Cidade Maravilhosa – is quite possibly the most accurate description of Rio de Janeiro, where the marvels manifest themselves at every turn of your head.
Set in a surreal location, this gigantic hustle-bustle Brazilian epicentre is the perfect marriage between nature and urban sprawl, green and concrete and glitz and ghetto. There are islands that go on and on as you look out onto the bay, mountains that touch the clouds, skyscrapers and favelas abound. I was blown away.
Ipanema beach is the glitz strip, where even in the middle of “winter” the sun shines bright at 28 degrees minimum. Play beach volley ball, tan, and meet loads of Cariocas. Copacabana, the rebellious little sister beach, is also a great time.
Pao de Açucar & Corcovado are two musts on the tourist trail.
If you have an extra day, rent a bike in Ipanema, take the bike path along both these beaches, and then go inland and ride around Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas – you can rent by the hour, ask your hotel/hostel concierge for the closest bike shop. You’ll get great views of montains close by and far far away, and you can go straight to the sand when you’re all done.
Eat churrasco, sushi cones, and anything else you can find.
More of Rio in our next post! (Street parties, Santa Teresa, and Samba)