Your Guide To Brazil For The World Cup

world2Photo: Courtesy of Casa Beleza.
To say we're insanely pumped for the games in Brazil — that would be putting it mildly. And, if you happen to be the envy of all humanity and actually booked a ticket to the land of samba and sun, we’ve created the ultimate guide to conquering the Cup. While the games will be hosted in 12 stadiums all across the country, we've honed in on the beach cities of Salvador de Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. Because to skip the beach in Brazil would be a terrible sin.
Click on for the best spots to dine, booze, relax, and explore. Then when you're sun-beat, head to the most gorgeous hotels to rest your weary head. Hours of cheering and one too many caipirinhas is hard work. Don't have a ticket? It's not too late!
Rio de Janeiro
Where To Stay Discovery Hostel: Nestled on a tree-lined, cobblestone street, this wallet-friendly option will spare you the noise and claustrophobia of the Cup crowds but ensure you’re game-ready nonetheless. Plus, it’s steps away from the metro and will fuel you up with a complimentary breakfast so you won’t pass out mid-match.
Benjamin Constant 26, Gloria, Rio de Janeiro; +55 (21) 3449-0672.
Casa Beleza: A converted 1930s mansion, this B&B is tucked away in the artsy Santa Teresa nabe. Sip a cocktail poolside or venture up the secluded garden path and seek some post-Cup zen with sweeping views of the Bay of Guanabara and the mountains.
Rua Laurinda Santos Lobo, 311 - Santa Teresa; +55 (21) 2224-7403.
Belmond Copacabana Palace: Built in the 1920s, this Art Deco landmark’s past clientele has included starlets like Bridget Bardot, Madonna, Princess Diana, and Marilyn Monroe. If you’re up for a splurge, you won’t regret the Olympic pool or three-story spa, perfect for some unwinding.
Avenida Atlântica 1702, Rio de Janeiro; 800-237-1236.
radishPhoto: Courtesy of Casa Fat Radish.
Where To Eat
Bar do Arnaudo: Dine like a local and opt for carne del sol (sun-dried beef) or escondidinho — a Brazilian take on Shepherd's pie — made with jerked beef and yucca.
Rua Almirante Alexandrino 316b Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro; +55 (21) 2210 0817.
Churrascaria Majorica: For those with a carnivorous streak, hit up this traditional Brazilian steakhouse. Waiters come around with rotisserie-style cuts on huge skewers, so you can pile meat on meat on meat.
Rua Senador Vergueiro, 11 - Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro; +55 (21) 2205 6820.
Botecos: Satisfy a sudden hunger pang with a pit stop at one of the city’s hundred botecos: teeny cafes serving up hot (and seriously addicting) empadinhas — baked or deep-fried mini pies stuffed with spiced beef, pork, cheese, potato, or vegetables.
All around the city.
Casa Fat Radish: A spin-off of the NYC location, this pop-up is part farm-to-table dining, part sexy clubhouse, complete with pool, cocktail bar provided by Absolut Elyx, and World Cup screening room. It’s only open for a month during the games, so stop in for the five-course tasting menu, featuring locally inspired fare such as nori-dusted tuna loin with avocado wasabi puree or seared local beef with kale pesto, braised spelt, and roasted squash.
Rua Dr. Julio Otoni 444, Santa Teresa.

Where To Drink:

Academia da Cachaça: The walls of this local watering hole are lined with dozens of bottles of cachaça, the sugarcane liquor that's the foundation of the caipirinha, Rio's most famous cocktail. As the caipirinhas keep flowing, don’t forget to look up — the ceiling is carefully adorned with hundreds of streamers forming the Brazilian flag.
Rua Conde de Bernadotte, 26 - Leblon; +55 (21) 2239-1542.
Rio Scenarium: Located in the heart of old Rio, this dance hot spot features multiple levels with rotating samba bands, so you’ll never be grooving to the same song. Skip the food but stay for the caipirinha specials.
Rua do Lavradio, 20 - Centro; +55 21 3147 9000.
Garota de Ipanema: Rumor has it that this beachside drinkery inspired the 1960s hit, ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’ Reality has it that you can still hear really good live bossa nova.
Vinicius de Morais 49-Ipanema; +55 (21) 2522-0340.
rexusa_2081793aPhoto: Cultura/REX USA.

If You Need A Soccer Break

Ipanema Beach: Even the most insane soccer fan has to tear away from a match to sneak in some coveted Brazilian sand-and-surf time. Skip Copacabana, which can be crowded, and head to Ipanema, the pinnacle of beautiful-people watching. Admire the scantily clad locals while sipping on the juice of freshly severed coconut from the barzhinhos de praia (beach bars). The white sands and views of Dois Irmãos Mountains aren’t bad either.

