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One day simply isn't enough time to do Rio de Janeiro justice. But if one day is all you have, begin your day with an early morning walk along Ipanema beach. Stay for a couple hours to soak in some sun, enjoy a refreshing coconut water and see the lively beach scene. Then, catch the bus to Cosme Velho to see the single most recognizable icon of Rio, the Cristo Redentor statue. Ride the cogwheel train up Corcovado mountain, nabbing a seat on the right side of the train on the ascent for the best views of the city.
After snapping the mandatory photos in front of Cristo's open arms with the sprawling city below, head to the Jardim Botanico neighborhood and have lunch at the café in Parque Lage inside the gorgeous Italian villa. Then hop in a taxi and wind up the narrow cobblestone streets of Santa Teresa, Rio's artsy, bohemian neighborhood. Once up top, wander the streets, enjoying the eclectic architecture and the views of Rio below, stopping at Cafecito for a coffee, or picking up souvenirs in the artisan shops.
Hitch a ride with the bonde (trolley) down Santa Teresa's steep hills back into the city center, where you can grab a taxi to Urca in time to catch one of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world on top of Pão de Açucar mountain. Enjoy a lovely nighttime walk along the water in Urca and have dinner at Bar Urca — try the seafood stews and fried shrimp pastries. Finally, head back to the city center to Lapa, a neighborhood that explodes with people, music and activity at night. Get your feet moving to live samba as you sip a caipirinha (a lime and sugarcane liquor cocktail, Brazil's national drink) to round out the day.