By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Love is in the air this Wednesday, June 12th, as “Dia dos Namorados” (Lovers’ Day) comes around. Chosen for its proximity to St. Anthony’s Day, on June 13th, Dia dos Namorados is celebrated similarly to Valentine’s Day, with couples exchanging gifts and spending time together celebrating their love. In the spirit of the day, here are a few romantic things to do in Rio de Janeiro.
“For something really unforgettable, why not embark on a sunset yacht cruise along the waters of Rio, with champagne, strawberries and Brazilian snacks?” suggests Amber Johnson, Chief Alchemist from Alchemy Strategy marketing and events in Rio. She suggests the package available with XperienceRio, a company specializing in custom tours of the city.
Tom Le Mesurier, from Eat Rio Food Tours, has a fantastically imaginative suggestion. “I would stick a chilled bottle of Brazilian bubbly, something like Casa Perini, in a backpack and take your someone special to Parque Catacumba.”
He continues: “Climb the trail to one of the two stunning lookout points, which are usually far less crowded than Dois Irmãos and Pedra Bonita. Pop the cork at the top, and maybe even the question?”
For a special candlelit dinner, Rio has an abundant number of low-key yet sophisticated restaurants. “Le Pulê in Ipanema is a great place for a romantic meal,” comments Bel Seixas, from Caminhos Language Centre. Le Pulê is a French restaurant run by the same owners as the famous Canastra bar, also in Ipanema.
For an intimate meal with a view, Johnson suggests the special Dia dos Namorados menu at the Alloro al Miramar on Copacabana beach. “The five-star Italian cuisine is made by Roman chef Renato Ialenti. You’ll have a great panorama of Copacabana beach, along with the choice of a four-course set dinner with sparkling wine, or the option of a wine tasting with each course.”
As for romantic activities and getaways, Rio is full of surprising places to take your loved one. “Why not take your other half in a swan-shaped “pedalinho” (pedal boat) for a romantic boat ride around the Lagoa?” comments Seixas.
For the more adventurous, Seixas suggests Ilha da Gigoia in Barra da Tijuca: “It’s a picturesque little place with lots of nice restaurants, perfect for a romantic dinner. Or you could even go on a day trip to the beautiful Ilha de Paquetá and have a bike ride around the island.”
“Closer to home there’s El Born in Copacabana, which do great tapas and cocktails,” she adds. “It’s also a Brazilian tradition for those lacking a lover to go to church on the day after Dia dos Namorados and pray to Saint Anthony for a boyfriend or girlfriend. So that’s always something to bear in mind!”