Ted’s Travels – A Sunday in Rio
I always love going back to Rio. The city has a charm that few places in the world can presume of. Exuberant, joyous and hospitable, it shifts and renews itself constantly, allowing travellers to rediscover it with every visit. Last November, I had the privilege of exploring it again.
In downtown Rio a tram line (very similar to the one we have in Melbourne) has recently started servicing the historic area, so all the main attractions are more accessible than ever. If you hop on and off as you visit the Museum of Modern Art or Candelaria Church you’ll definitely make the most out of your day.
For a perfect Sunday daytrip, head down to Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. As I walked along Rio’s promenade myself, I suddenly felt if something was missing: the cars! Every Sunday Rio closes down the two main boulevards that run along Ipanema and Copacabana beaches to traffic. With art galleries, convenience kiosks, boutique shops and restaurants lining the water front, it is the ideal place for a perfect walk or bike ride. Local families are all out to enjoy the day, so there’s plenty of opportunities to start a conversation and learn more about local life while enjoying refreshments from any of the numerous kiosks. You could even have a go at a game of volleyball with them!
Where to stay?
For those who have been to Rio before and are looking for a different intake on the city, a little bit further inland, the cobble stoned streets of Santa Teresa wind their way through the hilly colonial suburb. Santa Teresa is home to Rio’s artists and bohemian community, and it is here where the brand new boutique hotel Mama Shelter has been built. Part of the Club Med family group, the design-focused, funky hotel was designed by Jalil Amor with creative travellers in mind. This is definitely the place to stay if you want to be at the heart of Rio’s art scene.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more upscale, Santa Teresa Rio MGallery is about a 5 minute walk from Mama Shelter. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool overlooking Guanabara Bay, lush gardens, a spa, bar, and fusion cuisine restaurant.
What to do?
Some things never change. In Lapa (a suburb that has recently been revamped and now has a trendy feel to its streets), Rio Scenarium has always had 3 floors of good fun, live bands and most importantly, great caipirinhas.
Music enthusiasts should also head over to Maracatu, where you’ll be able to witness how young musicians practice their skills at Brazilian rhythms. Or join our Rythms of Brazil tour to participate in a week long workshop yourself!
Whatever you do, be it walking , talking, riding, or even skating, make sure to do it with the locals. Indigenous, European and African influences collide to give Brazil a unique cultural identity, expressed throughout the country in the food, dance, music, religion and rituals. Despite boasting an incredible seventeen UNESCO World Heritage listed Sites, what makes Brazil truly unique is its people. After all, this is a nation renowned for throwing the world’s biggest street party!
Next week I look forward to telling you all about Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland region and about my close encounters with wildlife (they include a snake and a caiman).
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au