- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Park and garden
- Place or Religious Monument
- Unesco World Heritage
My memory still retains a festival of colors, in the proper sense of the term, after my two week triparound Rio. At the end of the day, as I walked along the famous cobbled streets of Rio, from Copacabana to Ipanema, I really loved watching the crowds of Cariocas who eclipse the tourists. Their golden bodies on sun-loungers, sipping cocktails and the footballers on the orange sand…reminded me of the Astrud Gilberto song “The Girl from Ipanema” … “Tall and tan and young and lovely,The girl from Ipanema goes walking And when she passes, each one she passes goes, “Aaah…””
There's also the amazing view from Sugarloaf Mountain. Look out for hotels with roof terraces. Settle down in a shady bar and admire the picture postcard views!
Welcome to the kingdom of graffiti. If you're a fan of street art, you'll be spoilt for choice because the walls of the city are like open air art galleries. Some of the frescoes are really worth seeing – on street corners, by the side of the freeway, or in front of a school. So, keep a lookout!
When you’re traveling in Brazil and Rio in particular, take care, but stay cool! Rio de Janeiro enchants and astonishes, but you may find some of its facets shocking too. It’s the city’s contrasts that make it so special – the cohabitation of all the extremes which give it its terrible beauty and also its, sometimes, tough character. You can relax there, but you need to be sensible too. Dress simply and don't carry unnecessary items which would draw attention to you.Don't go into the favelas alone make sure you are accompanied. There are some eco-friendly agencies who offer guided tours.
If you want to go to the Carnival,there's no way of avoiding the thousands of tourists who come to experience the festival, but it's well worth seeing! Regarding accommodation, stay in a little pousada or take a room with a local. Many of the Cariocas offer rooms in their homes to travelers. For example, I stayed with a couple of artists in the quiet neighborhood of Vitoria Regia who shared their passions with me for a few days, took me to their favorite places, told me about their everyday lives and their view of the world. Use a local agent to find a room!
By meeting locals, your experience will be much more rewarding, eco-friendly, and safe. Above all, a city is about the people who live in it. So to get a taste of local life in Rio, there's nothing like sharing it with the locals!
So, when we say Rio de Janeiro, we think of fabulous beaches, luxurious vegetation, samba, football, mini bikinis, cocktails of all sorts, and joie de vivre. A bit clichéd...but still a fair summary!
Rio is really the perfect spot for those looking for a dream destination for their vacation that mixes total relaxation and city-based activities.
The city is bursting with places to visit. The iconic beaches of course, like Copacabana and Ipanema, or my favorite, Praia Arpoador, where you can watch mind-blowing sunsets.
For cultural visits there are numerous museums and galleries, including the Niteroi gallery of contemporary art, designed by Oscar Niemeyer; the hip Santa Teresa neighborhood; super samba nights in the Lapa neighborhood; Street Art in the form of hidden treasures to be discovered as you wander the little alleyways...
Rio is also a huge tropical forest, mountains, and the many islands facing it: more than enough for some great trips! Don't forget the two big symbols of the city, Sugarloaf Mountain and the Corcovado with its unrivalled view across Rio Bay. I'm just scratching the surface here, because as you'll discover, the city could be the subject of a vacation on its own.
The organised tours to the favelas are becoming an unmissable part of the city, but that's not really my thing, so I won't comment.
What can I add, apart from the fact that Rio de Janeiro is totally amazing? Oh yes, another surprising detail, the unrivalled welcome you get from the Cariocas (the residents of Rio) who will make you want to come back again and again.
A visit to Rio de Janeiro during a vacation in Brazil is essential. The Corcovado towers over Rio at 710 meters. The mountain bears that name and the statue of Christ the Redeemer stands at its summit, measures 38 meters in height and weighs 700 tons. it took five years to build. When we stopped on our climb, we were able to see the little marmosets up close. The weather today is a little cloudy, but the view is still fantastic.
We can see Sugarloaf Mountain, the beaches, Niteroi Bay, the racecourse, the stadium, the different neighborhoods of Rio, its favelas, and a whole lot more. From here, it's easier to understand why Guanarabara Bay is one of the most beautiful in the world.
We come back down via a different route into Tijuca Park. It is in fact a national park with many facilities. There's everything you need for a day in the country and way-marked tracks for trekking. We stop near a waterfall and go to a restaurant offering regional specialties. We eat a delicious "feijoada", the national dish, based on beans and pork.
Then we go to the most distant beaches in Rio (80 km of beaches, 40 of which are within the city) and return to the most famous, Copacabana Beach.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most legendary destinations. Its combination of sea, mountains, nature and city make it unique and give it its own particular atmosphere. There are countless places to see in Rio, though I do advise not organizing too much to do each day, mainly because the heat and general torpor will slow you down. And anyway, there's no better way of getting a feel for the city than to live the Carioca way, i.e. in a completely gentle and laid-back manner.
Of course, you have to go to the Corcovado or to Sugarloaf Mountain: we've all seen the images many times, but actually experiencing the climb up one or the other is really something special. Among the other essential places to see/things to do, in my opinion, are: a walk along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, including a stop at one of the stalls to drink an agua de coco, and a tour of the Centro, including the obligatory visits to the São Bento Monastery, a Carioca jewel of Baroque art, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Confeitaria Colombo bakery and cafe, where you can sample a brigadeiro, a traditional Brazilian sweet. The Botanical Garden, with its avenue of hundred-year-old palms, is definitely one of my favorite places in Rio de Janeiro. There are some very good restaurants to be found in the area around it. Spend an evening in the Bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa enjoying a caipirinha cocktail in one of the little bars.