WAHHHHH, I hate writing this because I wish we had way more time to explore Rio De Janeiro. My best friend and I traveled to Brazil for her sisters engagement party and for me to meet her family! I’m such a good friend aren’t I? 😉 The only downfall to that was they lived in Brasilia. Not the most happening place in South America; but she promised me we would get to see some of Rio De Janeiro before we headed home and she stayed true to that.
Here is our 48 hours itinerary in Rio De Janeiro
3 pm: Arrive in Rio de Janeiro
Even though we left Brasilia late, we landed in Rio at the perfect time; right before sunset! Lucky for us, she had a family friend who was kind enough to let us stay with her; so no accommodations needed AND it was in the heart of Rio. SCORE. In a rush, we visited with the lady, put our luggage down and headed off to the beach.
5 pm: Copacabana Sunset
We hit the beach just in time to catch an amazing cotton candy sunset. Decided to have a coconut drink…actually 1 coconut drink and then like 4 beers each while soaking up the view before heading to dinner.
I forgot the name of the restaurant…of course. It wasn’t something super fancy though, just a place on the beach to relax and prep for the next day.
After dinner, we strolled down to another part of the beach where we stumbled upon some really cool outside bars. Didn’t want the chance of being hungover since we only had one full day to explore; so we called it quits earlier than usual.
So before I tell you the rest of our adventure…please understand that had very limited time to see the sites…BUT, I can assure you that we squeezed in every possible activity we could. HOW?? A tour guide.
Not just any tour guide…our own private tour guide. Most of y’all I’m sure can relate;the crowds of 20 people on a large bus, all with matching t-shirts…yeah not for me. I tried to decide the best option since Rio is a decent size city and we didn’t have much time. Sure, it comes at a slight cost but totally worth it.
This is not some paid advertisement from Trip Advisor or our guide…just simply the best way (in my opinion) to see the city. Her name was Olivia and we had the best day!
8 am: Pick Up
No big time tour buses for us…Olivia came to our front door with her own car to pick us up and drive us all around the city. First stop…
8:30 am: Christ the Redeemer
On the way to this iconic wonder of the world…so many emotions came over me. Even though I am not religious, I knew seeing Cristo in person would drastically impact my life. It has always been a dream of mine to travel the world, every angle, every edge, every ocean and mountain. I remember playing Call of Duty with my brother, and watching Fast and Furious, saying that I was going to make it a goal of mine to go to Brazil and see all these places. Once we got there, I left Olivia and Anne in the dust, sprinting to the top of the stairs…there he was, staring at me. One of the most surreal moments in my life. I won’t lie, I shed a tear. A happy tear, a tear of gratitude…it all made me realize I was doing what I loved in life.
Enough with the sappy shit I know…but look at this sky…we couldn’t of had a more perfect day to be sight seeing in Rio.
Jesus doesn’t need a filter.
Here’s what Cristo gets to look at every day, a panoramic view of Rio De Janeiro
After buying some cheesy souvenirs, we headed back down the mountain to our next location…stopping on the way to snap a couple more touristy pictures
Side note: We got there early, almost right after it opened so lines weren’t long. You have to buy a ticket and hop in a van that takes you up the mountain, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Did you know? August is considered winter in Brazil, but temperatures are only at 80 degrees for the high and around 65 degrees for the low, making this the perfect time to visit! No wonder they want to hold the Olympics here!
10:30 am: Barra da Tijuca
Olivia took us to this upscale neighborhood on the west side of the city. The name Barra da Tijuca roughly translates as “Swamp Sandbank” and is considered the youngest neighborhood in all of Rio. This place reminded me of the luxury part of Miami. High rise condos and sky scraping office buildings surrounded by beautiful beaches…we are so happy we took her word on this. Sometimes, seeing the sites that locals want to show you rather than what Google tells you can make for an even better vacation.
living on the edge
This was the first time ever seeing this, and ever since then I have seen them strategically placed all over the world. I think it’s a wonderful idea, to look up from your phone and enjoy the view. Take it all in.
12 pm: FOOOOOD
Once again, I am so terrible with remembering places…and since I never planned on blogging during this time I decided not to document everything, including where we ate. I remember it was a really good buffet place with lots of Brazilian steak. I suck.
1 pm: Sand Castles and Favelas
After lunch, she took us nearby the neighborhood to the beach where we got to see this awesome handmade sandcastle on the way to the favela.
How cute right?? We drove up the beach and headed towards Vidigal, a nearby favela. A special thing about this particular favela is, that’s where Olivia lived. Most people, especially big tour groups aren’t even allowed up to the top. She claimed that it’s not safe for foreigners to go exploring favelas without the help of someone who knows their way around. The roads leading up to the top are very narrow and filled with working trucks and lots of people. Favela literally means shack or slum, so you could be a prime target for robbery or assault if you go up there alone.
On the way up we saw some amazing street art.
