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For nightlife, take a cab from your hotel to Lapa, a ramshackle neighbourhood on the edge of the central business district. Here you will join young and old, native and foreigner, sipping caipirinhas and listening to the sounds of samba spill out onto the streets. Two popular venues are the big and bustling Scenarium, with three floors and multiple stages or the smaller Carioca de Gema

Go local
Most visitors cannot leave Rio without at least one of local designer Gilson Martins’ famously colourful handbags, backpacks, suitcases or wallets. Many pay homage to local icons, such as the Brazilian flag or the famous Corcovado “Christ the Redeemer” statue that looms over the city. To see his full line, visit stores in Copacabana or Ipanema. The best part about Martins’ arty works is that you cannot get them outside of Brazil, so they make great souvenirs to bring home.

Do not do this
While Rio is quickly emerging as a power player in the world stage, street crime remains a persistent problem. Visitors should not flaunt expensive jewellery, cameras or electronics when walking around outside, and should always take taxicabs at night. 

 Chris McGinnis is the business travel columnist for BBC Travel

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