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Rio de Janeiro

Charter a Jet to Rio de Janerio

You’re coming to Rio de Janeiro to dance the samba and soak up the sun on the spotless white beaches, but you’ll stay for altogether more than you bargained for.

Quite simply, be prepared to fall in love with Brazil. While music and good times are certainly part of this vibrant city’s ingrained character, so too are the favelas, natural beauty and the incredible food. Its reputation has been mixed in the past, but Rio is a place that is comfortable with its history and very much looking forward to a brighter future. Be a part of it and soak up this city’s indomitable spirit.

Getting Here

Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, is the main gateway to the city and is more popularly known by its former name of Galeão Airport. This is also the second busiest airport in the country, serving commercial, private charter and military carriers. It receives somewhere between 15 million and 16 million passengers every year and is located around 14 kilometres from the city centre, about a 30-minute drive.

Flights to this popular holiday destination are available year-round from across the globe and include many major carriers including Emirates, Air France, British Airways, Delta and KLM.

There are plenty of taxis in the dedicated taxi stand or you can summon an Uber to one of the pickup points. If you’re looking to take public transport, there are buses outside both terminals that will get you into the city fairly quickly. You also have the option of transferring to the nearest Metro stop, just a short bus ride away from the airport. Tickets are available in the terminal at the BRT booth.

There is a second airport in the city, Santos Dumont but this destination serves domestic and military flights only.

Things to do and places to go

There’s plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track but if you don’t go up to the Christ the Redeemer statue, then you’re missing one of the most spectacular views in the world. This glorious symbol of peace, which took nine years to construct, stands 30-metres high, eight more if you add the base.

Now named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, you will be joined by plenty of other tourists but on a clear day with the bay of Rio down below and a bird’s eye view of the sprawling city and its districts, it’s a sight to behold.

Favela Santa Marta Tour,

Whereas some tours into the poorer parts of a city can feel like an intrusion, this tour is designed to celebrate and promote understanding about these communities and what they represent. While the advice still stands that you should not go into a favela without a guide, you’ll be fine if you’re on one of these tours.

Head into Santa Marta via the cable car you’ll be talking to local guides who are extremely proud of their homes and of the history of this particular favela, visited by the Queen, Michael Jackson, Spike Lee and Alicia Keys, among others. Ask questions, chat to residents and get to know the real side of Rio.

Tijuca Forest

This forest was replanted in 1861 after years of coffee and coal production had almost completely destroyed it. Nowadays its 3,953 hectares are packed full of wildlife, trees and trails making it a wonderful place to hike and climb. Its most famous tourist spot is the Christ the Redeemer statue but there are plenty of accessible peaks and well-planned out routes to follow.

Pedra do Sal, Saúde

At some point you’re going to want to see some samba up close and if you’re looking for a good tempered, free night out then head out to Pedra do Sal (Salt Rock) for a samba jam session. Get there about 8pm for a space, grab beer and snacks from the drinks and food stalls and wait for the musicians to get going at about 9pm. The jam sessions take place on Mondays and Fridays and while busy, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed.

Where to eat and drink

You’re going to spend way over the odds when you dine at popular beachside locations such as Copacabana but perhaps that cocktail and lobster as the sun goes down over the sea is worth it just once. The great news is that Rio de Janeiro is awash with amazing bars and restaurants, so head into town when you’re looking for a great meal and somewhere to drink and dance away the night.

Zuka, Dias Ferreira Street, Lebon

This wonderful restaurant in the heart of one of the more upmarket neighbourhoods exemplifies Brazilian cooking with the vast majority of its menu cooked over a charcoal grill in the open kitchen.

Naturally, meat is the highlight of the menu (Brazilians love their beef) but you’ll also find a vegetarian and at least one fish option.

The décor is calm and warm, surrounded by wood and slate. A real treat for foodies with an exclusive wine menu to match. You will need to book ahead.

Cobol do Huamitá, Voluntários da Pátria,

This might be one of Rio’s most convivial and friendly nightspots, but it isn’t widely known or visited by tourists. By day it’s a bustling farmer’s market, transforming at night with pop-up bars and restaurants. Just turn up and see what you feel like eating and drinking.

O Navegador, Rio Branco Avenue, Naval Club

With its eye-catching striped table clothes, this restaurant is a lunchtime-only affair. With food carefully sourced from Brazilian-only producers, the restaurant is dedicated to supporting local and national growers and keeping the profits within Brazil. You can even pinpoint exactly where your appetisers and nibbles came from thanks to the menu guide.

If you thought lunch was going to be a light affair, think again. The great choice of fresh salads, fish and meat dishes such as Portuguese duck rice means you may need to take a post-lunch nap on the beach to recover. Book ahead.