The detail in these are just crazy!! Would look sick as a tattoo
And here you have it folks, the view from the top. Just wow.
3 pm: Copacabana to Sugar Loaf Mountain
After a drive back down to the bottom, we hit Copacabana beach on the way to see Sugar Loaf Mountain, stopping at some beach spots to have a drink and enjoy our day. The hustle and bustle of the city can get crazy sometimes, so stopping to enjoy yourself is key.
Stopped off at a secret place to see a helicopter pad, that just so happened to have a helicopter landing when we got there. Really cool to see, especially since you see the silhouette of Cristo in the background.
And here we are, finally made it to Sugar Loaf Mountain
the views just keep getting better #titanicpose
This is where the real fun began, we took the gondola thing all the way to the top. There, they had a full bar and a place to watch the sunset. Anne and I started drinking and ended up having a deep conversation with Olivia. She was like an old new friend, someone it seemed like we knew before! In the midst of talking, we were dying to go hang gliding. Not only did she give us the location, but she ended up calling and scheduling everything for us while we were all sitting there! Talk about customer service. Just as she finished on the phone, she gave us the time and place to be…and told us to go have fun and watch the sunset.
A fire in the sky. Another unbelievable sunset to end a perfect day.
6:30 pm: Drop off
Our time with Olivia came to an end. She took us back to the house we were staying, we all got out and hugged/cried for a good 5 minutes. She claimed that we were so much fun, that our energy and happiness just radiated and that this was one of the best times shes had as a tour guide. 15 year of guiding. I asked if she tells everyone that and she just laughed. Olivia said, “I don’t cry over much, but this was an experience I’ll never forget.” As sad as it was to see her go, we said our goodbyes and went upstairs to relax before a night out on the town.
10:30 pm: PARTY!
Since this was our last night of vacation, we wanted to go out with a bang. We didn’t do too much clubbing while in Brasilia so we had to experience some nightlife before we headed home. We found a really cool hostel bar called Zero Zero that was serving up free Caipirinha’s until 12 am! Caipirinha is a Brazilian cocktail, made with cachaça, sugar and lime. Keyword: SUGAR.
While in line, we met this big group of people and instantly started up conversation. Before you know it, we are all inside drinking the night away. From funny pictures to salsa lessons to full blown dance competitions, we were having a blast.
Yeah…we were having so much fun that we couldn’t even take a good picture.
The night slowly came to an end, we connected with everyone via Facebook and somehow got a taxi ride home around 3 am.
9:30 am: Hangover City
UGHHHHHH. I drank my weight in vodka while we were in Brasilia, and not one day did I have a hangover…why?? Why was it the day we had to go hang gliding AND fly home did I get the worst hangover. I inched like a slug out of bed, trying to get my shit together while holding back vomit until the driver picked us up to go Hang Gliding.
10:30 am: Hungover Hang Gliding
The entire ride there, I was like a puppy with it’s head out the window. NO ONE TALK TO ME. I was dying. This was the end. I’ll never recover from this fucking hangover from hell. Just as I was about to pass out, we got to the site. After about 30 minutes of not listening, complaining and hunched over dances, we made our way to the top. Surprisingly, my instructor said I did above average on the trial run…
Totally worth it. Look at this view.
What an experience!! These are the moments I live for. Soaring above the city, feeling the breeze. Nothing more exhilarating. That all came to a screeching halt when we landed on the beach. The hangover wave hit me full force. I yelled at my instructor to, “GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF THIS THING.” He was so confused, but unharnessed me just in time. My best friend saw me running down the beach, screaming, “WHAT’S WRONG??” I just waved her off, asked where to find the nearest bathroom, and proceeded to projectile vomit into the toilet. SO. MUCH. VOMIT. This just so happened to be an outside bathroom with paper thin doors, I could hear her telling by passers that I was okay, just too much alcohol. It’s hilarious now but at the time it was a nightmare. After I pulled the chunks out of my teeth, we got some water, got a copy of our pictures and headed back to grab our luggage.
1:30 pm: The Journey home
Alas, our vacation was coming to an end. Sad to see it go, but happy to be going home.
To some, this might not seem like the most exciting 48 hours in Rio, but to us, it was the perfect mixture. Great food, great culture, great people…everything about this city exceeded my expectations. I really wish we had more time to visit, but I will definitely be back to explore further!
Hopefully you can take some something from this, learn that not every road you take has to be paved. Don’t be hesitant to confide in a local, or take a new route. Those are the types of things that give you greater experiences and last memories.
As a side note, here is Olivia’s information if you want to find her on Trip Advisor. Like I said, she had no say in this post, she won’t even know I wrote it until after it’s published! BUT, I strongly believe if you only have 48 hours in Rio de Janeiro, she should be on your list!
Have you been to Rio before? What did I miss?? Until next time babes…
Bonvoyage Bitches xox