Brazil, Ecotourism, Latin America, Preserving Culture, Travel Guides, Voyage

A QUICK GUIDE TO RIO DE JANEIRO

Something strange happens when you arrive in Rio de Janeiro; time starts to fly by faster than you’ve ever experienced. 10 days there feels like half of that amount, and by the time you’ve finished your trip and sat on the plane to go home, your head will be spinning. I for one was not ready to leave.
Of all the vibrant cities I’ve visited, none have ever lifted my spirit and got under my skin as Rio did.
Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by tropical forests, mountains towering above buildings, colorful bohemian villages and my favorite…miles and miles of white sand beaches.
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For breakfast, Pão de Queijo and a coffee. For lunch … well I’ll be honest, I’d grab some more Pão de Queijo because it was so tasty and also GLUTEN FREE which is a bonus for those of us that are coeliac. And for dinner I would recommend trusting your taste buds because this city really has it all! Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Lebanese and Moroccan. This is a reflection of the diversity of the citizens of Rio and Brazil alike. After dinner I either walked along Leme beach or went for a drink in one of Rio’s “hidden” bars. The bars in Rio are disguised as cafes, restaurants and even as clothes shops if you’re in Copacabana.
These are very popular with the locals and you soon learn that in Brazil they drink a lot of beer and Caipirinhas. They have no need for music in most bars, instead there is a warm and welcoming atmosphere created by chatter, which helps as you soon find yourself submerged in colorful conversations with locals and other travelers. My adventures in Rio led me to the lagoon of Rodrigo de Freita where I hired a bike and completed a lap of the 7km circuit, whilst observing the Olympic set up of white tents, metal barriers and themed banners.
Whilst you are out this way it is a good idea to visit the Botanical Gardens and keep in mind that this place is BIG so it might be a good idea to put comfortable shoes on!
Take a trip to Lapa to see one of the tourist spots: Escadaria Selaron. Be warned this place is busy but sometimes it’s worth being part of the crowd.
For a breather I’d recommend walking up the steps to Santa Teresa. Up the hill only 10 minutes away it doesn’t feel like you’re in Rio anymore. It’s so quiet, the streets are cobbled and there is a tram line. The views of the city from the Parque das Ruinas (despite the clouds when I visited) is also worth the walk.
One of the best parts of my 10-day Carioca life was my time spent in Copacabana to see how many people were running, cycling, skateboarding and walking along the beachfront. And you never feel out of place in Rio because everybody looks like a carioca, especially when you wear ‘Fio Dental’ which basically means thong bikini, or if you ride rollerblades along Copacabana boardwalk in brightly patterned leggings! It’s a refreshing feeling when everyone is out and about being active and socializing and don’t forget, this is their winter. I’d take 25C winters any day!
I honestly think that If I returned to Rio and someone stuck a ‘Coco Verde’ in my hand and put me on Praia Vermelha, you’d never see me again.
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