The Marvellous City – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The gorgeous landscapes, lively beaches, amazing climate, the colorful and vibrant Carnaval, and the friendly people. For all these reasons and more, I have fallen in love with Rio de Janeiro. 

We planned our South American trip around this city and the biggest celebration in the world – The Carnaval. After over one week spent discovering it, there’s no doubt in my mind as to why it is called the marvelous city.
 
Ipanema beach at sunset in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com

Rio de Janeiro Carnaval

There are two ways of enjoying the Carnaval: attending the show in the Sanbodromo, and/or being part of the street celebrations called blocos. We were lucky to experience both.
 
The difference between the two is that, whereas the Sanbodromo show is out of this world in terms of outfits, atmosphere, dance, grandeur, it is also more passive from the spectator point of view. The blocos, on the other hand, are all about being involved. Basically, you are following a group of musicians throughout the streets of Rio along with hundreds of people who are dancing, drinking, eating and having fun, whilst dressed in the craziest of costumes.
The Sanbodromo can be fantastic if you have good seats and can enjoy it with a group of people. We bought our tickets last minute, at the entrance, and we were located at the end of the arena where the carousels finished their performances. Still a nice experience, though.
 
For the blocos you don’t need to pay anything, you just show up. There are street sellers that follow the crowds selling drinks (mostly beer) and some food, so you don’t really need to do anything besides putting on some feathers and dancing the morning away. Yes, the morning! The blocos start really early, say 6am, and finish late in the afternoon.
Rio de Janeiro Carnaval in Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Rio de Janeiro Carnaval in Brazil.
rio-de-janeiro-brazil-south-america-1-7 rio-de-janeiro-brazil-south-america-2-5 rio-de-janeiro-brazil-south-america-3-3  rio-de-janeiro-brazil-south-america-5-3   rio-de-janeiro-brazil-south-america-8-2

Ipanema Beach at sunset

This is not to be missed, people! Bertrand and I went to Ipanema beach several times to watch the sunset. The scene was the same every time, and yet we could not get enough of it: the gorgeous sunset light covering some pretty hot bodies :); the small and frequent groups of beach football players; the amazing atmosphere; the street vendors; the waves crashing and entertaining some of the brave people who ventured into the water; the talented surfers…
  
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com

Pao de Asucar

You know those beautiful pictures of Rio de Janeiro, that you see on postcards? Well, there are quite a few spots that can give you the awesome view: Pao de Asucar, Christ The Redeemer, Tres Irmaos. We chose Pao de Asucar, (well Bertrand did) and the result was postcard pretty :).
 
Be careful when you choose your day to visit Pao de Asucar, if it’s cloudy you won’t see much (check Windguru for the cloud coverage forecast, it’s quite accurate). We chose what we thought was a clear sky day only to have a cloud blocking the view just before sunset. We were a big crowd and we all made that disappointing ahh noise when it happened. It was funny though :).
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com

Santa Teresa and Lapa

The difference between some neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro is astonishing. You can go to Ipanema and meet the tanned, muscular, all trendy Cariocas, and then you can go to Santa Teresa and Lapa and meet the most relaxed people, simply dressed, much more interested in enjoying cultural activities than going to the gym.
I liked both. I enjoyed going to Ipanema and admiring the crowds, in the same time I felt very relaxed and at ease in Santa Teresa and Lapa.
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com

Jardim Botanico

A dream in the heart of the city. When you long for some shade during hot afternoons, this is the place to be. It’s huge and just perfect for a long stroll amidst unique plant species.
Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com
Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hiddengemstheblog.com

How and Where to

How to get there: We took Easytransfer from Abrao, Ilha Grande to Santa Teresa in Rio. It took about 20 min on the boat and 2-2:30 min by shuttle and the price was 110 reales pp (prices in February 2016).
Where to stay: We stayed at Casa da Vera in Santa Teresa.If you go during the Carnaval, it’s a great location as the Sanbodromo is just a few minutes away as well as some (of the best) blocos.*This is an affiliate link, which means that I get a small commission if a booking is made.
Where to eat: For breakfast (in Santa Teresa) we went to Cafecito and the place just in front of it which has no name but was very good.
For dinner, we went twice to Les Amis in Santa Teresa. In Humaita/Botafogo we went a few times to Restaurante do Mercado and we overdosed on sushi.
Carnaval entrance: For the main show, we bought the tickets at the entrance and paid 50 reales per person.
Safety: We were quite worried about safety before arriving in Rio de Janeiro, and although we did feel we needed to take extra care, we had no problems. Like in any other destination in SA, you need to use common sense. That means: not flashing expensive things, equipment, jewelry; not walking on empty streets at night; being mindful of the people surrounding you etc.
Disclaimer: We were in Rio de Janeiro in February 2016 so all the info/prices apply to this date.

 

Photography by Bertrand Delvaux.
41 Responses
  • Ree
    July 21, 2016

    The carnavel looks amazing! So colorful. And that beach! 😍 Ree Love30

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 21, 2016

      Thanks, Ree. It was pretty awesome :). Have you been to Brazil?

