Rio de Janeiro

 

Food

We went to a few rodizos however the one we enjoyed the most was Botafogo de chow in Botafogo. Although a chain, the food was really very good and the salad bar extensive. The restaurant overlooks the bay and is a great place to enjoy dinner, a few drinks and watch the sun go down.

Rodizio – this is a place that is sort of like a buffet bt the food comes to you on huge skewers. Normally around 20 different cuts of meat ranging from your normal steaks to chicken hearts (delicious by the way). You have a disc next to you with one side red  and the other green. So when the green side is up the food just keeps coming until you turn it over for a breather.

 
 
 

 

How to get to Rio:

 

From Galeão airport – there are a few options here.

 

  • Bus -  the bus goes from the airport to the centre.

 

  • Metro/BRT – the metro doesn’t offer a direct link to the city, you have to change on to the BRT (bus rapid Transport). The BRT offers direct access through designated lanes in the city. 

 

  • Taxi - you can book one before you leave the airport from a transfer desk, or you join the queue outside the terminal and grab a yellow cab. Only travel with official tax drivers!

It costs around R$80-85 to get to Copacabana/Ipanema

 

  • Taxi companies - these are the private taxi firms based inside the airport. They will have fixed rates to where you want to go in the city. A few names are:

    • Aerocoop

    • Aerotaxi

    • Cooperado

    • Transcootur

  • Transfer companies – Book transfer is a company authorised by the airport. They offer a door to door transfer to pretty much anywhere in Rio 

  • Uber – There is a very good uber network here. Uber allows you to pay via your Uber account so you don’t have to worry about getting your money out. Uber also gives you an estimate on the fare and it’s pretty accurate.

  • Car Rental – There a rental car companies in the arrivals terminal. Be sure to check if you can drive here prior to booking. You can also reserve a car online via Rentalcars

 

Rio de Janeiro a is bustling coastal city, famed for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches; under the watchful eye of the 38m tall Christ the Redeemer statue a top of Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns) and its raucous Carnival scene, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and of course those highly charged samba dancers. 

 

Where to stay in Rio

Brazil caters for all budgets, from hostels, private apartments, rooms in favelas to high rise luxury hotels. When choosing accommodation it is important to bear in mind safety. Brazil has a reputation for being dangerous but it is like any other city really; be aware; be smart (not flashy) and you won’t have any problems.

Areas to stay in Rio

  • Copacabana – the most famous beach in Brazil and packed with hotels restaurants, bars. Taxis are easy to grab here. This beaches and streets are busy. Be cautious during the evenings.

  • Ipanema and Leblon – this is more upmarket than Copacabana, the stretch of beach here is less crowded than Copacabana but with that comes slightly less vendors. Safer than Copacabana.

  • Favela – favelas may look rough but are actually very well presented inside. Here there are hotels and loads of hostels. Actually very safe inside a favela.

  • Botafogo – close to Copacabana, Christ the redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain. Has hostels and hotels to choose from.

  • Santa Teresa – further out and in the hills, quiet compared to the hustle and bustle at Copacabana or Lapa.

  • Lapa – close to Santa Teresa, very busy area, lots of bars and good nightlife. In the past it was a red light area. Close to Selarón Steps.

Our stay:

Weighing up all our options, we opted for mid-range accommodation, an apartment with Airbnb. We chose to stay on, Rue Rainha Elizabeth, located 2 minute’s walk from Ipanema beach and a short 7 minute walk from Copacabana beach.  This gave us the flexibility to explore both Ipanema and Copacabana. Our 2 bedroom stylish apartment, complete with swimming pool was located in a safe but very noisy neighbourhood. With a supermarket just around the corner and numerous restaurants within a 5 minute walk, this was a good base. The apartment was well equipped to cook, had cable TV, a dining area and clothes washing facilities. This is an absolute must when travelling with a toddler. The apartment also had a pool, although the beaches are so good in either direction, we never had time to spend by the pool.

 

 

Things to do with children in Rio

 

Beaches

Let’s be honest, no trip to Rio is complete without spending a lazy afternoon or two soaking up the sun on the fabulous beaches.

