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Revelling in Rio

ChristreflectionWhen anyone arrives in Rio, there is an immediate sense of excitement. The city is alive with atmosphere and activity. There is a buzz which fills the air. I arrived in Rio by taxi from Isle Grande, a few hours further south. There were 4 of us and it was cheaper to get a taxi, than travel by public bus. I would advise to book ahead for accommodation.

We chose to stay in the bohemian district of Santa Theresa where time seems to have stood still. The tram rumbles along the main street and then down the steep hill to the Lapa. There were fabulous views from our pension accommodation down into the valley and on our first night we enjoyed the first of many caipirinhas at a local restaurant.

Regardless on how long you are staying in Rio, planning is definitely the key as there is so much to see and do.

Christ the Redeemer stands above Rio on Corcovado mountain, towering over the city. It has become a symbol for the city and a trip to Rio is not complete without a visit. Our trip was in August and September when the weather was changeable but its important that you have a clear day for this excursion to get the best photos. We woke up a few days in a row where the city was covered in mist, but finally the weather behaved and we made our way, along with a few hundred other people, for an experience never to be forgotten. Be inventive with your photos and of course do the cheesy same pose as the statue itself, everyone else is doing it!  If you want to see the statue for another angle take a helicopter ride around it, and over the beach and favelas too.

The other symbol, of Rio is of course Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pao de Acucar). We took slow cable cars to reach the 395 metre summit of Sugar Loaf. It's an exciting trip up on the cable car, just don't look down if you don't like heights! Either in the day or at sunset, the views are breathtaking.

The night life in Rio is the best in the world; bars, restaurants and clubs to cater for every style possible. We had read up that there was a culture of street drinking in certain areas, so we made our way down to Lapa, a former red light district which is now alive with nightlife. Street sellers make you any type of caipirinhas, and locals and fellow party revellers will be friendly - they chat and mix with everyone. We got good tips for where to go drinking and clubbing from locals.

After drinking several cocktails we made our way to the Rio Scenarium which is one of the best clubs in the world. It is in a three storey building which is an antiques shop, a samba club, a restaurant and much more! There are several different floors and different dancing areas. Lots of samba and salsa and the locals sure know how to dance and are regular visitors, which makes it not your typical tourist trap. Not to be missed.












A trip to one of the local favelas is interesting and an eye opener. Make sure it is an organised trip as these areas can be extremely dangerous. For this reason most excursions will take you to a 'safe' favela which may not be the most true to life, but will give you a flavour of life in the slums. They are a city within a city. You will see how life is lived and understand what is being done to regenerate the area and to improve life for those living there.

The second week we moved to be near Ipanema and Copacabana area and splashed out on one night in the Copacabana Palace to experience the luxury of this world famous hotel. It is an iconic building and if you are lucky you might see someone famous there! Then we settled into a luxury rooftop apartment, with pool, that looked out over Ipanema beach. Ipanema is another area of Rio filled with outdoor bars, cafe's and boutique shops. More partying!

paraglideOn our final day we decided to jump off a mountain! We were strapped to a paraglider after a relatively short training session and told to run when the instructor ran, and not stop. I ran along a short wooden platform and then took off and was suddenly in the air above Rio, the sights all laid out in front of me. It was breathtaking. I tried not to look down in case it freaked me out. 15 minutes later I landed on Ipanema beach. An experience of a lifetime.

Rio is such a stimulating city. With the build up to 2016 Olympics and the annual carnival it is the place to be. Start planning your trip now.


Try staying in Mama Ruisa, a luxury haven hidden in the bohemian district of Santa Teresa in Rio. Or look for luxury apartments in the Ipanema area.