Unfortunately, my fear of having my camera stolen followed me to Brazil, so this blog post is also going to be supplemented with a couple of Instagram photos.
What I do have, however, are a few recommendations for anyone planning a trip to the vibrant city of Rio de Janeiro. While Rio was a rather out-of-the-way stop on our South American itinerary, we felt it was important to see, so we packed our backpacks (for the hundredth time) and hopped on a flight from Foz do Iguaçu to Rio International Airport.
After all the negative press surrounding the city before and after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, I entered Brazil feeling slightly apprehensive. It’s safe to say, however, that I left Rio feeling pleasantly surprised with all the city had to offer. We opted for a hostel close to Copacabana beach called El Misti Hostel Rio after a recommendation about safe areas to stay from our friend, Nikki. The dorms were a bit cramped but the hostel did offer free Caipirinhas (Brazil’s national drink – a cocktail made with lime, sugar, cachaça and ice) every day at 7pm which we certainly appreciated!
One of the highlights of Rio was a walking tour we took with Free Walker Tours of the Downtown and Lapa area. Our guide was really knowledgeable and the tour worked on a tips-only basis, so you just pay what you feel it was worth afterwards. My favourite stop had to be the beautiful Colombo Bakery – so good I even Instagrammed it twice! This place was the stuff bloggers dreams are made of.
The other must-do in Rio is a trip up to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, locally known as Christo Redentor. What surprised me here, was that the statue itself is nowhere near as impressive as the view from the top. In fact, it pales in comparison to the panoramic view around it.
Try to go as early (or as late) as you can because the crowds up at the viewing platform really are something. You can literally barely move for the hoards of tourists all attempting to take the perfect ‘arms out’ photo.
From Rio, we headed to Sao Paulo, where we enjoyed another great free tour, this one focusing on Brazilian food. After this, we took our second flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where we planned to make the journey to Uyuni, to tour the Bolivian Salt Flats, otherwise known as Salar de Uyuni.