Rio, famous for its carnaval, Copacabana beach and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. But also for its slums and big contrast between the rich and the poor, big skyscrapers are built next to the slums. And next to it being a city of crime (watch out for pickpockets) it’s also a city of soccer. Some of the biggest players grew up here like Pelé and Ronaldo.
We took a bus from Paraty to Rio and bought 2 bustickets at the local busterminal which left at 9:20 am (bus company Costa Verde, cost 78 Real p.p). It is a short ride and they dropped us around 2 pm in Rio at the terminal called Rodoviaria Novo Rio. Here you will find plenty of taxis and a tourist information point who directed us to the local busstation on the otherside of the street. There we took the Trocal 2 to our stay near the Copacabana (3,80 Real p.p.)
At the end of our stay in Rio we arranged an Ubertaxi to the airport from Copacabana beach which costed us: 40 Real.
We didn’t go out for dinner once. We really enjoyed having our own kitchen and preparing our own food. There are plenty of restaurants, you’ll find them on every street corner. We found this article online about the 38 essential Rio de Janeiro Restaurants that might be useful for finding a good restaurant: Best restaurants of Rio
Staying in Rio can be expensive. Staying in Rio during the Carnaval can be 3-4 times more expensive! We booked our accommodation months before but it got cancelled by the host about 2 weeks before we were going to Rio. Damn! We spent quite some hours on several booking sites and got really lucky with finding Flat Hilario right next to the Copacabana.
We had our own small apartment with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom including a great shower and washing machine. The building is really safe, is about a 2 minute walk from the Copacabana and has a big supermarket across the street where you can buy all the ingredients for the best home made meals. We loved it here!
** You can find them on booking.com
We planned our South America around the carnaval in Rio because this was something we really wanted to experience. Even though a lot of Brazilians get out of Rio for the carnaval, most tourists come here to experience this festa. We heard and read that every neighborhood has its own little celebration and we were looking forward to strolling though the city and walking from one party to another, seeing beautiful women dressed up for carnaval in little bikinis and with big feathers on their heads. Well, we got that a little wrong.
To see these type of parades and dressing up, you have to go to the big parade but that is expensive. When we looked online the cheapest tickets were 100 USD. So we missed out on that because we didn’t want to spent that much money. We did find some nice parties at the Copacabana and Ipanama beach. Funny fact: people bring their drinks in big cooler containers. Other people make money out of this by selling crushed ice to keep the drinks in the containers cool. Smart thinking!
CHRIST THE REDEEMER
You can’t think of Rio (maybe even Brazil) without thinking of the big statue of Christ the Redeemer. This 38 meter high statue is the landmark of the city and we thought this was a must visit for Rio. We got that wrong, again..
To get to this statue from Rio you have two options, by train or by van. We got on a van at the Largo Do Marchado Square to the statue (cost 45 Real p.p.). When we got there, we were a bit disappointed. You see the statue from up close, but that is all there is to see. The view is ok but not really great and it was so crowded when we got there. You have to jump over people laying on the ground taking photos of others standing with their arms wide, like the statue and almost hitting you in the face. It is impressive to see from up close, but it is way prettier from a distance.
And the perfect spot for that, (seeing Christ the Redeemer from a distance) is Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is one of the places that was better than we hoped for. First of all they have a Havaianas store and since all the stores in the city were closed due to te carnaval, we were happy we could buy some pairs here for the sweet Brazilian prices. Good souvenirs!
But the view from here is amazing! Especially during sunset. We got here early so we spent quite some time walking around at the first platform. By the time the sunset started, we got on the second gondola and had an even better view overlooking Rio with a beautiful colored sky. The cost of the cablecar up is 76 Real p.p. and it is money well spent.
FREE WALKING TOUR
Even though we’re not big fans of guided tours, we did sign up for the Free Walking Tour organized by Free Walker Tours since we did like it in Paraty. The tour started with some nice background info about Rio and the old colonial neighborhood called Lapa. But after about 30 minutes we found ourselves not really paying attention to what the girl was telling since it was almost impossible to hear her due to the carnaval music everywhere. We decided to leave the tour and walk around on our own. But, it probably is a nice tour when its more quiet. You can sign up at: www.freewalkertours.com
OTHER THINGS 2 DO