Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

Recommended: Climb sugarloaf and catch the free cable car home after 6pm. Drink on the street and on the beaches, pubs and clubs are expensive.
Do: Eat on the street, It’s cheap and safe enough. Hotdogs, Tapioca, Agua de Coco etc. It’s all good.

Rio Rio Rio!! The most famous South American city? Know for the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema Rio is a mix of cultures and wealth. From the extremely poor to the extremely rich Rio easily has enough trouble for one person to get themselves!

bye bye Forieeepa

I arrived here on Wednesday by plane, with my new best friend Rishi! We’d been tearing up Floripa together so we thought we’d keep the dream alive in Rio as well. We flew with Webjet who, despite being a budget carrier in South America, actually seem efficient and well run. After completing both a quick electronic check in and bag drop we squeezed into the tiny seats on the budget carrier and were in the air ahead of time. Impressed? Yes this IS South America still. We avoided being ripped of at the Airport by cab drivers, electing to take a more honest city cab on the meter to Lapa for about R$40.

Lapa is the more dodgy area, but I agreed to stay here as Rishi had already stayed in Copa and Impa before. Wednesday night was a bit quiet in town, but me managed to find a street on Thursday hosting a cool party for locals and a few gringos called “baixo da gavea”. Basically you can drink on the street or in the pubs. We met up with some gringos and locals we met in Floripa.

Friday – relaxing on the beach in Ipanema with Simon and Sarah.. they had a good agreement with a local on the beach, who supplied chairs for R$4, beers for R$2 and agua de coca for R$5. Not a bad deal. Sit on the beach and people come past with food, drinks all day. There is absolutely no need to move from your spot

Firday night = the Lapa street party, where you party with the locals on the street. We took to the street from the hostel at 12am or so. The streets were crowded with shady locals, cool locals and gringos.
Street food, street booze and samba. We ventured up the Lapa steps to enter a more authentic part of the party, crowded with locals. Good fun, but you need to take care, some people from the hostel had their camera snatched from their hand. You can buy 400ml can beers on the street for R$5 and eat street food for around the same. I recommend the hotdogs again! Some people reported getting sick from the tequila on the street. It’s backyard booze, and probably full of methanol so be warned. I wouldn’t drink it. Another person got robbed when buying an underpriced, R$1 Caprihina. While you are doing the deal, a college in crime robs you. Another american dude was pushed to the ground and robbed too. Don’t let hookers and trannys touch you unless you want to be robbed too.
Saturday I decided to get some money from the ATM in town alone and tired / hungover, only to be assaulted and almost mugged by three local junkies. I managed to get away with all my stuff, but they ripped my favorite t-shirt… bastards. Spewin’. Felepe, the hostel owner have me a Books shirt to make up for my loss. Thanks mate, lovin’ the lime green!

Rishi departed on Saturday, so I stayed another (more quiet) night in Lapa then moved on to Copacabana.
On Monday I met a couple of Australian guys and we did a bit of sight seeing around Rio, a compulsory trip to see Jesus. It was cloudy, so we had to take a few pics between sets of clouds. We took the train for R$43 but I would suggest negotiating a van for the trip up. You should be able to get in cheaper, but make sure you account for the cost of entering the attraction, which is included in the train ticket but not in the price for a van!

Perfect weather hey!!

In the arvo I took my things from Books hostel and moved into Hostel CabanaCopa in Copacabana. (yeah cleaver hey) After ditching my things at the hostel, a German guy and I climbed the first part of Sugar loaf. The climb is pretty easy, and takes about 20 mins. I recommend this option to save some money. After the climb it costs just over R$20 to get to the top and back. You’d normally pay more, but if you descend after sunset, there is no cost to get down! Stay for sunset, it’s tops. The Monday night boat party booked out, so I missed out on that!

Cable car to Sugar loaf.


Sunset from the ‘loaf

I spent three days on the beach at Copa, and went out to Melt on Tuesday night with some Brasilians who I amped up to go via google translate. They have samba on the bottom floor, and house, dance on the top floor. Don’t drink much in the club unless your loaded. Like lots of places in Brazil, they have a card which you buy drinks with and pay at the end. Lot’s of people walk out with huge bills which include drinks they never saw. I think the best way, is to drink before you arrive and don’t drink at the club, that way when you leave your sober enough to argue any fraudulent charges that come your way.

A couple of dudes from the hostel took themselves into a favala without a guide, which I though was pretty brazen. They met a guy who showed them around for a small fee in the favala. He invited them back to party that night and they came back with amazing stories of drug dealers and guns. Turns out they went to party in an unpassified favala and experienced the real deal! After they returned home safe and not dead, I was spewing I didn’t go. I was certain they would be at least mugged or beaten to death. They were all stoked about the experience there!

I climbed the mountain in Tijuna with a couple of German lads. They booked a guide which cost R$90 each. I’m sure they could have negotiated a better deal. You *could* do it without, but for safety you should use ropes in a small section. The climb takes you to over 500m and you get an excellent view of Zona Sur. The climb took all day and I was pretty tired by the end. The lads used all my overpriced sunscreen though, which I found annoying as I’d been applying pretty careful sunscreen discipline on myself. I mean if your worried about burning, wear a shirt FFS, I did. Your not at the beach, wear a shirt if you don’t want to get burned. Fuck. I’m not paying fucking Brasil prices on Sunscreen for you rich daddy students to waist.

just a quick walk across this rope to reach the top


the view at 500m

I met Arturo on the beach one Sunday morning night for a beer, and walking home at 2am, a hooker flashed her boobs at me and tried to grab me. I stayed clear of that shit. Basically she will grab you, distract you – probably by putting her (or his) hands on your crotch and then pickpocket you.

I managed to get on the Monday party boat which I missed earlier. It’s pretty cool. They sell terrible caprihinas. From 11pm – 12am they allow the girls to go upstairs and drink for free while the guys stay downstairs and drink 2 for 1. It’s a bit strange. Then they head out to the inlet and crank gringo dance music all night. I met a couple of cool Kiwi dudes, James & Jamie. Spewing I didn’t get their details, their antics made my night!

where are you James and Jamie…

The next few days were overcast so when the clouds cleared I booked a hand glide. Thanks to Jamie and Erica, an awesome xmas present! I got dicked around a lot, I met the pilot and signed into the club for R$20 near the beach, then we took a car up to the hill and I had to wait for the pilot to fly with another person before he came back for me. All-in-all it took a whole day to fly 10 minutes! Besides that, the flight was awesome, I was nervous about running off the platform initially, but it wasn’t too hard. Keep your eyes level at the horizon. The flight was surprisingly peaceful! Great views and excellent weather.

Glidin’ Rio baby.

Although I stayed in CabanaCopa, I don’t recommend it even though it’s clean and tidy. They are totally inflexible, demand upfront payment, won’t help you out and gouge you on drink prices, serve poor caprihinas, charge extra for a towel and you make your own bed too. While at Books hostel, they were happy for you to stay without upfront payment, sold booze cheap, made great caprihinas and would bend over backwards to help you along the way. An example at CabanaCopa – American dude just gets in from the states, doesn’t have and local currency yet. Hostel tells him to pay upfront or leave. He asks if he can lock his stuff while he goes to the bank. They won’t lend him a padlock or sell him one without payment. They basically won’t help him out. I lend him R$20 so he can buy a padlock from the hostel, so he can go to the bank. Dude pays me back straight away and even buys me a beer. This would not happen elsewhere I’ve been in South America.

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