Rio de Janeiro
As one of the so-called BRIC nations of rapidly growing economies, Brazil is not as cheap to visit as it once was – but it’s rich hunting ground for those in the transport, consumer goods, construction and creative industries. While Sao Paulo likes to think it’s where the serious business gets done, Rio de Janeiro is better known as a party city. But don’t let that fool you – there’s no doubt that cariocas love to play hard, but they also work hard. Be on time and let your host set the tone. Strong business relationships can take time to build so be prepared to put in the hours.
The Phillippe Starck-designed Hotel Fasano (www.fasano.com.br) is one of Rio de Janeiro’s hottest properties. It is located on swanky Ipanema beach and has 90 luxury guestrooms and suites, the excellent Al Mare restaurant and a rooftop infinity pool. A more classic option is the opulent Copacabana Palace (www.copacabanapalace.com.br) operated by Orient Express hotels. A comprehensive refurbishment is due to be complete this November ahead of the hotel’s 90th anniversary next year
Many of Rio’s most exclusive restaurants are found in upmarket Leblon. Bar d’Hotel in the district’s Marina All Suites Hotel is a trendy but not too pretentious option with some great views to boot. For something more casual, seek out one of the many ‘por kilo’ buffet restaurants where you pile your plate up and pay according to its load.
This is a city famous for its fun-loving population so visitors won’t struggle to find a nightspot to suit their needs. First-time visitors will undoubtedly be drawn to the bars of Copacabana and Ipanema where the likes of Bar do Copa and Baronetti count themselves among the trendiest. The Garota de Ipanema is a somewhat less extravagant option but is famous for being the bar in which The Girl from Ipanema was written. For a riotous night out with the cariocas, head to the busy streets of Lapa where the streets are lined with bars, restaurants and samba clubs.
British Airways flies direct from London Heathrow to Rio de Janeiro daily. Brazilian carrier TAM flies also flies direct or via Sao Paulo. Other options are Air France via Paris, TAP via Lisbon, Lufthansa via Frankfurt, Iberia via Madrid and American Airlines via three hubs.
Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao International Airport (GIG) is located around 12 miles north of the city but transfer times can vary greatly depending on your destination. Several express and stopping bus services serve the airport, but a taxi is the best option.
Brazil is three hours behind GMT and the official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Real. For more information see www.rcvb.com.br.
The Christ Redeemer statue and Corcovado peak vie with Sugarloaf Mountain for the title of Rio’s top tourist spot, while a stroll along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches is a must. Jeep trips around Tijuca Forest on the outskirts of the city and guided favela tours are an interesting alternative.
“Take a long-term approach, but do not stick too rigidly to your plans. Things often change rapidly and unexpectedly in Brazil. Brazilians are flexible, and famous for finding a way around problems”
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