Very impressive and one of my favorite cities that I have ever been too. We stayed at the intersection of the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches…they are actually located in the near suburbs of Rio as downtown is 30 minutes away. A concern going in was street crime, we were probably overcautious but didn’t have any issues and only saw one issue (and it didn’t directly impact us). But it did limit our perception of what we could do, especially at night. Met Alexandra right on schedule as planned at arrivals and got to our AirBNB around noon – dated but great location. First day we settled in by exploring Ipanema, Lagoa, and Leblon and of course had to go for Brazilian BBQ first meal (all you can eat meat) and we found a place about 6 blocks from our AirBNB. Walking there no issues and a lot of people in the streets but at 9:30pm coming back – completely empty and we debated whether to take a taxi or not – we walked with no issues (but didn’t see a soul).
To see the main sites, we did a tour which included Sugarloaf and Christ the Redeemer – a couple other stops were added in as well. A good lunch was included as well – and out of 10,000 restaurants in Rio, lunch was at the same place that we had eaten at the night before – all you can eat meat twice in 18 hours. The tour was worth it as the guide was good and the ticket prices for the sites and lunch cost more than the tour. Spectacular views from both Sugarloaf and the Redeemer.
Christ the Redeemer
Next day we rented bikes and retraced some of the places that we drove by the prior day on the tour and went into Lapa for lunch then road home to catch the sunset in Ipanema. Alexandra had a good plan of staying at a hostel in Lapa one night so she could go out with someone besides her dad but no one else was there so we grabbed a quick bite and a beer and she just came back to Ipanema.
Sights around city
Sunset at Ipanema
Buzios was a last minute decision – Alexandra got the idea from her friends and we decided to rent a car and drive. Although this worked well for Buzios and it gave us some flexibility and we ended up spending the night, it also increased the degree of difficulty on the return to Rio with parking and getting to the airport with some closed roads (see other blog posts).
Overall I had high expectations for Rio and they were exceeded – it is unfortunate that the confluence of Zika and some issues with the government that more people did not visit for the Olympics and World Cup which would have helped with the economics.