Hands down one of my favorite places we stayed in our year of traveling the world. We spent a month there and I was sad to go. The beaches, the food, the people, the nature; it all makes for a place we plan to return to, hopefully with friends or family. If you love adventure, soft-sand beaches, and capiriñas, you need Rio De Janiero in your life.
If you happen to make it to Rio, I highly suggest you catch a bus to Buzios for two days (see next post for details). Buzios is where tourists and Brazilians alike go to chill-the-frick-out. Rent a buggy and explore the island like town, stop at any beach you like, go snorkeling, and drink the day away with beachside service.
But for now, we discuss one month in Rio De Janeiro, specifically on Copacabana.
The sequence of pictures below pretty well describes my day to day in Rio. Wake up, walk the boardwalk to Sofa Cafe, order the same thing from our barista Leshia, walk back home, do a workout on the outdoor gym, maybe run or do a mini band workout on the beach, work on the beach for an hour or two, hit up a beach side bar, get fresh coconut water (yes, straight from the coconut), drink a capiriña, head in for the evening.
Are you grasping my love for Rio…?
While I feel you’d be content not leaving Copacabana, there are some must do touristy things while in Rio. So, here we go.
You can thank Anthony Bourdain for this gem. You can catch a cab up to Bar do Mineiro. It IS in the favelas, but a nicer area for sure. On that note, I was notified by a fellow IG fitspro that is highly disrespectful to the locals to take a favela tours. Who know where that money goes to if we’re being honest. I don’t know first hand, but I took her word for it as she knows more than I do.
My only experience in the favelas was THIS delicious meal, which we had the pleasure of eating four times during our stay in Rio. Our first time, we went once on our own. The place was PACKED with locals and was a bit intimidating – not going to lie. But our waiter was awesome; spoke english, was helpful and very kind.
It was at this bar that Nathanael decided to ask what an older Brazilian man was drinking. Turns out it was a caipirissima, our new favorite drink. He also told us to take off our watches immediately (Polar a370 workout watches). He explained that the first thing people do is scan bodies for anything they don’t recognize; anything they can’t get in Brazil. We were not dressed like ballers by any means. We live out of backpacks. BUT, I never thought about our workout watches. So, we took the old man’s word. Shout out to him.
We went back twice with our friend Kyle when he was visiting (it was his favorite meal), and once with our Australian buddy, Mitch, who we met in Peru. If you are in Rio and don’t go to Bar do Mineiro, are you even in Rio? We just can’t be sure.
Of course you need to visit Christ the Redeemer. Funny story…
You can hike up to the entrance. You know us, always taking the hiking route if we can. Well, after some research, that seemed like a very FOOLISH decision. So we opted to catch an uber to the gates, and take the van to the top. As we researched the hike, we found several reports that over 150 stabbings had taken place on the trail since the beginning of the year and a Polish man was killed…NO THANK YOU. The trail that you hike is in close proximity to favelas. Now it’s not like all these people are monsters. I don’t want it to sound that way. But safety first folks. Do your research, use common sense.
Once we reached the top, I found He is WAY bigger than I expected. Yes, it was packed with tourists. You’ll push and wiggle to get your pictures, and then that’s pretty much it. We got a few beers at the cafe to wait for the morning fog to clear off.
Weather is always a factor with these things friends.
So this is our extent of doin’ for the gram (or this blog).
Don’t ask me the district names. We basically looked up “what to do and see in Rio” and went from there.
This was our exploration day with Mitch. All in all we visited these colorful steps, a modern art museum, the aquarium and Botafogo area of Rio. Depends on your fancy, but we thought the free stuff was more enjoyable than the paid aquarium and museum for what it’s worth. We walked almost everywhere and with Rio’s weather this is very doable.
Back at our home base, Copacabana, there was no shortage of good food, grocery options, and affordable shopping. In Rio we got some swim trunks for Nate, jean shorts and booties for me, and flip flops for us both.
Wether you’re staying in Copacabana or not, I suggest getting breakfast on the port. You’ll likely wait one hour or more for seating, so explore the old port for free. It’s kind of what you’re expected to do. You get great views of the beach, and can see the Ipanema beach we well.
Go to Rio. People were terrified we were going to Rio. “It’s so dangerous,” they’d say. Well nobody said anything about Santiago Chile and that’s where Nate’s wallet was stolen. We purposely paid more to stay on the beach, in the South Zone which is known to be the safest area of Rio. We did witness some theft attempts from the beach side bars, but the employees at the bars are AGGRESSIVE, aware and not afraid to act. Which also helped me feel safer.
If you use common sense, you’ll likely be fine. We operate the same pretty much everywhere – backpack on your front side in crowded settings, purse or backpack hooked under the leg of our chair or hooked to our bodies somehow, don’t be out past 10pm in un-lit areas and the wallet lived in my bra under my clothing or on our skin tight fanny pack under my clothes. On the main beach we always felt safe, and we just don’t stay out late so never experienced what goes on at those hours.
All in all, if you like beaches, hiking, good food and nice people, you should go to Rio. There are plenty of guided hikes on safe routes you can do outside of the Christ the Redeemer hike I mentioned.
After Rio, it was on to Rome, Greece, and Cinque Terre, Italy where we’d start our six week road trip through Europe. Stay tuned for that. But first, if you’re in Rio, you NEED to catch a bus over to Buzios (see next blog).
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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