Top 10 tips for travelling to Rio
“Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking”
was playing in my mind, my entire Brazil trip!
There are no words that will be able to describe the vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro – the way the city hums, the love and lust in the air, the people, the energy..it really is everything and more.
A perfect honeymoon (or holiday) destination, from sipping Caprihanas on tropical beaches, to hikes in the jungle and exploring old buildings from bygone eras – there is something for everyone!
Here are my top 10 tips on travelling to Rio de Janerio, Brazil:
1. Arrive late at night
If possible, ask your travel agent to book your flight so you arrive late at night. We arrived at our hotel just before 12. We were able to check in, shower, change and get a full 8 hours sleep. We woke up ready to tackle the day ahead and explore to our hearts content – jet lag was not an issue at all!
2. Book tours with reputable companies
One walk along Copacabana beach and you can book tours to fill your entire holiday – they will all be competing with each other so prices are pretty similar. Take your time and don’t just book with the first company that approaches you. We ended up getting a few options and then sat down to have a drink and discuss our options before deciding who to go with. We ended up finding someone who we enjoyed chatting to and who was able to explain a lot more to us about what to expect.3. Favelas Tour
What an eye opening tour! Trying to wrap your brain around how people can really live in these man made homes all on top of one another – takes the whole “squashed like sardines” saying to a whole other level. There are some absolutely breathtaking views form the Favelas but just remember:
1. Don’t try go to the Favelas by yourself
2. Be respectful of the residents, this is your holiday, but this is their home.
3. Wear CLOSED shoes; firstly because you will have to keep up with your tour guide and secondly because there are a few questionable items lying on the ground around you. 4. Island Tour
There are many island tours you can choose from, we visited Angra dos Reis, which was a three hour bus drive from Rio. You might be thinking a 6 hour round trip aint worth it, but trust me…IT IS!
Once we got to the harbour, we boarded onto what looked like an old school pirate ship, and off we went on a day of adventure – travelling band in tow!
We visited three different islands off Angra dos Reis, where we were able to swim, drink cocktails and relax on the beach. It was totally worth the trip.
*WARNING: One of the islands we visited had these nasty black flies. You don’t feel it when they bite you, but a few days later you will suffer – worse than 100 mozzies in the South African summer! My poor hubby had over 80 bites just on his legs! Take anthisan!
5. Don’t buy Caprihinas from Beach Vendors
Apparently, they water down their liquor. I am a fussy person, so only ordered in restaurants anyway. The street vendors premake them and walk around with them on a board, my brain could not get over the “How old could those be?”! 6. Get ready to walk!
I really enjoyed this about Rio (tricked myself into thinking all the walking would balance out the yummy food and drinks) We averaged about 15km’s a day. We walked everywhere, there was no need for Ubers. We only took an uber from the airport when we arrived, when we went to Parque Lage and to the airport when we left. Make sure you are staying at a hotel close to Copacabana beach and you are sorted! 7. Don’t just “do it for the gram”
There are SO many Instagram worthy spots in Rio, so many that I didn’t even get to go to them all! Parque Lage, for example, made famous by Snoop Dogg and Pharells “Beautiful” music video, is the perfect little spot for a drool worthy insta pic. What you might not know is that it’s actually a mansion that belonged to Enrique Lage and is now home to a Visual Arts School and has a cafe inside. We decided to sit and enjoy something to drink at the cafe and the historian in me loved taking it all in and thinking of all the parties and events that must of happened at this mansion back in the day.
Take the pic, but learn about the history too!8. Sundowners at the Copacabana Fort
We only figured out on our last day that you can actually visit the Copacabana Fort (you will pay a small entrance fee), we walked in, and sat down at one of the restaurants.
It was such a treat, we sat there for a couple of hours taking in a full view of Copacabana beach, watching the sun set behind the mountain, pure bliss! 9. Food, food and more food
Okay, so the Brazilians love to eat. Their food is so yummy, and they have a lot of different options to choose from but just know that their portions are more than adequate! We ordered a starter to share that would of been enough for a table of ten to share!
A must is to visit a Churrascaria where you are served your selection of meat at your table along with sides of your choice (potatoes, rice, French fries, options are endless)
We seemed to find markets wherever we went, stumbling upon them and always being pleasantly surprised. We went to the Ipanema Market on Sunday which had lots of different items for sale, but twice, we “found” night markets along the beach front. These markets are great for souvenirs and gifts for the family back home – bonus, the vendors are up for bartering!
To be honest, I could go on writing to my heart’s content! Rio really has so much to offer and I so enjoyed my time there. I would definitely recommend Rio as a honeymoon destination. There is enough there to keep you busy, but you are also able to chill on the beach with a cocktail in hand – the perfect combination for an amazing honeymoon!