We were in Brazil for two weeks and spent most of our time in Rio. We also went to Foz du Igucu and on a 28 hour bus journey. We had a great time and we could have spent a lot more time there. It was really great and I recommend going to brazil. Read down for all of the families opinions.
Three best memories and why?
Mum: Ahhhhh, Rio! I LOVE you! I have wanted to go to Rio for a really, really long time, in fact, I think Rio was the place I most wanted to see in South America. I admit I had high expectations ( think boys playing epic bare foot football in the streets, Havaiana flip flop wearing, stylish locals everywhere, beautiful beaches and lush caipirinha’s)! Luckily it lived up to them all! I’m gonna have way more than three top memories!
I think my actual top memory would be visiting Sugar Loaf Mountain. We decided to wait all day to go up the cable car as we had heard sunset time is stunning and not so busy. This was totally right. The views from the top are incredible, you can see all of Rio City and also the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Georgia and I were exploring on our own when we saw a cool looking hidden bar. When we had met up with Matt later he had also seen it and told the others ‘ Mum will want to have a drink there!’. It was a really cool bar with sofas etc and the most incredible sunset views over Copacabana beach. I LOVE a bar with a view. The absolute sealer was they were playing cool chill-out Ibiza vibes. I had a proper ‘moment’ there, yes, one of those where my eyes well up and everything. We spent a truly fabulous hour watching a beautiful sunset sipping perfect Capiriniahs. Absolutely everything I had wanted from Rio. Perfect.
Another top memory was the couple of afternoons we spent on Ipanema beach. This beach is seriously the best I have ever been to for people watching. Everyone and anyone it seemed went to the beach. There was a constant throng of people selling stuff from food to cocktails to clothes and jewellery. Stall holders would set you up a little chair and lounger and then they fed me Capriniriahs all day. What was I supposed to do! Needless to say by the end of that day I had purchased a brand new ‘Brazilian bikini’ with appropriate thong stye bottoms. I had also bought a shell anklet circa 1990 for the bargain price of 5 pound! Apparently I also bought lots of food and drinks and bracelets for all the kids……as you can see, the ease of cocktails delivered to my lounger was all too easy. However the absolute highlight of this day was when a local Brazilian said to Matt’ Why are you so white when your girl looks like a local!!’ Yes people, actual Carioca locals thought I was brown and cool enough to be one of them. I knew it was my spiritual home….I think it was because I was wearing the new Havianahas and bum crack bikini so well!
Although we weren’t in Rio for the actual Carnaval, we were there the week before and this is when most of the main ”blocos” start. These are huge street parties which are all over the city. As you can imagine Matt and I where well keen to get involved. We had heard one of the best places was called St.Theresa. Apparently it started at seven am which we thought odd but got an early taxi to see what it was about. When we arrived on the outskirts it seemed we were in the right place, loads of people dressed up , glitter, having fun but when we turned the corner to the main party , it was MAD. Literally hundreds and hundreds of people in amazing fancy dress, think current festival wear all absolutely on the smash. At 7am. Rio’s youth totally living up to the stereotype that they know how to party! Needless to say we didn’t stay long, as Alex put it ‘’someone is either going to fall over me or throw up on me and I fancy neither’ but the whole thing was cool to see. Later that day we saw another bloco on the beach which wasn’t quite so mad and we could admire a bit easier from afar , without getting trampled or vomm’d on!
Other highlights included the trek through the jungle park to Christ Redeemer. I had some great runs along the world famous beaches of Ipanema and Cococobana and I will never forget the crazy bus on the way to the bloco where everyone was dancing and singing and generally being nuts. I have never been on such a packed and noisy bus but at least we had seats near the front.
Dad: We decided to just sit and chill one afternoon on Ipanema beach. After about fifteen minutes we got chatting to a Brazilian couple. They were very good looking with perfect tans and for some reason, (I think it was so they could practice their English) they decided to strike up a conversation with us. He had lived in Ipanema all his life and was very proud of his home city. They were completely hilarious and archetypal Carioca’s, we were all drinking very strong Caiparinias and I realised everyone was getting pretty smashed! They had to go after a couple of hours but I will never forget that afternoon, we got to see the place as the locals see it. It’s true when they say that you can see the whole life of Rio on the beach.
On one of the last nights we had a very special Rodizio, it was a little bit formal and cost quite a bit the buffet was mind blowing and the meat that was brought round was the best I’ve ever tasted.
Because we are cheapskates, we decided to walk up to the Christ the Redeemer statue rather than pay $70 to take the train. It was a hot, hard, but rewarding walk with some lovely jungle and stunning views. We had nearly reached the top when we saw a small tamarind monkey sitting on a branch ahead of us. He was quickly joined by about five or six more and they effectively started to surround us. They are very small and cute but have sharp teeth and nails and did not look at all scared of us, in fact, they started to get a bit menacing! Georgia had to walk under a branch with about three of them sitting on it. Dylan was really close behind her holding a long stick, Georgia stopped under the branch and closed her eyes as she was a bit nervous, just at that point Dylan managed to shove the stick into G’s hair. G immediately though a Tamarind had jumped on her and started freaking out. That then freaked out the other two kids and the monkeys, I was stood at the back laughing VERY loudly. It all calmed down soon enough and us and the monkeys went our separate ways.
There were other great memories and, like the others, I will always have fond memories of Rio
Alex: I really enjoyed our first rodizio as we were kicking off Brazil with a start. This rodizo was the frist night in Brazil when we were still visiting Iguazu Falls. It was $8 for all you can eat meat and desert along with a massive buffet. I was really good and tied with our second Rodizo but was a bit behind on the scale.
