By Nicole Froio, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Activities in sunny Rio can seem countless between the beaches and mountains, but with the end of summer approaching soon the Águas de Março (March rains) will arrive. Though famous for its outdoors scenery and beautiful beaches, the city is full of places to visit when a dry haven is needed.
On the top of the list is a trip to The Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil (CCBB – Brazil’s Bank Cultural Center), which has expositions all year long coming from around the world. The museum also has a café and a bookshop where souvenirs from the exhibitions can be bought to remember your visit.
Also in Centro is the Museu Histórico Nacional (National History Museum) for tourists who want to learn about Brazil and its history. The permanent exhibition tells the story of the country since its birth and it revives the Seventeenth Century with carriages that used to be owned by the Portuguese royal family and a historic war arsenal.
Spokesperson for the museum Angela Cardoso Guedes says it is a place to visit all year round. She said, “Visiting the Museu Histórico Nacional is an excellent activity for any day. It is without a doubt a great option for rainy days, especially for foreigners and tourists because it provides a wonderful vision of Brazil’s history until today!”
“All of our permanent exhibitions are modernized and have subtitles in English. We also offer audio guides in Portuguese, English and Spanish. There is a bistro in the museum called ‘The Line’ where lunch and snacks can be had,” Ms. Guedes explains.
While in Centro, another attraction is the Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theater) that has just been completely renovated inside and offers daily guided visits for R$5 with concession and R$10 without. Visits start at 11AM and end at 4PM.
Brazilian coffee is one of the most delicious in the world, so Rio is full of lovely cafés that have a relaxed and comfortable environment. Confeitaria Colombo, in Centro, is a hundred year old establishment that has beautiful architecture as well as wonderful cakes, breads and hot drinks. It’s a great place for a sit down and a book.
Other dry destinations while it is wet outside are Rio’s many shopping centers. Rio Sul Shopping, located in Botafogo boasts of 400 shops, a cinema, four floors of parking and a very diverse choice of restaurants. Shopping Leblon is slightly smaller, with 200 shops, a Cinemark and a theater as well.
When it comes to watching films, there are several other art house theaters showing international indie films (with Portuguese subtitles) as well. The Estação Ipanema theater in Ipanema is easy to get to, but the Cine Santa Teresa theater in Santa Teresa is also a nice excuse to go see one of Rio’s more picturesque neighborhoods.
If the rain isn’t more than a drizzle, a refreshing walk around Lagoa can be invigorating, as well as a trip to Jardim Botânico (Botanical Gardens) where the cost of the ticket is as cheap as R$5 and the smell of wet plants is cooling and energizing.
Rio de Janeiro is famous for its postcard sun-soaked beaches, but there is fun and culture to be discovered in the city even when it is pouring outside. These suggestions are focused on daytime activities, but of course Rio also has plenty of bars and clubs to explore at night as well.