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48 Hours in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has been described as the place where heaven and Earth meet, and with its endless array of sparkling beaches, swatches of greenery, breathtaking rain forests and contagious spirit, we wholeheartedly agree.

Brazil’s beachfront jewel is a major New Year’s Eve destination for globetrotting partiers and there’s no better place to experience Carnival (9-14 February 2018). Both are bucket-list experiences. 

Only have a weekend to devote to Rio’s charms? No problem — we’ve got you covered.

Begin your Brazilian adventure by packing your SWIMS 48 Hour Holdall (grab your orange one to match the city’s festive spirit), and stocking it with your favorite SWIMS loafers, trunks and your favorite polos and tees for two days of non-stop adventure. Here’s what you don’t want to miss during your brief stay in Brazil’s top travel destination.

Hit the Beach
Rio de Janeiro has the kind of beaches that inspire legendary songs… think Girl from Ipanema. Lay your towel down on the white sand in Ipanema or Copacabana, or visit lesser-known beaches like Prainha. Regardless, some quality beach time is a must in Rio — the city literally revolves around the beach during peak summer months. With peacocking men and women of all shapes and sizes, the people watching is unmatched.

Soar Above the City
Rio is one of the best places to get a bird’s eye view of the land and sea while soaring through the sky. Book a tandem paragliding tour to get a view from the top of the world. Or, choose an unforgettable hang-gliding experience operated by former National Champion and Multi-Record holder Konrad Heilmann. If you have limited time, tours are the best way to make sure you get the most out of every second of your modern-good-life adventure.

Book a Capoeira Class
Capoeira, which incorporates music, dance and martial arts, was originally developed by slaves who wanted to hide their combat training from ruthless plantation owners. It became legal in the 1930s, and since then renowned schools have opened up around the city. You can watch Capoeira being practiced in the streets of Rio, or take a class to learn the nuances of this culturally significant martial art. Recommended schools where you can take a Capoeira class include Galpao das Artes, Grupo de Capoeira Angola and Centro Cultural Senzala.

Sip Brazil’s Legendary Caipirinha
This traditional Brazilian cocktail made with lime, sugar, ice and cachaça – a rum made from sugarcane that is native to Brazil, has evolved to include fruit and other flavors. From beachside bungalows to Amazon-inspired outdoor lounges, you can relax and sip them all over Rio. If you want to hit all of the best places to sample a caipirinha, Culture Trip has curated a list so you won’t waste a second of your 48 hours searching.

Peruse Rio’s Galleries
Walk off your lunch at one of the city’s lanchonetes (serve-yourself bars) by wandering through some of Rio’s art galleries, which feature everything from graffiti-inspired art to soul-soothing water colours. Because you’re on a time crunch, these six galleries are on Rio’s must-see list for art aficionados.

Savor the Tastes of Brazil
If you only try one new food while in Rio, make sure it’s the city’s famed feijoada, a bean stew. Condé Nast Traveller recommends getting this dish at Casa da Feijoada, a relaxed restaurant tucked away in Ipanema. If you’re a carnivore, Rio is the place for churrascaria, Brazilian-style barbecue. Lovers of sea fare will want to sample moquecas, a traditional Brazilian seafood stew. But, if you only have time for one fine-dining experience, the place to go is Confeitaria Colombo. This elegant restaurant is more than 100 years old and is synonymous with Rio’s cultural and artistic heritage.

No matter how you end up spending your 48 hours in Rio, we know you’ll come back with countless stories of a vibrant city and culture unlike any place in the world. 

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