A city built up amongst rainforests, mountains and beaches, Rio is an outdoorsy, fitness-lover’s dream destination, where every Sunday the city closes one of the main four lane roads that runs along the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana to allow locals and tourists alike to run, blade, cycle or just stroll the length of the beaches. It is well known that Brazilians are not shy of bearing the flesh and you’ll see many a thong/’Brazilian’ bikini parading the beach – confidence radiating and oozing from each and every Brazilian woman. We’d like to take a leaf out of their book! This is our guide to Rio, Hip & Healthy style!
Where to stay
Santa Teresa Hotel
Perched up high in the bohemian and trendy area of Santa Teresa in Rio, this Relais & Chateaux hotel is a luxury hideaway, boasting 40 rooms and suites each with incredible views over the city and contemporary in design. My favourite is the Loft Suite which has a large terrace with 180 degree views of Guanabara Bay and Christ the Redeemer. With a restaurant serving delicious dishes, a brilliant cocktail and pool bar and a spa, there may not seem any point in leaving this peaceful haven, however we would definitely recommend exploring the surrounding district of Santa Teresa.
La Maison by Dussol
Heading over to the other side of Rio to the district of Gavea is the Mr & Mrs Smith recommended hotel La Maison by Dussol, the first boutique hotel of its kind to open in the city. The restored and rebuilt villa commands an exceptional spot surrounded by lush, tropical trees and flowers with undisturbed views of Christ the Redeemer. We experienced some of the best hospitality in all of Brazil here, all the staff were extremely helpful and couldn’t do more to make us feel at home. Each room boasts a different theme with it’s own distinct personality. Breakfast is served looking out over the pool, fresh and delicious, but keep that bikini body ready for the beach and stir clear of the pastries and cheese! Tempting though it may be!
Where to juice
You just need to stroll along the streets of Ipanema and Copacabana where you will be inundated with various choices of juice (Suco) bars, some to takeaway or sit in, just remember when ordering to ask for no sugar, as this tends to be added automatically!
Where to eat
There are a lot of Sushi restaurants in Rio but Sushi Leblon stands out as one of the more stylish options. Instead of the all you can eat sushi offerings lining the Rio streets, Suchi Leblon has a more healthy approach with smaller but delicious portions. The dishes comprise of ingredients and influences taken from around the world offering colourful and delicious combinations.
Set in the heart of Santa Teresa, this tree house inspired restaurant is a healthy and organic delight. A favourite of ours to dine at, get there for a stunning sunset and you’ll enjoy an amazing view over the city. This leafy tree house like space has tropical plants and trees dotted in and around the restaurant and the design has a distinct Brazilian/Amazonian feel. Their ingredients are organic and produced from sustainable farming and use exclusive raw material from various areas of Brazil. Try the heart of palm to start – delicious!
Colourful, retro and definitely hip, this is Miam Miam. Tucked away in Botafogo but with a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere, definitely one to visit for a fun evening. The food is seriously adventurous with some interesting flavours but still delicious at the same time. Try the crunchy shrimp with the cilantro sorbet, a colourful and refreshing combination.
What to do
Every guide to Rio should include a visit to Christ the Redeemer, beach time at Copacabana and Ipanema, volleyball, Escadaria Selarón steps, a run around Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon etc. however here are a few more suggestions of what to do in Rio for you Hip & Healthies out here.
If you find yourself in Rio de Janeiro and you want to explore the foodie side of Brazil, this is a must. The clue is in the name. Our initial advice would be to aim to do this experience as close to the start of your time in Brazil as possible. There are so many fruits and vegetables that you will never have heard of before that you’ll want to keep going back for more! The aromas are wonderful and it’s amazing to see the variety of traditional Brazilian foods. We could spend all day here!
Sugar Loaf climb with Rio Natural Ecotourism
Visiting the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain is a must for anyone travelling to Rio. Instead of going the usual cable car route we opted to climb it, a much more rewarding experience when you get to the top. There are a couple of companies that offer this excursion, however we were attracted to the ecological adventure tourism concept of Rio Natural and right from our initial contact with Daniel (part owner), he was extremely helpful, providing us with detailed information on the climb and hike i.e. he explained you needed to have a relatively good fitness level (which shouldn’t be a problem for all you H&H readers)!
The views along the climbing route are beautiful, some may say even better than at the top and you won’t be disturbed by herds of tourists here. Although there is no denying the sights of Rio from the top are spectacular too!
Where to workout
Linked with widespread concern about looking great on the beach, working out at the gym is incredibly popular in Rio and there are lots around. A free outdoor gym is constructed at Ipanema Beach every year between November and February and is open in the mornings and evenings.
How to get there
TAP Portugal flies from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, via Lisbon, to Rio de Janeiro 12 times a week
Prices start at £605 return including all taxes and surcharges
For further information, visit www.flytap.com or call 0345 601 0932