Check the other cities here: Travelling across South America in 15 Days
DISCLAIMER: If you think that Rio de Janeiro is a place where everybody dresses like these people and dance all the time, you’re wrong. For a Brazilian this is just too weird. But it can still be pretty cool in its way.
This has been an incredible journey so far. In the past ten days, we have showed you beauties and landscapes of amazing countries on the western coast of South America. The Caribbean coast in Santa Marta, the middle of the world in Ecuador, the salt desert in Bolivia, the ruins in Peru, the snow deserts in Patagonia and, more recently, your first day in Brazil, enjoying the urban landmarks of São Paulo. Now get ready for more action and amazing weather, because now you are arriving to the Brazil’s most famous city, Rio de Janeiro.
Rio is the second biggest city in Brazil and the third largest in South America. It is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro state and former Brazilian capital from 1793 to 1960. Lately Brazil has been receiving a lot of attention due to hosting the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Rio will be especially under the spotlight, because the Maracanã stadium – one of Brazil’s most famous football stadiums – located in Rio will be the one to host the final match.
Start your day early, because you are in one of the coolest cities of Brazil and there are loads of things to do and places to go. The first one is probably the most famous one, the Christ the Redeemer statue. It is one of the new seven wonders of the world. It stands on top of the Corcovado mountain, which is pretty impressive itself because it has an amazing panoramic view of the city. You can go on group visits and prices vary depending on how high you go. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures.
Rio is also very famous for its beaches. Like in Montevideo, its promenade extends for kilometers and features the best known beaches of the country. Ipanema and Copacabana are just two very nice examples, where you can comfortably sit in a chair under an umbrella and enjoy some beer or coconut water while you tan. They are also very good for surfers. In the neighborhood of Ipanema you can also enjoy the streets, full of boutiques, restaurants and cafes. In the General Osório square there is an open air market on Sundays, perfect to buy handcrafts and souvenirs. In Copacabana you can sit at one of the many kiosks at the promenade and enjoy a caipirinha while street artists make statues in the sand. The pattern of the floors are also a trademark of Rio, being designed by the architect Burle Marx.
And for some more city sightseeing, in a very special place in the city called Santa Teresa you can enjoy a ride in the cable car, watching once again a very nice landscape. There is a stop in the middle of the way to see the Chácara do Céu Museum, and the view from the top is another breath taker.
If you feel hungry by now, try the most popular meal in Brazil, the feijoada. A meal with several different sides, being the main one black beans cooked with pork pieces and vegetables. It is very heavy, so make sure you don’t eat a lot of it (unless you have a few spare hours to take a nap after you eat it).
Another very famous mountain in Rio is the Sugar Loaf, or Pão-de-açúcar in Portuguese. It is known to be the best place to view the city, the sea and the mountain ranges. Among other places, make sure you visit the Lapa arches as well, an architectural construction work that symbolizes Rio’s colonial period. Around the area, many bars are open at night, showing the most bohemian scene in the city. Relax, have some beer and get ready for your next stop, because next time we will travel north the city of Salvador!