For those seeking the authentic sounds of Brazil, the bars and cafés in Lapa, a bohemian neighborhood of 19th-century buildings is not to be missed. Samba and choro, the country’s traditional music, are only one part of Rio’s varied musical landscape – a one-of-a-kind fusion that includes Brazilian jazz, bossa nova, Afro-Caribbean funk and American jazz. Although Caipirinhas, Brazil’s signature lime and cachaça drink, are found aplenty from the street vendors in the Lapa district, a quality glass of wine to accompany a soulful evening of music cannot disappoint. Indeed, Brazil’s wineries are fast experiencing a naissance similar to its burgeoning cultural energy. A well-kept secret for truly discerning palates, the leading producers in the region are producing luxury vintages with a distinctive Brazilian flair.
Discerning palates satisfied, the eye is next – and the architectural gem as intriguiging as the works inside is doubtless Oscar Niemeyer’s Museu de Arte Contemporanea Niteroi. The saucer shaped building includes wraparound windows, a Hall of Exhibitions and a viewing gallery, while the breathtaking views of the surrounding sea and mountains is as memorable as its impressive collection of contemporary art. Its highly unusual design creates a distinctive space that magnifies the effect of the artworks: a true example of architecture and life in mutual effort.