The City Of Beaches And Jungle
I have good and bad memories of Rio de Janeiro. It was my first solo trip so I made plenty of errors, but my mother also fell ill whilst I was overseas so I was constantly looking for wifi to check in on her. The weather was fantastic and this trip was my reward for completing my dissertation. I did struggle though appreciating the city as I was distracted by thinking about my mother.
For that reason, my trip to Rio de Janeiro I believe needs to be redone. I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted, and as my first solo trip I didn’t have the confidence to do certain things. Looking at my photos I can see just how much I have grown, as a traveller and as a photographer. With this new confidence I would like to give RDJ another chance. There is no other place where people watching is so enjoyable. Rio is also the only city in the world that has it’s own jungle so definitely go and check out Floresta da Tijuca (Tijuca Forest in English).
What to do:
- Eat acai berry. When you see the locals at the local eateries at breakfast time, they are eating acai berry. My favourite combination is with granola. Que rico!
- Beach hop around the city. I personally preferred Copacabana than Ipanema and thought Vermelha was gorgeous. If you get the chance to, go out to Barra Tijuca’s beaches that are just as beautiful.
- Check out Parque Lage and the Botanical Gardens (this is actually my favourite botanical garden that I have been to so far).
- Rent a bike for the day and cycle around Rodrigo Lake.
- Check out Ilha Paqueta, a little island close to the city that is quiet and has pretty beaches.
- Rio de Janeiro is in the state of the same name so why not consider visiting Ilha Grande, Paraty, Petropolis, Buzios and Niteroi.
Where to stay:
I stayed at the CabanaCopa Hostel and it is still one of my favourite hostels. The location is great – close to Copacabana beach, a metro station and affordable places to eat. There’s a bakery close to the hostel that sells this amazing bread – forget your no carbs rule and try this bread! I have recommended it to people and they loved their stay there too but check the latest reviews on your preferred booking site as things could have changed since I was there.
How to get around:
The metro, the bus and taxis. I only knew how to say thank you in Portuguese and I still got around just fine. Don’t be too flashy and guard your stuff. I only once took a taxi directly off the street, but that was when he persuaded me with his sign language since none of us could understand each other. And of course, Uber is always an option. Perhaps if you split the cost, some trips can come up cheaper than taking the bus.