Romantic Rio

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Romantic Rio
You can’t describe Rio without using the word “sexy.” Soulful people, body-covered beaches, steamy dance clubs, and a stunning natural landscape make the city ideal for a romantic getaway.
Photo by Yadid Levy/age fotostock
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    Hit the Dance Floor
    Samba was first danced in Rio by immigrants from Bahia who kept up the musical customs of their native Africa. With its emphasis on gyrating hips, pulsing backsides, and skimpy clothing, samba exudes sexiness. Much of the city’s dance scene is centered in the Lapa neighborhood. Here, old school dance halls established in the 1920s stand next to modern bars and clubs. Rio Scenarium and Carioca da Gema are popular with couples who want to dance to live music until dawn.
    Photo by Yadid Levy/age fotostock
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    Rio’s Most Romantic Sunsets
    It’s not uncommon to hear applause from beachgoers as the sun slips behind the mountains that frame Rio de Janeiro. The rocky peninsula of Arpoador, nestled between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, is the city’s most romantic spot to watch the sunset. Grab a beer from the nearby Zona Sul market to sip as you witness the mountains of Dois Irmãos begin to twinkle with lights as night takes over the city. During midsummer, Arpoador offers a chance to watch the sun set into the sea, a rarity on the city’s predominantly east-facing shores. Couples seeking a drier but equally romantic sunset can take a late afternoon cable car ride up to Sugarloaf Mountain and watch the day disappear.
    Photo by Amy Leah Potter
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    The Best Places to Kiss in Rio
    With its awe-inspiring landscape, famous monuments, and miles of white-sand beaches, Rio provides no shortage of dramatic backdrops for a memorable kiss. For the best views of Rio’s popular sites without the crowds, head to the Mirante Dona Marta lookout. Here, Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain will frame your kiss. At the secluded cove of Prainha Beach, you can lock lips in some of the clearest and most pristine waters around. But perhaps the most authentic place to kiss your lover is at a window table at one of the city’s open-air bars. Wait until the setting sun turns the cobbled streets orange to make your move. The locals will love it.
    Photo by Carver Mostardi/age fotostock
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    Romantic Rio Restaurants
    Influenced by African, Amazonian, and European flavors and well stocked with fresh seafood, Rio’s restaurants are top-notch. The most famous chefs cook in the kitchens of Ipanema and Leblon. Share artfully-arranged platters of the morning’s catch at Sushi Leblon, or toast champagne glasses over plates of rock lobster at the elegant Fasano Al Mare. In the eclectic Santa Teresa neighborhood, Térèze serves more than 200 varieties of wine and provides sweeping views of the city. Get close with your loved one at a table that looks out at red-tiled roofs and the sea in the distance. Hachiko is a good option for Asian fusion food downtown; go at night for a more relaxed, candlelit vibe.
    Photo by Leandro Ciuffo
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    The Most Inviting Rooftop Pools
    Rio’s rooftop pools offer opportunities for more secluded and relaxing swimming than the crowded beaches, not to mention a striking perspective on the city. Spend a lazy afternoon drinking caipirinhas and tanning on the chaises longues of the Pestana Rio Atlantica hotel in Copacabana, and enjoy the views of Sugarloaf Mountain and the white shores below. At the Windsor Miramar, also in Copacabana, the rooftop infinity pool seems to disappear into the Atlantic Ocean. From here you can watch the beaches light up as the mountains reflect the setting sun.
    Photo courtesy of Pestana Group
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    Couples' Activities to Get the Blood Pumping
    Some couples like to pose for a picture when visiting Sugarloaf Mountain. Others would prefer to don a helmet, grab some rope, and rappel down its rocky faces. Couples seeking a thrill will find plenty of opportunities for an action-packed date in Rio. You can take a helicopter ride to the top of Christ the Redeemer, explore the caves of a nearby rain forest, or hang glide off the mountains that tower above the city. For a more laid-back adventure, rent a sailboat and cruise around the islands of the glistening Guanabara Bay. Ask the captain to time your return with the sunset. You won't regret it.
    Photo by Marcin Wichary
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    The Best Bars for Telling Secrets
    There are plenty of places to dance the night away in Rio. But for a more intimate experience, follow the locals to a neighborhood boteco. These open-air bars buzz with the hum of conversations and occasional cheers related to a televised soccer game. Leblon's Bar Jobi, with its cozy checkered tablecloths and paneled walls, is a lovely spot to review your vacation photos and reminisce on the trip. At Armazém São Thiago, a former grocery store restored to its early 20th-century glory, you can sip local wines and watch as night takes over the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa.
    Photo by Helen Anne Travis
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    Jungle Garden Strolls and Romantic Rides
    Rio’s jungle gardens and striking coastline are criss-crossed by well maintained trails that offer couples a romantic reprieve from the city’s bustling sidewalks. Visit the Jardim Botânico on a weekday morning and you will have more than 300 acres of exotic plants all to yourselves. Walk hand-in-hand through a grove of towering palms that was commissioned by a Portuguese king, and look for toucans in the trees around you. On Sundays, the city’s beachfront roads are closed to traffic. Rent a bike to cruise around the lagoon and beaches, ending at Arpoador to catch the sunset.
    Photo by Matthew Keesecker
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    Meet the Caipirinha
    Rio’s cocktail scene depends upon a cane liquor called cachaça. Sweet and strong, cachaça packs a giddying punch into the city’s signature cocktail, the caipirinha. The mix of cachaça, lime, and sugar will have you dancing to the beat of the samba drum in no time. The Academia da Cachaça in Leblon is the best spot to sample the firewater cocktails. For a different taste, try the caipirinha aroeira, which contains chunks of pineapple and peppercorn that produce a musky-sweet flavor. The caipirinha acadêmica helps get the night started right with its zesty mix of honey- and alcohol-soaked key limes.
    Photo by Sylvain Grandadam/age fotostock