Pedra do Sol: For an authentic Samba experience, head to this sloping boulder — the name literally translates to ‘rock of salt’ — widely believed to be the origin of early carnival parade. Every Monday and Friday at 7 p.m., locals cram the tiny plaza, transforming it into something like Dirty Dancing, the Southern Hemisphere edition. There’s a smattering of bars around the square too, for those that need a dose of liquid courage.
Rua Argemiro Bulcão, Centro.
Jardim Botânico: Founded by the King of Portugal in the 19th century, this off-beat natural reserve is a sweet escape from the concrete jungle. Marvel at the insanely huge Amazonian lily pads.
Rua Jardim Botânico, 1008; +55 (21) 3874-1808.
Escadaria Selarón: When you're channeling your inner creative in bohemian Santa Teresa, sneak a peek at this mosaic staircase, the work of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. The flurry of colors will inspire even the most devoted city dweller to ditch the black uniform and slip into something brighter.
Rua Manuel Carneiro
world3Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Aram Yami.
Salvador de Bahia
Where To Stay
Hostel Galeria 13: Quite possibly the only hostel with a swimming pool, this outpost is a short 10-minute walk from the Arena Fonte Nova and includes breakfast AND a free caipirinha happy hour every afternoon.
Rua da Ordem Terceira N23 Pelourinho; +55 (71) 3266-5609.
Pousada Casa Vila Bela: Nestled among colorful baroque facades in the Old Town, this 17th-century restored bed and breakfast is for the soccer fan that is also secretly a history buff.
Rua do Carmo, 64 - Santo Antônio; +55 (71) 3243-0909.
Aram Yami Hotel: A former colonial residence, this rustic hillside hotel retains its Old World charm but with a splash of modern touches — like a rooftop pool. Plus, it's easy to justify the robust price tag: The hotel accepts donations of clothes and toys that it donates to NGOs in need.
Rua Direita de Santo Antônio, 132 - Santo Antônio Além do Carmo; +55 (71) 3242-9412.
majoricarioPhoto: Courtesy of Churrascaria Majorica.
Where To Eat
Tabuleiros do acarajé: For a quick bite, head to one of Salvador’s many acarajé stalls, where you’ll quickly become obsessed with the traditional Bahian, deep-fried balls of dough filled with shrimp, veggies, prawns, coconut, and hot peppers.
All around the city.
Maria Mata Mouro: The eatery was named after a Brazilian fictional character that insisted on taking pleasure in every bite. And with dozens of Bahian-inspired dishes to choose from, that’s certainly not an impossible feat in reality. Don’t skip the moqueca de pescado, a traditional fish stew.
Rua da Ordem Terceira, 8, Pelourinho; +55 (71) 3321-3929.
Hotel Villa Bahia Restaurant: Opt for the cheaper lunch menu at this hotel cafe, and you’ll score huge portions of traditional Brazilian cuisine for a bargain price. Try the octopus carpaccio, sea bass ceviche, or grilled catch of the day.
Largo do Cruzeiro de Sao Francisco, n 16/18 Pelourinho; 55 (71) 3322-4271.
Where To Drink
Bar da Ponta: To counteract the soccer madness, head to this chill wine bar at the end of the pier for a crowd void of sports adrenaline and soothing sunset views. You might involuntarily say, “Om."
Av. Contorno; +55 (71) 3326 2211.
O Cravinho: It’s known for its very cold beer, but this bar’s true specialty is cachaça. Sip on the most original clove cocktail or if your sweet tooth kicks in, opt for the passion fruit one.
Largo Terreiro de Jesus, 3 - Pelourinho; +55 (71) 3322-6759.
Cantina de Lua: A tourist hot spot, you will definitely run into fellow Cup-goers, which, hey, isn't such a bad thing. They serve caipirinhas just right and the terrace is one of the largest on the plaza.
Largo Terreiro de Jesus, 02 - Pelourinho; +55 (71) 3321-6388.
478367017Photo: Harvey Meston/Getty Images.
If You Need A Soccer Break
Olodum Performance: If it’s Tuesday night, head to the Pelourinho district where the streets come alive with Afro-Brazilian drummers from the Olodum ensemble — which once shared the stage with the King of Pop himself. The procession is a mix of tourists tangled in with locals and drops off groups at bars along the way.
Olodum, +55 (71) 3121-4154.
São Francisco Church: This Baroque temple is literally all-gold everythang, to the envy of Yeezus and other mortals alike. Marvel at the intricate woodwork and blue-and-white tile murals, considered some of the most beautiful in South America.
Rua da Ordem Terceira - Pelourinho.
Porto da Barra Beach: Rio tends to hog all the beach fame, but this beach stacks up real close. Not only is it less crowded, it’s one of the few shores that faces West, meaning you’ll score those coveted #sunset Insta shots.

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