Having grown up in Rio, I’m beyond proud that the Olympic Games have come to my city. For many, Brazil is a bucket-list destination and for others, perhaps it was never “on the map” enough…until now. While the Games are already in full swing, there’s still plenty of fun to be had.
Here are 4 interactive ways to make the most of your time in Rio.
1) See and Be Seen on “Olympic Boulevard”
This formerly-abandoned port area at the edge of Rio’s business and financial district is now a new leisure area for citizens and spectators. The pre-Olympic transformation required quite a bit of work: blowing down a viaduct created Orla Conde, a 3Km-extension boardwalk with stunning views of Guanabara bay, named after a former late mayor of Rio, Luiz Paulo Conde.
During the Games, Orla Conde is essentially the “Olympic Boulevard,” as this is where many spectators hang out before and after the games. There boulevard has three performance stages plus several screens displaying live sport broadcasts throughout the day. Food trucks and free activities such as a hot air balloon that goes up 150m and bungee jump add to the fun and keep company to the Olympic Cauldron which was brought to the area right after it was lit in the opening ceremony.
Olympic vibes in Ipanema
2) Visit the “Country Houses”
Having attended the London 2012 Olympics as well, I learned the importance of is “country houses.” In short, these hospitality houses give visitors an extra chance to meet and mingle with people from around the world. There are quite a few houses open to the public, with programs ranging from exhibitions and traditional food stalls to high-energy parties.
Here’s a quick rundown of the best “free houses.” Denmark’s house is in Ipanema beach, with Germany’s house just a few steps away. Then, there’s the Swiss House in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, the Russia house at the Copacabana fortress (stunning views), Austria and Qatar in the Botafogo neighborhood and Jamaica and Hungary set up house at the Jockey Club near the Botanic Garden. This time around, Portugal brought an old ship that is anchored just across Orla Conde, where the Finland House is also located.
3) Take in the City Lights
As with any major sporting event, there are countless parties happening around the city, many of which are open to the public. The Rooftop Jeffrey is a free artsy party held at a hotel at Copacabana beach and hosted by Jeffrey craft beer (a Carioca start-up that’s helping change Rio’s nightlife scene). Swing by after 5pm for “how to be a carioca” classes and DJ’s spinning until 2am in the morning. Your last chance to get in on the action is August 21st so act fast!
Planning a trip post-Olympics? Fellow bloggers, A Cruising Couple, rounded up a few of their favorite views and yes, they’re open year-round.
4) Have Drinks with a View
Another local hotspot at the Games is Clubhouse Rio, an ubercool member’s club nestled in the hills at the edge of Ipanema. Naturally, the views here are pretty impressive. A pop-up bar by Argentinian Florería Atlántico (elected more than once the best Latin American cocktail bar) is installed in the pool from Thursdays through Saturdays in August, from 5pm to 1am. Sundays are reserved for the Sunset Lounge from 3pm to 10pm if that’s more your style. Take advantage of free entry by emailing your name to the guest list at RSVP@clubhouserio.com.
5) Shop ‘til you Drop
Rio is a major shopping destination any time or year, but the Olympics sweeten the deal…no pun intended. Since Orla Conde is the official “Olympic Boulevard,” you’ll find unique items there that you can’t find anywhere else. Remember to check Grabr before heading back to the airport, as new orders might have rolled in. Just as fellow travelers are eager to snatch up local goods, the opposite is true for the locals. Right now, you could deliver a gaming video card, an iPad and and Sony Playstation and earn $215 in traveler rewards.
Want to earn money on your trip to Brazil? Our travelers have already earned $1,082 heading to Rio and $5353 jetting off to Sao Paulo…in case you need an extra excuse for a weekend getaway. But seriously, though, there are still $18,000 worth of rewards waiting to be claimed. That’s your flight and then some! Make it happen.