I arrived in Rio at 7am, went through passport control and security really quickly and a person from my hostel was waiting in arrivals for me with a sign with my name on (I always like that!).
The hostel I stayed at is called Lisetonga hostel not too far from the famous Copacabana beach (but up a very big hill!) it has a great atmosphere and friendly welcome.
The thing that hit me most when I arrived was the heat!! It was 30c and still so early in the morning. I headed out to Copacabana beach but after a couple of hours had to head back, I was hot, tired and hungry.. Not a good combination. I had a well needed nap in the afternoon and then I had it in my head that I would head to Sugarloaf mountain to watch the sunset but after not being able to find the bus that I needed I gave up and just headed to the beach to watch the sun go down.
I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by Rio, I had been spoken to in Portuguese many times already and could only say in English that I didn’t understand (which didn’t help) and I was still very tired and hot.
I knew I wanted to see all the big sites and iconic spots so I booked a tour through the hostel for the next day and I’m soo glad I did!
The tour was with ‘Be a local’ who were a great company. We visited all the major sites- sugarloaf mountain to see the views over the city. Rio has a tendency to cloud over so just as we got the second cable car to the top all of a sudden we were in a cloud and couldn’t see any views! Luckily it soon passed and the views from the top were incredible!
Next we headed to Christ the Redeemer. The queues were horrendous (apparently we picked one of the busiest days of the year) and waited for about 2 hours before getting a mini van right to the top but I was with good company in the tour and we discussed travel plans and tips on South America so it passed and there was a good breeze being so high up.
We finally got our van to the top and then had a few steps to climb until we got to the Christ himself. He wasn’t as big as I actually imagined, about 38 metres But the mountain he is perched on is 700 metres so I guess it makes up for it. Once up here there were hoards of people but I expected that so I pushed my way to the middle to get a few snaps as well as a selfie with him although the angle is very hard to get! A lot of people were lying on the floor trying to get pictures of someone else with the statue!
It was pretty cloudy up there too so there weren’t any views but we got the view from sugarloaf so it was ok!
Next we headed to the famous Lapa steps as seen in Snoop Doggs video Beautiful. The tiles on the steps were collected from all over to world by a man called Jorge selaron. It took him 10 years to put them altogether from 1990. He was actually found dead on the stairs in 2013 and they don’t know why or who by but reckon it was probably drug related. He used to hang around the steps and meet the tourists though as my friend has a picture with him when he was there in 2012.
I was so pleased with the ‘Be a local’ company I booked a favela trip with them for the next day which will be in the next post.
After 3 days and 3 nights I finally felt comfortable in Rio and saw everything I wanted to. I didn’t get to Ipanemia beach but sometimes you have to accept that you don’t have the time or motivation to do it all.
My next stop was Paraty a few hours down the coast from Rio.
Would I go back to Rio? Yes! but only with company and not in the middle of their summer!
Tip: I would stay near Ipanema beach if I was to come again. It seems a bit quieter and safer with a good neighbour feel about it and the sunset from the beach is really good (so I heard).