua Cosme Velho). It costs about $20 dollars for the experience. The ride on the tram takes you through the Tijuca forest and lasts about 20 minutes. People really get creative with their Cristo pictures. I actually spent about half an hour just looking at all the fun posing people were doing. There was definitely a lot of prayer posing, as well as people imitating the statue with their arms spread out. You can also brag to your friends that you saw one of the new seven wonders of the world. Photo by Ruddy Harootian
© 2014 AFAR Media