Once sated, head over to the helipad and take one of Helisight’s panoramic flights. These range from a six-minute whirl along the beaches up to a 60-minute extravaganza that takes in the whole city and crosses the bay to Niteroi to admire Oscar Niemeyer’s Ufo-like MAC museum. There’s no better way to understand this gorgeous, voluptuous city than from the air.
Take the cable car back down and a short cab ride to Urca, one of Rio’s best-kept secrets. Nestled in a bay below Sugarloaf Mountain, the district is a haven of 1920s architecture with a quiet, cosy charm. Best of all is Bar Urca, a traditional bar and restaurant facing the waterfront. Cariocas sit on the seawall here to soak up the sunset, slipping across the road for bottles of beer from the simple bar. Take your time and relax. Order a shrimp pie or two as well. The old-fashioned restaurant upstairs turns out superb, classic seafood dishes too.