Brazil has long been a destination for the rich and famous. Celebrities are attracted by the country's unique culture--the lights and colors of Carnival, the rhythms of samba, the non-stop parties--as well as the stunning natural beauty of Brazil. Miles and miles of white sand beaches and luxurious villas make a perfect getaway for celebrities who want to get away from it all and relax Brazilian style.
Rio de Janeiro is the city best known for celebrity sightings in Brazil. Big-name celebrities who have been spotted here in recent years include Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Brittany Spears, Harrison Ford, David Beckham, Kate Moss, and Jude Law. But plenty of Brazilian celebrities make their mark here as well. Soccer stars, Brazilian actors, and famous singers and songwriters have made the "Cidade Maravilhosa" (the Marvelous City) their home.
Those visiting Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games may want to catch a glimpse of A-listers during their stay. Here are several places where you just might see international and Brazilian celebrities and athletes:
Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel
One of the most luxurious hotels in Rio de Janeiro is the Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel, and it's certainly one of the most famous, too. This landmark hotel is a favorite among A-listers for its old-style glamour and iconic location overlooking Copacabana Beach.
This hotel opened its doors in 1923 and continues to attract the rich and famous for its excellent service, old-world glamour, and Michelin-starred Mee Restaurant.
Leblon Beach & Nightlife
Leblon is a quiet neighborhood where many of the city's wealthiest residents live in waterfront mansions. The neighborhood may not have the action that nearby Ipanema and Copacabana have, but it's one of the most exclusive and expensive parts of Rio de Janeiro.
You may be able to spot local celebrities at posto 11 on the beach here, but if not, there is also a lively bar and late-night restaurant scene in Leblon where celebrities might be spotted after dark.
This posh bar is located inside the Hotel Marina All Suites in the chic neighborhood of Leblon. People flock here for the trendy atmosphere and innovative cuisine, such as a pavlova with fruits and flowers, and flavorful cocktails thanks to the bar's mixologist, Tai Barbin.
Address: Av. Delfim Moreira 696, Leblon. Open daily 7 AM to 2 AM.
One of Rio's most luxurious hotels is Fasano Hotel, located across from Ipanema Beach in Rio's most exclusive neighborhood. Celebrities including David Beckham, Brittany Spears, and Kanye West have been sighted here.
If you can't stay in the hotel itself, you may want to take a peek inside at the interior designed by the famous designer/architect Philippe Starck or stay for a meal at Fasano al Mare, the hotel's renowned Italian restaurant.
Outside of Rio de Janeiro
If celebrity spotting is high on your list, you may want to consider getting out of Rio and going to one of the country's lesser-known destinations where celebrities love to escape to.
Trancoso, on the shore of the northeastern state of Bahia, is one such place where celebrities regularly stay. Anderson Cooper has sung Trancoso's praises after falling in love with its tranquil vibe and stunning location, and it appears that plenty of other celebs have followed in his footsteps. Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Gisele Bündchen, Calvin Klein, Matthew McConaughey, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Jessica Alba are just some of the celebrities that have been spotted in this tiny fishing village.
And finally, ask a local!
When visiting Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, feel free to ask a local for advice. Brazilians are open and friendly and generally love to help strangers. Brazilians in general also love celebrities and will probably be more than happy to suggest places for celebrity spotting...or even take you there themselves!