Rio de Janeiro is a must for everyone who likes city trips. It has one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen in my entire life and it also has one of the ugliest buildings in the world. I just have to mention it again. They are really ugly!!! But well, I can’t change it by complaining. Instead, I just enjoyed the hills, beaches, parks and the people in the City.
The first beach I went to was Praia Vermelha. Just after I attended a big night out in Lapa.
It is a small beach close to Sugar Loaf. I think it is the most charming beach in Rio.
We were dropped off by some locals. But at some point, the locals just drove off and left us at the beach. There were plenty of taxis so it was not a big problem but, to be honest Brazilians are usually one of the most friendly people in the world and I was simply not expecting something like that. But yes there are worse places to be dropped off :-).
I had wet shorts and the first taxi didn’t want to let me in. When I entered the second cab I hid my shorts from the driver (stood sideways and entered the taxi in the back) and it brought me to my hostel. So I was finally back at 9:00 in the morning. Thinking of the fact that two days before I was in bed with a fever.
Sugar Loaf was at first touristy place I visited. I went up there at sunset and it was an absolutely breath breaking view.
So I had a new cover for my Facebook :-). It’s a pity that you can’t go up Corcovado (Christ statue) at sunset because they close at 6pm, the same time when the sunset starts.
But in the case of Sugar Loaf, it’s possible. The cable cars work until 8pm.
The only spot you should not go by night is at the two brothers. It would be dangerous to go down there at night because it is very steep and at the bottom is also a favela. But the view from two brothers is also the best in my opinion during the day. You have to walk up for 50 min. along a very steep path. The advantage when you are on top is that there aren’t many tourists blocking your view.
You can also see the world’s biggest favela in the back of the hill. There are more than 500’000 people living in that place called “la Rocinha”.
As hostels in Rio often serve free Caipirinhas, you can easily experience a bad hangover the next day. Instead of doing nothing I suggest to go to the botanic garden. It is beautiful but you don’t have to do anything. So you can just enjoy nature by drinking a bottle of water and hang around there until you feel good enough to go to the next Caipirinha stand or wherever you want to go to.
If you still have hangover buy another bottle of water and go to the nearby Parque Lage and continue what you have been doing in the botanic gardens. As my hangover was not too bad I missed Parque Lage. I also need a good reason to come back to that amazing City in the future.
It is also nice to go to the stairs of Lapa in Santa Teresa.
It’s really impressive to see the result of a man’s hard work and dedication for an artwork. I mean these tiles have been all placed there by one single guy named Jorge Selarón. If you walk up the stairs and follow the street upwards and turn right, in the end, you will reach Parque das Ruinas.
It is an old church where they build new stairs and a platform with a nice panoramic view. There was also a band playing in the middle.
A center is a business place. You don’t need to go there unless you are in Rio for business. By the way, I stayed two nights in a hostel in Botafogo, 4 nights in Leblon and 3 nights in Lapa. It makes sense because for example, Lapa is only nice on Friday and Saturday; Leblon and Ipanema is a nice place to stay anyway. Just don’t go to the beaches at night unless you want to get robbed – or you want to rob someone… just kidding. Especially in Copacabana, there are loads of children trying to take the bags of swimming tourists by night.
The police would rather play with their smartphones than going there and do their job. To be honest it’s also frustrating for them because they can’t do anything against children because even if they catch them they have to let them go the next day. I never got robbed but I was at the beach when some friends from the hostel were swimming. They left their bags close to me but as 5 kids came across I could not save all of them because everything went so fast. They took two bags, a wallet, a camera and a smartphone. So stay where the people are and you are safer there. You just have to watch out for the pickpockets.
Close to Rio is an island called “Ilha Grande”. You can get there by bus and boat. On the island itself, there are no cars. You have to take either a boat to another beach or walk there. The island is a perfect place to relax and calms down from the parties of Rio. There are some tours with boats available. Pay close attention to the prices because not all of them are good so ask for a recommendation from other tourists or at your hostel or hotel.
A bit further down south, you can find Paraty. I can’t write a lot about it because I just stayed one day there. I also never went to the beach there. Instead, I went to a very nice river up in the woods where you can enjoy nature and have some good food.
From Paraty, it is not that far by bus to go to Sao Paulo. Sure Sao Paulo is not a very nice Destination for Tourism. It is a business City but it is one of the 5 largest Cities of the world and the biggest in South America.
There was also a huge Demonstration taking place when I was there. I never saw 1.4 Million people on the street before.
However, the best thing you can do as a tourist is going in some of the sky bars to enjoy the nice view over the ugly city.
If you go around for a bit you can still find some beautiful places like those graffiti arts on the wall.
Well as I am describing cities why not describe Porto Alegre as well… I flew there from Sao Paulo because I’ve found a very cheap flight.
It is very green and has a lot of parks. The buildings in the center are beautiful too. The best place to enjoy sunset is at the Gasometer.
It used to be a gas power plant then it became a prison and today it is a cultural center. At the river, you can always find stands selling food and drinks. Especially on Sundays, there are a lot of people watching the sunset.
But for bars and clubs, it is not the best place to stay in the center. After 8 pm everything is closed there and only homeless people hang around the place. For that reason, you should go to the district next to the center which is called Cidade Baixa.
I went to Florianopolis by night bus. Florianopolis is already very known for its nice beaches (I don’t have to further describe it here). I captured this nice sunset view so I will still post it here.