Rio de Janeiro for beginners

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Rio de Janeiro for beginners

          “Wonderful city” or “Cidade maravilhosa” (in Brazilian Portuguese): This is how Rio de Janeiro is usually called by locals and travellers fascinated by its beauty, lifestyle and history! If you are planning to spend a time in South America, Rio de Janeiro should definitely be in your trip plans, so here are the Top 5 Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro for first-time travellers:

05. Carioca Aqueduct

Arqueduto Carioca

Arcos da Lapa no Arqueduto Carioca

          Built in the middle of 18th century to bring fresh water from a local river to the population of the city, the Carioca Aqueduct attracts all sort of tourists spending their time in Rio, not only for its architecture, symbol of the Portuguese colony but also for its privileged location in the downtown area of the city.

          During the day, the area is full of people seeking to see the white Arcs of Lapa, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, the Candelária Church besides taking a ride in the Tram of Santa Teresa, a recently refurbished stylish tram that goes above the arcs of lapa providing an outstanding view of the old city of Rio de Janeiro and Santa Teresa suburb.

          On weekends night (which starts on thursday in Brazil lol ) the Carioca Aqueduct becomes one of the most bohemian areas of the cities, always packed of locals and tourists hanging out in bars, pubs and night clubs trying delicious Caipirinhas and not so delicious Brazilian beers. Nightlife in Brazil usually starts quite late, around 12:30 a.m. and always goes till morning, so, do not blame your last night caipirinha when you miss your flight next morning (just sayin’) :)

04. Selarón Steps

Escadaria Selaron

Escadaria Selaron and I!

          Still around the downtown area, Selarón steps is another destinations for those who enjoy relaxing in a more urban environment being in touch with local workers and beggars. The steps were designed in 1990 by Jorge Selarón a South American artist who decided to use broken pieces of different types of ceramic to set up a coloured path that represents somehow Rio lifestyle. The area is also full of nice pubs and bars where you can see the history of the city and its influence over Brazilian history hanging on the walls in pictures and also being told in Brazilian typical loud voice by the locals.

          “The work has featured in many famous magazines, newspapers, travel shows, documentaries and commercials. National Geographic Channel, American Express, Coca-cola, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Time and Playboy are just some of the media that the steps have appeared in/on. It has also featured in numerous music videos such as Snoop Dogg’s Beautiful, as well as U2 also filming there. In 2009 the steps were featured in Rio’s 2016 Olympic bid video “The Passion Unites Us”. The steps were also featured in the show The Amazing Race 18 where teams were tasked to find a tile resembling a route info sign.

03. Sugarloaf Mountain

Shugarloaf

Sugarloaf from the Mirante Dona Marta

          Sugarloaf Mountain or “Pão de Açúcar” is definitely one of the most representative postcards of the city (and so of the country) and has this name due to its similarity to the blocks of sugar produced in the country during colony times (when sugar was commercialised in block and not refined). Located in the Guanabara bay, south area of the city, the peak raises 396m above the water and is known worldwide for its cableway and panoramic views of the city.

          Everybody can travel in cable car! To reach the top, passengers take two cable car trips; the first ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca, 220 meters high. The second car ascends to the Sugarloaf. The bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360 degree views of the surrounding city and the climb takes three minutes from start to finish. To buy your tickets ar check dates and time, please click here.

 

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o2. Copacabana & Ipanema Beaches

Ipanema Beach

Sunset in Ipanema Beach

          If you are a beach-lover like me, this is probably gonna be your favourite spot in the sun in the city as it’s for me! One of the most famous beaches in the globe, Copacabana beach is located at the Atlantic shore stretching from the lifeguard watchtower two (Posto Dois) lifeguard watchtower six (Posto Seis). Along all Copacabana beach are hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, residential buildings offering from the most exquisite and expensive service (vide Copacabana Place Hotel) to the most churlish and cheap one (see Walking on the Beach Hostel). The beach area is multifaceted, is diverse, as it is Brazilian culture and that’s what makes the beach (and the whole city) alive and vivid as we can see in the Copacabana Fireworks in the New Year’s Eve, one of the biggest firework shows in the world.

          Ipanema beach is located right after Copacabana Beach separated by the Arpoador Rock, and, as well as the first one, Ipanema is packed of life and diverse services attending all the types of public. Ipanema has, though, more impressive views of the peaks along the coast what makes the sunset from there an outstanding picture (vide image above). It is not uncommon to hear from locals that Ipanema is somehow more fancy and expensive than Copacabana, what makes things over there even more diverse as Ipanema is also closer to the favelas (famous Brazilian slums) than no other touristic area.

          It is important to say that, unfortunately, this area and so the whole city suffers with serious public security issues so safeguarding your belongings (and if it is possible not even bringing them out of the accommodation) is a must.

 

01. Christ the Redeemer

Christ the redeemer

Christ and I!

          Finally him! The most iconic symbol of Rio de Janeiro and perhaps also of Brazil, the huge statue on the top of the Corcovado Mountain was built in 1931 (after 9 years of construction) and restored in 1990. Cristo Redentor (in Brazilian Portuguese) is a symbol of Christianity across the world and was listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

          You can visit the Christ by van (click here) or trem (click here), both ways costing something between R$52,00 an R$64,00, (around $15,00 – $20,00 American dollars). Vans and trens departs from the Posto 2 of Copacabana Beach or from Largo do Machado, another amazing suburb of the city that we are going to talk about in a non first-trip post :)

          With wide opened arms above the Guanabara Bay, the Rio de Janeiro Christ blesses the whole city according to the cariocas (locals from Rio). Well, what we know about it is that, whoever or whatever blessed this city, it definitely blessed by the amazing views that can be seen from Corcovado, the peculiar lifestyle of the locals and the inspiring history of the Place.

Yes, the Redeemer has made a exceptional job here and “O Rio de Janeiro continua lindo!”.

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