VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS Brazil is not the greatest place for vegetarians – it seems that Brazilians love a diet rich with cheese and meat. I was lucky to find a small macrobiotic restaurant in downtown RIO that offered a number of set lunches. Very affordable with local prices.
In Copacabana, I stumbled into Bio Carioca, a quaint vegetarian restaurant located just a couple of blocks from my hotel, and in the upscale neighborhood of Leblon, I ate at the Vegetariano Social Clube, a very stylish and chic (albeit expensive) vegetarian bistro. Despite the relatively high prices, I have to admit that the food was pretty tasty though.
IPANEMA BEACH I had read all the glowing reports about this famous beach, and they are truly deserved. The setting is magnificent with the famed Sugarloaf bookmarking the far end of this magnificent wide, white sand beach. On a Saturday afternoon, the long stretch of beach was packed with sun worshipping cariocas. On the sidewalk lining the beach, came a stream of joggers, walkers and skateboarders. Despite its urban setting, there were very few hawkers and solicitors.
Located across the street from the beach are high-rise office buildings and condos. I was surprised by the absence of streetside cafes, bars and restaurants. The scene is surprisingly low key.
Too bad I was unable to make the trip to the famous Christ the Redeemer Statute. Perched on the top of Corcavado Mountain about 2300 feet up, the panoramic views of RIO from this vantage point are supposed to be incredible.