Top 5 things to do in Rio

If you’re going to be in Rio for the Olympics, or indeed at any time, you will of course want to visit the famous attractions such as Sugarloaf, Christ the Redeemer and the Copacabana beach. Once you’ve done all of that, here are my top 5 tips of things you really should do before you leave.

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A little overdressed for the beach

After a bit of a grey week, wall to wall sunshine on a Sunday can mean only one thing: a day at the beach. It’s great how quickly I’ve become a regular at my particular part of the Copacabana. My chair guy waves to me as I stand waiting to cross the road and my lounger is waiting for me by the time the lights turn red. At around £1 for a days rental, plus £1 for my chilled fresh coconut, a day at the beach is very inexpensive. No sooner am I comfortable in my spot, than the beach vendors approach. I am constantly amazed at the selection of items for sale. All of the usual beach paraphernalia – glasses, hats, sarongs, jewellery, swimwear – plus selfie sticks, paintings, whistles, T-shirts, bags and even rugs. Even more amazing is the vast selection of food and drink – pies, pasties, trays of watermelon, crisps, nuts, prawn skewers, beer, cocktails, sandwiches, ice cream, acai  – and even guys dragging around small charcoal BBQs to grill cheese kebabs. Everyone approaches and everyone moves along if you are not interested. It’s very polite and very friendly and that’s because people do buy and the vendors make sales and it all just works without being pushy.

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Bip Bip – a Rio institution

Bip Bip is not much more than a hole in the wall, but since the late 1960s it has been one of Rio’s favourite spots to catch a live roda de samba (informal samba played around a table). It was a bit chilly as we made our way over to the venue, wrapped in raincoats we were better dressed for a wet night out in Brighton, but obviously the weather is no deterrent for those wanting to be part of this authentic experience and we had no trouble finding the place as it was one of the few bars showing any signs of life on a miserable Tuesday night.

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