In Rio, I slept in Books Hostel, which had been recommended to me by some Dutch girls I met in Itacare. Maybe “sleep” is not the appropriate word, as it is so animated that you don’t have time to properly sleep! For week ends you’ll have to book in advance. The guys are really great. I forgot my tablet there and they were really helpful. They were willing to send it to me in another hostel but finally the best solution was for one friend of mine to come and catch it. The hostel is near the archs of Lapa, so really well located for visiting the city and partying at night.
Rio’s cathedral near Lapa
I had a friend of a friend in Copacabana, so I could check that it is no more dangerous after dawn. She took me to the Sugar Loaf, which has amazing views of the city. It may be expensive (R$52), but it’s definitely worst it if the sky is clear.
View of Rio from Sugar Leaf
If you want to spare money, do it on the Christ, as you can walk up leaving from a Park near the botanical garden. My problem was to find someone to go with me as I heard that people got assaulted. As the girls I motivated only had flip flops I had no choice but to walk by myself. If you do so, do it on the morning as the track is between trees and can get dark early. I was not proud of myself as I heard animals and thought they were humans ready to jump on me! But I was so happy when I arrived there and saw some tourists.
View of Rio from the Christ
Unfortunately just the moment I arrived there started an impressive thunderstorm above our heads. I ran into a van who didn’t charge me to drive me down. The only clear day I had, I went to the hospital for an infection I had on the foot, due to a sand insect from Northern Brazil, so there was no possibility for me to enjoy the best view of the city. Try to make sure you go on a clear day if you can!
On Sundays you must eat the typical feijoada (something else that I missed in Rio!). Then you can burn the calories in Ipanema. On Sundays, the street bordering Ipanema beach is closed for cars, so it’s full of longboarders and bikers. Enjoy it to rent a city bike for R$5 a day only by phone. Ask some Brazilian to make the call for you as it’s quite complicated.
At night go to Lapa but don’t leave anything in your pockets. If you guys see a beautiful lady with tiny skirt dance against you, don’t think you’re irresistible! She is more interested in what’s inside your pockets than inside your trousers!
I unfortunately missed Santa Teresa and I regret it, as I heard it was lovely to walk in the streets but I had only time at night and was afraid to walk up alone from Lapa as the streets were dark and empty. I also heard that you can get lost easily so it’s better to get a bus to drive up to the more touristic part.
The best view of Rio is from Niteroi. You only need to pay R$4 for the ferry boat leaving from XV square and you’ll enjoy a complete view of Rio including the Christ and Sugar Loaf. You can also visit the modern art museum before leaving the island.
Rio from Niteroi
From November you can assist to some repetition in one of the many samba schools of the city. Then I don’t mention the carnival which is of course a must be in February! I’ll have to come back!
Another main event is the new year’s eve in Copacabana with million of people spending the night in the beach. And soon you may know that they will host the football world cup and Olympic games.