Babe'in in Brazil
I just spent 7 days in Brazil and wow what a beautiful country!
I was in the mood for a "spring break" in a destination that I'd never explored before when I settled on South America. So, I flew direct Miami to Sao Paulo for three nights in the beautiful Hotel Emiliano. Sao Paulo looked different than anywhere I had ever been and had more traffic than anywhere I'd ever been! And that's saying a lot considering I'm from Chicago. At first, the massive amounts of graffiti were a bit off-putting but as I drove deeper into the city I started to see layers of unique gritty art in them and grew to appreciate it. Hotel Emiliano was luxury all the way with phenomenal service, large brand new rooms and a caviar bar on the main floor and the price reflected all of those amenities. The cities' cultural and financial hub, Avendida Paulista, was only a short walk from my hotel. The vibe was very Michigan Avenue with a mixture of banks, shops, corporate colleges and tourist geared items for sale on the streets.
Being a tourist on Paulista Avenue
My shopping time in Sao Paulo was spent at JK Iguatemi mall. The indoor, four-story shopping center was giving me straight Miami vibes with upscale brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Van Cleef and Arpels. I fell IN LOVE with a tweed and faux fur cropped Chanel coat before I saw the nine thousand dollar price tag.
The Chanel coat of my dreams!
Needless to say, I sadly left it behind. Two must-visit hotspots in Sao Paulo are the Skye at the Hotel Unique and the Terraco Italia. Skye is an outdoor rooftop restaurant lounge with a stunning view, fireplaces, and incredible food! Terraco Italia is a gorgeous classic Italian restaurant 50 stories over the city with floor to ceiling windows and a pianist providing the music for the night. Right next to the dining room there lies an incredibly sexy piano bar, be sure to stop there also! After three days in S.P., it was time to head to my next destination on a 45-minute flight to Rio.
Dinner at Terraco Italia
Rio De Janeiro was three days of sun, fun, and sightseeing. I chose the legendary Belmond Copacabana Palace for my stay because that's what you do in Rio, LOL! This hotel is stunning with a true old Hollywood feel! The staff is attentive, beyond accommodating and my suite was huge with two balconies. Rio was all about sightseeing for me so I jumped right in making the famous Selaron Steps my first visit. The steps were created by a local artist as a kind of love letter to his city made up of unique tiles, later on, tiles from all over the world were added to show global love to Rio. Pro tip: head straight to the top of the stairs because no one wants to make the hike you can get way better photos without so many strangers in your background. Next, I took a ride on a cable car to the peak of Sugarloaf Mountain. The views were breathtaking! I opted for the historical tour which cost a bit more but you get VIP access to an air-conditioned waiting room and priority access to the cable cars none of which mattered because it was not crowded when I took my tour so the lines were not long. The best perk of the historical tour is that I had a local tour guide telling me cool facts about the mountain and the history of Rio. I had him all to myself and learned so many things about the rich history of the city. Must visit spot number three is the Christ The Redeemer statue atop the Corcovado Mountain. I finally took the group tour bus from my hotel to visit the landmark because the helicopter tours would not go up due to weather conditions. The mountain sits 2300 miles above Rio and is often covered in thick clouds making a chopper ride pointless. Definitely a bummer! However, the van left two blocks from the Copacabana hotel; was air conditioned and provided roundtrip return service at your leisure so I'd recommend it. Christ The Redeemer is considered one of the new "Seven Wonders of the World" and the second you get there you see why. He towers over the city bringing peace and good energy and insanely gorgeous views of all of Rio. I only stayed ten minutes to get my pics and get out of there because it was 102 degrees that day! Outside of sightseeing and shopping eating always tops my to-do list on vacay.
Melting in 102 degree weather but worth it
There is a Cipriani in my hotel( the only other legitimate one according to the wait staff there) so naturally, I dined there my first night on a decadent eight-course meal designed by two Michelin star chefs paired with their choices of Brazillian red wines. It was just as wild as it sounds. In contrast, I also went to Xian, a rooftop Asian fusion restaurant lounge deeper into the city featuring indoor/outdoor dining, amazing poke bowls and a giant Koi fish pond in the floor! Definitely go to Xian while in Rio. I fully did not expect that place. Also, be sure to hit Copacabana beach just to say you did. It's expansive and set against both highrises and giant mountains making it a stunning scene. The beach is full of people and not very clean but surely worth a visit.
I'm so glad I visited Brazil and since the Visa, I got online says I can return anytime for the next few years maybe I will go back soon!