Hey, travelers! I don’t know if you guys are big fans of sports but I am. Because of that I spent the last couple weeks dedicating almost all of my free time to the olympic games. I always enjoyed watching it as a kid and this time guess what? The games were just here, in my home country! I have to say it was quite a good time, the energy was unbelievable and I’ve never witnessed such a beautiful event before. People were happy and the streets were packed! Just like carnival =) I even watched live one of our best athletes bring the gold… Definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
As I was saying Rio de Janeiro, the most popular destination in Brazil and probably in all South America just hosted the 2016 olympic games. It’s the first time the games are hosted by a South American country and over 10.500 athletes from approximately 205 nations were here competing and celebrating with us. The whole “party” started in august 5th and lasted until the 21 th , unfortunally less than a month because I have to say… It has been quite a good time down here. I’ll probably make a post telling all about my olympic experience real soon!
First of all the whole city has been trough a lot of changes in order to host the biggest sports event in the planet. Since 2009 when Rio was chosen over Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago (favorite at the time) the city has never seen before so many constructions sites. It was a dramatic change and never before so much has been done in the same amount of time.
And I´m not only talking about Olympic Villages and Stadiums. The legacy of the games goes a long way and if you are planning to visit Rio after august or it´s already here now I will tell you more about some of my particular favorite changes in the city and how they will make your stay even more pleasant than you thought it would be.
So lets talk about all the new hot spots you can visit because that’s pretty much what matters for us travelers, right? 😉
The Olympic Boulevard
My personal #1 favorite change in the city was in the area we call “Zona Portuária”. It’s downtown Rio and it used to be a completely neglected and abandoned neighborhood and most important very dangerous as well. When the revitalization started I was working just there in the middle of the hurricane. It was a big mess that looked like a war zone! But I have to say it was totally worth it. The place looks INCREDIBLE now. I could barely recognize when I first saw it. And if you are a fan of street art that is a MUST GO TO.
The place is covered with art and there you can find the biggest graffiti mural in the world (so far) according to the Olympic Boulevard website. It is a 3.000 square meter wall image called “Etnias”. The inspiration for it was the olympic arcs that represent all 5 continents once it displays 5 different indigenous people from each of those continents. And the man responsible for that is Eduardo Kobra, world famous Brazilian artist that has his work spread in more than 20 countries. I bet you don’t want to miss that so all you have to do is write down this address – Av. Rodrigues Alves, 241, Gambôa – and drop by when you have a chance!
Very close to that, in a walking distance, you can find two brand new museums that I highly recommend. They do not only have great exhibitions but also GREAT VIEWS. You will get some amazing pics I promise! Plus they are both located in the same square – Praça Mauá – so you can do all of that in a few hours.
The first one is the “Museu de Arte do Rio – MAR” wich means Rio Museum of Art.
Praça Mauá, 5, Centro.
That museum has only 3 years old and it’s really special because it is always displaying Brazilian art wich I think it´s a great way to dive in our culture and learn a bit more about our people. The building itself has a lot of history behind it since it´s both historical and modern. Actually to be fair there are 2 buildings that merge into one creating a unique style. First you can see the “Palacete Dom João VI” that was built in the first half of the 20th century and attached to it a completely restored building that used to work as bus terminal.
It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm and it costs R$ 10,00 or R$ 5,00 (students) to get in but Tuesdays are FREE (if you are older than 60 or younger than 5 it’s also free everyday :).
- More info: http://www.museudeartedorio.org.br/
Almost in front of MAR you will be able to see the sumptuous Museum of tomorrow or “Museu do amanhã”.
Praça Mauá, 1, Centro.
That is one of the most interesting and I have to say scary museums I’ve ever been to. I’ll tell you why… The whole idea is to explore, learn and mostly think about where we all come from and where we are heading to (that’s the scary part). Sustainability takes a very important part here once the main exhibition makes us stop to think how much we had already impacted our planet and all the possibilities of the future ahead of us. You should definitely reserve at least 3 hours to spend there. The facilities are very innovative and interactive wich keeps everyone interested, even the younger ones. The hours and days are the same as MAR (above) and it is also free on Tuesday!
Price is the same as well but you also have the option of buying the “bilhete único dos museus” wich is a ticket valid for 7 days that allows you in both of them for R$ 16,00 or 8,00 (if you are a student).
- More info: www.museudoamanha.org.br
Now let’s talk SAMBA
To rap it up the tour trough our “Porto Maravilha” you can stay in for some really good Brazilian music with cold (and cheap) beer and some very nice people at “Pedra do Sal”. They have a very traditional samba event that takes place every Monday around 7 pm and it´s pretty famous amongst the locals. It´s very simple and not luxurious at all but trust me you will have a good time and meet all sorts of people. It´s a public space so you don’t have to pay anything to be there. On Fridays they always have something going on as well, usually jazz, and it starts around that same time. The address is Rua Argemiro Bulcão, 1.
Well those are my personal favorites on that area that I think It’s worth a visit. And this comes from a local who has traveled a lot this past few years… I can tell you for sure it will not desapoint.
Anyways… I hear the next olympics are gonna be in Tokyo. See you guys there? 😛
Safe travels everyone =]