Bar do Mineiro, Rua Paschoal Carlos Magno, Santa Teresa

This sweet little bar has a loyal following who flock to pass the time with a caipirinha and plate of the Brazilian staple that is the delicious feijoada or bean stew mixed with beef or pork. The bar is decorated with simple white tiles and black and white photos from bygone days. Days where its original owner mixed with the likes of artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. This bar is busy and often overflows into the streets. There’s no need to book.

Where to stay

You’ll find the usual offering of Airbnb places on offer in the city, some great and some not so great.

When it comes to hotel accommodation, you’ll find the big-name hotel chains dotted around, along with some of the following boutique stays.

Janeiro Hotel, Leblon

Located in the equivalent of London’s Chelsea this hotel defines everything that is beach culture. Right on the beach front you’ll be trailing sand into the clean, airy bedrooms on a daily basis.

With a newly opened second floor restaurant, naturally seafood is big on the menu. You’ll also find a Japanese restaurant on the 18th floor, a pool and bar to soak up those beach views and relax.

Yoo2, Botafogo

In this cool, cutting edge area you’ll find the oddly named Yoo2 hotel. The hotel is a modern design with large, comfortable rooms offering satellite televisions and high speed wifi. If you’re looking for an upgrade try the Bossa N’ Sugar room, which offers occupants unsurpassed views over the Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer statue.  You can also configure this room to suit your needs.

Head to the Cariocally restaurant and bar for locally sourced food and take advantage of some of the hotel’s experiences on offer. This might include a guided morning run through the city or a more low-key walking tour.

Nature Paradise Boutique Hotel, Laranjeiras

This hotel was once a mansion and transformed in the Sixties into a hotel that offers exceptional views and a 15-mintue walk from the train that will take you up to the famous statue at the top of Corcovado Mountain. Other tourist attractions will involve a walk to the metro or a taxi ride, but this hotel is all about the location.

Enjoy the pool and onsite Ayurvedic massage and relax in the cool, light rooms that come with TV and wifi. Perhaps one of the best highlights is the chance to spot monkeys frolicking in the trees in the morning along with owls, toucans and other assorted wildlife.

KS Residence, Barra da Tijuca

If you’re looking for accommodation that allows you to take Rio at your pace, then these self-catering apartments are a good option.

Just ten minutes’ walk to the beach, this block is located in a quiet residential street. A breakfast basket is delivered to your room daily and there is a 24-hour front desk. You’ll also find a fitness centre and family rooms available to you. Rooms are clean and spacious and come with a small kitchen and en suite bathroom.

CDesign Hotel, Bandeirantes Playground

This huge 278-room four-star hotel is located slightly away from the centre but close to Recreio dos Bandeirantes and Macumba beaches. With a range of bedrooms from superior to junior suites, you’ll want to ask for the sea view. With a strong white theme running through the décor, this hotel feels clean and bright throughout.

You’ll find a bistro on the ground floor and incredible heated infinity pool, complete with wet bar. Wind down after a day sight seeing at the spa and enjoy a dip in the whirlpool.

Getting around

The metro or subway system is by far the easiest way to get around the city. While it may feel like Rio is huge, the fact is you will probably only visit a handful of districts all of which are fairly close together and easily reachable on the metro.

There are essentially two lines, which go from north to downtown and from the central station running south.

Buses are also a great, if not slightly slower way, to get around and some connect up to the main metro stations. To travel on an ordinary bus, you must pay the driver directly, around R$3.60 per ride. To use the special metro connecting bus, the easiest thing to do is to buy your rechargeable ticket, known as a RioCard, at subway stations and keep it topped up to travel around the city.

Uber is also available, so download the app on to your smartphone.

Best time to visit

If you’re looking for peak carnival time, then you’ll want to visit at the beginning of the year when the whole city gears up for Mardi Gras sometime between the end of February and beginning of March, check online for exact dates. Flights are likely to be at their most expensive during this period, along with accommodation.

In terms of temperature, December to March are the hottest months hitting 30 degrees at their peak. The weather begins to cool off in April, getting to its lowest in July at between 17 and 22 degrees before slowly warming up again. June and October are generally the wettest months.

Final call

Unashamedly fun, vibrant, colourful and packed full of the rhythms of samba, Rio de Janeiro doesn’t hide. Instead it asks you to embrace its imperfections and enjoy the wonderful food, the outstanding beaches, views and people.

Stay beachside if you must but don’t be afraid to experience Rio in all its intensity for the trip of a lifetime.

If you are looking at booking a private jet charter to and from RIO contact us today.

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