Rio de Janeiro/Zona OesteRio de Janeiro is the farthest zone from city center and is home to the richest and poorest neighborhoods in Rio.
Nightlife in Rio is not all about the historic downtown. On the other side of South Zone lies the West Zone. And special attention should be paid to Barra da Tijuca. Barra as it is called, and its surroundings are now the most expanding neighborhoods of Rio, and entertainment is the big deal over there. Enormous shopping centers are good for shopping (of course) and have cinemas and bowling alleys to offer. But the clubs are the pièce de résistance of the neighborhood. Filled with young good-looking boys and girls (you have to be eighteen to go in), the clubs of Barra are a 'must' among foreigners.
This zone is spread out and can be less safe than other parts of the city, so a car is the best way to get around. BRT buses are also a good option if you pĺan on remaining close to Avenida das Américas, although they can get very crowded during peak hours.
phone: +55 21 2108-8954address: Av. Marechal Fontenelle - SulacapGood collection of planes, engines, etc. and a chance to see how Air Traffic Control works.
Barra Woodsaddress: Av. das Americas, km.6 - Barra da TijucaThis 560,000-m² park is one of the most visited green areas in the Zona Oeste, with a lake, walking trails through the woods, large lawns, playgrounds, and sporting facilities.
phone: +55 21 2490-2429address: Estrada do Pontal 3295 - Recreio dos BandeirantesThe area's most important collection of popular arts and crafts.
Chico Mendes Ecological Parkphone: +55 21 2437-6400address: Avenida Jarbas de Carvalho 679 - Recreio dos BandeirantesThis 43-hectare park has walking trails through a preserved section of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest). They also offer a guided tour of the habitats of several local endangered species, including the three-toed sloth, the broad-snouted caiman, and the red-footed tortoise. There is an exhibit hall with exhibits on local wildlife.
Pedra Branca State Parkphone: +55 21 2446-4557The largest ecological park in the city, and the largest urban forest in the world, with 12,500 hectares. Vegetation is typical of the old Atlantic forest, and fauna includes ocelots, sloths, armadillos, and toucans. Beyond the nature, there are also ruins of several structures, such as old farmhouses.
Church of Our Lady of Loretoaddress: Ladeira da Freguesia, 375, Freguesia, JacarepaguáWEeest
phone: +55 21 3331-0371address: 1125, Av. de Santa Cruz, RealengoA modern church
Church of Saint Ceciliaaddress: 185, Rua da Feira, Bangu
Cidade das ArtesLarge complex with cultural events at the heart of Barra.
Barra da Tijuca beach
Recreio dos Bandeirantes beach
Abricó beachnudist beach
There are many surfing schools all along the Barra beach that hold one and half hour surfing classes. The classes are fairly inexpensive and are mostly populated with locals. Some of the surf instructors do speak English.
Pedra do TelégrafoHike up this 354-m-high mountain and enjoy a beautiful view. Famous for the "cliffhanger images", which can be taken on top.
address: Estrada dos Bandeirantes, 24.000A water park with over 40 attractions, located in Vargem Grande.
phone: +55 21 3089-1100address: Avenida das Américas 4666 - Barra da TijucaThe largest mall in South America, and one of the most popular malls in the city. Leather goods are some of the best bargains here. Shoes and belts are especially inexpensive. Kopenhagen chocolate shop has some of the best chocolates. It is quite nice to stop and have a coffee at one of the several coffee shops and people watch. Many of the guards are rather attractive ladies, but are quite serious about their job. Special buses are available to take tourists here.
Downtown Barra da TijucaAn urban development intended to match the density and mixed-use nature of a traditional downtown area. There are many shops, botiques, cafes, restaurants, offices, and a movie theater complex. A small park can be found nestled in a quiet corner of the complex. At night, the shops close and the nightlife begins. Live music can be found at any of several restaurants. When the music is particularly good, the area around Barril 8000 basically turns into a street party.
phone: +55 21 2432-4882address: Avenida das Américas 5000 - Barra da Tijuca
address: Avenida das Américas 7777 - Barra da TijucaThe poshest mall in the area. Top Brazilian designers have opened stores there, making it an option for the affluent population in Barra who does not want to drive to São Conrado Fashion Mall. The mall also has excellent restaurant options and two movie theaters. Much less crowded and a lot more charming than most shopping centers in Rio. Worth the visit.
Cabana do PepePepe was a famous hang glider who passed away in a hang gliding accident in Japan a few years ago. He started a sandwich shop on the beach that makes a variety of healthy sandwiches. Especially good are the fruit smoothies. Not to be missed. Cabana do Pepe is run by Pepe's widow. This is the most popular area of the Barra beach, and is the best area for people watching.
address: Estrada do Sacarrão 897 - Vargem GrandeAlpendre's menu is full of typical Brazilian cuisine from around the country.
Beco do Alemãophone: +55 21 2493-9326address: Avenida das Americas 1600 - Barra da TijucaAlthough unexpected it is delightful. Germany food in Rio! Fantastic breakfast and salad bar.
phone: +55 21 4104 4719address: Estrada do Pontal, 3091Excellent vegan option with three-course meals in a more lush quarter of Recreio. Offers pizza delivery on Saturdays. Prices can be a bit steep for locals.
phone: +55 21 2199-9191address: Avenida Ayrton Senna 2541 - Barra da TijucaThis churrascaria has unusually excellent meat and shrimp along with a salad bar and all the other standards of the genre. There is a monitored play area for children.
Bar do Baianoaddress: Rua do Imperador - RealengoBar with a varied schedule of live music from Monday to Saturday, covering all types of music, from jazz to choro.
phone: +55 (21) 2195-9900address: Avenida Lucio Costa, 5400