So you're stopping over in Rio, and don't know what to do for a day, or where to stay. Here are a few options I recommend, based on my stay there this week.
Arrival in Rio: Tuesday 3PM
Departure from Rio: Wednesday 4PM
LEAVING THE AIRPORT
A cab ride from the city to the airport will run you under BRL 70 if you'll be staying in Ipanema or Copacabana. I personally like to use the regular official taxis, but if you have the jitters, you can use one of the executive services (50% more expensive). They all compete, but have roughly the same rate. The cab ride from GIG to Ipanema will take you about 45 minutes.
STAYING IN IPANEMA
The song says it all, "The Girl from Ipanema", and that's where you should stay. There are 2 sister hotels there, the Arpoador Inn and the Hotel Ipanema Inn that are great. My preference is for the former, as it is right on the beach, but the latter is just a block away and is where I stayed this time around.
Honestly, for one day in Rio, I do not need great amenities, and this hotel is my second choice after the Arpoador Inn
PAO DE AZUCAR - THE SUGARLOAF MOUNTAINS
A truly breathtaking view of Rio, and if you can go at Sunset or Sunrise, you'll be in for a special treat. From Ipanema, it's a BR40.00 round trip taxi fare, and another BR53 on site to get on the trams. Pictures really do speak louder than words, so here are 3 shots from the Pao de Azucar mountains as the night sets in.
WHERE TO EAT
On this occasion, friends took me to a delicious sushi in Jardims (round trip fare is also BR40 from Ipanema). Food was good, and they have a domestic Sake that's the best value for money on the menu.
THE MORNING AFTER
If you had one or two sakes too many, then you'll need to rehydrate. While the Ipanema Inn has a nice buffet, You should really head to the beach and get some fresh Coconut water. You'll find many huts that sell these along Ipanema beach, and for BR4, they'll cut a coconut open for you, and once you're done with the water, they'll gladly open the coconut for you to eat the flesh. On a sunny day, with the coconut in hand, overlooking the beach and the adjoining mountains, it's hard to forget that life is good.