CRISTO, CRISTO, CRISTO…….
It was awesome to go and hike up to Christ the Redeemer and see the view of Rio but I think the walk was my favourite part of the experience. We walked through jungle saw an “evil” pack of Tamarind monkeys and a pregnant woman photo shoot (random)!!! So it was a really great family bonding (Like we haven’t had enough of that) time.
Ipanema beach was epic as it had everything that you could perfectly want, all really done, on a city beach. The sea was warm and clear as well as venders selling everything. We chilled there for a few days and were not bored once!!
Georgia: I loved, I loved, I loved sugar loaf mountain. It was soo beautiful. You could see the sea sparkling and shining. We were up their at about five o clock and sun was going down and it was amazing. So lush and it wasn’t too busy which we were worried about.
We went to a really fancy restaurant. It was a really posh rodizio ( all you can eat MEAT and buffet). We walked in and the buffet was soooo big. It had everything from sushi to cheeses. They bring the deserts on a plate to choose and they looked soo good. They all came with loads of melted chocolate! Amazing. We also went to all you can eat pizza. They brought all the lovely pizza to the table, they even had desert pizza which were chocolatey and yummy.
I loved the beaches, the sea was warm. You could hire sun loungers and get drinks and they even brought ice creams to wherever you were sitting.
Dylan: Swimming in the Atlantic like I have never done before. It was much warmer than the pacific so it was much better.
Seeing Carnaval on the beach. It was fun to see the big party and people dressed up.
The day we met Bruno on the beach. He was a local and mum got drunk that day drinking cocktails. We had a great day all day on the beach.
I also loved the Maracana tour. We saw the changing rooms and the stadium can fit 3 Amex crowds in it. It is also where they have played a world cup final.
Worst memory and why?
Mum: I think maybe arriving in Rio. As said above I was soooooo looking forward to Rio, to the point where Matt was getting seriously worried I was going to be disappointed. We had been on the bus for over twenty eight hours so were already not feeling our best and as we arrived on the out skirts it began to rain really really heavily. This is never the best way to see a new city and as we drove in I’ve got to admit, Rio looked really rough. Hugh swathes of areas which looked extremely poor favela housing, boarded up places, horrible crap tagging graffiti everywhere and piles of rubbish and litter all over the place. None of the sparkling glory of the Olympics! Even the bus station was heavily guarded by armed police and we were kinda ushered straight into a taxi to our address, no real options of public transport which didn’t really reassure us either. Luckily things improved from there and Ipanema felt safe, secure and fun; unfortunately , I’m certain this is not the reality of parts of the rest of Rio.
Dad: Getting to the airport, knowing that it was our last flight out of South America. We have had the most incredible, exciting, challenging and unforgettable five months in this extraordinary part of the world. I really hope that I can return someday……
Alex: I was really scared when mum decided to go in the sea after having 6 caprinas and nearly drowned. The current was so strong and the waves were so massive that she got completely knocked over and dragged out to sea. Luckily she managed to get up but her bikini was everywhere! She didn’t care though, I think she was more gutted that she had lost a really good cheap pare of sunnies than nearly drowning.
Georgia: My worst memory I think was when we couldn’t get off the bus and it was really crazy. I didn’t like it as it was so loud and mental. The bus was so busy with people on a way to a bloco we couldn’t get off, more and more people get trying to squeeze on through the doors at the back. Eventually the bus driver had to stop stopping. People were singing and chatting and playing drums. The bus even seemed to drive straight through a bloco and it was surrounded by people and was totally intense.
Dylan: Being extremely sick and throwing up everywhere. I got really frighted as it kept happening and I didn’t want to be ill. Especially as I was travelling to Heathrow the next day and I was really looking forward to seeing my Nanna.
Mum: Children throwing up is never fun….However constantly projectile vomitting while in a family room in a hostel (Extremely small room with bunk beds made for 4) is even definitely NOT fun. People were literally trying to dodge the spew and being woken up all night to the sound of retching! I was also terrified everyone would get it and we had some epic travel days ahead of us which included 4 flights.
Mum: Ensure you make time to sit on the famous beaches, they are a huge part of Rio and Brazil land such a great place to people watch locals and tourists alike.
Find the hidden cool bar at the top of sugar loaf mountain. Beautiful views and coo vibes made this a very special place.
Dad: Do a favela tour in Rio, you really need to see how people there live and work and how they are not all dangerous, crime filled no go zones. It really opened my eyes.
Alex: Eat a rodizio. It is a restaurant where people bring you meat on sticks and an epic buffet is usually involved.
Dylan: You should really go to all you can eat pizza. Ladies walk around with big pizza and they even have chocolate pizzas for desert.
Mum: Mum’s sunglasses while drunk in the sea on Ipanema beach.
We also gave away some blankets and sleeping bags etc as we didn’t need them anymore.
Alex as usual!!! Massive strop on a bus. The crazy bus which was a bit scary…as we approached home she didn’t believe it was the right place to get off, started screaming at us..’ it’s not here, it’s not here!!!!’ literally shouting trying to drag us to keep us on the bus. It was sooooo embarrassing. Mum and Dad went mad when they got off the bus. I think she was probably scared of the bloco party but still…..Needless to say mum and dad were right. It was the right place to get off.
Alex: I do not believe I said that and my crazy family seem intent on writing down my so called “strops” to the world. It’s not true and don’t believe them.