 

  • Infamous Ipanema - Ipanema beach is a wonderful place to sit and people watch. Beach vendors are plentiful, you will not be short of a cocktail, pastry or sweet treats. We rented 2 sun loungers and an umbrella for 15 Reals in total. The beach here has very strong waves and undercurrent and so is not suitable for younger children to swim. This is the more upmarket of the two beaches with fewer crowds and a lovely boardwalk that takes you right to the tip of Ipanema and Copacabana.

 

  • Copacabana beach - for us was our preferred choice. There are more families here and although the waves are equally as strong this does appear to be the more popular beach. For one, the price of renting sun loungers etc. is a fraction of the price of Ipanema.

Both beaches have their own charm though and we would recommend visiting both.

 

Safety - As with any city crime levels are high particularly in Rio. We fortunately did not have any problems. We left our valuables at our accommodation and only carried the money we needed. Providing you are cautions and diligent, you should not have any problems.

 

  • Favela Tour – We took a favela tour with Marcello Tours Rio. Our guide David was brilliant and spoke perfect English. We were collected in a slightly over crowded 4x4, but we didn’t mind as this added to the experience. After a short 30 minute drive, we arrived at Rohina Favela. David walked us from the top of the favela, straight through the middle to the bottom. We weaved in and out of dark alleys, up and down steep stair wells, eventually arriving at the foot of the favela. Our tour started at 2pm, during our son’s afternoon nap and so right on schedule he fell asleep just as we arrived. David was brilliant, he helped carry our pram/ stroller through the streets, up and down stairs and entertained us all the way. The favelas are perfectly safe. David informed us that although run by gangs, the gangs do not like trouble on their own turf and so it was safer to be in the favelas than it was to be in Copacabana. We would definitely recommend this tour.

 

  • Christ the Redeemer – NB: Check the weather before you go!On our second attempt. We walked to Parca do Lido where we booked our tickets through Paineiras Corcovado-the ticket booth there. As we’d already attempted an unsuccessful visit a few days earlier, we did not want to waste time or delay getting up there.Our tickets costing 112 reals for 2 adults included transfer and entry. This is a very well-run operation. After buying your ticket you are directed to a waiting area to catch a minivan. The drive takes about 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. Warning – this is a very windy drive and so if you suffer from travel sickness, you would be best suited to take some remedies beforehand. Once at the top, you join a second queue for a shuttle up to the top, taking no more than 15 minutes. These buses are super-efficient and depart regularly.At the top, you present your ticket and either walk the steps to the top (no more than 10 minutes) or take the lift/escalators. We took our pram and so on or second attempt took the escalators / lift without any problems. On a good day, it gets crowded!! Be prepared for this. Despite the crowds it is absolutely worth the trip, and you will be able to snap that iconic picture! There are two cafes at the top offering drinks, sandwiches, burgers, pizza etc. You will probably need to cool down and avoid the stampede on the way down and whether you’re after a snack or a fully loaded lunch, these cafes cater for both.

 

  • Sugarloaf Mountain - We took the tube to Botafogo which was easy and cheap! We then walked to Sugarloaf Mountain where we bought tickets at the door (approx. 86 reals each). The cable cars run continuously and so we did not wait for more than 20 minutes to board. The cable car takes you to the first observation deck, where there are numerous restaurants and cafes. This is a great place to enjoy lunch and the views are spectacular. You can then board the cable car again to take you to the second observation deck. We didn’t stay too long here as the weather quickly changed (as it does in Rio) and we were left with our heads literally in the clouds.

 

  • Seralon Steps / Lapa arches - We took the tube to Cinelandia (Lapa), where we walked a short distance to the Lapa Arches. We viewed the arches from a distance as this is not the safest neighbourhood and we were advised not to venture too close. We then walked to the Seralon Steps (no more than 15 minutes). The steps are as vibrant and colourful as they are in every picture. They do get crowded so we advise to go early if you want to avoid the crowds.Lapa has many great restaurants and cafes and is a great place to enjoy lunch looking down over the city. We took the tube to the Seralon Steps and Sugarloaf Mountain on the same day. There is no need to book a tour if you’re up for an adventure. Both were easily accessible and the tube is perfectly safe for travel.

 

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Hi Guys, here is a little it about us and how we ended up on this journey

 

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