Great Vacation in Rio De Janerio

We just returned from Rio De Janerio, Brazil and wanted to share a trip itinerary with you if Brazil is or could be on your vacation radar:

Before we get into the intinery I want to give one piece of advice -- DON'T BELIEVE THE SCARE TACTICS ON THE INTERNET. The hype written on the Internet about crime and lack of safety in Rio is poisonous-- as it is keeping people away from this must see tourist destination. Rio has incredibly beautiful beaches, breathtaking icons/ sights, and unbelievable cuisine, drink, and Cuban cigars. Rio has been taking great strides to make all tourists and locals feel safe and enjoy what this Marvelous City has to offer. Like in any big city, make good decisions and you will not have an issue:

Book a hotel on Ipanema Beach - this is one of the huge beaches in the tourist part of Rio. There are great shops, great restaurants, and it is very safe.

Day 1: Arrive in Rio and grab a taxi to Ipanema. Check into your hotel throw your stuff down and head to the beach. A couple Brazilian Reais later you have a beach chair, a couple more a standing umbrella to shade the sun, and a couple more you will be drinking out of coconut while taking in the view with a cigar. Make a reservation at Zaza Bistro for wonderful French/ Indian cuisine to cap the night.

Day 2: Start the day out at the beach again then head to Leblon in the early afternoon. Eat at Esche Cafe which is also a Cuban cigar bar. You can smoke a Cuban, drink port and espresso and also eat a sandwich. From there go to Maracana Futbol stadium for a soccer game at night. Take a 30 minute taxi ride to the stadium and purchase tickets or go with a tour group. Either will work fine and get you in the mix of some hardcore futbol fans. You have to experience this game, the stadium is electric and has a pulse. These fans are amazing. Book a dinner at Sushi Leblon and discuss what you just saw at the game.

Day 3: Start your day taking in a duplo espresso at Caffinea, a wonderful coffee shop with great espresso. From there wander around the boutiques and shops in the streets of Ipanema where there are also great restaurants to eat lunch. For the dinner that night make sure you hit Mio's. This Soporanos type restaurant will make you feel like Tony. Servers stand in 3 piece suits waiting for what ever you will need next. Upstairs is a huge wine collection and fully stocked humidor. The food is to die for -- try the handmade raviolis.

Day 4: Start your day off at Armezon Cafe shop with a duplo espresso - another great coffee shop. From there go see Cristo Redentor in Corcovado. This is the Jesus Statue way up on the top of Rio. Take a taxi to the train station where you take a old school train to the top of Rio. The views will blow you away. End the night at one of my favorite places in Rio, Copa Cafe.

Day 5: Fast all day at the beach for your dinner at Porcao. Watch the sunset with a cigar at Arpoador Point. This gives you breathtaking views of Ipanema beach and Arpoador beach. Then head to the Brazillian steakhouse Porcao to eat as much meat as you possibly can. This can be a full day event.

Day 6: Start your day off again at Caffenia for a duplo espresso. Head to the beach for a couple hours and then go to Sugar loaf at sunset. This is another iconic, must see sight in Rio. Take a 10 minute taxi right to the tram station. You need to take 2 (high up) trams suspended on cables to the summit of Sugar Loaf. Up there enjoy the sunset and more breathtaking views. Take the trams back down and debrief at Bar Urca which is a short taxi ride away in the same neighborhood. From there make dinner reservations at Yoruba, a Bahia restaurant with some "only in Brazil" type foods and a relaxing atmosphere.

Day 7: Relax at the beach all day drinking local beer like Skol, Chopp, or Devassa and smoke some Cubans. This is the last day --- take it all in.

Hope you enjoy.