Copa… Copacabana … Sing it with us!

There’s no denying Olympics 2016 hasn’t really caught our imaginations. It doesn’t help when news of the Zika virus has gotten all of us worried and scared and rumors abound of a city just not ready to host the biggest multi event sporting event on the planet. But some good news- India is now sending its largest ever contingent to the Olympics, with more than a hundred competitors and we have qualified for 13 disciplines. Our 16 member women’s hockey team has qualified for the first time in 30 years and we are sending our biggest contingent ever in athletics and we are breaking new ground by qualifying for sprinting and gymnastics (go Dipa Karmakar!) for the first time in our history.

So what’s the deal? Well tickets are still available for events and they are starting from around USD 45 for the Athletics final (cheap thrills anyone?) right up to USD 290 for the Swimming final (we have to see Katie Ledecky get her gold) and USD 620 for the opening ceremony and USD 322  for the closing. When to go? Well the Athletics runs from the 12th to the 21st, artistic gymnastics runs from the 8th to the 16th, swimming runs from the 6th to the 13th and all team sports run pretty much the whole way through so depending on what you want to see, we suggest going in on the 11th and staying for 10 days, catching the most of everything while you enjoy Rio de Janeiro and the closing ceremony. You can depend on us to give you enough guidance on what to Eat, See & Do in Rio over the next month or so.

Where do you stay? If you want to be next to venues, you should look for accommodation in Barra, Lagoa and Copacabana. Have a look at places a littler further out if you are unable to find places to stay, like Recreio and Ilha de Gigoia, an island within the Barra area. If you want to stay close to the water, we recommend Zona Sul, which has some of the best beaches, Copacabana, Leme, Arpoador, Ipanema and Leblon. I can see you singing the songs already. Don’t worry about being too far out because there will be special buses to the Olympic event you want.

While you can obviously go to a hotel (here are some recommendations) or Airbnb it, we suggest looking at a Pousada, small independent bread and breakfasts or boutique inns. While they might not be cheaper than a hotel, they will have tons of character. Most of them are large Colonial homes in and around Santa Teresa, which is the buzzy bohemian colonial part of town. But if you want the beach, you need to go to Zona Sul and those might not be around for too long. Here’s a great link for booking Pousadas.

Now let’s get to the travel advisory. The CDC has issued a Level 2 Alert, which means you can travel but with precaution while you are there. Pregnant women or women looking to become pregnant have been advised NOT to travel because the Zika virus infection can cause serious birth defects. Please see the latest CDC advisory and make an informed decision before you finalize your trip to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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