Looking across the Bay

The cities of Niterói and Rio face each other across the Guanabara Bay. They are linked by the largest urban bridge in the world, the Rio-Niterói Bridge. Cariocas (natives of Rio) and Fluminenses (Niterói natives) commute daily between the two cities, either by bus or car across the Bridge (approx. 20 min.), or by ferry boat (approx. 15 min.).

The boat terminal is located in downtown Niterói; the boats will leave you at Praça XV, in downtown Rio. The boat terminal is walking distance from Gragoatá campus. If you don’t feel like walking, you can either take the 47 bus across the piazza outside the campus gates, or a taxi (there is a cab stand to the right of this piazza).

On the lane opposite the Tower Ícarai hotel (crossing Av. Ari Parreiras) there are air-conditioned buses going to the International Airport (Galeão, #761D) and downtown Rio (Castelo). There are also air-conditioned buses (Gávea, #751D) that will take you all the way to Rio’s South Zone. The 751D will take you all the way to PUC (the Catholic University), in Gávea. You can visit the Botanical Gardens in this landmark neighborhood – practically inside the Atlantic Forest, before the real estate boom – where you can see the Christ at closer range.

Need to do your banking first?

In downtown NITERÓI: There are ATM machines at the Plaza Mall, across the street from the boat terminal.

In ICARÁI: There are banks with ATM machines all along Rua Gavião Peixoto.

In RIO: There are banks in every direction you look, all with ATM machines

In Zona Sul (especially Ipanema) there are tourist agencies with currency exchange all around.

ATT: All Banks close at 4:00PM. ATM machines at 10:00PM.

Once in downtown Rio, we recommend a quiche and salad at the Paço Imperial Bistro, facing you as you leave the ferry terminal. There you can relax in the sophisticated atmosphere and enjoy the current exhibit. of colonial architecture, the Paço was once home to the Viceroys and, during a short period, of King Dom João VI of Portugal. Rio became the court of the Portuguese Empire – which is why it is called Paço Imperial. From there, you are walking distance from the CCBB (the beautiful first Bank of Brazil, now a Cultural Center with art expositions, theater, cinema, coffee shop etc), on Av. 1 de Março. We recommend
going through Arco do Telles (where you can walk by Carmen Miranda’s house) until you reach CCBB (it’s a short walk). Or, in the opposite direction, in Cinelândia, you can see the gorgeous Municipal Theater and the National Library, originally brought over by Dom João in 1808, with 10,000 volumes (it’s currently the 8th largest collection in the world, with over 10 million volumes). From Cinelândia, you can see the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), at a slightly longer distance, on the edge of the Flamengo Park freeway.

There are many buses running from Praça XV to the South Zone (Zona Sul). Next to Menezes Cortes Terminal (across Praça XV, and then across Av. 1 de Março) you can take safe, comfortable, air-conditioned buses to Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon (final stop). The trip is short, and you can enjoy the view of Flamengo Park (the freeway crosses the park), the Sugar Loaf, the Corcovado, the little boats in the Guanabara Bay... 

Yellow Cabs in Rio are comfortable, cost-effective and VERY EASY to catch – you’ll see them by the dozens, just flag one! Carioca cabbies tend to be very polite, even if they sometimes speed a little.

You can spend the day in Copacabana or Ipanema, and from there walk along the beach all the way to Leblon, a restaurant haven – try having a gastronomic snack at Garcia & Rodrigues and then espresso at any of the cool coffee shops; go shopping in the upscale boutiques, visit the sophisticated bookstores...

Then… back again to Ipanema to see the sunset from Arpoador!

We also recommend the happy hour at Modern Sound, a traditional record store in Copacabana, with live, jazzy Brazilian music (Tues. thru Sat. 5 to 9PM; also serves light meals), and a joyful but relaxed atmosphere where music lovers like to bond (corner of Barata Ribeiro and Santa Clara streets). For night life, a good option are the samba houses in the old part of downtown Rio, from where you can see the photogenic Arcos da Lapa, and the little cable car climbing up to Santa Teresa, one of Rio’s oldest and quaintest neighborhoods. Once in the neighborhood, the options are infinite; but a favorite place for live music is Rio Scenarium, which used to be an antique shop, and still has the atmosphere! (reservations recommended for both activities).

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lunch breaks

The best and closest option is just outside the main gate of Gragoatá campus and caters mostly to the university public. You will be facing a small square; to the right of this square there is a small chapel – next to this you will see two restaurants: Tio Cotó and à Mineira. The latter serves from typical Brazilian food to simple but delicious fare (pasta, grilled meat and chicken, salads). The typical desserts are a must!

If you have time, you may prefer lunch at the MAC bistro.