Lovely Rio! Your beaches, people, panoramas are still in my mind. The city, that has everything for an ideal life…
The last trip to Brazil was one of the most spontaneous in my life. It was the last moment decision. My friend called me describing the best city in the world with white beaches and blue lagunes. It was a mutual decision to hurry up to vacations to Rio. So, the next day we were standing at the airport with our bags full of beach clothes, waiting for the flight.
If you have ever watched films about Rio, you can imagine chilling atmosphere of the city of beaches, football, carnival and samba. It’s so relaxed and easeful that you can start to believe you are in paradise.
If you head to the Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvelous City, as Rio is known in Brazil, there are 10 things that you definitely have to do there:
1.Hit the beach
According to various guides, Rio de Janeiro is a home for 23 beaches! You probably won’t have time to visit each one of them, but you can not leave Rio without at least a short stop at two of its most famous ones, the magnificent Copacabana and Ipanema and Leblon. These beaches stretch over several miles and various areas of the beach have their own characteristics and attract a somewhat different type of crowd.
When foreigners think “Rio de Janeiro” or “Brazil”, Copacabana Beach immediately comes to their minds. First days we lived in Copacabana, so, we started and finished our days with beautiful views of the coast.
We didn’t want just to sightsee, we preferred “Site do!” Got out of the hotel cocoon, seeking out authentic “site-doing” experiences we became active participants in our travels, not just a passive sightseers.
So, we strolled down Prainha Beach, top spot for surfing, on early mornings and late afternoons to see dozens of surfers in action. Surfing is as big in Rio as the waves that pound the beaches all along it’s coastline. We had really good surf techers, that helped me to stand on the serf and catch waves.
2. Watch the best sun set
As if Rio isn’t beautiful enough by day, when the sun starts the dip below the horizon the whole skyline takes on a golden glow. And with so many peaks above the city, there are plenty of lookout points to enjoy the last rays of sunshine while sipping a caipirinha.
Sincerely, I’ve never seen such beautiful sun sets, I was waiting for them each day of our trip. In the clear sky they are even more marvellous, every time it looks like a big orange is sinking in the mirror.
3. Get inspired by panoramas
I don’t belong to the group of tourists, that want to visit every single museum in the city. But if you are in Rio, you must see at least two sightseings of the city: Corcovado and Sugar Loaf. For sure, they have the best panoramas for the city.
4. Aim high
Rio de Janeiro sells itself on images of white sand beaches with a bright city lights backdrop. The perfect blend of tropical and urban. But, it does not like to talk about how those twinkling city lights are mostly made up of favelas.
It is one of Rio’s greatest ironies that its poorest residents have the best view of the city. Favelas are the Brazilian version of ghettos. Look up into the hills and you’ll see shanty towns – known as favelas.
Until nowadays many of these favelas were too dangerous to enter, dominated by drugs gangs, out of reach of the police, and encapsulated in all their violent glory in the film City of God. Anyway, a lot of tourists want to visit favelas in order to immerse themselves into Rio’s real life.
5. Dance all night long
Nothing comes more naturally to Rio citizens than dancing. It is the city that never sleeps. So we tapped out feet to the uniquely Brazilian styles of music such as samba, bossa nova, funk, and pagode that echo from the myriad clubs and live-music venues. A night out in in Lapa or a chic Ipanema nightclubs is a fantastic experience.
6. Feel the nature
Know that the key to traveling is to actually experience a new destination rather than just going to see it. For example, I always try to find amazing landscapes in each city.
In that case, we went to the Ilha Grande to bask in the beauty of the endlessly breathtaking landscapes that unfold between mountains and ocean. This island is full of romantic views, so we met a lot of couples that wanted to sneak out from the magapolis to be together.
7.Try exotic fruit
Every day I started with a glass of fresh juice. It’s awesome, that you can buy fresh fruit or juices at every corner. I’m sure we tried each kind of fruit or juice in this city.
8. Meet Cariocas
If you want to know the city, the best way is to find there friends or just talk with locals. Otherwise, it seals off the potential for meeting all kinds of interesting people and having awesome adventures. People in Rio are very open, so, they will give you some tourist tips and give you a hand, if you are in trouble.
9. Do the shopping
Shopping in Rio de Janeiro isn’t that cheap, but there are some really nice things to buy. Actually some of the stuff is a real value for money. I couldn’t miss a chance to buy some clothes from Brazilian designers. The true is that I didn’t expect Rio to have such chick brands. So, I returned to BsAs with my baggage two times bigger.
10. See the carnival
Carnival is the highest season in Rio. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. Festivities attract thousands of people from all corners of the world. As you can guess, we didnt see the carnival, but I’ve already planned to come to Rio next year in the “right time” to watch this spectacular performance!
I spent a magnificent week in Rio-de-Janeiro, but this short time is not enough for this city. I went to Buenos Aires being absolutely inspired by Brazil and dream to go there again!
photo: Lizzy Donchenko
Don’t be shy to follow your dreams!
Your Darya Yakovleva.