  • Ron
    July 21, 2016

    Oh wow! These must be the most beautiful travel photos I’ve ever seen! It makes me want to go to Rio de Janeiro now. It seems like it’s a lot of fun and a city with a lot of character. I’m sure the photos cannot do the place justice when it comes to beauty but I believe your photos have just brought this city to life. And I haven’t even been there! You inspired me to take better photographs. Also, I would really like to visit Rio de Janeiro someday, when time and opportunity permits.

    Ron | Nearby Wanderer

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 21, 2016

      Hi Ron,
      Thanks a lot for your comment and compliments. I shall feed this back to the photographer :).
      Indeed, Rio de Janeiro is pretty awesome. In fact, all the places we saw in Brazil were great. It’s definitely one of my favorite countries in South America.
      Thanks for the visit and happy travels :).
      Cristina

      • Ron
        July 21, 2016

        Yes Cristina, please let the photographer know! In the photos, you looked like you had such a great time!

  • Jasmin N
    July 21, 2016

    Amazing pictures! I’ve always wanted to visit in Rio de Janeiro !

    ♥: Jasmin N
    Little Things With Jassy
    Bloglovin’

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 21, 2016

      Thanks Jasmin. It was a dream of mine as well, especially during the Carnaval.

  • Danik the Explorer
    July 23, 2016

    Love the photos in this post..very vibrant. Cant wait to get out there one day :)

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Good luck Danik :)

  • LeAnna
    July 23, 2016

    With a babe now in tow, I don’t think I’d go during Carnival time, but Rio is way up there on my list for when we do get around to that side of the world for some exploring!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Rio is great as well as all the other parts of Brazil that I have seen. It’s definitely worth a visit or two :). Happy travels!

  • Shane
    July 23, 2016

    I am dying to go to rio for the Olympus but looks like it’s got excitement all year round! Love the vibrant colors!

    • Shane
      July 23, 2016

      Olympics*

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      We met a friend who lives in Rio and he said that, indeed, the city is quite active and vibrant outside of the Carnaval or other events. Enjoy the city :)

  • Marlene Marques
    July 23, 2016

    Fantastic pot! It must be such a thrill to be part of the Rio’s Carnaval. Amazing photos! Such colors. Just how I imagined Rio. Congratulations!!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Thanks a lot, Marlene. It was epic, I can’t deny it :). Happy travels!

  • Howard | Backroad Planet
    July 23, 2016

    I lived in Paraguay during my teen years, and although I have visited Brazil many times, I have only been to Rio once when we had a next-day layover. It was in June, and as I recall, the beach in front of our hotel was basically empty. I don’t think I care to experience Carnaval in person, but I enjoyed seeing it through your lens. Now the sunset at Ipanema I would love!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      I was in South America for six months, but I missed Paraguay. It will have to be for next time :).

  • Thuymi @ www.AdventureFaktory.com
    July 24, 2016

    owowowoo I am so excited to get there, amazing pictures, thank you so much for the tips!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Don’t waste time, get your ticket and go Thuymi :).

  • Natalie Deduck
    July 24, 2016

    You made me miss home!!!
    I’m from Brazil, and is so good when a tourist manage to understand and capture our beauty!
    Thanks, and I hope you had a good time travelling in Rio and through my country!
    Cheers,
    Nat

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Ohh, I loved it Natalie. I spent a whole month visiting many beach destinations as well as cities. Brazil is, without a doubt, one of my favorite countries in South America. I hope to go back one day and explore more of it.
      Glad you liked the post :).

      Cristina

  • Sara | Belly Rumbles
    July 24, 2016

    Such great photos. I am always torn on heading Rio, mainly as there are so many other places to visit. Think you may have swayed me. Plus I want those beach sunsets and to wear feathers :p

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 24, 2016

      Thank you, Sara. I know what you mean, it’s hard to make choices. I’m one of those people who want to see “everything” :). Good luck with your travels.
      Cristina

  • Carly Moore
    July 24, 2016

    I’m quite jealous! Experiencing Carnaval is something I would really love to do in South America. Love all the photos! Looks like you had a great time.

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 25, 2016

      Thanks Carly. I can’t complain :).

  • Brianna Simmons
    July 24, 2016

    Rio looks like it is just so full of life! Your pictures of Carnivale and the beach are just stunning.

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 25, 2016

      Thanks Brianna. Rio was one of my favourite cities in South America.

  • Star Lengas
    July 25, 2016

    Attending Carnival is on my bucket list and I absolutely love the photos, you have a great eye!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 25, 2016

      Thanks Star :)

  • hannah
    July 25, 2016

    The city, with all the street art looks amazing!!!
    These pictures are beautiful by the way!

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 25, 2016

      Thanks Hannah :)

  • Meg Jerrard
    July 25, 2016

    Thanks for the photo tour through the different neighborhoods – I would love to get to Rio de Janeiro, especially to take in the Carnival! Your photos really have captured the essence of the city :)

    • atunitsirc2014
      July 25, 2016

      Thanks a lot Meg :)

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