Top 10 Things to Do in Brazil (Rio)
Bikinis & Speedos
Look, whether you know it or not, Brazillians wear small bathing suits, and they rock them. The guys wear speedos and the women wear tiny little bikinis. I don’t know if women are all really big into working out their glutes or what, but they just have the most curvy, veluptuous butts we’ve ever laid eyes on. Going to the beach is a real treat on the eyes, for men OR women. The guys are tanned and buff, and the women are half naked and sexy. **Special note** Guys: don’t wear board shorts. If you don’t want to stand out like a tourist, you gotta show some thigh! In case you were wondering, yes, I bought a speedo.
A beautiful combination of dance and martial arts, capoeira is a popular, widely practiced art style in Brazil. Guys (mostly) practice it in training gyms and even at the beach or on the streets. You’ll see it everywhere. We had a couple guys approach us at a bar one night, basically doing capoeira performances for some tip money. It was really cool. We fancy ourselves as pretty fit, capable young men, so we played along with them. We would go back and forth ducking and dodging different types of leg swings and stuff. We were obviously amateurs but it was easy enough to simulate, and we made some new friends in the process.
Buzios is a resort town located only an hour or two from Rio De Janeiro. It is commonly used as a ‘getaway’ from the hustle and bustle of Rio, but even on its own, has a lot to experience and enjoy. There are quality resorts, nice bars, big clubs, great shopping, and water activities… just to name a few. We could spend a couple hours every day checking out the different shops, even if we never bought anything. There’s even McDonalds and Subway if you’re so inclined! The west coast beaches offer calm, clear water, whereas the east coast beaches are facing the sea and are more surf and water-sports friendly. Special note: Pacha Mama club in Buzios is a huge nightclub and a great time. Check it out.
Beach Workout Stations
So these probably aren’t the most exciting things for everybody, but we loved the concept of having free exercise stations all over the place (mostly along the beaches in Rio) and we wish we had them in Vancouver. So the workout stations made our list 🙂 Rio, in general, is very health conscious and there are huge bike/skate/jogging lanes beside the beaches too. People are definitely exercise-driven. The little workout stations are located roughly every 1 or 2 kilometers and have no moving parts to them. It’s just solid metals bars for pull-ups, dips, and calisthenic exercises. This way nothing can break and they require no upkeep from the city. We had the tendency to stop every time we passed one to get our pump on too.
So a favela is a word in Portugese that means shanty town, or slum. Brazil has many of them, but the biggest one is known as Rocinha. It’s home to around 300,000 people (this is only an estimate, nobody actually knows how many people live here), and is a very impressive sight. Imagine thousands of houses all built within a foot of each other and all painted different colours. It’s really quite something. Never walk through one by yourself though because there is a major gang/drug economy within that is almost impossible to police. There are tours that you can take, that will guide you through certain parts and explain the culture behind it and its people, but without local guidance, Rocinha can be very dangerous. We were warned to keep extreme care while walking around with our cameras because robberies and muggings are not uncommon here. That being said, it was still an incredible experience.
The sugarloaf mountain is a little mountain in Rio De Janeiro in Guanabara Bay. It gets its name because it apparently resembles a concentrated, refined sugar loaf. If you don’t know what a refined sugar loaf looks like, you won’t really notice. We didn’t. But since it stands out in the middle of the water, it gives you a wonderful panoramic view of the city. For a couple bucks, you can buy a ticket to the cablecar that takes you up to the mountain. Once there, you can grab slightly overpriced snacks and refreshments as well as take a full tour of the perimeter, taking pictures of every angle you see. It’s not just the landscape that you’ll be taking pictures of either. Sugarloaf mountain is home to lots of little, funny-looking monkey/wombat creatures. They’re not aggressive like most monkeys, but they’ll scavenge for food and they sure do look funny.
Brazil (or Rio, in particular) is very mountainous, and has some great spots to climb up and take pictures. Some places are touristy, but if you’re with some locals, you can find some really cool places to hike instead of taking a tram or cable car. We were fortunate enough to link up with some buddies that work for Redbull and they took us up a mountain on a couple-hour hike. We weren’t exactly sure where we were, or which mountain we were on, but when we go to the top we realized that we were actually much higher than the same platform we had previously gone hang-gliding from. The top of the mountain was just a big expanse of rock that overlooks the beach and ocean in Rio. The view was amazing, supposing it wasn’t blocked by clouds and mist (you’re that high up). Also, we were basically the only people there, which makes the trek even more special.
This was also in Rio, and for good reason, as there’s so much to see around here. So we rented a boat in the harbour and took it out for a little dinner and drinks, sunset tour. We only really spent an hour or two in motion, until we tossed the anchor and got setup for partying and dinner. It wasn’t so much a tour as it was a dinner party in the middle of the water, looking at the Sugarloaf mountain, the beaches of Rio, and the giant Cristo statue. There was lots of time for water activities too. Nothing super exciting but, we went swimming and stuff. The staff was even nice enough to let me connect my phone to the speakers for a while, so we had an unofficial High On Life dance party hahaha. And of course, Russia picked up a striped shirt and some white pants, so we were pretty much a legit boat crew. Great fun.
Odds are good you’ve seen pictures of this statue before. ‘Cristo Redentor’ (Christ the Redeemer) stands about 125 feet on top of the Corcovado mountain in Rio. It gets hundreds of visitors daily, and just like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you will be surrounded by tourists taking pictures doing the exact same bloody pose. It was almost embarrassing standing there posing like everyone else, but you just gotta get that footage, ya know? Regardless, it’s a must-see if you’re in Rio. It costs a few bucks and you can take a tram up to it. Aside from the many gift shops and juice stands, there’s not much to do here, but it’s an impressive sight and you’re going to want to have your camera with you. Being that it’s on top of a mountain, you can get some great photos of the surrounding city and water.
Hang-gliding Over Rio
I figure there’s only one place to go hang-gliding in Rio, but it was so friggin beautiful there, we wouldn’t recommend going anywhere else anyways. You drive up this mountain and meet with the guys that partner with you. They set up their hang-gliders in a line, wait for opportune wind conditions, and then together, you both run towards the edge of the cliff. Once you’re off, your job is done. Just take in the view as your soar like a bird above the entire city. Even the tallest buildings are so far below you, it’s an incomparable feeling. You spend probably 6 to 8 minutes in the air At the end of your flight, your instructor will land you comfortably on the beach and you will be the happiest person in the world for several hours afterward.
Aaaand here’s the videoooooo: