I wanted to share my trip to magical Brazil with you. I have been dreaming of visiting Rio since I was a little girl. I grew up in Russia and we used to watch a lot of Brazilian soap operas so Rio scenery has been dear to my heart for a long time. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places I've been to.
It is very unique and it can't be compared to any place I've been to before. First of all, let me start by saying that I traveled solo and I was anxious but excited at the same time. Fortunately, I didn't need to get a visa there but if you are American, give yourself at least 45-60 days to get one. Brazilian consulate takes a long time to process visas.
The best neighborhoods to stay are Ipanema and Leblon. I stayed at Che Lagarto Hostel at Ipanema and it was quite an experience! If you are looking for a peaceful vacation and getting enough sleep at night then it's not a place for you!:) It is a party hostel and no one goes to bed before 2-3am. You meet people from all over the world and it's so easy to make friends there.
A few places you must visit when in Rio:
- Ipanema beach
- Christ the Redeemer with a beautiful view of Rio! If you travel to Rio in winter make sure you go there on a sunny day. Otherwise you won't be able to see anything :(
- Sugar Loaf Mountain. Another place to enjoy Rio's view! I would recommend going around sunset to enjoy the day and night view:)
- Parque Lage. It is a public park, with walking trails through subtropical forest
- Botanical garden
A few things you must try:
- Acai bowl at "Bibi Sucos". It is very sweet since they add some kind of syrup so ask for a version without it!
- Coconut water on the beach
- Local fruit. Get a bunch from a grocery store and make a fruit salad for breakfast, it's simply the best!
- Bacio di Latte ice cream at Shop Leblon. The best ice cream I've tried in my life! Maracuja flavor is a must try.
A few tips:
- Wear plain clothing and do not wear any jewelry. You don't want to spoil your vacation with bad experiences.
- Carry a cross-body bag in front of you.
- Learn some Portuguese basic phrases before you got. A lot of people don't speak English or Spanish even in touristy areas.
- If you have an iPhone and you need to use it, make sure you are aware of your surroundings, use it and put back in your bag. A lot of tourists 'lose' their iPhones on the first/second day being in Rio and being extra cautious helps:)
Famous Ipanema beach
Coconut water :)
Delicious acai bowl from "Bibi Sucos"
At Parque Lage
Christ the Redeemer
Breathtaking views of Rio from the Sugar Loaf mountain
My favorite ice cream!
Famous Lapa steps
Rio is absolutely amazing and I wish you a great experience there!