Much of this guide is not food, but I have a few recommendations for easy gluten free eating. Brazil has been one of the easiest places to maintain a gluten free diet that I have experienced. I thought it would be challenging, but honestly it was quite simple. I have also included numerous other things to do in Rio, because it was absolutely wonderful. It was definitely one of the highlights of my 2016/2017 trip to South America!
I will begin by saying familiarize yourself with two basic foods in Rio/Brazil:
Açaí berries are native to the Amazon of Brazil and you will love the fresh açaí bowls that you can find on nearly every corner! Açaí bowls are all over the place, including little stands on the beach (barracas). Barracas were some of my favorite places!
Tapioca in Brazil is not what we think of as tapioca in America. Tapioca are crepe-like pancakes that are naturally gluten free! They are made with tapioca starch that is mixed with water, then soften through a fine sieve to produce a snow like powder. Then you sprint the powder like substance on a hot nonstick skillet and it quickly melts together to form the crepe. They flip super easily and you can fill them with just about anything! They are a popular street food in Brazil and are cooked to order with a variety of sweet and savory filling (cheese, shredded beef, guava, sweetened condensed milk, coconut, chocolate, etc). My favorite are the cheese and coconut ones!
I absolutely loved the barracas as you can grab some açaí, tapioca, or a caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime). They are probably not for everyone, but I actually loved them! Some you can grab your treats and head to the beach or sit at the barracas and hang with some local Brazilians.
Pão de queijo was delicious!! I am already so excited to make my own in America. Make sure and get some to eat now and some to save for later! I mean really, pão de queijo is small, so why not eat at least three…four…you decide, I won’t judge! I did not get to try the Açaí here, but heard it is also amazing.
We had delicious Thai food here. I highly recommend checking it out! The menu link is in Portuguese, so it may be hard to decide what you want ahead of time, but they will be able to help you once you get there. So go!!
I have also included some friendly travel recommendations/things to see while in Rio. It was such an amazing time and I enjoyed every second of it! We rented an Airbnb right off the beach, so we did a fair amount of cooking at the place versus eating out all the time. You can always find tapioca and açaí, so I recommend either of those. So here are some travel recommendations for when you go to Rio!
Traveling to Rio and need an affordable place to stay? Try Airbnb! I absolutely adore the service and have a great deal for both of us. New to Airbnb? Use this referral link and you will get $27 in travel credit!
THE MURALS FROM THE OLYMPICS!
You can read about the amazing graffiti art here.
It truly is something you need to see while you are there. Take some silly photos and enjoy a piece of history. I have no idea if they will stay up forever or not, but they are a great piece of art to enjoy.
CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE
You have to go see him and of course stand like him! Thankfully it wasn’t terribly crowded when we were there, but I think it all depends on the weather and the time of year.
The view from the top! If nothing else, you have to climb to the top here so that you can check out this amazing view of the city of Rio. It was a bit cloudy, but still absolutely stunning.
TRAM TO THE TOP OF SANTA TERESA
My friend and I were fortunate enough to sit next to some lovely English speaking folks while we were having lunch in Santa Teresa. We started chatting and they told us about this wonderful free tram that goes up to the top of Santa Teresa. Since we had the time, we ended up going back down and then riding the tram up because why not?! You’re on vacation – go experience everything you can, especially when it’s FREE!
SELARON STEPS OR ESCADARIA SELARÓN
You have to climb to the top of these if you can! They are absolutely beautiful and worth it. These are a set of world famous steps in Rio that are the work of artist Jorge Selarón. It was great to check another item off of the Rio list!