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As I lay as still as I could on the baking sand of Ipanema beach, humming The Girl from Ipanema in a bid to distract myself from my throbbing head, I cursed myself for leaving the hostel. Even the refreshing taste of acai (a berry native to Brazil that’s packed with antioxidants – the perfect hangover cure) and the calming sound of the crashing waves couldn’t cure me of what would turn out to be the worst hangover of my life. I mean MY LIFE.

This is not quite how I had imagined spending my time on one of the world’s most famous beaches.

It was the cachaça that had done it; it turns out caipirinhas are deceptively potent despite the refreshing minty taste (and usually served in foot long glasses from street kiosks in Lapa). But, it’s hard not to get caught up in the infectious activity of the samba-loving city; every…

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