Top 5 Reasons to Travel to Rio de Janeiro

I first came to Rio in November of last year as my younger brother is currently living there.  I left with few expectations and came home with a new favourite city.  After spending an amazing 8 days with my family I decided to book another trip.  This one would be one for my friends and I, and it definitely did not disappoint. Rio is a sweet blend of culture, geographical beauty, fresh fruit and energy.  Having just returned I wanted to share with all our HIH readers why you should consider Rio as your next vacation destination.

Below are my top 5 reasons to give Rio a chance.

Cristo Redentor: 

On my first visit I went up to see the Cristo Redentor.  An Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ - that was unveiled in 1931- oversees the city from all angles.  Its imposing 30 metre height makes it visible from afar and it lights up at night. You truly get a sense of the power of this statue when you are physically in Rio and you see it looking over the city. With its open arms, gazing over the city, it is the most moving statue I have ever encountered.  I bought a pendant when visiting it that I wear at all times and truly feel that it looks over me.  


Local Cuisine: 

When walking the streets in Rio, they have many stores selling amazing fresh fruit juices.  My favourites are acai and mango.  The flavour is overwhelming and delicious.  Due to its location, locals are able to collect fruits locally and you can taste the difference.  Another must is going to a Brazilian steak house.  We went to Assador Rio’s and it was by far the best meat I have ever had in my life.  The meat is served off swords and each piece keeps getting better.  

Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches: 

When I stay in Rio, I stay in Ipanema.  One of the nicer neighbourhoods which I would recommend as Rio can be dangerous if you are not in the right area.  On one side of the condo is Ipanema beach and the other brings you to Copacabana.  I prefer Ipanema as it is less touristy and the water is cleaner.  From the Ipanema side you can sit on the Arpoador rocks and catch the breathtaking sunsets.  The beaches are beautiful with smooth sand, beautiful blue water and great ambiance.

Ipanema sunset2.jpg
Ipanema sunset.jpg

Lush Greenery and Surrounding Mountains: 

When first coming to Rio, I could not get enough of the vegetation.  They have beautiful trees and plants through the city, giving it a tropical feel at all times.  The city itself is surrounded by beautiful mountains that you can see from all angles.  The streets have beautiful exotic plants on the sidewalks which are quite stunning when coming from a Nordic country.

Access to sports (some extreme): 

There are many sports you can take on in Rio.  Beach Volleyball/Footvolley, surfing, long distance swimming, running and kite surfing.  As my brother has recently taken on skydiving, my group and I decided this was our chance to do it.  Erik (my brother) drove us 2.5 hours out of Rio and we had one of the most memorable experiences of our lives.  I truly felt calm through the whole ordeal as my tandem jumper was a navy seal with thousands of jumps under his belt.  We jumped at 12,000 feet, free fell for 45 seconds and then ended with a parachute glide down.  I would absolutely do it again and loved the pure moment of freedom and lightness I felt during the experience.  

To conclude, I would say that Rio is not at all what the media portrays it to be.  If you are in the right areas, you don’t feel in danger.  When running on the beach, hang on to your phone tightly and don’t wear apparent jewelry as there is a lot of theft.  When at the beach, always go with someone to watch your things if you go swimming.  All of this street smart behaviour is common sense for the locals. This being said, I never once felt unsafe.  I walk away with this trip with renewed energy, the desire to dance, enjoy life and remember that beauty is in the smallest things. 

Thank you to Rio, my amazing friends and Erik for a memorable week.