Travel article: Rio de Janeiro

Travel blogger: Christelle & Cedric

Trip story: 3 months in South America!

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Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil 7 days - February 2019






The city of angels or the city of God for us (reference to the film of the same name), Rio de Janeiro makes people dream. This city with multiple mountains, jungle, dozens of beaches, a beautiful bay and the city that fits in all that has a lot to offer.

Second time we visit and although it is still not our favorite city, we felt much better than the first time!

Rio is beautiful from above. This was our mantra of the week we spent there. We were always looking for the best views of the mythical bay. We are off to a summary of a week of discoveries in the city of cariocas where it is rarely less than 40 degrees in February. By the way, a resident has warned us: in Rio there is summer and there is hell!


After another sleepless night, we reach the Gloria neighborhood where we stayed in an incredible Airbnb.

First discovery, the district of Santa Teresa, once a landmark of emancipated slaves and later of industrialists who have made a fortune and finally today bobo neighborhood with cute little designer shops, street art and large houses, this neighborhood is perched on top of a hill and therefore offers a superb view of the bay from the Parque de la Ruinas. Very nice atmosphere, today served by the only and oldest tram of Rio!


Near Santa Teresa is the center of Rio, not really beautiful, rather bad-famed, we did not dwell there except to visit the famous stairs Selaron, built by the artist of the same name who has imported mosaics from lots of countries and cities to bring new life and soul to this neighborhood. Rather beautiful and funny to find mosaics of Paris, Sydney, Brittany, NYC etc.

We also visited a very modern Cathedral cone-shaped and not really beautiful; the very interesting museum of the history of Brazil which retraces the history of the populations of Brazil, the colonization and the Brazil of today (besides a part of Rio was founded by the French!); and the Museum of Modern Art (we still do not understand modern art). Finally we got to visit the amazing Library of Rio with thousands of old books gatherered on wood shelves like in Harry Potter (or Beauty in the Beast!)

Sunday, we did like thousands of cariocas and went to the beach. There is plenty to choose from! We sticked only with the best known Copacabana and Ipanema. The clichés are confirmed: swimsuits are short, very short, the caipirinha flows abundantly, football is everywhere in the form of beach football or volleyball, it is very hot, there is an impressive cult of the body and eternal youth.

On the other hand nothing has changed, the beach is really not clean and following the sight of a syringe in the sand we quickly put our shoes on ... We are moderately impressed by these beaches but we really love the atmosphere. Young, older, family, couples, everyone goes to the beach on weekends as soon as a ray of sunshine comes out.


In the evening, carnival rehearsals! We could not miss that and we go to the mythical Sambadrome to attend parades of 3 samba troops! We are surprised to see thousands of cariocas who are as amazed as us by the energy that emerges from the parade! And these are just the rehearsals! Whatever your age, your color, your neighborhood, you support a troupe and dance to the sound of percussion. Football and carnival are the elements that unite Brazil so multiple in its population.


Finally we (re) discovered the icons of the city. The Corcovado on which is placed the famous statue of Christ dominates the city and is very useful to find your way in this huge city (when it does not hide in the clouds). We go up to this wonder of the modern world in a small train and after 15 minutes we are there. It dominates the bay. We are not particularly impressed, the view is nice but frankly this statue of the 30s has nothing to be part of the wonders of the modern world. We leave again circumspect towards the sugar loaf, the second mountain which dominates the bay. This time we climb with a funicular (a hike allows to climb to the first level but with the heat we avoided). The bay is unveiled to us and this time we are not disappointed! We see Copacabana, Ipanema, the famous Corcovado (in the clouds this time), multiple other beaches and sailboats that sail in the bay. We stay 3 hours for the sunset which will be ruined by an impressive density of clouds! But what a view!


Finally to finish this series of "Rio is beautiful from above", we decided to tackle a hike - the hike Dos Irmaos. To get there, we must reach the bottom of the favela Vidigal and take a motorcycle taxi or a van to take us upstairs. We start the walk under a blazing sun (felt like40 degrees!), The climb is really not long -3 kilometers- but the heat coupled with a bad orientation that made us take a path that was more climbing than a hiking path it is totally sweaty and red tomato that we arrive at the top. Super clear view on the beach of Leblon, Corcovado, Ipanema and a bit futher the sugar loaf. Beautiful, it was worth all the sweat poured!

We come down from our mountain and we land at the top of the favela to sip a Coca Cola when we see a teenager who walks 2 meters from us with an automatic weapon ... We started stressed out, why he wanders with him weapon, he intends to use it? We do not linger and we take a motorcycle taxi that takes us down the favela and we jump in an uber that as soon as we closed the door tells us that the locals are walking with automatic weapons here; yes we have seen ... the use of weapons of war seems normal in this city ... Our driver spends the 40 minutes of the journey to tell us the dark evolution of the city, the country, politicians, why the new president was elected. Sad evolution for such a beautiful country.

And to conclude this stay in Rio, we followed 80,000 cariocas and we went to the mythical Maracanã stadium to see a derby: Fluminense-Flamengo.

The stadium is so big that we need 20 minutes of slalom between the fans to get to the other end! We enter and big slap: what an atmosphere! 80,000 fans who jump, sing, applaud, catch fire as soon as a ball is near the goal (or when the referee stops an action but the fans do not like it) it's really incredible! We are surprised to see that once again the fans are of all ages, the over 70s are ignited in the same way as teenagers or thirties, everyone knows the songs, you come to the stadium with your family, the drums fill the stadium and fail to cover the songs. Really crazy!

Our team (Fluminense) wins 30 seconds of the final whistle, I let you imagine the ardor of the songs at that moment! We are quickly getting caught up in this.

At the exit of the stadium is another atmosphere, the fans still ignite but this time in a violent way, it degenerates very very quickly, the cops (over-armed) charge, a bullet passed 3 meters from us when we try to get away and order an Uber. We got off quickly fortunately…

That’s it for Rio! It's still not our favorite city but we are glad we came again. During the week passed here we confirmed all the clichés: football culture, mini mini swimwear, good humor, samba and carnival, kindness, joie de vivre and kindness of Brazilians but also the insecurity unfortunately ...


Some recommendations:

# Gloria is really an ideal place to stay. Well served by metro, central, safe neighborhood, we recommend it.

# the metro is really good and cheap (4 real a ticket) we recommend it. Uber is widely used in the city too and often becomes cheaper for 2 people than the bus or metro!

# museum of the history of Brazil: 10 real per person.

# museum of modern arts: 14 real per person.

# to reach the Corcovado by train: ticket to 65 real. It is possible to walk there but the path is rough and attacks are common.

# Sugarloaf: it is possible to join the first platform by walking to limit costs. With the heat we skipped our turn and took the 2 cable cars: 100 real ticket on the internet (110 on site)

# The view from Dos Irmaos is really nice. Do not linger however after or before walking, hiking starting at the top of a favela ...

#Maracana: tickets can be bought at the stadium on the same day or at club address. 60 real per person!





Leave a comment

Mar 1, 2019 - 06:29 AM

Toutes ces couleurs sont belles !


May 4, 2022 - 10:57 AM

J'aime beaucoup ce que vous avez écrit sur Rio: portrait vivant et nuancé. Très belles photos.