When travelling through South America I had the lucky chance to stay in Rio for 3 days. It’s a location I have always wanted to visit, well known for it’s fabulous city beaches, vibrant colours and fun atmosphere.
There’s not a ton of touristy spots to see in Rio – I took a jeep trip around the city to see all of the main attractions and landmarks and it only took a few hours. The highlight of the trip is the visit to the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Not a trip for you if you have claustrophobia or a fear of heights btw! You have to get 3 individual cable cars that fit near to 100 people in at a time but if you don’t mind the trip it is well worth it. The views from the top are spectacular.
I still can’t get over how beautiful the Brazilian beaches are but I was especially surprised with the beauty of the public beaches in the city. My favourite (probably due to it’s close proximity from our hotel) was the famous Copacabana beach. All the photo’s you see are taken on that beach. It’s crazy how busy it gets during the day but if you wake up nice and early for a little frolic you will catch the beach like this……….a real rarity in the city, but a reminder of just how beautiful the scenery in the area is. So easy to forget during the day when you can barley swing a cat!
During the day it’s a very different scene……..the entire beach is full of fun. Children and adults alike enjoying the freedom of the sand and sea – I have never visited a city that has such a friendly and lively atmosphere. Once again I have to take another moment to mention how clean these beaches were!
There are countless stools and restaurants providing deck chairs, refreshments and surfing lessons etc – so it’s kind of like staying on a resort, albeit a very crowded one! I found the beaches a bit too busy during the midday if I’m honest so I would hit them early in the morning and as the sun was going down to try and avoid the crowds.
One thing to note, and this goes for whatever time you are travelling to the beach – you don’t need to take anything! I left the hotel in my swim suit and sunnies – that would be it. The hubby had some cash in his trunks and that was us set for the day. You don’t need to take a beach bag full of bits and to be honest it’s not recommended as the beaches are so busy it would be quite difficult to keep your eye on your stuff. It’s best to just nip back to your hotel for bits and bobs during the day. We took the camera with us on just two occasions, and both times I took it in my waterproof ocean bag so that I could take it in the sea with me if I fancied a dip.
One thing that was totally unexpected was the fact that Brazil is the best place ever for SHOPPING! I spent at least 50% of my time in the city shopping and I picked up some really gorgeous bits – so much in fact that I was charged a small fortune in excess baggage fees on my return to London (doh!) so a word to the wise ladies – allow room when packing, if you have plans to visit Rio!
I’m sure there are countless travel posts listing ‘must see’s and do’s for Brazil’ but I have compiled a little list of my own suggestions if you are planning a trip to Rio:
– Go to the hairdressers – Get a famous Brazillian Blow dry from an actual Braziliian! I had a colour, cut and blow-dry whilst there and it was the best salon trip of my life – you may be able to spot the look change in these pics 😉
– Visit Lapa in the evening if you want a fun night out – it’s a very relaxed place but it’s always buzzing with people and there are countless laid back bars there for a casual and fun drink or two or three 😉 (No heels ladies – I wore some strappy 5inch heeled Jimmy Choos and felt like a whally – everyone was in Flip Flops)
– Whilst drinking in Lapa try one of the savoury cupcakes the bar staff offer throughout the evening. They are mostly chicken and cheese and they are amazing! Like a fondue muffin with chicken, one of the yummiest things I have ever tasted!
– Stay in a hotel as close to the beach as possible – that way you can take less stuff with you to have to worry about and also you have a toilet close by – the public loo lines go on for hours!
– Wear a thong on the beach! If you can’t do it in Brazil where can you? it’s such a free city and a city that loves women of all different shapes and sizes. I bought this black thong bikini whilst in Brazil (You won’t catch me in it again! but it’s a fun bucket list tick for Brazil ;)) Rio is a bare bottomed haven.
– Buy Havaianas for all your friends back home…..they are so cheap out there and shops are everywhere!
– Don’t believe the hype that the city is unsafe – just like any major city there is crime in Rio but don’t let that put you off visiting. I was worried before travelling as I had read so many comments and forums about not wearing jewellery and not dressing well to avoid being robbed. My husband and I were absolutely fine and I didn’t see any disruptions, obviously you need to be sensible but that is the case for all major cities.
– Visit the Favellas for a reality check – we took a private guided tour to the slums and it was amazing to see how a huge amount of the population live. It was also really educational with regards to the history and politics of the city – really interesting and definitely an eye opener. I didn’t take any photos out of respect but I would recommend this trip to have the chance to see a different side of the city, in every sense.
– Learn some Portuguese – I learned some standard phrases on the plane ride over and I am so glad I did. Portuguese and Spanish are the two main languages they speak and the majority of the taxi drivers and waiters don’t speak any english so it’s really helpful to know some basics- I also downloaded a few language apps on my phone for sticky situations!