Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Amanda, 37
Business buff & hobbies hoarder
see her Rio De Janeiro city guide

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What do you do and why do you do it?

I am an engineer that wandered off to business development - because people, processes and solutions are just my thing! My work makes me travel a lot, and when I have free time... I travel some more, lol. Don’t enjoy much the touristy stuff but mostly try to know a place by its sights, people and food. I also love music, so singing and going to concerts are things I’m always thrilled about!

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

An unexplainable mix of Skank (the Brazilian band from my hometown, please... lol), cheesy Brazilian music, Tori Amos, Aretha Franklin, Chet Faker, Bob Dylan, Beatles and occasional pinches of lovy metal and movie soundtracks. To be paired by huge amounts of water for the sake of dehydration lol

What are the best TV shows of all time?

Friends (and its surrogate, HIMYM), Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, House and The Big Bang Theory. Although I must say that Netflix surprises me everyday and I can't wait for more seasons of Stranger Things :)

Name some spots in Rio De Janeiro that are good for a Tinder date.

If you are unsure of your success rate, go to any bar in Lapa bohemian neighborhood - and, if everything goes south, you will still have a ton of places to have some fun. To hit the dance floor while trying not to stand out too much as a "gringo", your best pick in Lapa could be the Rio Scenarium - almost everyone there is a tourist, but the place is nice, and you'll probably find someone interesting there, in or out of your Tinder list. If you think you might have found the top pick available, the restaurants in Leblon, specially along Dias Ferreira, will do just fine - just check your finances first ;)

Who’s your hero and where in Rio De Janeiro would you take them out for a serious hang?

As dad is currently unavailable, I'd take Richard Branson, Elon Musk or Tony Robbins surfing in Prainha and hanging on the Pedra do Telégrafo (Telegraph Rock) to take some kickass pic with an inspiring phrase for his LinkedIn profile - with me on their side, of course!

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I don't fancy much buying clothes, for they diminish my traveling money, hahaha! But I'd tell you to check Santa Clara street, in Copacabana, for accessible apparel. If you are feeling trendy, the Shopping Leblon mall might be your pick - or, on the opposite end, conquering the chaos of SAARA (the gathering of stores, that might be more challenging than the real desert at noon, when they are on pre-christmas season) might be the anthropological and economical experience you are looking for! From buying pieces of cloth to a whole carnival apparel, everything is available there. Go in your comfy shoes to walk around those packed streets.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

In line to take the ferry to cross the Guanabara Bay to Niteroi by rush hour, and around Maracanã stadium when Flamengo is losing a match. Seriously, not even Pope Francisco would get me in those places - no patience for lines and a lot of love for my own life to risk meeting enraged soccer fans.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I love to walk the trails in Rio, specially Pedra Bonita (Pretty Stone), where you can take killer photos of both south and west part of Rio beaches - and even glide like Blu, the macaw from the animation Rio, something I have been postponing, like, forever! Just in front of it there is Pedra da Gávea (Gavea Rock), and I never get to do it for it is needed to go with an experienced guide, because of its riskier trails (and sometimes riskier people, unfortunately :/ )

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Rio De Janeiro and where did you get it?

Probably the hot dog in front of Castelo das Pedras (not at all resembling Casterly Rock, for it is a "baile funk", or a funk music party place). It was the perfect bad ending for a bad experience, for me never to go back to any of those again.

Is there a hidden bar / hole in the wall in Rio De Janeiro that you particularly like?

Pub Escondido, CA honors the brewing city of Escondido quite well, for they offer many home brewed pints and other options right from the tap, just check the board and pick your exploration for the night. But when it opened it was fun to see it was really "escondido" (hidden, in Portuguese), for it was a lost venue behind the almost neverending construction of the Sound and Image Museum, in Copacabana. It was my favorite joint for burgers and special artisan crafted beer. Now it's not that hidden anymore, but I still love it!

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Rio De Janeiro? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

Eating in the Térèze restaurant, in Hotel Santa Teresa, might chopp off some of your days in Rio - around 250 BRL each, if not too thirsty on wine. It is beautiful, has a great character and view, standing on the top of the hilly neighborhood of Santa Teresa, in the same hotel where Amy Winehouse waved her hand and titty shortly before leaving us. An option for having some drinks, the view and still some money left is the hotel bar, Bar dos Descasados, a nice option for gathering friends and maybe hitting on someone interesting ;)

What restaurant in Rio De Janeiro looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

I've heard that Bar do David, inside the community (or, to be politically incorrect, slums) of Chapeu Mangueira, has an excellent feijoada - the dish made of black beans, almost every part of a pig and lots of character that makes it one of the most traditional Brazilian recipes and a top pick regarding local food in Rio. On my side, it's fair to say that the Cervantes pub on Copacabana looks a bit like a drug dealing place, in between all those strip clubs on the no glam strip of Copacabana, but it's a killer option to call it a day, after partying around the southern part of Rio.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Rio De Janeiro? Which one do you like?

I love the cocktails from Astor Bar, in Ipanema. It is greatly located (just between Copacabana and Ipanema), and is a good place to start a night out.

Where would you take your partner in Rio De Janeiro if you wanted to really pamper them?

Probably take him to the beach by day, and then to the Lagoon complex or going up to Santa Teresa neighborhood to eat something nice while watching the sunset, or feasting on CT Boucherie to eat a wonderful piece of steak with loads of side dishes.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

To name some: any "pastel" (thin filled pastry), from Bar do Adão; "empada aberta de camarão", big shrimp minipie from Botequim Informal; or "bolinho de feijoada" from Chico e Alaíde - yes, a dumpling filled with that black bean stew. I swear, it's great. Cariocas also enjoy eating some pointless round biscuit while spending the day at the beach, the famous "Biscoito Globo", paired with some mate (not the Argentinean one, but an iced tea made by their street vendors with God forsaken hygiene standards); going through that odd institutionalized paper bag in the sand might be the closest thing to eating a neutron that you will ever get.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Rio De Janeiro?

Copacabana beach. Lived there and will never get why it is still called "The Sea little Princess", while most of its inhabitants are elderly people, prostitutes from all genders and broke people like me who needed/wanted to live in the south region of the city. After getting local you also get the hang of it and even enjoy, but there are some nicer places that won't ever get as famous as this one.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Rio De Janeiro?

Joatinga beach. It is one of the most laid off beach spots there, and not too isolated like the beaches after Recreio. Also the museums from the renovated port area, not only the Tomorrow Museum (get your tickets online, it is crowded!). Just walking in the area and watching cultural performances and the artisan fair is already great.

What are the Rio De Janeiro spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Going to Christ the Redeemer might seem cliche but it is a very nice spot. You can go up on it's cute train (buy your tickets online and guarantee your time schedule of the day) or take a van, that might even stop by a viewpoint so you can take a picture of it without fifty families around you! There is also a trail there, but please don't go alone or with valuables (for it might be dangerous, unfortunately :( )

Tomorrow’s your last day in Rio De Janeiro. How do you spend it?

Botanical Garden and its neighboring park, Parque Lage; going up the Escadaria Selarón (Selarón Staircase), linking Lapa to Santa Teresa; ending up in Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park) to have a drink surrounded by art and facing the sun setting over the city, saying goodbye to its wonders and wishing to come back :)

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

Hard pick! I'd probably say Rio because, since I am always traveling for work and spend my weekends on my home town, Belo Horizonte, Rio is the place I return to most times to have fun, for everything I like is there or around - besides lots of friends, of course! :)

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Eduardo Baretto