Ten days in Rio was perfect. We weren’t rushed to see everything, had nice relaxing beach days and fun adventure tours. I suggest staying in Leblon or Ipanema if you’re coming to Rio and definitely use AirBnB. Even though I’m proud to say I completed my bucket list for this city, I now have more added for next time 🙂
- The Pantanal & Amazon Rainforest (Northern Brazil)
- Paraty: Cachaca distillery, boat excursion to nearby islands and beaches
- Hike Pedra da Gavea at sunrise
- Botanical Garden (Jardim Botanico)
- Professional soccer game at the Maracana Stadium
- Day trip to Ilha Grande
- Visit Buzios
Rio 2015 Bucket List Complete:
- Sugarloaf Mountain for sunset
- Posed like Christ the Redeemer
- Climbed the Lapa Stairs (Escadaria Selaron)
- Hiked Pico da Pedra Bonita
- Carnival blocos and Samba Parade at Sambodromo
- Danced the samba (not pictured)
- Visited a favela (Rocinha – largest favela approx. 150k residents)
- Hang gliding in Sao Conrado
Even though we saw and experienced A LOT during Carnival, part of me wishes we did more. I think we were both very cautious this first stop and didn’t want to over do it. More often than not, we felt like we were always walking in the opposite direction of everyone else, dressed in costumes, away from the fun. Where’s the party at? That’s when it’d be nice to have local advice and not just bank on “walking around” to figure it out. Oh darn, guess we’ll have to come back!
Overall, here’s my Pro/Con list for Rio de Janeiro:
Pros of Rio:
- Service on the beach — food, drinks, bathing suits, chairs/umbrellas, sunscreen, you name it!
- Drink in public — Obvious why this is a pro.
- No tipping — Makes your money go further and you don’t have to worry about screwing up the simple arithmetic.
- Dollar goes a long way — 1 USD = 2.87 Brazilian Real
- Weather — At times, this could be a con depending how you look at it. But typically Spring is colorful with some rain, Fall is not as colorful but still green and almost no rain, Winter can be 20ºC and no rain at all, Summer is hot/humid and a lot of storms.
- Locals are very nice and accommodating — At least once you find ones that speak English 🙂
- Fit lifestyle — Locals are always working out on the boardwalk.
Cons of Rio:
- No one speaks English — Charades is fun! 🙂
- Need a local to go to Carnival blocos with to show around and ensure you go to the best ones.
- Bad beer — But at least they only serve it cold, which helps! They use small glasses to serve the beer in and throw out warm beer.
- No vegetables — Only meat and french fries.
- Eat dinner late (9/10pm) – I’m starving!
And there you have it, my friends. Rio de Janeiro in a nutshell!
Thanks to everyone who helped make our time in Rio unforgettable:
Marcio – Akira – Monique – Marcella – Rafa – Verdi – Dany – Lou – Jean – Carmen