WELCOME TO THE MARVELOUS CITY!
Brazil, home to some of the most amazing landscape views, lushes jungles, and some of the worlds most diverse wildlife, which attracts explorers, novelists and travellers from around the globe.
This is the worlds fifth largest country and has around 7,500 km of sun-kissed beaches. Looking back when the first explorers came to this land in the 1500’s with over one million indigenous people who occupied it, and through the years immigration from Africa, Europe and the Middle East has shaped the country into one of the most diverse populations in the world. Brazil today has a population of two hundred million.
Throughout the country, you will notice how vibrant the jungles are and the vast amount of wildlife they hold and is home to the famous Amazon rainforest. But let’s begin in Rio de Janeiro, the city with the statue of Jesus and home to some of the best football matches too. Rio is called the Cidade Maravilhosa or the Marvelous City, and you can see why when you are looking out from the 700m peak of Corcovado. As you look out you can spot the line of small islands off the coast and with a plethora of mountains, it is great for hikers, rock climbers and hang gliding, which you have to do. It is one of the best ways to see the city and one memory that will stay with you forever. Rio’s also has some fantastic golden beaches, some of the best in the world. The beachfront is warm and inviting, like a playground that you have experience, whether it is playing football, volleyball, surfing or just drinking a cocktail and watching people walk by. And what if I want to party, I hear you ask? Rio knows how to party, with weekend samba parties on the bay or the famous Rio Carnival.
What to visit?
One of the first things to do is to take one of the cable cars to the summit of Pão de Açúcar, where you can oversee the entire ‘Marvelous City’. The best time to go is when the sun is setting, it is postcard perfect. You will have to bear in the mind that when you go at peak times, it is very crowded so best to go early in the morning or late in the evening, and in my opinion these are the best times. As you take the first car up 220m to Morro da Urca, you will be able to see Guanabara Bay the coastline unfolding below. Once you reach the top of the first peak, there is a helipad for helicopter tours, best to book this in advance. The second cable car will take you up Pão de Açúcar, and once you reach the top, you might want to take a moment and some deep breaths as the views are spectacular. You can see the city and the entire coastline. It is special.
Next, visit Parque Nacional da Tijuca of Rio. The park is a large 39-sq-km which holds beautiful rainforests, creeks, waterfalls and mountainous peaks. For you serious climbers you have the 1012m hike to the summit of Pico da Tijuca. As you venture into the heart of the park you have several waterfalls like the Cascata Gabriela and Cascata Diamantina; you also have a 19th-century Capela Mayrink and various caves to explore. Within the park, you have two restaurants, the elegant Restaurante Os Esquilos, and Restaurante a Floresta near the ruins of Ruínas do Archer (Major Archer’s House). Concerning wildlife, you have a large selection of birds and different animals from iguanas to monkeys, some will see as you are walking around the park.
With all this exploring you will need to find time to relax on Ipanema Beach. This area is known as the Cemetério dos Elefantes as a handful of hippies and artists hang out here. This is a trendy spot for surfers and you sports lovers. You will notice some people playing volleyball and frescobol (beach tennis played with wooden rackets and a rubber ball). If you just want to relax, then go to one of the many bars on the front and get yourself a cocktail.
What are you waiting for? GO!