Rio, the city world-famous for its beautiful beaches and equally beautiful people, where you can spend hours looking in awe at the views from the top of Sugar Loaf or Christ. Or maybe take a hike through the forest and perhaps reward yourself with an agua de coco under the shade of a beach sellers umbrella? And then it starts to rain. Everything stops, the Brazilians move inside – there’s even a saying that the Carioca is made of sugar and will melt in the rain. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly empty streets though, there is always something going on in the ‘cidade maravilhosa’.
Seek shelter from the downpour in Oscar Neimeyer’s brilliantly designed MAC Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroí, not technically in Rio but the boat trip across Guanabara Bay is worth it. Once you’ve marvelled at the works of art inside and the view outside (even if it is grey and rainy) as well as the ‘flying saucer’ building, grab a snack in the museums reasonably priced restaurant in the belly of the building.
Mirante da Boa Viagem, s/nº – Boa Viagem, Niterói
Prehaps the building isn’t quite as ‘space agey’ but the Museu Historico Nacional houses quite an extensive collection on paintings depicting Brazil’s history. There’s even a recreation of a naval battle during the war with Paraguay in 1865, plus a large pharmaceutical display which is suprisingly interesting.Pça. Marechal Âncora, s/nº – Centro
Ilha Fiscal, orginally built as a government custom house, but the setting was deemed too amazing for such a boring job, so it became ‘the gliterring jewel’ of Guanabara Bay, complete with Baroque architecture. It was also the venue for the last Imperial Ball, so you can pretend you’re royalty on the two hour guided tour.Avenida Alfredo Agache, s/n – Centro
Forte Copacabana, is still a working naval fort, you definately won’t forget that, as smart officers watch you with a careful eye. The munitions dumps are fascinating and, if you can bare to brave a few drops of rain, stick your head out onto the rocks to where the 305mm Krupp guns lie in wait. It’s really quite impressive. Once you have your military fix, enoy a long lunch at Confeitaria Colombo.Praça Coronel Eugênio Franco, 1 – Posto 6 – Copacabana
For the star gazers, head to the Planetarium where the massive space will keep you entertained (and dry) for hours. You may not be able to use the telescopes, but the 263 capacity dome recreates the night sky in impressive detail. Come back down to earth and enjoy the sushi at 00, why not stay all night when it turns into a club?R. Vice-Governador Rubens Berardo, 100 – Gávea
Pamper and Preen:
If going outside really is too much to bear, how about indulging in a spa day? At Viver Zen you can book yourself in for 3 hours of mud wraps, face masks and an oriental massage. When you’re done, you will be so relaxed you won’t even notice the rain!R. Vinícius de Moraes, 250 – Ipanema
Le Spa in Hotel Santa Teresa is also one to add to your list. With an extensive menu including; Bamboo Therapy, Candle Massage and the Anti Stress Passion Fruit or an Energetic Acai, you will be spoilt for choice. Make a whole day of it and book a table at the hotel’s reknowned Restaurant Tereze for your post massage treat – if the weather is really horrible, go back for seconds and try out the Ilheus Bath or a 2 hour couples massage complete with bloody marys.
Rua Almirante Alexandrino – Santa Teresa
A trip to the cinema is a classic rainy day activity and in true Rio style the VIP Cinema in Barra shopping centre is an experience in itself. Make yourself comfortable in the huge lounge chairs, whilst a waitress brings you whatever you desire. It really is first class movie watching.Avenida das Américas, 4.666 – Barra da Tijuca
A day at the Races:
The Jockey Club, whilst not the most obvious choice on a wet day, comes high on our list. Seek shelter from the rain in either the smarter Praça Santos Dumont grandstand or the more casual Turff Bar. Order a steak sandwich, a bucket of beer, place your bets and watch the races. There really is no better way to spend any afternoon.Praça Santos Dumont, 31 – Gávea
All you can Eat:
Brazil is famed for its ‘all you can eat’ culture, and the Porcão churrascaria, unashamedly lives up to this. You can easily spend the best part of a day, feasting on delicious cuts of meat that never seem to end. We recommend taking it easy to begin with – they save the best till last. When you’re suitibly stuffed simply flip your card onto the red side (although this means little to the waiters – be warned!)Av. Infante Dom Henrique, Aterro do Flamengo
Shop ’till you Drop:
Shopping. A staple in any self respecting Carioca’s life, where sleek air conditoned shopping malls provide a welcome break from the boiling sun or pouring rain. Shopping Leblon in the city’s smartest neighbourhood boasts every designer imaginable from; Dolce & Gabbana to Brazilian favourites like Auslander and Osklen. As well as dedicated wi-fi and relaxation zones for when you can’t shop anymore!Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco, 290