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Life at the beach
From LAX, Varig has direct flights (one stop, no change of planes) to Rio de Janeiro. United, American, Continental and Lan Chile offer connecting service (change of planes). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $827.
To call numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 55 (country code for Brazil), 21 (area code for Rio) and local number.
WHERE TO STAY:
Copacabana Palace, 1702 Avenida Atlantica; 2548-7070, fax 2235-7330, http://www.copacabanapalace.com.br . Legendary and still luxurious, the Palace has a prime spot on Copacabana Beach. Doubles $395.
Everest Rio, 1117 Rua Prudente de Morais; 2525-2222, fax 2521-3198, http://www.everest.com.br . Modern hotel in Ipanema, but not on the beach. Still, there are great views of the beach and the lagoon from its top-floor restaurant (where they mix a dandy caipirinha). Doubles $114.
Rio Copa, 370 Avenida Princesa Isabel (Copacabana); 2546-9500, http://www.riocopa.com/ingles/rio/index.asp . On a busy street about three blocks off the beach, but the low rates are a compensation. Clean, comfortable doubles from $66.
WHERE TO EAT:
Fellini, 104 Rua General Urquiza, Leblon Beach; 2511-3600. Inexpensive self-serve place good for a quick lunch on a beach day. Salad bar and Italian and Brazilian entrees. You pay by the weight of the food. Typical lunch $6.
Marius, 290 Avenida Atlantica, Leme; 2542-2393. The churrascuria against which others are measured. Famous for the parade of skewer-bearing waiters, but its salad bar also is incredible. Dinner for two about $50 with drinks.
Mistura Fina, 3207 Avenida Borges de Medeiros (near the lagoon); 2537-2844, http://www.misturafina.com.br/historia.html . Elegant setting with Brazilian and European cuisine to match. Typical dinner for two $90 with wine.
Taberna da Gloria, 32A Rua do Russel; 2265-7835. Great for dinner on Sundays, when families crowd the place. It has huge servings, so you may want to share the entrees.
TO LEARN MORE:
Riotur, the City of Rio Tourism Authority, 3601 Aviation Blvd., Suite 2100, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266; (310) 643 2638, http://www.riodejaneiro-turismo.com .
Brazilian Consulate General, 8484 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 711, Beverly Hills, CA 90211; (323) 651-2664, fax (323) 651-1274, http://www.brazilian-consulate.org . Visa processing fee is $100 per person.
— Jerry V. Haines