Rio de Janeiro – Beaches, gardens and mountains

By Erin Hancock

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Rio de Janeiro is especially popular during Carnival. We didn’t have the right timing to join in the festivities, but this is an amazing city to explore any time of the year.

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You might remember the song – Girl from Ipanema. Here’s a remix of it (by N.A.S.A)


Firstly, we ran Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. They are beautiful, even on a cloudy day.


As we had been warned, while we were out on the beach we saw a man ride by on a bicycle and rip a gold chain off another person’s neck. We heeded the advice to avoid wearing jewelry for our stay in Rio.

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The neighboring districts of Lapa and Santa Teresa boast lots to see and do. The streets have character.

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The “Selaron Stairs” seen below are really something to visit. Each ceramic tile comprising the tall stairs (250 stairs in total) are each unique and interesting. Artist Jorge Selarón (who was born in Chile) started the process to revive the old stairs into this masterpiece in 1990.

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We found both a Canada flag tile as well as an Atlantic Provinces tile.

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The Botanical Gardens of Rio were quite beautiful – albeit hella humid.

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We enjoyed lunch at a traditional Portuguese restaurant with our friends from our hostel Andre (from Italy) and Jackson (from Gibraltar) after visiting the gardens.


So many people recommended visiting Pao de Azucar – the Sugarloaf Mountain, so even though the weather never really turned out sunny the whole time we were in Rio, we went for it anyway.

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The rain came down hard on the way up, so much so that we couldn’t see anything. So we took the opportunity to take a coffee break in the restaurant half-way up the dual cable car ride. And there happened to be a jazz show happening at the same time, so that was a bonus.

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The rain subsided and we continued up to the top. The views were pretty spectacular. Rio is a city of coastline and beaches at every turn, like nothing I’ve seen before so it’s pretty special to get a bird’s eye view.


Stay tuned for the next adventures … to Colombia!


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