Rio was everything I thought it would be and more! Great nightlife, beautiful beaches, epic scenery and world class landmarks. There’s plenty to do and see so here are my best bits!
Christ the Redeemer
This iconic landmark is THE must-see attraction in Rio. Located atop the Corcovado Mountain and can be seen from any point in Rio. As one of the 7 wonders of the world it’s top of the list for anyone visiting Rio and for good reason! Not only will you be blown away by the statues sheer size (100 feet high) but the surrounding harbour views are equally as impressive.
Sugar Loaf Mountain
Take the cable cart to the top of Rio’s most unique natural landmark. At 1300ft high it offers spectacular views of Ipanema and Guanabara Bay. The panoramic views at the top are breath-taking, especially at sunset.
Rio has two main beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana and although both are stunning beaches Ipanema is the smaller, laid back, prettier one of the two. The beach itself is beautiful but the sunsets take it to the next level!
Hint: Climb up the rocks at the side for the perfect photo opportunity.
The world famous Copacabana beach is right next door to Ipanema and is twice the size covering 4km. The beach is lined with plenty of hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and home of beautiful people! Beach body game is strong on Copacabana, and they like to flaunt it wearing little as possible.
This public artwork is one of Rios best loved attractions and distinctive landmarks. Jorge Selaron, a Chilean artist spent his entire life transforming the 215 steps using colourful, hand-painted tiles. The artwork reflects Rio’s vibrant colourful personality
Take a Favela tour to see the real Rio, it was one of the most enjoyable tours I’ve ever been on and probably the highlight of Rio!
It was educational and eye opening giving an understanding of what life is really like for many of Rio’s inhabitants (1.4 million to be precise). It gives great insight into how these societies operate.
The Favela was based on steep hills so the tour starts by jumping on the back of mopeds and clinging on for dear life as you race towards the top, this alone is an experience in itself! Once at the top you take a walking tour down to the bottom learning about how the Favelas operate and their turbulent relationship with local gangs, the government and the police.
Learn how gangs run the Favelas and look after the local communities, how the police have no control over what goes on inside them, how locals sell their roof space top others to build on top of, how police raids on unstable favelas end in blood shed on both sides and how the government couldn’t cope if they didn’t exist.
“So, have you ever been to a Real Party!!” – Leo, Titanic!
The answer is NO! No you haven’t! Just like Rose you haven’t been to a real party until you’ve been to a Brazilian Party. I went to a club situated in the Favelas but sadly forgotten the name, its where all the locals go to shake their tail feather! It’s the place to head to party like a Brazilian! It even made an appearance in the brilliant film “City of God”.
In the Favelas I hear you say! Are you Mental! Not quite! I wouldn’t expect you to make your own way there, get drunk, lost, then wander home alone at 4am hoping you don’t run into a gang! No, there is a tour company which offer to take you, look after you all night and bring you back safely! The club has a brilliant atmosphere and centred in the middle is a live Brazilian band so expect lots of drum beats. It was the best night out I had in Brazil.
The Street Parties are also not to be missed.
At first I was a bit apprehensive about going to Rio because of the stories I’d heard about armed robberies! I met a couple in Bolivia a few weeks earlier who said they got robbed at Gunpoint in Rio and a friend had been held up there a few months prior to that! However at no point did I myself feel threatened and absolutely LOVED the city!
Like with every other major city you just need to use common sense! Don’t carry much money on you and don’t wander into dodgy areas, stick to the main tourist spots and you will be fine! With that said here are some safety tips
- Don’t wander along the beaches at night. They’re quite a distance from the main road (especially Copacabana) and quiet at night so can make for a prime mugging spot! A word of warning I heard before arriving.
- When in doubt Taxi it out! Especially after dark! If you find yourself off the main tourist route in a dodgy area its best to try and get a taxi to somewhere familiar as opposed to wandering the streets.
- Just carry what you need! Moneywise carry only what you need for the day, as opposed to carrying your passport just take a photo copy and hotel card with your address on can always come in handy.