An ironically relaxing New Year’s Eve weekend in Rio de Janeiro.
For New Year’s Eve 2013 I decided to spend a long weekend in Rio de Janeiro after the holidays with my family, and before returning to Mendoza, Argentina. As I was traveling alone and Rio has a reputation of being violent, I easily coerced myself to splurge on the hotel Mar Ipanema in the city’s fanciest and safest region.
I was thrilled to get out of my cab at the hotel and realize I was literally five walking blocks from the beach. Immediately, this trip had the feeling of being the best of being at the shore and in the city.
Mandatory Christ the Redeemer Shot
My hotel also proved to have the the best happy hour the area and their own microbrew. Score.
Soon after my arrival I learned the secret to the Brazilian booty. Working out – all.the.time. There were open air gyms right on the beach where meatheads and fitness gals would strut their stuff. No one was shy to show off the results of their hard work.
As an avid runner, I was thrilled to see so many people in a ‘runners only’ lane that ran parallel to the beach. Immediately after checking in, I laced up my sneakers, and joined in. (Like many travelers, a quick run is one of my favorite first things to do when I arrive in a city to get to know the lay of the land.) I quickly got caught up in the view of the beautiful jagged coastline. I was in heaven, and quickly became reinvigorated despite my 13 hour flight.
I quickly settled into a rhythm. Every morning I would take jog for a few miles along the beach, and afterward have a delicious breakfast of papaya, melon, and sinful cheese bread in the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. Then, after a change of clothes, and email check, my bikini and cover up were on, and the bell boys handed me my beach chair. Travel Tip: Brazil is considered stylish and conservative – so wearing people beach attire through the streets is frowned upon, even though a thong on the beach is expected. Keep that in mind and cover up chicly if you’re headed directly from the city to the beach.
Brazilians have a warmth and liveliness not found many other places I was just learning of, and I found it fascinating. While vanity is a core element of the culture, there is much more authenticity than in U.S. cities. The coconut water comes in coconuts, not boxes, and doesn’t come in boxes, and regional specialties, not American fast food, are the norm.