Wow, going through my photos from Brazil really triggers all the amazing memories and places we visited on my last work trip (and 1st trip to Latin America - woo hoo, crossing off continents!). I really loved all the colors of Brazil, the fresh fruit juices, and all the funny, down-to-earth people we met. One thing I really took from this trip is the awesome spirit of Brazilian women I met. They were strong, passionate, had an amazing sense of humor, and fully utilized their femininity in asserting their power. I was really inspired by it and it was one of the strongest take aways for me from the trip.
Although I really had a lot of fun in Brazil and enjoyed my experience, one thing I'd have to say is that it is probably one of the first places I've been to where I didn't have that "I gotta move here" urge. Definitely nice to visit and explore, but I wouldn't have felt safe traveling alone in some pretty common parts of the cities. You really gotta be alert and take many precautions regarding your valuables, much more so than the usual common sense things you should do when traveling.
I'm going to keep this post brief as the photos speak for themselves, but below is a list of some of the non-obvious highlights for me in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Batman Alley (Beco Do Batman): Super photogenic / instagrammable, cool alley full of street art. The surrounding neighborhood is awesome too. I would take a lunch break at La da Venda. Very cute restaurant with great food and coffee.
Our Lady of Brazil Church: You'll walk in and immediately feel serenity. This is one of the most breath taking churches I've ever been too. It's small, but packed with beauty and grace.
Mani: A top 50 in the world restaurant that has really delicious food and drinks. Also, with the current exchange rates, it's really affordable considering the caliber and it's not difficult to get a reservation. Do yourself a favor and get the guava/foie gras bon bons. They are so amazing.
RIO DE JANEIRO:
Aprazível: We ended up going to this place after a failed mission to find the "bohemian" part of the Santa Tereza neighborhood in the sweltering heat, and this restaurant ended up being one of our very favorite spots of the trip. It has a super cute, tucked away in the forest vibe, with awesome views, delicious food, and I was pretty convinced this is where all the beautiful people go to eat (confirmed since Chiara Ferragni also ate here recently in an Instagram post). The octopus is amazing, and I love, love, loved their house special coffee / maracuja (passion fruit) caipirinha drink. GET IT.
Grand Hyatt Rio: We were lucky enough to stay here during the grand opening week, and I'd have to say the rooms were great, and the best part is really the beach in front of the hotel. Safe, clean, and beautiful waters. If you don't mind being a 45 min ride from the main Copacabana / Ipanema area, it's not a bad choice.
Ipanema: Ipanema beach over Copacabana beach, easily. Wish we just skipped straight to Ipanema actually.